Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and state-owned bank AIB have invested €25m in a London-based private equity fund that invests in Irish technology and life sciences start-ups.
SIF has committed €15m to the Claret European Growth Capital Fund III, according to a spokesperson, while it is understood AIB has added €10m from its own balance sheet.
The fund, which is managed by growth finance specialist Claret Capital, has just closed after raising €297 million from a range of institutional and private investors.
With co-investment commitments, the company seeks to invest €500 million of growth capital in at least 50 European high-tech companies over the next three years.
This will include targeted lending to Irish technology and life sciences companies through the participation of ISIF and AIB.
“We see Claret as a welcome entrant to the Irish market as its product is particularly attractive to high-growth Irish businesses offering them an alternative funding option,” said an ISIF spokesperson, who said. that Claret supported ISIF’s “indigenous strategy” of investing in Irish businesses.
“The fund targets a particular niche and the team has a long history of lending to these businesses.”
Claret was formed in 2020 when Dubliner David Bateman and co-founder Johan Kampe bought the European growth funds they ran for Harbert Management Corporation, an American institutional investor.
The company now has €400 million in assets under management across three funds with more than 120 portfolio companies. Fund III launched in March 2021 and has invested in 29 companies to date. It initially aimed to raise funds of 250 million euros. In addition to the €297m raised, the company said it has co-investment commitments that give the fund €500m of firepower.
Claret invests via loans of €1m to €50m guaranteed on goodwill for up to five years, plus an equity component. The money is typically used to support growing businesses – businesses that generate significant revenue but may spend a lot of money or have negative profits.
The company has a proven track record of supporting Irish start-ups, alongside its commitments to businesses in the UK, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Singapore and Spain.
His Irish investments include peer-to-peer currency exchange CurrencyFair, mobile marketing solutions company Swrve and e-health start-up Altratech.