New $172m VC fund for Ireland

By Business & Finance
20 May 2014

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD today announced that Lightstone Ventures is partnering with Enterprise Ireland and the NPRF to establish a $172m venture capital fund with offices in Ireland that will invest in innovative Irish companies.

This is the third investment by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland under the Innovation Fund Ireland programme. Lightstone Ventures is a leading US venture capital fund that has recently raised a fund of $172m. Enterprise Ireland has invested €20m in the fund alongside a commitment of €10m from the National Pensions Reserve Fund.

Today’s announcement will result in new funding being available for innovative companies in the life sciences sector in Ireland to support company development and job creation.

Making the announcement Minister Bruton said: “Today’s announcement that Lightstone Ventures is partnering with Enterprise Ireland and the NPRF to establish a fund that will invest in innovative companies is a major boost for the Irish venture capital industry and for the Irish Life Sciences sector. This sector has been identified in the Action Plan for Jobs as a fast growing sector with significant potential for job creation.

“The investment in this fund adds another source of funding to the Irish market, further increasing the range of sources of funding available for Irish companies. Increasing the availability of different types and sources of non bank financing is a core objective of the Action Plan for Jobs 2014.

“Research shows us that start-up companies have a significant positive impact on job-creation. Almost 4,000 high-level jobs alone were created by indigenous venture capital backed companies in the three years to 2012. I am confident that the establishment of this fund will directly improve the chances for innovative Irish companies to access the funding, mentoring and networks they need and provide a major boost for job-creation in Ireland.”

Lightstone Ventures closed its first Irish-based deal, FIRE1, in December 2013. FIRE1 is a new company launched in conjunction with The Foundry, a premier medical device incubator. The Series A investment round in the company was co-led by Lightstone Ventures and New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Global medical device leader Covidien plc also invested in the company. The board of the company is in the process of identifying a number of key hires to drive the company forward.

“Lightstone Ventures is pleased to announce the opening of its Dublin office,” noted Lightstone partner, Jason Lettmann who will relocate to Dublin this summer to lead this Irish initiative. “As Europe’s importance in the development and commercialisation of breakthrough medical technologies continues to grow, Lightstone Ventures believes it is essential to establish a local European presence. Dublin’s access to talent, innovation, and world class research coupled with a fair and balanced regulatory approach make it an ideal location for such a hub.”

Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland, commented: “I would like to congratulate Lightstone Ventures on raising their fund and welcome them to Ireland. Enterprise Ireland looks forward to working with the team to drive the further development of the Irish life sciences sector.”