New €90m fund for Irish start-ups to be unveiled

Irish Innovation Seed Fund will be financed by Department of Enterprise and other organisations

The French finance minister said the ultimate target is to have 10 technology companies ‘worth more than €100bn each by 2030’.

The Government will on Wednesday announce details of a new €90 million fund for start-ups as part of a drive to back more early-stage Irish companies.

The Irish Innovation Seed Fund will be made up of a €30 million contribution from the Department of Enterprise, matched by the European Investment Fund (EIF). The Irish Strategic Investment Fund will co-invest a further €30 million.

The first call on the fund will be announced shortly with all investments expected to be made within three years. The fund itself is expected to exist for a 10-year period.It will be structured on a "fund of funds" basis led by Enterprise Ireland, with the EIF acting as fund manager.

Christian Kettel Thomsen, vice-president of the European Investment Bank, and European Investment Fund chief executive Alain Godard, will join Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe to announce full details of the fund in Dublin on Wednesday.


Groups including Scale Ireland and the Irish Venture Capital Association have called repeatedly on the Government to do more to support early-stage companies, in part as a hedge against declining foreign direct investment and as the State signs up to a new global corporate tax deal.

While funding has become easier to access for later-stage Irish companies in recent years, financing for fledgling entrepreneurs has become increasingly difficult.

EU tech firms

“One of my three priorities as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment is to get to the point where we have 2.5 million people at work in Ireland by 2024, which would be the highest level of employment we’ve ever had in the country,” said Mr Varadkar. “This fund is an important part of that. We have to reward those creating the jobs of the future and help them reach the next stage of development.”

The news comes as European Union member states and the EU itself seeks to boost the number of homegrown tech companies. Earlier this week, plans for a new publicly funded multibillion euro fund to boost investment in Europe's tech sector was announced to allow the sector compete more effectively with US and Asian rivals.

"Our ultimate target is to have 10 technology companies worth more than €100 billion each by 2030," said French finance minister Bruno Le Maire, announcing the fund.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist