Suir Valley Ventures to raise €5.6m from London listing

19 Jan 2018

Barry Downes, Suir Valley Ventures. Image: Connor McKenna

Flotation of Sure Ventures opens door for Suir Valley Ventures to invest in Irish fintech, AR, VR and IoT start-ups.

Barry Downes’ Suir Valley Ventures has been guaranteed the first £5m (€5.6m) of proceeds from the flotation of UK-based Sure Ventures on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange today (19 January).

Suir Valley Ventures headed by Downes, the chair and former CEO of Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) at Waterford Institute of Technology, was founded last February. A €20m fund supported by Shard Capital and Enterprise Ireland, its aim is to invest in Irish start-ups in areas such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and the internet of things (IoT).

‘Spotting tomorrow’s technology winners early offers tremendous upside potential’

The firm previously invested €1m in Immersive VR Education, a Waterford-based VR firm that has recreated iconic moments in history such as the sinking of the Titanic and the Apollo 11 space mission to the moon.

Suir Valley Ventures has also invested in a €1.3m seed round for Dublin VR firm WarDucks, and contributed to a seed round for Dublin IoT player Wia.

During his leadership at TSSG, Downes led the organisation to deliver more than 120 tech and innovation projects for start-ups in just three three years. He also co-founded software firm FeedHenry, which was sold to Red Hat four years ago for €63.5m in cash.

The first €5.6m in proceeds raised from the first issue of stock will be directly invested into Suir Valley Ventures Fund, a sub-fund of Suir Valley Funds ICAV.

UK-based Shard Capital agreed to manage the fund in Ireland by availing of the management passport under the Alternative Investment Fund Manager Directive.

London listing of Sure Ventures

This morning in London, Shard Capital will act as placement agent for Sure Ventures, a venture capital fund that will invest in deep and emerging tech.

The Sure Ventures Fund forecasts that AR and VR will grow into a $108bn industry in the next five years, that fintech will grow to a $6.9trn industry in five years and that the value of IoT business will reach $253bn by 2021.

“The markets we are targeting in the technology sector are fast approaching what we believe are growth inflexion points,” explained Sure Ventures director Gareth Burchell. “In the case of VR, as the number of headset units sold increases, so too does demand for quality content and applications from a growing ecosystem of software, support and content providers.

“Fintech is already an established market but is set to grow further thanks to secular drivers such as financial regulation, cybersecurity and changing payment methods; while IoT, which enables devices to communicate with each other, is playing an ever-increasing role in both corporate and domestic life.

“Spotting tomorrow’s technology winners early offers tremendous upside potential. With a board and management team skilled in identifying and investing in companies with game-changing technologies and a defined investment process in place, Sure is ideally positioned to deliver.”

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