Enterprise Ireland-backed venture capital firms invest €54m in 135 firms in 2012

18 Jul 2013

Enterprise Ireland said this morning that it supported venture capitalists who invested €54m in 135 Irish-based companies in 2012 under the Enterprise Ireland Seed and Venture Capital Programmes. The figure represents an €11m increase (26pc) on the amount invested during 2011.

Overall Irish venture capital firms supported by Enterprise Ireland made 159 investments in 105 companies with a total value of €81m in 2012.

Total funds under management by seed and venture funds under Enterprise Ireland’s Seed & Venture Capital Programmes reached €636m by the end of 2012.

Last year saw the launch of the €150m Development Capital Fund to assist in closing the ‘equity gap’ experienced by established SMEs seeking development capital in excess of €2m.

There was also a €20m call for expressions of interest under the Third Programme of the Seed and Venture Capital Programme aimed at driving the total funds under management to €690m by the end of 2013. Enterprise Ireland says it expects to make announcements on the progress of this by the third quarter of this year.

“Today’s report shows that, with the right supports from Government, the seed and venture capital industry in Ireland continues to grow, supporting more dynamic Irish companies with the potential to grow quickly, build exports, and create the jobs we need,” the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, TD, said.

“I am determined to ensure that we not only support the continued development of a strong multinational sector but also create a powerful engine of indigenous business, and today’s results show that we are making major progress in this area,” Bruton added.

More high-potential start-ups are a priority for the economy

In May, the new €175m Seed and Venture Capital Programme 2013-2018 was launched and aimed at leveraging a total €700m to provide additional funding to high-growth companies with the potential to create jobs and grow exports.

The first call for expressions of interest has been announced and Enterprise Ireland will commit up to €100m to venture capital funds targeting investment in the wider ICT and life-sciences sectors.

Over the past 19 years, the Government, through Enterprise Ireland, has committed about €320m, as a limited partner, to 40 seed and venture capital funds (with a total size of €1.2bn) that have been set up in Ireland. This includes investing in 10 VC funds under the 2007-2012 Seed & Venture Capital Programme.

“Advances in access to seed and venture funding coupled with a strong support environment go a long way to making Ireland a very attractive base to start and grow a business,” said Julie Sinnamon, executive director of Global Business Development at Enterprise Ireland.  

“Our priority in Enterprise Ireland is to get more high-potential start-ups and expanding companies to innovate, grow their business, increase exports and create jobs. (The year) 2012 saw a strong performance by Irish companies.  

“A dynamic and commercially driven venture-capital sector is critical to ensuring this continues and that we have a steady flow of these entrepreneurial businesses that can be nurtured and supported to grow into the major employers of tomorrow,” Sinnamon said.

Venture capital image via Shutterstock

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