Technology-oriented firms will find an array of attractive new financing sources in Austria. The last few months have seen the launch of several firms offering venture capital to innovators, with a projected ATS 800 million (US$ 61.5 million) available for investments over the next two years.

Risk-capital firms such as the APEF, the Bank Austria Technology Fund or the Agency for Innovation make 2-10 year equity investments in small and mid-sized firms (up to 250 workers) with high growth prospects. The goal is to prepare the startups to go public or to merge with other firms. One of the most impressive venture capital projects is Mikron, located in the town of Gratkorn near Graz. The radio frequency identification technology firm, whose value exploded nearly five-fold from 1993 to 1995, is today a successful subsidiary of Philips Semiconductor.

However, these financing alternatives have not only been advantageous for companies seeking capital - venture capital investors have seen substantial returns their investments.

(Note: Venture capital investments may involve substantial risks. Interested investors should contact the Austrian Business Agency for information on how to obtain prospectuses from the venture capital firms mentioned, and carefully read these prospectuses before investing.

Visit Austrian Business Agency's website at or enter a text search 'Austrian Business Agency' and 'Business Monitor'.

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