Business

Two new equity funds have £95m for investments into innovative SMEs

Announcing the new fund are (from left) William McCulla, director of corporate finance at Invest NI, Jamie Andrews, partner at Techstart Ventures, and Colin Walsh, partner at Crescent Capital. Photo: Andrew Towe

TWO new follow-on equity funds are making £95 million available to give potential high-growth start-up businesses in Northern Ireland an early-stage cash injection.

A second round of the TechStart seed fund and the fourth Crescent Capital development fund are part of Invest NI's 'Access to Finance' portfolio, which provides loan and equity funding to innovative SMEs.

They will build on the success of prior funds, which between them have helped more than 60 companies raise equity investment to realise their growth ambitions, create jobs and bring new products to market.

The Techstart Ventures' £30m fund and will offer initial investment rounds averaging around £300,000 and up to £2m in any one company over a series of rounds. The Proof of Concept grant programme remains a key offering, with companies being able to obtain grant funding ranging from £10,000 to £35,000.

Jamie Andrews, partner in Techstart Ventures, said: “We've been a very successful source of investment and concept funding, helping nearly 300 businesses bring forward growth plans and supporting businesses to accelerate the development of their products.

“Our renewed focus will be on start-up companies and small businesses in the early stages of innovation. The new fund will continue to work with the local universities to provide investment and assistance in university spin-out companies.”

The £65m fund managed by Crescent Capital offers companies within the technology, life sciences and manufacturing sectors investments of up to £2.5m in initial investment rounds and up to £5m in any one company.

Colin Walsh, partner at Crescent Capital, said: “This launch is a great milestone. It's the fourth venture capital fund to be established by Crescent which has made investments in 38 companies across its three prior funds.

“Some of Northern Ireland's most exciting technology companies have emerged from these portfolios and we look forward to building on these past successes by investing in early and development stage companies through their growth phase and on to exit.”

William McCulla, director of corporate finance at Invest NI, said: “Future investments will support Northern Ireland companies to grow in global markets, encourage entrepreneurship and help to rebalance and rebuild our economy by driving private sector growth.”

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