Investment fund designed to open doors to Asian markets seeks new Irish applicants

Fund is looking for Irish start-ups or growth stage companies with tech-enabled solutions

A new investment fund designed to open doors to Asian markets is seeking Irish applicants with innovative sustainable tech solutions.

Established by the Asia Development Bank, ADB Ventures is aiming to stimulate innovation in cleantech, agritech, fintech and healthtech, with particular focus on climate action and gender balance.

The fund is looking for Irish start-ups or growth stage companies with tech-enabled solutions, a developed product and a clear path to sustainability and non-equity finance growth within three years.

It expects more than 80 per cent of its invetsments will be in climate impact, with 75 per cent with a strong female market or management participation.


"Ireland has provided $520 million in capital subscription to the ADB since joining the bank in 2006, with companies and consultants from Ireland being awarded $30.6 million in procurement contracts on ADB-financed projects," said Martin Murray, executive director of Asia Matters, which hosts the two-day Global Business Summit this week. "However, Irish companies were awarded just 0.03 per cent of available contract funding from main ADB funds in 2020, and are missing out on golden opportunities, particularly in the areas in which we excel."

Mr Murray said Irish businesses are behind the European curve in availing of the vast procurement market that ADB operates. Its portfolio consists of 1,000 projects with a value of $132 billion.

ADB Ventures has also been established to invest in early-stage technology companies globally that can address urgent development challenges in emerging AsiaPacific.

“We are a patient venture capital facility and are trying to connect start-ups, high-impact technology firms and growth firms interested in coming into AsiaPacific, and helping them to reduce their market entry risks,” said ADB Ventures Lead on Impact Tech Saumya Kailasapathy.

"Irish companies breaking into AsiaPacific typically land in China, but typically they have no knowledge on how to approach South and South-East Asian markets such as India, Thailand and Myanmar, where there are huge opportunities.

“We support companies to find a client, negotiate the contract, help them through the regulatory framework and put them in touch with good networks. Ther fund can also seed the companies with reimbursable grants of up to $200,000 to test the market, and invest up to $4 million in early stage and growth companies .

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist