IRISH venture capital firms supported by Enterprise Ireland pumped €52 million into 87 investments last year, a 53% jump on the previous year.
At 25, there was a 47% hike in the number of new companies invested in during the year.
Director of corporate and investment services at Enterprise Ireland, Feargal Ó Móráin, said: “A robust and thriving indigenous venture capital industry is critical to encouraging entrepreneurs and companies to set up and grow their businesses.”
Mr Ó Móráin said there were a number of “very welcome” developments in 2009, with the launch of the €26m Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund and a €23m expansion to AIB’s Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund.
Another fund launched was the €75m Seroba Kernel Life Sciences Fund II Limited Partnership Fund, one of the largest dedicated life science venture capital firms in Ireland and Britain.
“Over the past 16 years the Government, through Enterprise Ireland, has committed approximately €320m, as a limited partner, in the majority of seed and venture capital funds that have emerged in Ireland,” said Mr Ó Móráin.
Enterprise Ireland said the investment pipeline remains strong, which it said is a “very encouraging” feature given the difficult economic environment.
Enterprise Minister, Batt O’Keeffe, said the agency has made an “outstanding contribution” to developing venture capital here.
“The recent announcement by the Taoiseach of a €500m innovation fund will strengthen the agency’s role in supporting enterprise development and job creation… Ireland has a strong technical human capital base, significant public investment in research and development, and a high concentration of major enterprises which now must be translated into more home-grown success stories.”
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