Spain’s Altamar CAM eyes impact with new VC fund

Altamar CAM's first impact fund will be a successor to the firm's 2019 first life sciences vehicle.

Spanish asset manager Altamar CAM Partners plans to launch its first impact fund – a healthcare venture capital fund – this year, affiliate title New Private Markets has learned.

The new vehicle will be a successor to the €79 million 2019-vintage Alta Life Sciences Spain I and will take minority stakes in pre-commercial companies developing digital healthcare services, diagnosis technologies and therapeutic products, said a source familiar with the effort.

Altamar CAM has not yet registered the fund or set a target, but it will likely seek Article 9 status under the EU SFDR pending more clarity around the social terms of the EU Taxonomy, the source said.

Altamar CAM declined to comment on any fundraising plans.

The predecessor fund, Alta Life Sciences Spain I, closed below its €125 million target after a three-year fundraise. It is fully invested and has exited one company, although not all investor capital has been called. Altamar CAM did not formally classify ALSS I as an “impact fund,” but managing partner Miguel Zurita described the first life sciences fund as “impactful” in a conversation with NPM.

Asked what makes the life sciences fund impactful, Zurita said, “What’s better than saving people’s lives and making life better for a large number of people?”

The firm has been “establishing the right impact metrics and KPIs for portfolio companies” using the Impact Management Project’s guidance, said Zurita. For future investments, Altamar CAM will give potential portfolio companies an ESG questionnaire during due diligence and will agree to impact KPIs with the company prior to investment. The firm also typically takes board seats in its life sciences portfolio companies.

The positive impact of healthcare companies can be limited if their products are too expensive. How can the firm avoid this type of impact dilution? The life sciences strategy “focuses on companies with a large addressable market” rather than “niche strategies and expensive treatments,” said Zurita, adding that there are “synergies” between positively impact many peoples’ lives and being profitable.

Altamar CAM typically exits a company before its commercial launch, but the long-term impact of rapidly-growing start-ups and projects can be secured by backing mission-driven founders. “These companies are born out of people that have a passion to do good,” said Zurita.

Altamar CAM, which has €17 billion in AUM, was formed in 2021 as a merger between Madrid-headquartered Altamar Capital Partners and Cologne-headquartered CAM Alternatives. The firm is raising its fifth secondaries fund, for which it is targeting €1.5 billion. This month, it opened offices in Munich and London.