The tech business week: new bank and e-commerce fund to benefit Irish SMEs

26 May 2014

€500m in credit to be made available for Irish SMEs through new bank

A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the news €500m in credit is to be made available for Irish SMEs through the new Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.

€500m in credit to be made available for Irish SMEs through new bank

In a move aimed at kickstarting growth in Ireland’s local economy, more than €500m in new credit will be made available to Irish SMEs through the establishment of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.

The German Promotional Bank KfW, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the directed portfolio of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) will initially finance the new bank.

The involvement of KfW comes after the discussion between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Chancellor Angela Merkel following Ireland’s successful exit from the EU/IMF Programme on finding ways to reinforce Ireland’s economic recovery.

New €150,000 e-commerce fund for SMEs

The IE Domain Registry (IEDR)’s 2014 OPTIMISE Fund is open for entries from small business owners looking to improve their e-commerce capabilities. Fifteen successful applicants will receive €10,000.

The group responsible for managing the registry for Ireland’s official internet address .ie launched the OPTIMISE fund, which also provides professional consultation, training and e-commerce development support to give small business owners the e-tools and know-how to ‘optimise’ their existing website and grow their business via the internet.

Applications are open to all Irish organisations classified as an SME or micro-enterprise with a .ie website that is hosted online and accessible to the public. The deadline to apply is 20 June.

Dropbox acquires 3D photo-stitching app Bubbli

Cloud storage giant Dropbox is boosting its photo service with the acquisition of Bubbli, a start-up whose technology incorporates 3D technology into 2D views via a mobile app.

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the existing Bubbli app will still exist.

The acquisition may mean Dropbox users will be able to do more innovative things with the images they are recording and storing, TechCrunch reported.

YouTube close to buying Twitch for US$1bn

Google-owned video site YouTube is believed to be close to concluding its acquisition of live streaming service Twitch for around US$1bn, but may have to fend off interest from various suitors, including Microsoft.

Twitch lets users upload and watch for free live gameplay videos that can be streamed from the Microsoft Xbox and PlayStation 4 consoles.

It will be the most important acquisition in YouTube history, since it itself was acquired by Google for US$1.65bn in 2006.

According to various reports, Twitch is veering towards Google as it believes Google has the technology and infrastructure to help it scale rapidly.

Facebook strikes US$500m advertising deal with Publicis

In a bid to further bolster its advertising reach, social network Facebook has reportedly struck a US$500m deal with one of the world’s largest advertising companies, Publicis.

According to Ad Age, the deal will be spread across multiple years and will involve the co-production of advertising content across video, data and images across Facebook and its other owned product, Instagram.

While the deal only covers the North American market now, it is expected to expand globally at some point in the future.

GoPro files for US$100m IPO

Extreme sports camera maker GoPro is planning to raise up to US$100m through an IPO on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

The San Mateo, California-headquartered company, whose lightweight cameras feature in rugged sports and can be attached to drones, in its S-1 filing reported 2013 revenues of US$985.7m, up 87.4pc on the previous year.

EBITDA in 2013 was US$133,726, up from US$75,288 a year earlier.

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