So Enterprise Ireland doled out 175 million euro to Irish VCs last year on the basis that they would find matching funds and thus inject new vigor into the Irish VC market. Since then, well not much has happened. No Irish VC to date has raised a new fund, and none looks like doing so in the immediate future (please comment if you know different).
So here’s a suggestion, carve out 50m of that fund (or 75m or 20m) and just give it away in chunks of 100k to any Irish startup who meets the following criteria,
- Are in or have completed an Enterprise program, such as the one at the PDC or the M50 program at Tallaght. There are others but these are two I know about
- Meet standard HPSU criteria (will generate employment and export markets)
That’s it. You get a 100k (It can be tranched but that’s more management overhead, better to just chuck it out there) and go and start your business.
Even 50m would mean you could fund 500 startups. How many HPSUs are there?
That would still leave 125m to prepare the ground for those startups once they need to raise serious money from the Irish VC market.
Conor O’Neill leaves a valuable clarification in the comments,
A key requirement is that matching funds are NOT required from the startups