The Irish government and the Bank of Ireland kicked off a new fund to support entrepreneurial startups.
The €17 million ($22 million) startup and emerging sectors equity fund received €15 million ($19.8 million) from Bank of Ireland and €2 million ($2.6 million) from Enterprise Ireland. It is the organizations’ second fund for emerging startups.
Young businesses with the potential to stimulate exports and deliver jobs growth will be eligible for investments of €100,000 to €500,000 ($132,000 to $659,000). The fund will be managed by Dublin-based venture firm
EQT Moves Into Debt Finance
Swedish buyout giant EQT added more capital to its arsenal with the close of a €350 million ($461 million) credit fund.
The EQT Credit Fund will make mid- to long-term investments in the debt of operationally sound but over leveraged mid-sized European companies. It also may operate in the secondary market.
The fund took more than 18 months to raise in what Paul de Rome, co-head of the EQT Partners credit team, called an “extremely challenging market environment.”
Advent Closes First Life Sciences Fund
“In an environment of unprecedented difficulty for raising European venture funds this represents a very satisfactory result,” said Shahzad Malik, general partner.
Advent Life Sciences will invest in early and mid-stage life sciences companies in Europe and the United States. It includes a £15 million ($23 million) commitment from the UK Future Technology Fund.
Maven Launches Second VCT Top Up
The offer aims to raise £6.4 million ($9.9 million) with an anticipated close on April 29.
Along with the usual VCT tax breaks, Glasgow-based Maven will offer investors up to eight distributions per year and eligibility for any final dividends payable between May and July 2011. It is Maven’s second linked top-up of the year.
Rockley Doubles Down On China
Technology investor Rockley Group has teamed up with the government of Shanxi province in China to raise a $100 million fund.
The move will expand Rockley’s China Fund to $200 million.
The latest initiative, dubbed the Shanxi Zhongying Rockley fund, is a joint venture with the Shanxi Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Corporation contributing $60 million and London-based Rockley the remainder. It will support businesses in the Shanxi region, which supplies one quarter of China’s coal.
More than half of the £230 million ($357 million) venture capital trusts in the United Kingdom raised in 2007 and 2008 came from just 10% of all investors, according to HM Revenue and Customs.
A similar proportion of wealthy investors accounted for half of the record £780 million ($1.2 billion) VCTs raised in 2005 and 2006.
British law allows individuals to invest up to £200,000 ($310,000) per year in VCTs and claim 30% income tax relief. From 2004 to 2008, just 4% of investors committed the maximum £200,000. Speculation has arisen that the government could increase VCT tax breaks.
Compiled by Alex Derber