Pre-Seed Start Fund
Support Available: €50k or €100k (in two equal tranches)
Support Type: Convertible Loan Note Investment
Applicants can apply for €50,000 or €100,000 investment which is by way of a Convertible Loan Note (CLN). In addition to this investment, successful applicants will be supported by an Enterprise Ireland Development Advisor and can avail of a range of start–up supports from Enterprise Ireland such as 10 mentoring sessions with a mentor from the Enterprise Ireland panel of mentors, access to Enterprise Ireland's Market Research Centre and other appropriate services to support the development of the business.
‘Ireland as a World leading location to start and scale a Business’
A key ambition of Enterprise Ireland’s Strategy 2022-2024 “Leading in a Changing World” is to support the delivery of a support structure for early-stage companies and entrepreneurs to meet their business development needs.
The purpose of the Pre-Seed Start Fund is to accelerate the growth of early-stage start-up companies that have the capacity and ambition to succeed in global markets. The fund is designed to enable companies cover operational costs to undertake key tasks including the development of a market ready product/solution, product testing in the marketplace, and building critical skillsets within the start-up team. The Pre-Seed Start Fund will support early-stage companies to reach key technical and commercial milestones required to attract future Seed Funding within 6 – 18 months.
Pre-Seed Start Fund
Applicants should clearly demonstrate the following key areas:
- Ideally have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or live in Beta that proves the product or service has early customer validation.
- A clearly articulated proposition addressing a real opportunity following market research conducted with customers/potential customers.
- A clear execution plan outlined, that identifies key milestones to be achieved, for example identify suitable channels to international markets or technical product development roadmap.
- Evidence of innovation, internationalisation potential and employment capacity. Applicants must demonstrate a clear international market opportunity for the proposed product or service with knowledge of the international competitive landscape.
- A team with experience, domain knowledge and balance of skills (Tech, Commercial, etc.) and commitment to execute on the plan.
Am I eligible?
This Pre-Seed Start Fund is open to early stage companies in the Manufacturing & Internationally Traded Services sectors, including the following subsectors AgriTech, AR/VR, Cleantech, Compliance Tech, Construction Tech, Consumer Products, Cyber Security, EdTech, Fintech, , Gaming and Digital Entertainment, HR Talent Tech, Industrial Products, IOT/Smart Cities, Life Sciences, Digital Health, Manufacturing Tech, MarineTech, MedTech, PropTech, Retail Tech, Enterprise Technology, TravelTech, Food & Drink,Green Technologies/*Climate Change Solutions, and Others – see link below for reference to eligible company sectors.
*solutions to address challenges and opportunities regarding Climate Action with an emphasis on decarbonisation (i.e. supporting transition to low carbon) including but not exclusive to Renewables, Carbon capture technology, Innovations in buildings and transport applications and Sustainable materials.
You may be eligible to apply as an ‘Individual’ if an establishment/company is not yet registered for the proposed eligible company activity. If the application is successful, the investee company must be registered in Ireland and the individual/founder must be based in Ireland prior to the investment completing. In addition the majority of the management team must be based in Ireland post investment.
You are eligible to apply if you are an existing or potential client of Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start Up Unit (HPSU). However, you must not have previously been approved a HPSU matched co-investment. Current Enterprise Ireland HPSU clients who meet the criteria are advised to discuss their planned application with their Development Advisor prior to submitting an application.
Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria will be assessed against the proposal. As part of the due diligence process, applicants may be required to supply further information or contacts (e.g. customers, investors) prior to any Enterprise Ireland investment completing.
An application consists of a completed application form submitted through the Enterprise Ireland online application system, and:
1) A video pitch completed in PowerPoint Record format, maximum duration of 4-minutes and maximum size 20MB, addressing the following:
• Overview of the business and the opportunity (Problem, Solution, Team, Financials)
• Management Team (Skills, Gaps)
• Use of the investment monies (Specific technical milestones, Specific Commercial milestones)
• Your future funding requirements and timelines for fund raising
2) If applicable to your application:
• Attach a copy of Evaluation Agreement(s) / Intellectual Property (IP) licence(s) / commercial agreement(s) in place at this time.
