Co-Fund II (ERDF) invests with private investors such as business angels or their syndicates into eligible SMEs based in Northern Ireland, and provides up to 50 per cent of equity investment alongside 50 per cent from private investors on a deal-by-deal basis. Co-Fund II is part of the Invest Northern Ireland’s Access to Finance portfolio, and is managed by Clarendon Fund Managers.
The Co-Fund II portfolio features a diverse range of businesses such as Med-tech firms (axial 3D, BrainWaveBank and Neurovalens), consumer product companies (Boatyard Gin, We are Paradoxx and See.Sense) and software companies (Plotbox, Zymplify, PitchBooking and Uleska). Pharma services company, Diaceutics, listed on AIM in March.
Neil Simms, Investment Director at Clarendon Fund Managers, said: “The first Co-Fund invested £14.6m in 37 companies, over an eight year period since June 2011, proving to be one of the most active sources of equity investment in Northern Ireland over this period.
“Co-Fund II has already invested over £4.7m, alongside £11.5m of private investment, which demonstrates the important role of business angels, and other sources of private investment, in the development of high growth potential companies.”
Earth Observation software company 3DEO is the 20th company to receive funding from Co-Fund II, with several follow-on investments made into the existing portfolio.
He added: “Since 3DEO we have completed a further three new investments for the year ended May 2019.This will bring the total number of NI companies which have received investment from Co-Fund (I & II) to 60, with those companies having raised over £102m of funding. Although businesses here continue to face uncertainty, there is still a strong demand for growth capital from ambitious and entrepreneurial companies.”
3DEO takes geospatial data and incorporates it into powerful 3D Visualisation and Earth Observation Solutions. Its ambition is to be a leader in the Earth Observation Information Products and Value Added Services industries.
Andy McPherson, CEO, 3DEO, said: “3DEO’s solutions rapidly combine and analyse both historical and real-time data into powerful yet easy-to-use decision-making toolkits for diverse applications. On the back of a significant contract with Belfast Harbour to enhance their survey capabilities, we are delighted to welcome investment from Co-Fund II that will enable us to make the key hires to accelerate growth”.
William McCulla, Director of Corporate Finance, Invest NI said: “SMEs are the backbone of our economy providing approximately three quarters of all private sector jobs and turnover. Regardless of size or stage of development, ambitious entrepreneurs need funding to scale their businesses to the next level. The performance of Co-Fund II in providing this much needed funding is both a demonstration of need and of the growth potential amongst our innovative SMEs.”
Co-Fund II is supported by ERDF under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.
Neil Simms, Investment Director at Clarendon Fund Managers; Sean Murphy, Operations Director at 3DEO; William McCulla, Director of Corporate Finance, Invest NI with Brian Cummings, Investment Director at Clarendon Fund Managers.