LEAP start-ups to access VCs in Silicon Valley

27 Jun 2011

Start-up companies on the LEAP programme at Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) are going to spend a week at the Irish Innovation Center in Silicon Valley where they’ll get mentoring and the chance to raise seed capital.

LIT president Dr Maria Hinfelaar and technology entrepreneur John Hartnett made the announcement to mark the official opening of LIT’s enterprise centre at Moylish as the Hartnett Enterprise Acceleration Centre. 

Hartnett is founder and president of the Irish Technology Leadership Group, a group of high-level technology leaders who are Irish or Irish-American, and who are committed to promoting the technology and investment connection between Ireland and Silicon Valley. He is also the founder and chairman of the Silicon Valley-based Irish Innovation Center and is a strategic adviser and active venture capitalist.

The alliance will facilitate access for companies on LIT’s LEAP programme to potential seed funding from the Wilde Angels Fund established by Hartnett, as well as assist with the commercialisation of research conducted at the Hartnett Enterprise Acceleration Centre.

“The alliance will create a gateway to Silicon Valley where over 40pc of all US venture capital is invested each year. In 2010, this was almost $8bn,” Hartnett said.

The announcement is the latest in a range of initiatives for supporting start-up companies announced by LIT, including the establishment of Europe’s first third-level franchising centre in partnership with Limerick Chamber of Commerce.