You will receive an email confirmation of receipt for part one of your application for the Pre-Seed Start Fund when your application form is submitted.
For the application to be deemed valid, you must reply to the email within 48 hours attaching the above requirements.
In the event that an applicant is unsuccessful at the initial stage (eligibility criteria and due diligence), Enterprise Ireland will notify the applicant in writing and no further action will be taken at this point.
In the event that an applicant is unsuccessful in securing funding following the proposal evaluation, Enterprise Ireland will notify the applicant and provide information to other more relevant company development supports, e.g. Local Enterprise Office, Business Innovation Centre, Accelerator, etc.
Applicants must fulfil all of the following criteria:
- Must be a manufacturing or an eligible internationally traded services business (as listed in the Service Industries Order 2010).
- Must not be engaged in activities that are excluded under Enterprise Ireland policy (Industrial Development (Enterprise Ireland) Act, 1998) namely gambling, adult entertainment, tobacco or military sectors.
- Must not have received Equity funding of more than €150K prior to date of receipt of a formal online application by Enterprise Ireland. Equity includes Ordinary Shares, Convertible Preference Shares, Convertible Loan Notes and Directors' Loans. Sweat equity does not apply.
- Must be pre-trading or have recently commenced trading, i.e. does not have revenues in excess of €150k in the current financial year to date or in any previous financial year.
- If the enterprise is an existing company, the company must be less than 4 years old (from date of incorporation in Ireland) at date of formal application submission to Enterprise Ireland.
- Must have the potential and ambition to achieve 10 jobs in Ireland and realise sales of €1m within 3 years (of date of application for this Fund).
- The applicant company must not be a linked enterprise or partner company.
- The applicant/applicant company must not have previously performed the proposed business activity or a similar business activity in a separate business which was majority owned by the applicant/applicant company/the applicant company’s majority shareholder(s); Unless the applicant/applicant company can clearly demonstrate that the business activity previously performed was limited to innovative research and/or was merely preparatory/pre revenue in nature.
- The undertakings must be a ‘small’ enterprise as defined at SME Definition (europa.eu).
- Applicants must be eligible to live and work in Ireland. If their current visa status does not allow them to run a business in Ireland they must regularise their visa situation before receiving an investment.
- The Company must be registered and based in Ireland with the majority of the management team residing in Ireland and key business functions managed from Ireland.
- Companies who have previously received Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund (CSF) or Pre-Seed Start Fund (PSSF) support of €50K (which has been successfully validated by Enterprise Ireland) may only apply for a maximum of €50K. Any company who previously received both Enterprise Ireland’s PSSF and CSF or have received PSSF support of €100K are ineligible for PSSF support.
- The applicant /company (this application) or any of the Founders / Promoters (existing or proposed) cannot be in receipt of any other State funding at the time of accepting PSSF offer of investment.
- Performance, Output and Progress made by the applicant from prior state support e.g. New Frontiers, Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) or Enterprise Ireland and other state bodies, will be considered in the assessment of the application.
- Any intellectual property and assets that are required to execute the business plan that are currently owned by the promoters must be assigned to the investee Irish company prior to the Pre-Seed Start investment completing. If applicable to your application, you will be required to attach a copy of Evaluation Agreement(s) / Intellectual Property (IP) Licence(s) / Commercial Agreements(s) in place at this time.
- If this application is successful, as part of the pre-investment completion process, evidence will be required of all the Founders/Promoters (existing or proposed) being resident in Ireland.
Application Support Workshops will be held online by Business Innovation Centres (BIC) nationwide. Workshops are free to attend. Spaces are limited, workshops are interactive and participation is welcomed from entrepreneurs and early stage companies considering applying to the fund, including those based internationally looking to start a business in Ireland.
Prior registration is required.
- Your Local Business Innovation Centre (BIC) in addition to application support workshops can offer assistance with preparing your PSSF application.
- Contact your Local BIC for more information.
What is the maximum funding and on what terms?
A company can apply for either €50,000 or €100,000 investment, in the form of Convertible Loan Note (CLN) instrument.
For a €100,000 investment: (to be released in 2 equal tranches of €50,000) both first and second tranche details apply.
