€40m Innovation Fund aid for firms

UP to €40 million in venture capital funding is poised to be pumped into Irish businesses through a number of funds.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Brian Cowen announced a significant expansion to the Government’s Innovation Fund programme that will see the pan-European venture capital company DFJ Esprit invest €30m here and establish a new Dublin office — with the money coming from the National Pensions Reserve Fund, as an incentive to the company.

The fund was established earlier this year as a way of positioning Ireland as a global innovation hub, by attracting leading venture capital firms to open operations in Ireland and provide fresh funding for firms.

“These investments will form part of our private equity and venture capital allocation. They not only represent a strong commercial opportunity for the fund, but also form a robust first step for Innovation Fund Ireland in attracting high quality venture capital managers to Ireland,” commented NPRF chairman Paul Carty.

DFJ’s chief executive Simon Cook said that the company has already had success in the Irish market and has identified “the huge potential of the country’s technology companies”.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise Ireland/InterTrade Ireland venture capital joint venture, HBAN Investor Syndicates (Halo Business Angel Network), has said that it has — via four of its member investor groups — up to €10m to invest in promising new businesses over the next three years. HBAN added that, over the course of the last three months, it has invested more than €1m in various emerging Irish companies.

“Private investor syndicates are playing a critically important and effective role in boosting indigenous enterprise developments; particularly as other avenues of investment are more difficult to access due to economic conditions,” remarked HBAN national director, Diane Roberts.

She added: “The downturn has created significant opportunities for private investors, where they come together as syndicates to invest in emerging companies. These are emerging firms with intellectual property ready to be commercialised or already on the market.”


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