New York pensions boss checks on investments in NI start-ups

17 Jul 2017

From left: Ger Goold, chief operating officer, Kernel Capital; with New York state comptroller Thomas P DiNapoli. Image: Kernel Capital

New York state comptroller flies east to monitor investments in the north.

Thomas DiNapoli, the New York state comptroller, was in Ireland in the past week to check on the state’s investments in Northern Irish start-ups.

DiNapoli received an honorary doctorate from the University of Ulster recognising both investments in Northern Ireland and his unwavering support for the Irish peace process.

He met with Kernel Capital and the portfolio companies in the Bank of Ireland (BOI) Kernel Capital Venture Funds.

Getting pension funds to invest in venture capital (VC) funds is quite a coup for VC firms, as pension funds tend to gamble on the public markets.

Growing funds through investment

DiNapoli manages New York state’s estimated $192bn pension fund, audits the spending practices of all New York state agencies and local governments, and approves billions in state contracts and spending.

The New York state Common Retirement Fund – through its Washington-based fund manager 57 Stars – is an investor in the BOI Kernel Capital Growth Fund in Northern Ireland.

Kernel Capital is actively investing through the BOI Kernel Capital Growth Fund, targeting deal size in the region of €1m to €5m in the Republic of Ireland, and £0.5m to £2m in Northern Ireland, either as sole investor or larger deal size in syndication.

These 10-year growth funds were raised in 2013 and 2015, and invest in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, respectively.

Invest NI’s contribution to the BOI Kernel Capital Growth Fund is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.

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