Presto Ventures teams up CSG to invest €150 million in frontier technologies and security innovations

 26. 06. 2024      Category: Defense & Security

Venture capital firm Presto Ventures and Michal Strnad's industrial and technology group Czechoslovak Group (CSG) have launched an investment fund Presto Tech Horizons. Together, they will invest in innovative companies in the security and defense tech space. With a target size of €150 million, the fund will become one of the world’s largest with this sector experience and expertise.

Picture: Presto Ventures teams up CSG to invest €150 million in frontier technologies and security innovations | CSG
Picture: Presto Ventures teams up CSG to invest €150 million in frontier technologies and security innovations | CSG

Presto Tech Horizons aims to back dozens of the most promising technological projects from NATO countries and allied nations. The fund is primarily interested in companies developing dual-use solutions that can serve both civilian and security purposes. Investments will focus on enhancing the safety and privacy of individuals, as well as the security of businesses, institutions, and states. The investment scope will cover a variety of impactful sectors such as AI, cybersecurity, automation, robotics, logistics, defense, aerospace, mobility, energy, healthcare, advanced computing, and systems that involve critical infrastructure management and protection – including the application of radars, ground and aerial drones, lasers, or sophisticated sensors.

"For young, technologically advanced companies, finding the right investor is often a challenge. By joining forces, Presto and CSG have created a unique partnership that is unmatched in Europe. Our fund brings together the best of tech investing, know-how in building global firms, and industrial-technological expertise," explains Přemysl Rubeš, head and founder of Presto Venture.

The interest of investors and tech entrepreneurs to enter the field of security technologies has been growing significantly in recent years. "For investors, the biggest barrier to entry is the general inaccessibility of sector-specific expertise to evaluate the quality of technology and its commercial viability. Tech entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are hindered by complex regulations, time-consuming processes, and the fulfillment of numerous formal criteria. Our partnership with CSG directly tackles these barriers and risks," adds Premysl Rubes. CSG is the industrial partner and one of the fund's numerous investors," adds Rubeš.

Michal Strnad, Chairman of the Board and owner of CSG Group, states: "At CSG, we've long been creating solutions and products that future generations can build on. We seek out the best minds and technologies. Together with Presto, we'll identify opportunities and develop portfolio companies to deliver solutions with maximum added value and positive societal impact. We understand firsthand how challenging it is to transform research and development into industrial products able to succeed in the defense, security, and law enforcement segments, where they target not only private enterprises but also governments and their organizations. Our success stems from our ability to manage both manufacturing and global trade. We're prepared to share our experience with emerging innovative entrepreneurs who will become technological leaders."

Each year, investors at Presto Tech Horizons connect with as many as three thousand founders of innovative companies whose products hold the potential to solve society's most pressing challenges. They will back talented, driven tech entrepreneurs and companies that are eager to succeed on a global scale, typically already generate revenue, and seek a strong partner to accelerate their growth. The fund is already assessing numerous promising projects, with the intention to announce the first portfolio investments in the fall.

About Presto Ventures

Presto is a venture capital firm that has been investing in fast-growing tech companies since 2016, supporting their development and entry into global markets. Their portfolio spans over 60 companies from 20 countries, and many have grown more than tenfold since Presto’s entry. The average Presto fund performance approaches a 30% IRR (Internal Rate of Return).

Globally, their top performing portfolio companies are:

  • IP Fabric | Enterprise network security and management system
  • Keboola | Big data integration and operations platform
  • Sharry | Access control and security system for buildings and offices
  • Cloudtalk | Telecommunication software for contact centers
  • Simpleway | Secure audio hardware for airport information systems

Recent additions to their portfolio include:

  • Zerops | Infrastructure for software product development and operations
  • Calypso Commodities | Fuel transportation optimization solution for the energy sector
  • | AI companion that protects Gen Z’s mental health

Portfolio companies receive hands-on support from the internal team, as well as dozens of experienced entrepreneurs with various industry backgrounds. Many of them are Presto investors, investing capital from the sales and profits of their own businesses. They guide emerging entrepreneurs, facilitate strategic connections, and assist them in tackling business and product challenges – from a market entry to a successful exit.

 Author: Michal Pivoňka