Elkstone has a new €100m fund to boost Ireland’s start-ups

6 Apr 2022

Alan Merriman and Leo Clancy. Image: Maxwell Photography

With investments in the €1m to €2m range, the fund will focus on early-stage start-ups that qualify for the Government’s EII scheme.

Dublin-based investment firm Elkstone has launched a new €100m fund today (6 April) for high-potential Irish start-ups in the seed and pre-Series A stages to take their business to the next level.

Investments made through the fund will be in the range of €1m to €2m and are expected to be a big boost to start-ups across a broad range of industries trying to scale around Ireland.

Elkstone initially announced plans for a €75m venture fund for early-stage Irish tech start-ups in January. But Elkstone executive chair and founder Alan Merriman told The Irish Times that the decision to expand the fund came after the firm recognised the potential of the early-stage market.

“Based on the interest we’ve had, we are going to do a first close now and we are going to target €100m by the end of the year,” he said. “We think for the ecosystem, getting to €100m makes a lot of sense.”

The fund will focus on start-ups that qualify for the Government’s Employment Investment Incentive (EII) scheme, which aims to encourage investors to provide equity-based finance to companies in exchange for tax relief of up to 40pc.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, said the new fund “is a real boost to the Irish start-up community” and will help the Government in its goal to have 2.5m people at work by 2024 – which would be the highest ever level of employment in Ireland.

“Backing our early-stage entrepreneurs is a crucial part of our plan to get there and I’m really happy to see the creation of this fund, which will give those brave enough to start their own business a chance to take it to the next level,” he said.

Enterprise Ireland is one of the backers of the fund, providing €20m from its seed and venture capital scheme. “This fund is the first to launch following the amendment to EIIS legislation and we look forward to seeing the difference that this private and public capital will make to the next generation of Irish entrepreneurs,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy.

Elkstone worked with Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to ensure that legislation announced as part of Budget 2022 would be enacted to help put the right infrastructure in place for Ireland’s start-ups and investors.

“It has been a long road to get here to ensure the right win-win framework is in place,” said Merriman. “We strongly believe Ireland can continue to grow great new ventures and are excited about the opportunity for Elkstone and our clients, with this new fund, to play a meaningful role in making this happen.”

Elkstone’s existing investment portfolio includes big names in the Irish tech start-up community, including LetsGetChecked, Manna, SoapBox Labs, HealthBeacon, Altada and Flipdish.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic