New €20m fund for agricultural research and innovation

Ireland Strategic Investment Fund partners with AgTech group Finistere Ventures

Eugene O’Callaghan, director of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Eugene O’Callaghan, director of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

A new €20 million fund for agricultural research and innovation has been announced by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

The “Ireland AgTech Fund (IAF)” will invest in start-up and early stage AgTech companies that can “generate significant economic impact” in the Irish agriculture and food sectors.

The scheme involves a partnership between the ISIF and California-based AgTech group Finistere Ventures.

Finistere also announced plans to open its first European office in Dublin to accelerate its investment and market penetration in the Republic and the EU.

Finistere’s Kieran Furlong said the group wanted the Republic to be “a hub for European AgTech”.

“All the ingredients are here - a longstanding, export-oriented agri-food industry; world-leading research at Irish universities and institutions such as Teagasc; and, of course, the thriving IT, biopharma and medtech sectors,” he said.

“AgTech is essentially the combination of all of these, so we see great potential for start-ups here.”

ISIF head of food and agricultural investments Cathal Fitzgerald said agriculture and food technology was a “significant, high-potential growth area” for the Irish economy.

“Finistere has a global reputation in what is still a very specialised area of venture investing and its decision to locate its first EU office in Dublin is a significant vote of confidence in Ireland’s Agri-food credentials,” he said.

“The IAF has strong potential to deliver a commercial return on our investment, stimulate the growth of the Irish AgTech sector at large, and support the commercialisation of the State’s significant investment in this sector.”