Invest Northern Ireland has committed £7.5 million to a new £22.5 million venture capital fund that will help early stage technology companies to access vital financial support for development.
Belfast-based Crescent Capital has just completed raising investment for the new fund - known as Crescent Capital II - which will be the largest local source of venture capital available to companies in Northern Ireland. Crescent Capital has already begun investing the fund in local hi-tech companies.
Invest NI chief executive, Leslie Morrison, said the fund is a welcome boost for Northern Ireland’s venture capital market. “The new fund represents a cornerstone of Invest NI’s strategy to promote a vibrant and self sustaining venture capital industry in Northern Ireland. It will have a particularly important role to play in closing the historical gap in the availability of equity funding for the deal size range of £250,000 to £1.5 million.
“I’m very confident that it will play a significant role in sustaining and encouraging the growth of SMEs, and knowledge-based businesses in particular,” Mr Morrison added.
As well as Invest NI, which is the largest investor in the fund, the European Investment Fund and the New York State Common Retirement Fund – America’s second largest pension fund, have made major contributions. Other significant investors include Queen’s University, the University of Ulster, Ulster Bank, NILGOSC and Martin Naughton of Glen Dimplex.
Crescent Capital managing director, Colin Walsh, believes the commitment made by the fund’s investors represents a major vote of confidence in Northern Ireland and a sign of maturity in the local venture capital industry.
“We’re particularly delighted to welcome on board the New York State Common Retirement Fund whose sole trustee, Alan Hevesi, has maintained a close interest in Northern Ireland over the past three decades. As sole trustee of the US’s second largest pension fund, his decision to invest with Crescent Capital II sends out a strong signal to others assessing commercial opportunities here,” he said.