ENTERPRISE Ireland has stumped up €15m for a new venture capital fund that will target investments in Irish tech firms involved in developing artificial intelligence solutions.
The state-owned agency is the cornerstone investor in the new €30m Sure Valley Ventures III fund (SVV3).
Listed UK investment group Pires Investments has injected an initial €54,000 in the fund, but said on Thursday that it expects to invest up to €10m in SVV3 over the 10-year life of the fund.
The SVV3 Fund plans to invest in about 15 high-growth artificial intelligence software companies in sectors such as enterprise, immersive technologies and cybersecurity across Ireland.
The SVV3 fund will be managed by the same Sure Valley Ventures fund team which, to date, has achieved cash realisations/liquidity events from, and upward revaluations of, investments made by the first Sure Valley Venture Fund. The team has also launched the £85m Sure Valley Ventures UK Software Technology Fund, which is backed by the British Business Bank.
"The significant commitment by Enterprise Ireland is a further endorsement of the SVV team and follows on from the support for the team demonstrated by the British Business Bank with the launch of the SVV2 Fund,” said Nicholas Lee, a Pires director.
"The technology sector experienced a challenging 2022 and so, consequently, there are a number of interesting investment opportunities becoming available at attractive valuations,” he added. “The directors therefore believe that this is an ideal time to invest in a new technology focused fund, able to make new investments, given the completion of the SVV1 Fund's investment cycle for making new investments.”
Enterprise Ireland and Sure Valley are co-investors in firms such as Cork-based Getvisibility, which is also backed by former Eir chief executive Herb Hribar. Pires is also an investor in the Irish firm.
Getvisibility raised an additional €10m last year. It uses artificial intelligence to discover, classify and protect unstructured data typically contained in PDFs, spreadsheets, emails and text documents.
Sure Valley is also a backer of Dublin-based artificial intelligence firm Everyangle. It uses CCTV cameras and computer vision applications to make sense of complex visual data, and transform it into crystal clear, actionable insights.
Sure Valley was also an investor in Irish shopping service Buymie. It’s being acquired by Dunnes Stores with most investors left with nothing. Buymie struggled after it failed to secure additional funding last year.