Two new Equity Funds announced for investments in innovative SMEs

Oct 15, 2019
Pictured (L-R) are William McCulla, Director of Corporate Finance, Invest NI with Jamie Andrews, Partner, Techstart Ventures and Colin Walsh, Partner, Crescent Capital.

Invest Northern Ireland today launched two new Equity Funds offering investments to innovative high growth potential SMEs. The TechStart II Seed Fund and Crescent Capital IV Development Fund have been created as part of Invest NI’s Access to Finance portfolio which provides loan and equity funding to SMEs.

Launching the new funds, William McCulla, Director of Corporate Finance at Invest NI, said: “The Techstart II and Crescent IV funds will build on the success of prior funds in providing equity finance to start-up and early stage innovative high growth potential SMEs. The previous TechStart and Crescent funds helped over 60 companies raise equity investment to realise their growth ambitions, create jobs and bring new products to market.

Some of Northern Ireland’s most exciting technology companies have emerged from these portfolios and we look forward to building on these prior successes by investing in early and development stage companies through their growth phase and on to exit.

Colin Walsh, Partner at Crescent Capital

“Future investments will support Northern Ireland companies to grow in global markets, encourage entrepreneurship and help to rebalance and rebuild our economy by driving private sector growth.”

Future investments will support Northern Ireland companies to grow in global markets, encourage entrepreneurship and help to rebalance and rebuild our economy by driving private sector growth.

William McCulla, Director of Corporate Finance, Invest NI

Techstart Ventures will manage the £30million TechStart II fund and will offer initial investment rounds averaging around £300,000 and up to £2million in any one company over a series of rounds. The Proof of Concept grant programme remains a key offering, with companies being able to obtain grant funding ranging from £10,000-£35,000 to progress concept ideas.

Commenting on its appointment, Jamie Andrews, Partner in Techstart Ventures, said, “We are delighted to be appointed as managers of TechStart II. Techstart has been a very successful source of investment and concept funding, helping nearly 300 businesses bring forward growth plans and supporting businesses to accelerate the development of their products. Our renewed focus will be on start-up companies and small businesses in the early stages of innovation. The new fund will continue to work with the local universities to provide investment and assistance in university spin-out companies.”

The £65million Crescent Capital IV fund will be managed by Crescent Capital and will offer companies within the technology, life sciences and manufacturing sectors investments of up to £2.5million in initial investment rounds and up to £5million in any one company.

Techstart has been a very successful source of investment and concept funding, helping nearly 300 businesses bring forward growth plans and supporting businesses to accelerate the development of their products.

Jamie Andrews, Partner in Techstart Ventures

Colin Walsh, Partner at Crescent Capital, said, “The launch of Crescent Capital IV is a great milestone. This is the fourth venture capital fund to be established by Crescent which has made investments in 38 companies across its three prior funds. Some of Northern Ireland’s most exciting technology companies have emerged from these portfolios and we look forward to building on these prior successes by investing in early and development stage companies through their growth phase and on to exit.”

TechStart II and Crescent Capital IV are part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.

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