New Smart Tech fund for Irish start-ups raises €23m

Final close of over €30m expected for new fund which will back up to 30 companies

Heather Humphreys, Minister for Innovation; Donnchadh Cullinan, growth capital manager at Enterprise Ireland; Michael Culligan, chief executive of Dublin Business Innovation Centre,  and Richard Watson, managing partner at DBIC Ventures

Heather Humphreys, Minister for Innovation; Donnchadh Cullinan, growth capital manager at Enterprise Ireland; Michael Culligan, chief executive of Dublin Business Innovation Centre, and Richard Watson, managing partner at DBIC Ventures

 

A new multimillion euro early-stage fund for technology companies that is backed by a number of Irish tech veterans and several institutional investors, has reached a first close, having raised €23 million.

The Smart Tech fund, which is expected to reach a final close of more than € 30 million within the next 12 months, will invest primarily in software and medical device companies.

The initiative is intended to address a chronic shortage of funding options for early-stage entrepreneur by backing up to 30 Irish start-ups over the next five years.

The fund, details of which were first revealed in The Irish Times last year, is the brainchild of DBIC Ventures, the venture arm of Dublin Business Innovation Centre. It is backed with a €16 million investment by Enterprise Ireland.

Cybersecurity

Richard Watson, managing partner of DBIC Ventures, said the fund will mainly target B2B software companies in areas such as fintech, cybersecurity, healthcare, ICT, smart grid, digital transformation, as well as medical devices.

“The fund will be investing in highly scalable export-focused companies in Ireland that have exceptional growth potential. Most of the fund will be reserved for follow-on investment in strongly performing portfolio companies. We have the ability to invest up to €2.5 million in a company through multiple investment rounds up to an exit event and the fund will co-invest with other investor groups in each round,” he said.

Dublin BIC, which marked 30 years in operation last year, offers a broad range of supports for Irish entrepreneurs, including investor-ready preparation, access to finance, incubation space and networking/collaboration opportunities.

The organisation has provided more than € 100 million in direct funding to over 350 companies through its management of initiatives such as the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) and the AIB Seed Capital Fund. In addition, the body has responsibility for the Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) in the Liberties, and it is the organiser of the annual FutureScope conference.