Partnership funds between Enterprise Ireland and the private sector invested in 71 ventures to the tune of €32.7m.The agency claims that the level of investment indicates that venture capitalists are once again keen to invest in new projects and are more positive about existing portfolios.
The amount was marginally higher than the €31.8m invested in 2001 and €29.3m invested in 2001. Enterprise Ireland said that while the number of investments were higher than in previous years, the average value per investment was lower.
According to Enterprise Ireland’s 2003 report on its Seed and Venture Capital Programme, some 15 different funds are fully operational, with start-ups attracting some 39pc of its investment, approximately €12.8m.
Early stage companies attracted 38pc of the agency’s investment, some €12.4m. Companies in the regions accounted for one-third of the total of €93.8m invested since 2001.
Software accounted for 71pc of the total amount invested since 2001, while life sciences accounted for almost 10pc of the total invested.
Pat Maher, executive director of Enterprise Ireland, commented: “Market conditions are improving for technology companies. Venture capitalists are making more investments and as technology markets continue to recover, the investment community appetite for investment will increase.
“This year over three-quarters of the companies attracting investments were start-ups and early stage companies. As these ambitious companies develop products and markets, they will be well positioned to attract follow on investment. There are substantial funds available both in Ireland and overseas for the right projects. I look forward to the continuation of the important role of the Partnership Funds with Enterprise Ireland in this revival.”
By John Kennedy