31/05/2005

£22.5M venture capital fund launched

A new £22.5 million venture capital fund for business development in Northern Ireland has been announced today.

Belfast-based Crescent Capital has just completed raising investment for the new fund - known as Crescent Capital II - which will be the largest local source of venture capital available to companies in Northern Ireland. Crescent Capital has already begun investing the fund in local hi-tech companies.

Invest NI has committed £7.5 million to the new fund, that will help early stage technology companies to access vital financial support, alongside the European Investment Fund and the New York State Common Retirement Fund – America’s second largest pension fund.

Crescent Capital managing director, Colin Walsh, said he believes the commitment made by the fund’s investors represents a major vote of confidence in Northern Ireland and a sign of maturity in the local venture capital industry.

“We’re particularly delighted to welcome on board the New York State Common Retirement Fund whose sole trustee, Alan Hevesi, has maintained a close interest in Northern Ireland over the past three decades,” Mr Walsh said.

“As sole trustee of the US’s second largest pension fund, his decision to invest with Crescent Capital II sends out a strong signal to others assessing commercial opportunities here.”

Mr Hevesi, sole trustee of the $120 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, is expected to announce further details of the significant US investment in the fund later on Tuesday.

Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund, Francis Carpenter, said today’s announcement presented a perfect fit with the key objective of helping to increase the scale of venture capital that is available throughout all European regions.

Other significant investors include Queen’s University, the University of Ulster, Ulster Bank, NILGOSC and Martin Naughton of Glen Dimplex.

(MB/SP)

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