£35m fund for small and medium firms in Northern Ireland

New fund aims to make first investment by the end of the year

 

A £35 million fund aimed at companies in the North has opened for business.

Backed by Invest NI, the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund (NI) will target small and medium enterprises in the areas of big data, energy efficiency, healthcare and ICT.

The Cork-based company has opened a Belfast office to support the fund’s activities, with former Intune Networks’ executive Jayne Brady coming on board as partner. Four full-time staff are now based in the North.

Kernel’s managing partner Niall Olden said the opening of the fund was significant.

“We’re the first Irish fund to have a dedicated fund for Northern Ireland.

“This is a growth fund, so we’re targeting companies that would be generating – or close to generating – revenues of between €500,000 and €1 million within 12 to 18 months of us investing.”

The fund expects to make its first investment before the end of the year.

It is understood that Kernel also plans a parallel second fund aimed at the Republic of Ireland, which is set to be announced soon.

A second fund for Northern Ireland is being managed by Crescent Capital.