Smartinvest has announced the launch of a $70m transatlantic investment fund to provide funding for Irish companies to expand into the US and US companies to establish bases in Ireland.
SmartInvest will invest in and grow 30 technology-led companies leading to the creation of 450 jobs across Ireland over the lifetime of the fund.
The SmartInvest fund will provide early stage technology-led companies with access to capital to encourage further growth and development. In addition, the selection process will include mentoring, advice and training for over 300 prospective companies nationally, representing some 1,500 employees.
The fund will leverage relationships and prospects identified through the SmartStart mentorship programme and similar incubator and accelerator programmes which have been operational in Ireland and Philadelphia since 2011.
These programmes have attracted funding from, and established strong working partnerships with, preeminent academic institutions including the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University in the US, and regional economic development initiatives in Ireland including New Frontiers, Discovery Zone and Best Young Entrepreneur.
SmartInvest will build on this to operate and sponsor programmes that are designed to take the best ideas and technology developed through SmartStart or similar proven initiatives and turn them into viable, sustainable start-up and SME businesses.
The SmartStart mentorship accelerator programme has achieved 20% IRR with 2-3 times invested capital returns on a five year cycle. SmartStart recently announced the creation of 50 new technology jobs for Meath as two of its accelerator programme participants, SWG and MDS Global Technologies committed to establishing their European operations in Kells Technology Centre, Meath.
Speaking at the launch, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said; “The Irish Government is very supportive of initiatives such as this which are intended to create jobs in Ireland and support Irish start-up and scaling companies, and encourage investment in Ireland.”
Gerry Moan, CEO, SmartInvest added; “The SmartInvest fund recognises excellence in Ireland, both as a place to do business and its entrepreneurial spirit. We will work with evolving technology enterprises to address the early stage funding gap and further develop their overall businesses. There is an appetite among investors to capitalise on the opportunities that Ireland and the US offer as places to do business and gateways to large markets. The SmartInvest model of combining capital and expertise will look to develop this two way transatlantic flow of entrepreneurial talent and investment.”