New Fund invests €2million in five high-growth Irish companies to create 92 jobs

Minister announces first investments under AIB Start-Up Accelerator Fund

Pictured are (L-R): Des Doyle, Head of Growth Capital, Enterprise Ireland, John Flynn, Managing Director, ACT Venture Capital, Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Brendan O'Connor, Head Of Commercial Banking, AIB Bank
Pictured are (L-R): Des Doyle, Head of Growth Capital, Enterprise Ireland, John Flynn, Managing Director, ACT Venture Capital, Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Brendan O'Connor, Head Of Commercial Banking, AIB Bank.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, today (Monday) announced the first five investments by the AIB Start-Up Accelerator Fund, managed by ACT Venture Capital and established early in the term of this Government as part of the banking recapitalisation mandate. 92 jobs will be created in the coming 12 months in five high-growth Irish companies in key sectors as part of the investment. The companies in which the Fund has made investments of €2million include:

  •, the online media company established by RTE journalist Mark Little
  • Online gaming software development company Swrve,
  • Award-winning financial services software company Barracuda FX
  • UCD-based medical diagnostics company Biosensia

The Fund contains a total of €22million, of which €20million was contributed by AIB in the context of the bank recapitalisation mandate, and €2million was contributed by Enterprise Ireland. It is one of four specialist Seed Capital Funds, totalling €124million, formed as part of the bank mandate. Investment is by way of an equity stake in the company by the Fund.

The investments made by the new Fund will focus on developing high-growth, export-oriented companies in emerging sectors such as Digital Media, Internet, Software, CleanTech and Medical Devices. The €2million invested by the Fund as part of today’s announcement comes as part of total fundraisings of €5million by the five companies.

Making the announcement today, Minister Bruton said:

“If we are to turn this country around and create a new economy which can support the levels of employment we need, central to that will be dynamic Irish companies. That is why a key part of the Government’s jobs plan is to target policies at sectors where Irish companies have the capacity to break into export markets and grow quickly to create jobs. ICT, financial services and life sciences are sectors where Ireland has a long record of success in attracting multinational companies, but the challenge now is to convert that into success also for Irish companies.

“Today’s announcement is evidence that this plan is starting to succeed. This Fund is one of a series of measures the Government is putting in place to ensure that these companies have access to credit at all stages of their development. My aim is that, with the right policies in place, companies like these can succeed, grow, and create the large numbers of jobs we so badly need”.

John Flynn, Managing Director of ACT Venture Capital, said the Fund had experienced a very high level of activity in its first six months of operation and that he expects the current investment pace to continue. ‘This helps to position Ireland as one of Europe’s most active locations for seed funding and will create a strong pipeline of expansion companies and funding opportunities over the coming years’, said Mr Flynn who added that ‘ACT is particularly keen to partner with entrepreneurs where we can exploit our international network to help them expand’.

Brendan O'Connor, Head Of Commercial Banking, AIB Bank said:

“The Fund is an important element of AIB’s seed capital capability and the Bank now has facilitated the creation of €75m in funding making it the largest seed capital provider in the country. With today’s announcement, it means AIB is facilitating, on average, one new investment per month in equity capital for fast growth and high potential Irish owned businesses, supporting the creation of new jobs across the country’.


Notes for Editors

The investing limited partners in this fund are AIB €20 million and EI €2 million. The €20 million investment from AIB in this seed fund was made in the context of the Government’s bank recapitalisation process.

There are currently 4 seed funds, with €124 million under management, now investing in Ireland; this compares with 1 seed fund, with €30 million under management, investing in Ireland in early 2009; the very significant increase in seed funding availability for Irish early stage high potential companies arises out of the Government’s bank recapitalisation process.

The amount of formal seed funding available in Ireland to early stage companies is now very high indeed in international comparison terms on a per capita basis.

Swrve is a software company producing an online games development / optimisation platform; the company has been founded by Hugh Reynolds and Steve Collins who previously founded Havok (bought out by Intel in late 2007); the promoters have strong international reputations in their industry.

Barracuda FX is a new award winning company that produces foreign exchange trading and risk management software solutions; the company’s management team is highly experienced in this business with cumulative industry specific experience of over 100 man-years. The company won last year’s InterTradeIreland award for best growth start-up.

Biosensia, which is based in the Nova Centre at UCD, is engaged in the development of highly innovative point of care medical diagnostics – the Rapiplex system; the company possesses world-class technical expertise in its area of operations and has strong management experience of successfully commercializing ex Irish university life sciences technology. The company is led by Jim Walsh, former CEO of Stokes Bio.

Storyful is a new company, set up by ex RTE journalist Mark Little, that provides tools and services to help news organizations find relevant stories on social media sites – technology entrepreneur Ray Nolan is among the investors in this new company.

The fifth company is due to be announced in the near future.
For further information, please contact:

John Flynn
Managing Director | ACT Venture Capital Limited


Eileen Banks
Enterprise Ireland,
Press Officer

Eileen Banks
 01 7272805
087 2445814