20,000 high quality jobs have been created by Irish venture capital backed companies over the past 10 years and supported another 50,000 downstream. Total Irish venture capital funds under management now exceed €2 billion. This was stated by Brian Caulfield, chairman, Irish Venture Capital Association, when he addressed the organisation’s 30th annual dinner in Dublin on Thursday last the 1st October.
He said that since the beginning of 2013, ten Irish companies have raised venture capital rounds of $20m or more, primarily from non-Irish investors. “Not one of them achieved that important milestone without first raising funds from an Irish venture capital investor. This emphasises the importance of a strong domestic VC industry if Ireland is to play in the big leagues,” said Mr Caulfield who heads up the Irish office of international venture capital firm, Draper Esprit.
Mr Caulfield told the 350 attendees that Ireland’s start up scene was in danger of being stifled due to lack of tax incentives for angels and early stage backers combined with discriminatory personal and capital gains taxes for entrepreneurs.
“Conventional venture capital was never intended to efficiently make investments of €20,000 to €100,000. We need to create a vibrant angel capital environment and to look at other innovative funding approaches for these seed stage companies. We need look no further than the UK to see the transformative and job creating impact that such approaches can have.”
He added, “We also need to reform our personal taxation system to remove barriers and disincentives to entrepreneurship and create real incentives both for entrepreneurs and those who fund them at this incredibly risky stage of their development.
“Tellingly, Ireland ranked just 16th in Europe for early stage entrepreneurship in the recent GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) report and has less than half the entrepreneurship rate of the US.”
The IVCA chairman said that while the Government has been very supportive of the industry through Enterprise Ireland and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, it remains difficult to attract matching private institutional capital to what is a high risk and illiquid asset class.
“Working with Government, we need to find innovative ways to encourage pension funds and other large asset managers to invest a small proportion of their total assets in Irish venture capital and to remove regulatory barriers.”
A Guide to Venture Capital – Free Guide
A Guide to Venture Capital, now in its 12th year, is published in collaboration with InterTradeIreland and provides information to those seeking venture capital. It is a key component in the range of IVCA publications and research.
To download a copy please visit http://www.intertradeireland.com/equity/advisory-services/guides-hints-and-tips/ or www.ivca.ie
It provides details of the IVCA members, useful contacts, other sources of early stage funding and a glossary of terms. It is an excellent resource also for corporate financiers, accountants and lawyers.