Co-Fund gains additional £5.3m funding
The Co-Investment Fund (Co-Fund NI) created by Invest Northern Ireland and managed by Clarendon Fund Managers has received an extra £5.3m, increasing its funding from £7.2m to £12.5m. The additional funding provided by Invest Northern Ireland is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund.
The additional £5.3m is available to invest alongside private investors such as business angels or their syndicates into eligible SME’s based in Northern Ireland. Co-Fund NI provides up to 50% of equity investment alongside 50% from private investors on a deal-by-deal basis.
To support Co-Fund NI’s increased portfolio size and rate of investment, Clarendon has appointed Brian Cummings as an Investment Director.
Neil Simms, Finance Director of Clarendon Fund Managers, welcomed both the increase in funding and latest recruitment saying: “It has been an exceptional year for Co-Fund NI with the top up in funding coming at the end of a busy 12 month period when we invested £2.75m alongside £3.45m of private investment over 18 investment rounds.
“This means we have been the most active local source of equity funding in the last year with a great pipeline of investment opportunities coming into 2015.
“Given this backdrop the increase in funding is very timely, and as we expected, Brian has hit the ground running having led our participation in two of the last three investments made into new portfolio companies.”
Three companies that have recently benefited from the uplift in Co-Fund NI’s funding are Autism Biotech Limited, Komodo Learning Limited and Titan IC Systems Limited.
William McCulla, Director of Corporate Finance Invest NI said: “Co-Fund NI is a key component of Invest Northern Ireland’s wider Access to Finance strategy, with the objective of stimulating the availability of risk capital to SMEs across Northern Ireland.
“As Co-Fund NI has successfully demonstrated, Business Angels and indeed other sources of private investment, are playing an increasingly important role in the development of young high potential companies that are seeking equity finance to pursue growth in export markets. The uplift in funding will allow Co-Fund NI to continue matching private sector investors and stimulate investment activity, and we are pleased that the local delivery team is expanding with Brian joining the Clarendon team.”
Brian Cummings, Investment Director commented: “I am delighted to have joined the Clarendon team which over the last decade has been amongst the most active venture capital investors across the island. Co-Fund NI has been successful by working in partnership with a diverse group of private and corporate investors from the UK and Ireland, as well as Europe and the US.
“To date Co-Fund NI has invested £7.1m in 26 portfolio companies alongside £10.1m match funding from private investors, and has formed strong working relationships with a majority of both the portfolio companies and our private co-investors. I have been pleasantly surprised with the strength of the existing portfolio, sourced alongside our co-investment partners, which should translate into economic and employment growth for the region.”