Deadline for second call of innovation funds


INTERNATIONAL VENTURE capitalists were rushing yesterday to meet the 4pm deadline for the second call of the Innovation Ireland Fund, which will see up to € 60 million in government funds invested in global VC funds.

The fund, which was first launched back in 2010, promised €500 million to be invested as part of a three-pronged strategy: € 125 million of which comes from Enterprise Ireland (EI); a further € 125 million from the National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF); with the balance made up of investments from VC funds, who would in turn also commit to opening an Irish office.

If interest is akin to the first funding round, competition will be tight. Last time, for example, EI considered 32 applications, but so far investments have only been made in three funds. The NPRF invested € 30 million in DFJ, which has set up an Irish office under the stewardship of Brian Caulfield, and $50 million in Polaris Ventures, which set up its Dogpatch Lab in Dublin last year providing a home for start-ups such as Balcony TV, Connected Trips and LogEntries. EI has also made one investment to date alongside the NPRF in Sofinnova Ventures, a US healthcare venture capital fund, which totalled $27.5 million. What is promising is the sign of corresponding investments from these VC funds back into Irish-based companies. Last week DFJ invested $5m in Dublin-based travel technology specialist Mobile Travel Technologies.