Irish venture capital firms supported by Enterprise Ireland made 105 investments in 74 companies to the total value of €42m in 2010, according to the agency’s Seed & Venture Capital Programme 2010 Report.
This reflects the strong performance by Irish exporters in 2010 and the increase in the number of innovative start-up enterprises supported by Enterprise Ireland during the year, said Feargal Ó Móráin, director of corporate and investment services at Enterprise Ireland.
“In the past 10 years alone, Enterprise Ireland has supported over 800 high-potential start-up companies, which are responsible for employing over 25,000 people directly and indirectly in the wider economy, and have combined sales of over €1.5bn, 75pc of which is exported.
“It is crucial that we continue to build a first-class investment eco-system that meets the needs of both entrepreneurs and expanding companies, supporting them to innovate, grow their businesses, increase exports and create jobs.”
Increase in seed capital funding
He highlighted that during the year, there was an increase of €18m in seed capital funding available to Irish companies with the launch of the new €17m Bank of Ireland Start-up and Emerging Sectors Equity Fund 2010 and a €1m investment by Galway University Foundation in the original Bank of Ireland Seed & Early Stage Equity.
A further welcome boost to the venture capital sector was the launch of the new €75m Atlantic Bridge II Limited Partnership Fund.
The focus on increasing the availability of seed capital, in the context of bank recapitalisation, has continued in 2011 with the total amount of seed capital available to early stage businesses now amounting to €124m.
“This represents an unprecedented level of funding for the key start-up/early stage segment of Irish business and it is encouraging that the investment pipeline for these funds remains strong,” said Ó Móráin.
Photo: Feargal Ó Móráin, director of corporate and investment services at Enterprise Ireland