Photography: Michael Cooper.
Pictured with Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster is Aaron Taylor, CEO of gaming company GoPrezzo, who have benefitted from the Proof of Concept and Invest Growth funds. Pictured (back row L-R) Mike Bowman, Director of E-Synergy and Gillian McKeown, Invest NI.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today announced an extra £4million for two Invest Northern Ireland Access to Finance funds.
The additional investment is for the Northern Ireland Spin Out Funds
(NISPO) – Invest Growth and Proof of Concept. The funds are managed by E-Synergy.
Arlene Foster said: “Both of these funds have received a lot of interest, with all the Proof of Concept grant funds invested ahead of schedule. It is clear there is a lot of demand for support so I am pleased to announce that Invest Northern Ireland will be providing a further £2million in each of these funds ensuring we are able to provide support and help to businesses at the early stage of development.”
Invest Growth Fund is a £5million venture capital fund, which is focussed on seed and early stage businesses with high growth potential. Invest NI will be providing a further £2million to the fund for investment until March 2014.
The £3million Invest NI Proof of Concept Fund is a pre-commercial grant awarding fund which enables SMEs, individuals and micro businesses to establish the commercial potential of a concept resulting from in-house research and ideas. Invest NI will be providing grant support for a further £2 million until March 2014.
Mike Bowman, Director of E-Synergy said: “We are delighted this extra investment has been made available. The level of interest clearly demonstrates there is a need for these funds and we are keen to go back to those we have been unable to help with Proof of Concept grant funding to tell them the fund is now open again. The additional investment in the Invest Growth Fund will allow us to invest in more companies and support them over a longer period of time with both money and expertise.”
GoPrezzo is one company to benefit from funding through both the Proof of Concept and Invest Growth funds.
Speaking about the extension to the fund Aaron Taylor, CEO of GoPrezzo
said: “Accessing finance at such an early stage of development is not easy. Getting support through the Proof of Concept fund helped us with the initial concept prototype development for our innovative gaming platform, and the Invest Growth investment then ensured we were able to develop our business model and launch the product. The advice and support we received from E-Synergy with introductions in both London and New York was invaluable.”
GoPrezzo is selling its product to game developers and advertisers in the US and plans to create 10 new jobs in a variety of positions over the next three years as part of its growth strategy.