Venture capital firm Kernel invests in data business

Cork-based venture capital firm Kernel Capital is actively pursuing more investments after putting €1.1m into an IT company that assists companies and government departments manage data.

Kernel Capital said it was investing €1.1m in Automated Intelligence, a Belfast-based company specialising in moving and organising sensitive data for companies online. The investment in Automated Intelligence reached €1.65m, with the remainder put in by a private investor.

Clients of the firm include Nationwide, Statoil, British government departments and local councils in Britain such as Cardiff, Islington and Oxfordshire.

Established in 2010 by Mark Godfrey and Simon Cole, the company analyses data before moving it to secure Microsoft platforms.

Kernel Capital partner Allen Martin said its new investment was relevant because of upcoming changes in the way data is stored in the EU.

Irish companies have been warned that they face major financial penalties unless they take action now to shore up data protection under the General Data Protection Regulation, an EU law that comes into force next May.

If companies fail to comply with the regulation, they can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover, or €20m. The investment in the Belfast firm is expected to go towards expanding its workforce of 65, as well as entering new markets.

The firm’s chief executive Mark Godfrey said: “General Data Protection Regulation is the biggest data protection change in almost 20 years. Working alongside Microsoft, we will help organisations understand, and take control of, all the information they hold regardless of where it is.”

Kernel Capital is expected to announce another deal shortly but declined to reveal details about the plan. It manages the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Venture Funds, comprising €210m of funds raised in six venture capital funds since 2002.

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