Belfast Telegraph

Fund in tie in with 200th private investor

By John Mulgrew

An investment fund that backs Northern Ireland firms alongside private backers has reached a milestone after investing alongside its 200th private investor.

Co-FundNI, which is funded by Invest NI, has backed SaltDNA, a Belfast-based software company, alongside US-based investors.

It has launched the world's first encrypted mobile communications solution built for corporate use.

Speaking about the EU referendum, Brian Cummings, investment director at Clarendon Fund Managers, which oversees the fund, said there was great uncertainty over what the business landscape could look like if the UK votes to leave.

Co-FundNI has helped fund companies from across sectors, including biotech, consumer products and software.

Some of its clients over the past five years have included Cirdan Imaging, which secured £3.5m of investment including £900,000 from software firm Kainos, Queen's University tech spin-off Titan IC and baby products business Shnuggle.

"Co-Fund has been around for five years," Brian Cummings said. "The purpose of the fund is not only to grow the SME community, but to develop the private investor market."

"We are keen to speak to investors keen on local Northern Ireland-based business."

Asked about whether interest in companies had slowed in the run-up to the EU referendum in June, he said: "We haven't come across any specific issues across our portfolio.

"Most of the companies we work with have an export agenda, so we are waiting to see how it will play out.

"I just think there's an element of uncertainty. We understand where we are at with Europe. If we aren't in, no one understands what that means."

The fund has invested around £9m into 29 companies over the past five years.

Belfast Telegraph