New €20m venture capital fund emerges from Ireland’s south-east

13 Feb 2017677 Shares

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From left: Donnchadh Cullinan, Enterprise Ireland; Toby Raincock, Shard Capital; Enterprise Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD; Barry Downes, Suir Valley Ventures; and Gareth Burchell, Shard Capital. Image: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

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Barry Downes has the Midas touch when it comes to tech start-ups and is now heading a new venture capital firm called Suir Valley Venture Fund.

TSSG chairman and FeedHenry founder Barry Downes is to lead a new €20m venture capital fund, Suir Valley Ventures, to focus on IoT, fintech and augmented reality.

Downes has been an integral figure in the emergence of a thriving tech sector in Ireland’s south-east. Up until January, he was CEO of TSSG at Waterford Institute of Technology, and will remain as chairman of the innovation powerhouse.

TSSG has delivered more than 120 tech and innovation projects for start-ups over the past three years.

‘This is an entrepreneur-led fund that will focus on supporting entrepreneurs [as they] grow and develop groundbreaking new technology companies’
– BARRY DOWNES

Downes is the founder of FeedHenry, which was acquired by US software giant Red Hat in 2014 for €63.5m in cash.

He also sits on the board of fast-emerging virtual reality games company Immersive VR Education and is credited as a producer on the breakthrough Apollo 11 VR experience.

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In his next big adventure, Downes has been appointed as the new head of Suir Valley Venture Fund. The €20m fund will invest in early stage software companies in the fintech, augmented reality, virtual reality and internet of things sectors.

The fund’s first close has been funded via commitments of up to €20m from Enterprise Ireland and Shard Capital.

UK-based Shard Capital will be managing the fund in Ireland by availing of the management passport under the Alternative Investment Fund Manager Directive (AIFMD).

“This is an entrepreneur-led fund that will focus on supporting entrepreneurs [as they] grow and develop groundbreaking new technology companies,” Downes said.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com