AIB and Enterprise Ireland reveal €23-million expansion of seed fund

16 Dec 2009

AIB has launched a new €23-million expansion of its Seed Capital Fund, bringing to €53 million the amount available for seeding and investing in equity in early stage firms.

The expanded fund will target investments in start-up and early stage businesses, with a particular focus on technology, financial services, clean and green sectors, and also businesses in the medical devices sectors.

AIB and Enterprise Ireland are joint partners in the new €23-million venture-capital fund expansion, contributing €15 million and €8 million respectively.

Fund manager

The fund is managed on behalf of AIB and Enterprise Ireland by Dublin Business Innovation Centre (DBIC) and Enterprise Equity, which collectively have more than 40 years of experience in helping small businesses to develop and providing equity capital. It is administered from NovaUCD located on campus within University College Dublin. 

This new fund expansion marks a second collaboration between AIB and Enterprise Ireland under the Venture Capital Programme 2007-2012 in making seed capital funding available to Irish entrepreneurs and businesses.

The original €30 million AIB Seed Capital Fund was launched in mid-2007 and to date has made 24 investments of more than €7 million in 20 new early stage Irish companies.

“It will build on the achievements already made under the original €30 million AIB Seed Fund, and represents a significant broadening of access to funding for start-up and early stage businesses,” Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan said.

“This type of funding is absolutely critical to stimulating a steady stream of dynamic new high-potential start-up companies. These businesses are vital to maintaining a strong, export-focused economy and to creating knowledge-intensive jobs.

“It is a key priority for Government and for Enterprise Ireland to support these companies, and making sure that the right funding environment is there for them is very much part of this. I would like to congratulate all the parties involved on working in partnership to create this new fund and on their achievements to date with the existing fund.”

The future economy

Welcoming the Tánaiste’s announcement, Robbie Henneberry, managing director, AIB Bank Republic of Ireland, said that Ireland’s future economy will be dependent on high-value activities.

“AIB is committed to supporting the national effort in fostering a smart economy. AIB will lend its support wherever it can to help accelerate the emergence of a strong indigenous enterprise base specialising in knowledge-intensive activities,” Henneberry said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: AIB and Enterprise Ireland are partners in a new €23-million venture-capital fund expansion.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years