Belfast Telegraph

Venture capitalist's fury at Invest NI policies

By Margaret Canning

Invest NI has said it will listen to the concerns of a technology entrepreneur who has criticised the agency's distribution of venture capital funds.

David Kirk blogged that he had made "his last investment in Northern Ireland" and criticised Crescent Capital, the fund manager appointed by Invest NI to invest its venture capital allotment, for failing to bring about bigger returns.

The first fund saw Crescent Capital - which did not wish to comment on Mr Kirk's statements - invest £14m with a return of £13.27m.

Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur Mr Kirk requested a conversation with Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton, in which Mr Kirk said he aired his growing concerns.

Mr Kirk said: "I was very pleasantly surprised that he readily acknowledged the problems."

The investor, who is a former senior vice-president for Cisco Systems, has now offered Invest NI a proposal on venture capital and investment in Northern Ireland.

A spokeswoman for Invest NI said: "Invest NI is engaging with Mr Kirk to better understand his concerns regarding Invest NI support for venture capital funds.

"By opening up discussions, Invest NI hopes to clarify its position and highlight the benefits that can be delivered to local businesses and the economy through venture capital initiatives."

Mr Kirk's blog calls for all parties with an interest in the Northern Ireland 'investment eco-system' to give their views on how it operates for his proposal.