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More funds for Ireland

Enterprise Ireland, through its EURO95 million initiative to establish 12 new Irish venture capital funds has launched Kernel Capital Partners Venture Capital Fund. The new fund has a target of EURO25 million and has just completed its first close at EURO12.5 million. Of this total, Enterprise Ireland has committed EURO6.35 million.

Kernel Capital Partners is the first venture capital fund to be based in Munster. It will focus on early stage investments information and communications technology and life science companies. Commitments will be in the range of EURO300,000 to EURO1,500,000. Kernel Capital Partners will work with investee management teams to accelerate their value creation and ensure a successful exit, most probably via an international trade sale.

“This fund is part of the major initiative by Enterprise Ireland to inject liquidity into the Irish venture capital market,” said the Tanaiste and minister for enterprise trade and employment, Mary Harney. The investment team includes national and international executives whose members have experience in developing technology and life science companies. The team will be looking at opportunities throughout Ireland, but will concentrate mainly south of a line from Galway to Dublin.

Ireland has clearly demonstrated its ability to be a pioneer in the development of new technology, said Niall Oldne, chief executive of Kernel Capital Partners. However, he added that the establishment of a culture of successful serial entrepreneurs has yet to become a mainstream part of Irish corporate life. “Our greatest challenge now is to prove on a wide scale we can build management teams of international calibre that will successfully exploit the commercialisation of the excellent research programs in our academic institutions and being undertaken by early stage companies,” he said.