The new Smart Tech fund will mainly target B2B software companies in the realms of fintech, cybersecurity, ICT, digital transformation, healthcare and medical devices.
Earlier today (12 December), DBIC Ventures, the venture arm of the Dublin Business Innovation Centre, announced the launch of the Ireland Smart Tech fund, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland.
The new early-stage fund will invest primarily in software and medical device companies across Ireland over the next five years.
The fund, which has reached a first close of €23m, is backed with an investment by Enterprise Ireland, together with Irish technology entrepreneurs and business leaders. It is expected to reach a final close of more than €30m within the next 12 months.
Managing partner at DBIC Ventures, Richard Watson, said that the fund will mainly target B2B software companies, in areas such as fintech, cybersecurity, healthcare, ICT, smart grid, digital transformation and medical devices.
“The fund will be investing in highly scalable export-focused companies in Ireland that have exceptional growth potential. Most of the fund will be reserved for follow-on investment in strongly performing portfolio companies,” Watson added.
“We have the ability to invest up to €2.5m in a company through multiple investment rounds up to an exit event and the fund will co-invest with other investor groups in each round.”
Making the announcement this morning, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, said: “Early-stage funding is essential for the growth of successful high-potential businesses, so I am delighted to announce the introduction of this fund by DBIC Ventures, supported by the Government through Enterprise Ireland.”
Humphreys noted that the fund marks a significant increase in the availability of capital for early stage companies. “It also advances the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland strategy targeting sectors in which Irish companies have the competitive advantage when it comes to innovation,” she added.
Commenting on the fund, Enterprise Ireland growth capital manager Donnchadh Cullinan said: “Ireland is fast becoming recognised as a hub for world-class innovation in some of the technology sector’s most exciting and disruptive new fields.
“One of Enterprise Ireland’s key roles is to develop and support this innovation, and we recognise the value of early-stage funding to high-potential growth companies.
“We look forward to working with DBIC Ventures to drive the development and growth of an increasing number of Irish companies, supporting them to build scale and expand reach in global markets.”
Considerable growth over the last decade
DBIC Ventures has been investing in Irish tech companies at seed and early stages since the 1990s. Most recently, it has been co-managing the AIB Seed Capital Fund, through which it invested in 40 early-stage tech companies.
Michael Culligan, CEO of Dublin Business Innovation Centre, said: “During the recession we had four seed venture funds available, each of which was doing about 10 investments a year and which, combined, led to north of €100m being made available to companies.
“This enabling capital underpinned many of today’s fast-scaling high-growth indigenous tech companies. DBIC Ventures considers this new fund will do likewise for the next generation of top Irish technology companies.”
Culligan commended Enterprise Ireland’s investment in the fund, as well as the 15 “visionary” technology entrepreneurs, business leaders and family offices who have helped make the fund a reality.
He added: “We anticipate that more private investors will join the fund over the next year, providing a one-stop-shop to invest in the very best Irish tech success stories of tomorrow. The fund will provide family offices and other private investors with the option to gain strong returns and at the same time contribute handsomely to economic wealth creation of Ireland Inc.”
DBIC Ventures lists GridBeyond, SilverCloud Health, VideoElephant and Davra among its portfolio companies.