Virgin and RUSNANO Announce Formation of Emerging Markets Fund

31 October 2012

Virgin Group, Virgin Green Fund and RUSNANO Capital today announced the formation of VGF Emerging Market Growth I. L. P. (the “Fund”) with commitments of over $200 million.

The Fund will invest in buyout and growth equity opportunities in mid-cap companies.  It will target the resource efficiency, consumer sustainability and renewable energy sectors in Russia, Turkey and CEE. The Fund will benefit from the Virgin and RUSNANO brands, deal flow and local investing experience.

The Emerging Market Fund is set up by Shai Weiss, Evan Lovell, Brooks Preston and Tamas Szalai. Weiss and Lovell are the co-founding partners of the Virgin Green Fund. Preston formerly of Wolfensohn & Company and Szalai of Bancroft Private Equity will lead the investment team.  Andrew Reicher, the former head of CEE Private Equity for Credit Suisse and Chief Investment Officer at Actis, is the non-executive chairman of the investment committee. Collectively, the team brings the experience of investing USD $2 billion in emerging markets through more than 50 transactions.

At the launch in Moscow Sir Richard Branson said “We are excited to be launching our second fund focussing on the resource efficiency, consumer sustainability and renewable energy sectors.  This fund will invest in Russia, Turkey and Central and Eastern Europe and will provide investors with tremendous opportunities to generate strong returns and also do something good for the planet at the same time.”

Anatoly Chubais, RUSNANO CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board: “Renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies will provide answers to the key global challenges of natural resources depletion and environment pollution. Developing solutions will be impossible without the use of nanotechnology. I believe the fund will find great opportunities to invest in growth companies in Russia and take them into global markets.”

For Russia, the opportunity to consume less energy, export more energy, and secure its global competitiveness is a driving force behind the Government’s target to improve GDP efficiency by 1% per year. Turkey has strong incentives to develop an alternative energy sector because of its dependence on energy imports. The country’s fast growing economy imports 93% of its energy, according to the IEA — and this is a precarious position for any large economy. The majority of CEE and CIS countries have either aspirations or mandates to converge with EU policies on carbon, emissions, and renewable energy. The Fund will invest in proven management teams operating profitable enterprises in the target sectors and geographies.

The Fund has offices in London and Moscow, and is building its team in both locations.

Additional information


Virgin Group is a leading international investment group and one of the world's most recognised and respected brands. Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony, travel, financial services, leisure, music, holidays and health & wellness. Virgin has created more than 400 branded companies worldwide and employs approximately 50,000 people, in 34 countries. It generated global branded revenues of £13bn ($21bn) in 2011.

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Virgin Green Fund is a leading growth capital investor targeting companies in the renewable energy, consumer sustainability and resource efficiency sectors, primarily in the United States and Europe and now in Emerging Markets.  Virgin Green Fund seeks to help management teams increase the value of growth businesses by utilizing its equity, experience and global networks to help companies seize opportunities and solve problems.  In doing so, VGF works collaboratively with its portfolio companies, bringing to bear the operational expertise and financial acumen of the VGF Team to help management teams think critically about strategic issues such as market positioning, recruiting, acquisitions and financings.  Virgin Green Fund has been launched with the backing of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and a strong network of additional limited partners, and operates out of offices in London and New York.

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RUSNANO was founded in March 2011 as an open joint stock company through reorganization of state corporation Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies. RUSNANO's mission is to develop the Russian nanotechnology industry through co-investment in nanotechnology projects with substantial economic potential or social benefit. The Government of the Russian Federation owns 100 percent of the shares in RUSNANO. Anatoly Chubais is CEO and chairman of the Executive Board of RUSNANO.

Work to establish nanotechnology infrastructure and training for nanotechnology specialists, formerly conducted by the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies, has been entrusted to the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, a non-commercial fund also established through reorganization of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.

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RUSNANO Capital is mandated to be an anchor investor in investment funds in foreign jurisdictions and is seeking experienced international fund managers to be general partners in such funds. The main goals of RUSNANO capital are to attract foreign investment to finance the most promising innovative nano-tech projects in Russia; to transfer innovative technologies to Russia (primarily nanotechnologies); and to source, apply, and incorporate the world’s best investment practices in high technology.
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