BlueYard Capital, the venture capital fund which was co-founded in 2016 by Berlin-based Dubliner Ciaran O’Leary – son of former IDA boss Barry O’Leary – has raised its third fund, totalling $185m (€172m).
Speaking to the Sunday Independent, the Irishman said the funds will be invested in seed and early-stage deep frontier science and technology startups across its four theme areas – Web3, programmable biology, breakthrough computation and engineering, and data- and knowledge-liberating technologies.
The new fund brings BlueYard’s assets under management to $500m, after the firm also raised $75m last year to invest in the cryptocurrency sector.
“We usually start off with an investment of $2m to $4m. We typically might end up having invested $5m to $10m in a company. We’re patient, conviction investors,” he added.
Investors in BlueYard are mainly US university endowments, as well as foundations, trusts, and funds of funds.
Last year, the firm cashed out of some of its holdings in earlier cryptocurrency and related investments, but did not sell all of its holdings in any of them, he revealed.
“We don’t disclose what we sold, or of what network. But last year was a very good market for crypto – and it generated substantial cash for our
“With recent events, I think there’s about to be a healthy cleansing phase of the crypto sector, with a few years of regulatory headwinds,” he said.
The tech sector could see a two- or three-year slowdown, he added.
“It might be nine to 12 months before it hits early-stage. There will be less of the big follow-on investments and high valuations.
“Some of the best startups were built during deep downturns. If startups focus on the quality of their growth, they might see opportunities to hire from struggling rivals, or ways to win deals they couldn’t before. They shouldn’t necessarily batten down the hatches too much,” he advised.
Besides investments in lab-grown meat, more sustainable alternatives to polymers, subscription ebikes, and next-generation fusion reactors, BlueYard has also backed several alternatives to popular software.
Pitch, a rival to PowerPoint – in which BlueYard invested €6.7m in 2018 – was valued at $600m last year.
It has also backed startups aiming to rival AutoSketch or AutoCAD, Zoom, Hopin, and Excel.