Ireland aims to be an ‘agritech island’ with new €20m start-up fund

6 Sep 2017319 Shares

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A new fund set up by ISIF and Finistere Ventures aims to make Ireland an ‘agritech island’, with another €20m set aside for global start-ups.

Irish start-ups working in agritech might want to take note of the announcement that a €20m fund has been established to finance the latest developments in the sector.

Simply known as the Ireland Agtech Fund, it was established following a partnership with the Government’s Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and California-based Finistere Ventures.

Its purpose is to invest in start-up and early-stage agritech companies that can generate significant economic impact in the Irish agriculture and food sectors.

On top of the €20m being invested into Ireland, the ISIF also revealed that it is to invest an additional €20m in Finistere’s global agritech fund.

This, the ISIF said, would give Ireland exposure to the fastest-growing and highest-potential agritech start-ups around the world as well as Finistere’s network of co-investors and agri-food industry partners.

Finistere also revealed that with the securing of the deal, it will now open its first EU hub in Dublin to give it greater access to the wider European market. It will source investment opportunities in Ireland, attract entrepreneurs to agritech and identify promising technologies emerging from Irish research institutions.

‘All the ingredients are here’

The new hub’s head and Ireland agritech fund partner, Kieran Furlong, said he hopes the fund will make Ireland a major centre of agritech innovation.

“We want Ireland to be the ‘agtech island’ – a hub for European agtech,” he said.

“All the ingredients are here: a longstanding, export-oriented agri-food industry; world-leading research at Irish universities and institutions such as Teagasc; and, of course, the thriving IT, biopharma and medtech sectors. Agtech is essentially the combination of all of these, so we see great potential for start-ups here.”

The ISIF’s head of food and agricultural investments, Cathal Fitzgerald, shared a similar sentiment.

“We view agriculture and food technology as a significant high-potential growth area for the Irish economy, and have sought out a best-in-class agritech fund,” he said.

“Finistere has a global reputation in what is still a very specialised area of venture investing, and its decision to locate its first EU office in Dublin is a significant vote of confidence in Ireland’s agri-food credentials.”

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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