New Co-Fund announced with £50m to invest in local SMEs

Nov 21, 2017
William McCulla (centre), Invest NI, is pictured with (L – R) Neil Simms and Brian Cummings, Clarendon Fund Managers.

Invest Northern Ireland today announced the appointment of managers for a new £50million fund which will generate investment into high potential Northern Ireland companies.

Clarendon Fund Managers Limited (CFM) has been appointed to manage the Co-Fund II (ERDF) which aims to stimulate more private investment in NI companies that demonstrate high growth potential and have innovative and export focused products.

William McCulla, Invest Northern Ireland’s Director of Corporate Finance said: “Co-Fund II (ERDF) builds on the success of its predecessor, which invested over £12 million in 37 high growth Northern Ireland companies, alongside £20 million from private investors.

Co-Fund II (ERDF) remains a key component of our wider Access to Finance strategy, with the objective of stimulating investment activity in SMEs across Northern Ireland.

- William McCulla, Invest NI

“Several Co-Fund NI companies have achieved significant ‘scale-up’ investment. These include Cirdan Imaging, MyCarNeedsA.com and most recently Sisaf, which is located in the Northern Ireland Science Park. Sisaf has developed a patented drug delivery platform and following funding from Co-Fund NI has now raised over $5.0m from US and Singapore based investors.”

Co-Fund II (ERDF) invests with private investors such as business angels or their syndicates into eligible SMEs based in Northern Ireland, and provides up to 50 per cent of equity investment alongside 50 per cent from private investors on a deal-by-deal basis.

Neil Simms at CFM said: “We are delighted to have been appointed to manage the new £50m Co-Fund II (ERDF). Our experience of managing its predecessor showed us that business angels, and indeed other sources of private investment, are playing an increasingly important role in the development of young high potential companies that are seeking equity finance to pursue growth in export markets.

The first Co-Fund invested over £12million

- Neil Simms, Clarendon Fund Managers

“The first Co-Fund invested over £12million, proving it to be one of the most active sources of venture capital in Northern Ireland.

“In addition, two companies have gone on to be successfully sold, generating a return of three times our initial investment. PathXL, a digital pathology technology company, was sold to the global Dutch head-quartered company Philips and Ingresso, a ticketing technology business, was sold to Berkshire-based Accesso.”

Clarendon Fund Managers Limited was appointed following a competitive tender process.

The fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland Programme (2014-2020).

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