Ireland’s National Pension Reserve Fund [NPRF] invests $50 million in Venture Capital through Innovation Fund Ireland
The National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) today announces a $50 million investment in Polaris Venture Partners. The investment is being made through Innovation Fund Ireland, a Government initiative to attract leading international venture capital fund managers to Ireland.
Polaris is a leading US venture capital firm. The firm will be increasing its focus on Ireland and Europe, providing a local and active source of venture capital from a leading international investment firm. Polaris will also be working with the IDA, Ireland’s inward investment agency, to identify opportunities within its network to bring fast-growing venture-backed companies to Ireland as a point of entry into Europe.
As part of the announcement, Polaris has confirmed that it has chosen to open the company’s first Dogpatch Labs facility outside of the United States in Dublin in support of Innovation Fund Ireland. Dogpatch Labs typically house 30 to 50 entrepreneurs working on new technology and life science related businesses at early stages of development. Polaris has had significant success with its existing Dogpatch Labs facilities in San Francisco, Cambridge (Massachusetts) and New York, where there is a fresh intake of entrepreneurs and start-ups every six months. Polaris expects to have similar success in attracting high quality entrepreneurs from across Europe to Dogpatch Labs Dublin. For more information go to http://dogpatchlabs.com
Terry McGuire, Managing Partner Polaris, said: “Dogpatch Labs has been highly successful in establishing hubs of entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. We are excited to be taking that model to Ireland, which has already attracted the likes of Google, Facebook and LinkedIn, and are hopeful that, in partnership with Innovation Fund Ireland, Dogpatch Dublin will emerge as a key hub for entrepreneurs across Europe.”
Speaking today, Paul Carty, Chairman of the NPRF said: “This investment, which forms part of our commitment to Innovation Fund Ireland, is a strong commercial opportunity for the NPRF and the establishment of a Dogpatch Labs in Dublin creates an important new catalyst for entrepreneurship in Ireland.”
About the NPRF
The National Pensions Reserve Fund was established in 2001 to meet as much as possible of the costs of Ireland’s social welfare and public service pensions from 2025 until at least 2055. The NPRF is controlled by the NPRF Commission, which has a statutory commercial investment mandate, and is currently invested globally across a diversified range of asset classes including quoted equities, bonds, property, private equity and commodities. The NPRF also has investments in Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks plc, made at the direction of the Minister for Finance in order to recapitalise these institutions. Recently it was announced that the NPRF will be required to contribute up to €10 billion to the EU-IMF programme of Financial Support for Ireland. Subsequently the NPRF Commission has reaffirmed its commitment of €125 million in total to Innovation Fund Ireland. The NPRF’s value at end September 2010 was €24.5 billion.
About Innovation Fund Ireland
Innovation Fund Ireland is a €500 million Irish Government initiative designed to attract leading international venture capital fund managers to Ireland.
Innovation Fund Ireland funding comprises three elements. The first is Exchequer funding of €125 million, which will be managed by Enterprise Ireland. The second allows the NPRF to invest a similar amount providing its commercial investment criteria are met. The balance will be raised privately by participating venture capital managers. For more information go to http://www.innovationfundireland.com
Polaris Venture Partners is a partnership of experienced investors, operating executives and entrepreneurs. The firm’s mission is to identify, invest in and partner with seed, early stage, and middle-market businesses with exceptional promise and help them grow into market-leading companies. Polaris invests in businesses across a number of markets including technology, digital media, consumer, enertech and life sciences. Polaris-backed successes in life sciences include: Adimab, Adnexus (sold to BMS), Advanced Inhalation Research (sold to Alkermes), Alimera (ALIM), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY), Asthmatx (sold to Boston Scientific) Glycofi (sold to Merck), Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA) and Ironwood (IRWD). Polaris-backed successes in technology and consumer include: Akamai Technologies (AKAM), Allaire, Art.com, Athlete’s Performance, Automattic (WordPress), e-Rewards, LogMeIn (LOGM), LegalZoom, LivingProof, MarkMonitor, Powersoft, Solidworks, TechTarget (TTGT) and Quantcast. For more on the firm, its mission and its portfolio companies: http://polarisventures.com.
About Dogpatch Labs
Dogpatch Labs was created by Polaris Venture Partners to connect entrepreneurs and help founders conceive and launch startups. Dogpatch Labs has three locations in Cambridge, MA, New York, NY and San Francisco, CA and will open its fourth location in Dublin, Ireland in the first quarter of 2011. Dogpatch labs offer desk space, bandwidth, coffee and lunch to aspiring entrepreneurs but are much more than physical spaces. The Labs collectively are a community of like minded entrepreneurs who share a spirit of “open source entrepreneurship,” the idea that, particularly at the very earliest of stages, we all benefit by fostering connection points between and amongst entrepreneurs and startups. Whether it is sharing space, sharing ideas, sharing referrals, networking, or just hanging out, the members all thrive on the flow of ideas, people and relationships. So, in addition to a workspace, they also use the lab frequently as a meeting place — for lunch talks, workshops, conferences, symposia etc. For more information go to http://dogpatchlabs.com
Dublin City University’s Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship is delighted to announce the establishment of a seed venture fund of €1 million for early stage technology start-up companies. The new venture fund is an accelerator fund, which will help fund new companies develop from concept to product. The aim of the venture fund is to jump-start a number of high technology start-ups in Ireland with an emphasis on software and biotechnology hardware ideas such as medical devices and diagnostics.
The successful companies will get approximately €50,000 in direct funding, as well as a three-month programme of support from the Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship, which will include office space, mentorship and specially-designed networking and educational programmes. The financial support for the venture fund is provided by the One Foundation. In addition any profits generated by the Accelerator Fund will be returned to the Fund for further investment.
“This is an important initiative for Ireland and I am delighted that the Ryan Academy is providing a catalyst for the next generation of Irish entrepreneurs. This initiative is not only another clear manifestation of DCU’s commitment to be the University of Enterprise but also addresses an obvious deficit in the pathway from concept to successful product”, said Professor Brian MacCraith, the new President of Dublin City University.
The first round of investment will open for applicants in October this year, with the first four successful entrepreneurs being announced before the end of the year. A further eight entrepreneurs will be funded in 2011 and again in 2012. Each of these entrepreneurial groups will then work with the Ryan Academy to develop their company, building key and lasting business relationships along the way to help them sustain a viable business. The Ryan Academy is aiming to work with other seed funds and individual investors, and will be seeking to increase the fund size over time.
“Raising the money to get through the first year is often difficult for entrepreneurs and our objective is to support twenty early-stage entrepreneurial teams over the next two and half years” said Gordon McConnell, Deputy-CEO of the Ryan Academy and venture manager for the new fund. “We will work with other later-stage angel investors, other funds and the venture capital community to help ensure further funding for these new companies. We want to help nurture innovative technology ideas and act as a launchpad for new entrepreneurs.”
The fund is unique as it is both a university-related venture fund for start-ups across Ireland, as well as offering a programme of support for these startups through the Ryan Academy and its network.
The new fund will be governed by a Technology Advisory Board, which will be announced later in the summer. Further and regular updates on the new fund will be posted on the Ryan Academy Tech Entrepreneurship Blog.
About the Ryan Academy
The DCU Ryan Academy is a partnership between Dublin City University and the family of the late Tony Ryan (Ryanair). The Academy exists to promote entrepreneurship and innovation and to use our iconic building in Citywest as a dynamic hub for entrepreneurs and researchers to develop ideas, learn new skills and network. The Ryan Academy is working with researchers and entrepreneurs to help them achieve their potential.