Enterprise Ireland invests €72m via seed and venture schemes

Agency made 173 venture capital investments in Irish companies and identified 82 high-potential start-ups

Kevin Sherry, executive director of Enterprise Ireland, and Neil McGowan, chairman of the Irish Venture Capital Association, at the  publication of Enterprise Ireland’s  Seed and Venture Capital 2018 report. Photograph:  Orla Murray

Kevin Sherry, executive director of Enterprise Ireland, and Neil McGowan, chairman of the Irish Venture Capital Association, at the publication of Enterprise Ireland’s Seed and Venture Capital 2018 report. Photograph: Orla Murray

 

Enterprise Ireland invested more than €72 million in Irish companies through its seed and venture capital schemes last year, the agency said on Friday.

In its latest review of investments in early-stage businesses, it said it had invested €1.34 billion in more than 500 companies since its first seed and venture capital scheme was established 25 years ago.

In 2018 the agency made 173 venture capital investments in Irish companies and identified 82 high-potential start-ups.

Enterprise Ireland chief executive Julie Sinnamon said that while the overall global outlook remained positive, the agency was helping its clients to prepare for a hard Brexit.

The seed and venture capital sector was, she said, “vital in ensuring that the best and brightest Irish enterprises succeed in delivering economic growth and prosperity across Ireland, and internationally”.

In the five years to the end of 2018, the span of the most recent seed and venture capital scheme, the agency made 289 investments, amounting to a total of €336 million.

Close to half of this total was invested in “scaling” companies, with about a third of the overall value going to software businesses. Life sciences received the next biggest allocation in the five-year period, followed by electronics.

Dublin companies accounted for close to a third of the total, while the midlands and the southwest both accounted for just 0.07 per cent.

The schemes operate in conjunction with the private sector, with investments made through funds including Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Partners Private Equity Fund II, AIB Seed Capital Fund Limited Partnership and Atlantic Bridge II Limited Partnership.