The AIB Seed Capital Fund made 32 investments totalling more than €5m in new and existing investees in 2011, and added 15 new investees to its portfolio, according to an end-of-year report released by the fund today.
An AIB/Enterprise Ireland partnership, the fund has made 70 investments in 45 Irish firms over the past four years.
The fund's investments are split circa 50/50 between Dublin City and county and the rest of Ireland, according to the report.
The 15 new investees that came under the fund's investment wing in 2011 included Crescent Diagnostics in Dublin, Davra Networks in Dublin, Footbridge Interactive in Limerick and Ideal Binary, which is pioneering interactive 3D e-books.
Companies that obtained follow-on funding in 2011 included were Movidius in Dublin, EpiSensor in Limerick, Zartis in Cork, Swrve in Dublin and Handy Baby in Dublin.
According to today's statement, cumulative investments to end 2011 by the AIB Seed Capital Fund of more than €15m leveraged in excess of €47m of additional capital from other investors, including Enterprise Ireland, and helped to create and support 300 jobs.
In return for its investments, the fund acquired an equity stake in each of the investee companies.
Speaking this morning, the fund's Denis Marnane said 2011 was an "exceptional" year for new investment opportunities.
On top of the internet, software and services sectors, medical devices and renewable energy technologies also featured strongly in the 2011 portfolio, he indicated.
"It was a great boost to confidence to indigenous enterprise in Ireland that so many young entrepreneurs were prepared to take on the challenge of building their own futures through their skills and entrepreneurship," said Marnane.
Looking to the current year, he said the AIB Seed Capital Fund expects the rate of investment to continue.
Since the founding of the fund in 2007, Enterprise Ireland and AIB Bank have jointly committed €53m to the fund. Its investments are jointly managed by Enterprise Equity and Dublin Business Innovation Centre.