Thursday 22 February 2018

Cobone chief Kenny plans to invest €20m in start-ups

Paul Kenny
Paul Kenny

Roisin Burke

Cobone founder Paul Kenny's new venture capital firm will put some €20m into high-potential start-ups this year and next.

Kenny's Emerge Ventures is backing high-impact early stage tech companies targeting the Middle East market, and is in discussion with a number of Irish companies.

Emerge's first fund closed at the end of 2013, having raised capital from global VCs, family wealth funds and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, and aims to help hot start-ups to scale up fast.

Dubai-based Kenny's partner is former Goldman Sachs' strategist and scion of a wealthy Persian American mercantile family, Arya Bolurfrushan, an angel investor with interests in petroleum and finance.

"We are in discussion with several companies with a focus on firms delivering products or services for the Middle East," said Kenny. "We will make in the range of 10 to 20 investments of up to €1m in one company," he said. Emerge will take a 49 per cent stake in firms for a five-year timeline. So far, it has made three investments.

Kenny has also invested for a minority stake in Dylan Collins' children's 'discovery platform' Superawesome, and in the longstanding newspaper, the Galway Advertiser.

He is still chief executive at Cobone and has started a travel company, Two further ventures are in the pipeline in the near term.

Irish Independent

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