First €50,000 tranche:
The first €50,000 tranche will be released to successful applicants subject to the company providing confirmation that an additional new* cash co- investment of a minimum of €5,000. This new investment must be in the form of new cash for Equity/Quasi Equity (e.g. Ordinary shares, SAFE, CLN, Director’s loan (must be subordinated to Enterprise Ireland investment).
The new *co-investment must be made post the company application form submission date. Any co-investment made before the company application form submission date will not be considered “new cash”. The investment can be from any source, except any other publicly-funded entity/programme. Loans will not be sufficient. Also, capitalisation of existing director/shareholder/related party loans will also not qualify as ‘co-investment’;
The initial offer for first or single tranche investments will be valid for a period of 8 weeks. This can be extended, at the discretion of Enterprise Ireland, in exceptional circumstances.
Second €50,000 tranche: (only applies to €100,000 investment offers)
For second tranche investment, the following will be required:
Enterprise Ireland undertaking a review with the company and being satisfied with a report from the Company detailing progress to date against achievement of agreed milestones and investment conditions and how the first tranche monies have been spent.
In addition, other documentation will be required, including : a valid Tax Clearance Certificate, up-to-date management accounts and other supporting information to complete the tranche 2 drawdown.
The second €50,000 tranche will also require the company to provide confirmation of an additional new* cash co- investment of a minimum of €5,000. This new investment must be in the form of new* cash for Equity/Quasi Equity (e.g: *Ordinary shares, SAFE, CLN, Director’s loan (must be subordinated to Enterprise Ireland investment).
Minimum support level
€50,000 in the form of Convertible Loan note instrument, to be released in 1 tranche of €50,000.
Minimum co-investment requirement
€5,000 per €50,000 investment offered.
Note that the details above for a first tranche €50,000 investment will apply.
Please note additional standard and special conditions will be applied.
- The Investment completion period from initial offer to first or single tranche investment completion will be up to 8 weeks. This can be extended, at the discretion of Enterprise Ireland, in exceptional circumstances.
- The new co-investment must be made post the company application form submission date. Any co-investment made before the receipt of a formal application will not be considered “new cash”. The investment can be from any source, except any other publicly-funded entity/programme. Loans will not be sufficient. Also, capitalisation of existing director/shareholder/related party loans will also not qualify as ‘co-investment’.
- Successful applicants should note that other Enterprise Ireland grant/funding offers may be restricted for the investment period if they represent potential for double funding.
Please note that an application for approval of an equity investment for companies selected under this scheme shall be subject to:
(a) Approval by Enterprise Ireland’s Management Approvals Committee.
(b) The company agreeing to the Terms & Conditions set out in the Enterprise Ireland Term Sheet.
(c) The company agreeing to enter into an Agreement with Enterprise Ireland.
For more information on this Equity Process, read our Frequently Asked Questions.
Legal Basis: Industrial Development (Amendment) Act 2019 Section 7B (the Industrial Development (Enterprise Ireland) Act 1998 is amended by the insertion of section 7B).
State Aid Basis: EU State Aid Policy: Article 22, Aid for start-ups, Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 (General Block Exemption Regulation) or Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013 (De Minimis Aid).
The overall equity investment will be towards the costs associated with developing the business plan and making progress on key technical, commercial and fundraising milestones. Applicants must show at least a minimum of the amount of support sought from Enterprise Ireland within the ‘expenditure’ in the "Cost of Plan" section in the application form.
The following activities are likely to form the basis of expenditure:
- Consultancy Fees
- Other Expenditure
Note: direct export aid costs, i.e. sales and marketing, are not eligible.
How do I apply?
Potential applicants are advised to read all details on this webpage prior to applying.
All application details must be completed.
If you are already a client of Enterprise Ireland your application must be discussed with your Enterprise Ireland Adviser prior to submission.
It is recommended that Local Enterprise Office clients and New Frontiers Programmes participants who are interested in this offer inform their Advisor of their interest.
First time applicants will be required to register on the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System. All Applications must be made through the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System.
The Pre-Seed Start Fund is currently open.
For enquiries, please contact the Pre-Seed Start Fund Team:
+353 1 727 2202 (9am - 5pm)
If you are already a client of Enterprise Ireland please contact your Enterprise Ireland Adviser.