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€60million Government investment to attract top-end venture capitalists to Ireland and create high-tech jobs of the future - Minister Bruton

Minister issues global call to international venture capitalists during visit to Silicon Valley

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D. who is in Silicon Valley on a trade and investment mission,, has issued a global call to top venture capitalists to signal their interest in establishing a presence in Ireland. As part of the announcement, the Government through Enterprise Ireland will invest a total of more than €60million in venture capital funds which establish a presence in Ireland.

The announcement of a second call from Innovation Fund Ireland represents the delivery of a major Q1 commitment in Action Plan for Jobs 2012.

The Programme for Government commits to establishing a dynamic venture capital industry in Ireland, in order to ensure that high-tech early-stage companies based here can have access to capital, as well as mentoring and support, from top tier venture capitalists – often successful high-tech entrepreneurs themselves.

To date under Innovation Fund Ireland the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) has made investments in Polaris Ventures, DFJ and DFJ Esprit. Minister Bruton also announced yesterday (Thursday) a joint investment by Enterprise Ireland and the NPRF in Sofinnova Ventures, one of the premier US healthcare venture capital funds, as part of the Innovation Fund Ireland first call previously announced by Enterprise Ireland. These investments will help ensure that Irish-based high-tech companies in key sectors can have access to venture capital funds.

It is expected that similar investments will follow as part of the second call announcement made today, and Minister Bruton will be promoting this initiative as part of his visit to the western USA.

Enterprise Ireland and the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) manage Innovation Fund Ireland and under the call announced today investors have until June 14 to signal their interest in establishing a presence in Ireland. Further information can be found at (www.innovationfundireland.com).

Making the announcement in Silicon Valley Minister Bruton said:

“Developing a dynamic venture capital industry in Ireland is a key part of this Government’s growth strategy. Venture capital funds provide crucial funding, as well as mentoring and advice, to early-stage high-potential companies in key growth sectors. That is why the Programme for Government outlines the Government’s determination to support the development of a more dynamic venture capital industry in Ireland by seeking to attract top tier venture capitalists to invest in Ireland, and why the Action Plan for Jobs commits to delivering a number of key measures to step up our performance in this area.

“Silicon Valley is an example of the incredible economic and ultimately employment growth that can be created with the correct environment for innovation. As in some other highly successful economies, a dynamic venture capital industry has been part of the ingredients for success here in the western USA, and today's announcement will help to replicate that in Ireland. This Government is highly ambitious about what we can achieve in Ireland, and over the past year we have stabilised the country and put in place many of the elements of a successful recovery. I am determined that with implementation of proper government supports, developing a thriving venture capital industry can play a key role in ensuring that we create the levels of economic growth we badly need”.

The objective of this second call is to increase the ability of risk capital for Irish companies. Venture Capitalists provide commercial funding, advice and networks to their investee companies and are an essential element of the innovation system.

ENDS

For further information contact:

Conor Quinn, Press Advisor to Minister Bruton, 087-3743783, conor.quinn@djei.ie

Eileen Banks, Press Officer, Enterprise Ireland, 01/7272805; 087-2445814, eileen.banks@enterprise-ireland.com

Note to the Editor

Innovation Fund Ireland

The first call for expressions under Innovation Fund Ireland took place in September 2010. The original Exchequer funding commitment, managed by Enterprise Ireland, was €125m. An equivalent amount is managed by the NPRF within their commercial mandate.

To date the NPRF have made three investments with Polaris Ventures and DFJ and DFJ Esprit. To date Enterprise Ireland has approved a number of commitments (co-investments alongside the NPRF) to a number of international venture fund capital managers and the first of these was recently announced. Further information on the Fund and the successes to date can be found at www.innovationfundireland.com

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