As part of the Project 2040, An Taoiseach has including a €500 million innovation fund for start-up companies focused on science and energy. This can only be seen as something positive according to Michael Culligan, CEO, Dublin BIC who told Irish Tech News:
“Two thirds of all new jobs created come from companies that commenced operations in the last five years, so it is great to see government policy include a start-up innovation fund in this ambitious programme. In the long run, these start-ups will deliver the jobs, tax revenues and nationwide community impact that will eventually pay for a large swathe of the €116 billion infrastructure plan.
“Every year, hundreds of promising Irish start-ups and scale-ups approach us looking for investment, but there has been a significant drop in the earlier stage seed venture funding available in the last couple of years for these innovative opportunities, leaving some truly original and progressive start-ups struggling to get the investment needed to achieve their ambitious plans. We have been working hard to rectify that and thisinnovation fund can play an important role.
“The key is getting matching funds from others. For example, the €13 million invested via our management of the AIB seed fund leveraged a further €85 million co-investment from other public and private sources. A similar leveraging from the new €500 million fund would result in €3.5 billion – now that could be truly transformative.
“Sources of the multiplier monies include private business angels, who are typically entrepreneurs who have already sold businesses and have the time, capital and knowledge to invest; public money from Enterprise Ireland; and Irish and international managed seed funds run by experienced investors who know how to pick tomorrow’s superstars.
“At Dublin BIC, we have invested in redT (now London Stock Exchange AIM listed), which works on ground-breaking energy storage technology; Gridbeyond™ (formerly Endeco Technologies), which is a leader in smart grid technology; and Pilot Photonics, which develops laser technologies for communication and Internet of Thing (IoT) companies. The new €500 million fund can seed the investment in the next generation of such companies.
“There is also the potential to commercialise in-depth research, which is already happening in our universities, that will make Ireland a stand-out leader. Start-up and innovative companies create high value jobs for Ireland that are essential to our future.”