Tuesday, 12 March 2013

€20 million Innovation Fund Ireland investment with leading international Venture Capital Fund Highland Capital Partners Europe



Speaking from Austin, Texas where he is leading a trade mission the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D. today, [Friday], announced the second investment by Enterprise Ireland under the Innovation Fund Ireland programme with Highland Capital Partners Europe. Highland Capital Partners is a premier international VC that has recently raised their first dedicated European Fund, a vehicle focused solely on growth phase technology companies. Highland Capital Partners Europe had a substantial first close in November 2012.

Today’s announcement will result in new funding being available for innovative Irish companies in the tech sector, to help them grow and create jobs.

Minister Bruton is on the third day of a four-day Enterprise Ireland trade mission to Texas seeking to support greater export growth by innovative Irish companies. While in Texas Minister Bruton is meeting a range of high-growth Irish tech companies and facilitating meetings with US companies and potential investors and venture capital funds around the South by South West technology trade show.

Enterprise Ireland has committed €10 million to the Highland Fund, alongside a commitment of €10 million by the National Pensions Reserve Fund. Enterprise Ireland has committed a further €10m to the Fund when it completes a second closing.

The fund will be establishing an office in the Irish Market in April headed by Tony Zappalà who has recently joined Highland Capital from Index Ventures.

Speaking from the Austin Minister Bruton said: “The technology sector is a key target in the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. Since we have taken office we have seen employment growth of over 11,000 in ICT, and we are implementing a number of measures to support further growth in this sector. Venture capital funding is a key part of this. We have provided a €60million second call under Innovation Fund Ireland which will be leveraged by further private sector funds, as well as €700million domestic venture capital scheme, to help provide funding as well as strategic advice and networks, to high growth Irish companies.

“Today’s announcement that Highland Capital Partners, a leading international venture capital fund manager, is partnering with Enterprise Ireland and the NPRF to establish a fund to invest in innovative companies here, is a major boost for the Irish venture capital industry and for innovative Irish companies such those who have travelled to Texas this week.

"I am determined that, with full implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs 2013, we will see the further development of the venture capital industry in Ireland and greater dynamic growth by Irish tech companies who will help create the jobs we need”.

"I look forward to welcoming the Highland Capital team to Ireland and connecting them with our best technology companies.”

Fergal Mullen, Founding Partner at Highland Capital Europe said, “We are very excited to establish a permanent presence in the Irish market. We are deeply impressed by the quality of entrepreneurs in the Irish technology sector and are convinced that a number of world leading Irish companies will emerge in the coming decade. Our objective is to get behind these leaders with our capital, our know-how, our network, and our enthusiastic support. We hope that companies across the tech sector, even those that we do not back with our capital, will find ways to leverage our expertise and network for the benefit of the entire Irish tech sector.”