ACT’s latest venture fund could invest in up to 30 Irish scale-ups

7 Sep 2017

Image: Milias 1987/Shutterstock

The ACT V Fund will focus on Irish start-ups and SMEs looking to grow internationally.

As many as 30 high-potential and expansion-stage start-ups in the ICT sector could receive support from the new ACT V fund, which has just received additional backing from the European Investment Fund (EIF).

The EIF, with the support of InnovFin Equity and COSME, is investing €20m in the new fund from Dublin-based venture capital firm ACT.

‘We are eager to partner with the next generation of Ireland’s most ambitious entrepreneurs, and help them become international success stories’

By mobilising other investors, the equity investment in ACT V could be leveraged up to more than €90m to invest in expanding Irish companies.

The deal was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The EFSI is the central pillar of the European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called ‘Juncker Plan’.

Start-ups and scale-ups

“Ireland is a global leader in the online, tech and digital space, with vast potential to do even more. Assisting companies in highly competitive markets in the start-up and scale-up stages of their development can make a crucial difference,” said Phil Hogan, European commissioner for agriculture and rural development.

The investment plan is already expected to mobilise more than €3.4bn in investments in Ireland and €225bn across Europe.

“The transaction will help to strengthen the Irish venture capital ecosystem and endorse an experienced second-generation team, now raising its first full-scale fund,” said European Investment Bank vice-president Andrew McDowell.

ACT V will focus on expanding high-growth, export-oriented companies in sectors such as software internet, digital media, communications and mobile.

Investors in the fund include the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, Enterprise Ireland, AIB and private investors.

It initially aims to support between 15 and 18 expansion companies over the next four years with a typical investment of €7m per company. Some of these companies will come from ACT’s seed fund, which backs early-stage companies at a rate of eight to 10 deals per year, and has already completed more than 50 such deals.

“This fund will help to sustain Ireland as one of Europe’s most active locations for technology venture funding,” said John Flynn, managing director of ACT.

“ACT is keen to partner with leading entrepreneurs where we can exploit our international network to help them expand. We are also delighted to announce the expansion of our investment team with [the] addition of Conor Mills and Tomas Miranda, who bring key sector knowledge from their experiences in Paddy Power, Google and McKinsey.

“Collectively, we are eager to partner with the next generation of Ireland’s most ambitious entrepreneurs, and help them become international success stories.”

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