On Thursday I was in Dublin to announce a new venture fund with Enterprise Ireland. The ‘Fund for International Startups‘ (yeah, we probably need a catchier name) is targeted at startups around the world who want to base themselves in Ireland. It’s essentially the FourSquare of venture capital: check in to Ireland and get funded. I’ve accepted the role of International Ambassador for the fund. For one very good reason: it’s a fucking awesome initiative.Here’s why I agreed to get involved;
1. It’s the right kind of money
Seed investment (under €400k) is some of the hardest to find internationally. This fund co-invests up to 50% (max of €500k) of your round on pretty founder-friendly terms.
2. It’s bringing in outside
Enterprise Ireland is a government agency, albeit one of the more active VCs in Europe. One of the criticisms leveled against them has been their lack of speed. By appointing experienced entrepreneurs as Fund Ambassadors (more will be announced soon), they’re tackling this issue. We’re not fund partners but we are part of the checks and balances to make sure this works.
3. We need short-term tactics as well as long-term strategy
One of the challenges Ireland has is its population base. We need more engineers and developers (as does the world). Short of organising some kind of mass graduate-kidnapping at Stanford (maybe just invite them all to next year’s Dublin Web Summit and not let them leave?), the solutions are mostly long-term (education, training etc.). So let’s go after the startups themselves. With a cheque-book.
If you’re spinning up a new startup, particularly in the consumer web or gaming space, you should be thinking about Ireland. If you’re thinking about Ireland, you should be talking to this fund. While I won’t claim it’s perfect, it is an excellent start. I’d love to hear suggestions for tweaks and improvements.
(Btw, for everyone about to yell about EI not funding indigenous companies-relax. There are a bunch of other EI funds dedicated to this)