Wendel steps up the development of the Wendel Lab and names Jérôme Michiels, its Executive Vice-President, to head it

Published : 03.06.2022

Initiated in 2013, the Wendel Lab has, to date, mainly made commitments to several high-quality technology and growth investment funds. In addition to these commitments, the Wendel Lab aims to make direct investments in very high-growth companies. As part of its 2021-2024 strategic roadmap, Wendel announced this initiative would eventually represent 5 to 10% of its net asset value.

Key figures

  • 7 investments in funds and funds of funds
  • 1 direct investment
  • €145m in committed capital(1)
  • Target exposure of 5-10% of NAV over time

(1) As of March 31, 2022.

The Wendel Lab’s objective

With the Lab, Wendel invests via funds or directly in innovative, high-growth companies. The Lab should enable the Group to be associated (via funds or directly) with the development of several hundred start-ups, mainly in the digital field.

The objective of Wendel Lab is twofold:

  • to diversify Wendel’s portfolio, by gaining exposure to high-growth assets, generally
    with a digital component or with disruptive business models;
  • to develop the expertise of Wendel’s teams and those of its portfolio companies in terms of technological innovations that can impact or improve the Group’s value creation profile.

Through its funds and funds of funds activity, Wendel Lab has access to highly reputable institutions such as Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Bond Capital, Innovation Endeavors, InvAscent, Kleiner Perkins and Quadrille.

A reinforced team

At the beginning of 2022, Wendel announced the strengthening of the Wendel Lab, which will now be headed by Jérôme Michiels, who will continue to serve as Wendel’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer. Jérôme is thus responsible for the Group’s initiatives in terms of investment in funds and directly within the Wendel Lab.

“We started investing in start-ups in 2013, as we wanted to become better acquainted with the disruptions our holdings might face. We also started taking stakes in funds, mainly American and European. More recently, we wanted to increase this exposure in order to increase the weighting of our portfolio towards growth and innovation: we currently have over €100 million committed to funds and we continue to look at opportunities in this area. It is in this context that we now want to accelerate our direct investments.”

Jérôme Michiels, Executive Vice-President, CFO, Director of the Wendel Lab

The Wendel Lab will therefore continue to invest in funds and funds of funds, under the leadership of Chris Witherspoon, recruited in 2021. And to manage direct investments in start-ups, it will rely on a new team of two experienced professionals in this asset class, including Antoine Izsak, who joined Wendel in early February 2022 as Head of Growth Equity.