A £47.3m equity fund which provides capital to SMEs has said it’s closed more than 20 co-investment deals in the second quarter of the year.
Firms to secure finance from the Co-Fund NI co-investment fund in the second quarter included insuretech firm Broker IQ, life sciences spinout Vascversa, e-commerce retail business Haru and gin maker The Boatyard Distillery.
Co-Fund NI, managed by Clarendon Fund Managers, said demand for funding from early-stage businesses remained strong.
It’s part of Invest NI’s Access to Finance suite of loan and equity funds and is supported by British Business Investments.
Co-Fund NI can provide co-investment in deals typically valued between £150,000 and £2m. So far, it has invested in 95 Northern Ireland firms.
The total value of the deals in the second quarter, which included follow-on investments as well as firms securing Co-Fund finance for the first time, was £15m.
Clarendon Fund Managers said the demand demonstrated the importance of an available supply of equity finance.
Stuart Gaffikin, investment manager at Clarendon Fund Managers, said: “Even as we are seeing a number of reports suggesting there has been a slowdown in investment across the UK and Ireland, Co-Fund NI has seen very strong demand from high-quality, fast-growing companies.
“Co-Fund NI continues to play a vital role in funding Northern Ireland’s high potential businesses through co-investment alongside business angels and other private investors, which is essential to helping them to scale and accelerate growth outside of NI.
“It’s been apparent to us over the past couple of years that an increasing number of large equity funds and private investors have recognised the calibre of companies emerging from the region and they are starting to make significant investments here.”
But he said ‘Series A' investors won’t invest in companies unless homegrown funds such as Co-Fund NI and private investors put their money in first, as earlier stage funding helped prepare the companies and de-risk them for the bigger investors.
"Sustaining the provision of local equity funding is therefore essential for our economy.”