Business angels get more firepower to invest in Irish SMEs

European Angels Fund Ireland doubled to €40m with aim of supporting 100 companies

Business angels are individuals who invest their own money in early-stage companies in return for a share of the company’s equity

Business angels are individuals who invest their own money in early-stage companies in return for a share of the company’s equity

 

Irish SMEs looking to secure investment have received a boost with the doubling of a fund that co-invests with so-called “business angels” to €40 million.

The European Angels Fund Ireland was established by Enterprise Ireland and the European Investment Fund (EIF) in June 2016 with an initial €20 million to co-invest in Irish SMEs that are trading overseas.

The fund has to date invested in 20 early stage companies with sums ranging from €250,000 to €4 million being allocated to nine business angels to allow them to double their investment in Irish start-ups.

With the initial funding now fully allocated, the fund will now be doubled with an aim of supporting up to 100 companies over the next 10 years.

Among the Irish start-ups to have received investment via the fund are Irish artificial intelligence (AI) analytics start-up Brightflag, food-ordering software firm Flipdish and Proverum Medical, a Trinity College Dublin spin-out that has developed a minimally invasive treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Others include Caragon, Cloud With Me, Tenderscout, Yedup, Cerebreon Technologies, JSX Exchange, Popertee and 4D Sight Test.

“Doubling the firepower of the European Angels Fund to €40 million will enable Irish Business Angels to significantly increase investment activity and help world-class companies to grow,” said Andrew McDowell, vice-president of the European Investment Bank, which oversees the EIF.

Joint initiative

Business angels are individuals who invest their own money in early-stage companies in return for a share of the company’s equity. Last year, some €12.8 million was invested by business angels in 45 companies through the Halo Business Angel Network, a joint initiative of Enterprise Ireland and Intertrade Ireland.

The European Angels Fund programme is managed by the European Investment Fund and covers eight member states. The number of business angels who have partnered with the fund is now approaching 100, and they have already individually invested in more than 400 companies across the EU.

Drew O’Sullivan, who oversees European Angels Fund Ireland said it had nine business angels onboard and was in talk with other investors.

He added however that the fund is always on the lookout for other investors with successful track records who are interested in long-term investment opportunities.