THE Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe TD, today launched a new €85 million venture capital fund which will help high-tech firms in Ireland to get off the ground.
Venture capitalists provide risk capital for firms that would otherwise find it hard to raise collateral through traditional sources of finance. The Atlantic Bridge II Fund, which is being supported under Enterprise Ireland’s Seed and Venture Capital Programme 2007-2012, will focus on high-tech firms across Ireland and Europe with strong international growth prospects.
It is expected that the fund will complete a second closing in the coming months, bringing the total fund to €130 million. The fund will be managed by Atlantic Bridge Partners which has €250 million under investment.
The team is expected to invest between €5 million and €20 million in each firm with a typical investment cycle of five to eight years. The fund’s backers are particularly interested in communications technology, semiconductor and software – sectors in which Atlantic Bridge already has a strong investment track record.
The fund is supported by leading institutional investors including Enterprise Ireland, European Investment Fund, Irish National Pensions Reserve Fund and a number of private investors.
Minister O’Keeffe described the new fund as a “significant boost for Ireland’s venture capital sector which is critical to developing scalable Irish firms”.
“The Atlantic Bridge II fund brings fresh capital to Ireland’s venture capital industry, allowing innovative high-tech firms to leverage the power of new investors in scaling their businesses and creating jobs.
“To create a thriving high-value indigenous enterprise sector, we must develop our funding base and expose high-potential Irish firms to new networks of contacts across the world,” said Minister O’Keeffe.
The move follows the Taoiseach’s announcement in July of Innovation Fund Ireland – a €500 million fund for enterprise development and job creation aimed at drawing top venture capitalists to Ireland.
“That fund enables entrepreneurs to co-invest with the Government in high-potential start-ups that can create high-quality jobs in key growth sectors of the economy,” said Minister O’Keeffe.