Ulster Bank Diageo fund invests €27m in 12 Irish firms
THE ULSTER Bank Diageo Venture Fund has invested €27 million to date in 12 Irish companies.
The fund, which is managed by NCB Ventures, has just completed the second round of a €1.3 million investment in ePub Direct, which it announced last year. It invested the money in the Cork-based electronic publisher in two tranches of €650,000.
The fund is understood to have taken a stake of close to 30 per cent in the company, valuing it at about €4.3 million.
The move brought total investments made by the fund over the last four years to €27 million. It has taken stakes in 12 companies and ultimately aims to place a total of €75 million in 20 businesses.
It is likely to do follow-up investments in some of the companies it has backed, but is also looking for new opportunities, a spokesman said at the weekend.
The fund was set up in 2008 under the Enterprise Ireland seed and venture capital programme.
In generally invests between €1 million and €5 million in Irish companies across a range of sectors and at all stages of development. Typically, it acquires between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of each company in return for its backing. The ePub Direct investment is understood to be at the upper end of this range.
Along with ePub Direct, it has also taken stakes in Rainmaker, the airline crew-management software business headed by CityJet founder Pat Byrne.
NCB Ventures partner Derek Crawley said the fund went ahead with the second-round investment in ePub Direct as the company had met all its commercial targets.
Since the initial investment was announced 10 months ago, the company has signed deals it describes as “significant” with with British publisher Random House and US player Baker Taylor.