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Northern Ireland firms target £50m in extra investments


Debate: James Foster

Debate: James Foster

Debate: James Foster

A new report has revealed Northern Ireland companies raised over £30M in equity capital last year - but could target another £50M.

The NI Deal Tracker Report by Catalyst Inc revealed that companies in Northern Ireland generated £32.8m in 2017 but are failing to attract larger rounds of investment.

Fifty-one companies raised investment of at least £100k, with the average investment at £607k, however there were no investments over £5m into a single company which is part of an investment target plan by numerous financial firms here.

The report was launched by Catalyst Inc at an event at the KPMG Soloist Building where an investment panel debated the question: "How will NI reach £90m Venture Capital investment by 2030?"

The panel included James Foster, investment lead at ADV, Conor O'Connor, managing partner at Enterprise Equity, and Audrey Osborne, investment manager at TechStart NI.

The largest investment highlighted in the report was secured by B-Secur, who have created a patented biometric technology which uses the human heartbeat to unlock everything from finance and healthcare through to cars and buildings.

The company, based at Catalyst Inc, secured £3.5m from investors including Kernel Capital and ADV, their first investment into NI.

Alan Watts, director of Capital Match, said: "We have concluded that the main challenge we face is how NI can attract approximately five times more non-NI institutional funding by 2030. This means a rise from approximately £10m to £60m... we in NI need to build more relationships with funders outside the region to help turn our £1m businesses into £10m or £50m businesses."

Belfast Telegraph