Jonathan Klahr's words of intent will be welcomed with open arms by Ireland's tech companies. The managing director of US investment firm Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE) stated that the firm are intent on "upping the pace" in Europe and in particular Ireland.
On 10 May 2018, I stated that "The good news and bright tone (as admittedly suggested by the headline of this piece [record breaking year for Irish venture capital funding]) should also be welcomed with a degree of caution as the number of deals and level of European funding have both reduced and in addition to the decline in seed financing, there has been a notable decline in deals below €5m, being 16% in number and 28% in value." in relation to the then recently released figures for Irish venture capital funding.
SGE's latest news is in line with both the reliance on US funding and European decline highlighted above and signals that our entrepreneurs may continue to look to the US, rather than Europe for investment and growth. Governments in France and Germany are both advocating reform in various sectors and have stated that a joint effort in the EU is required to further improve the venture capital environment, as reported by Reuters here. Europe's powerful nations are certainly noting that lack of EU funding for technology start-ups and our domestic entrepreneurs will be hopeful that the pleas from Paris and Berlin are answered.
The decline in European funding is continuing, and the big nations are taking note. Irish companies are heavily reliant on US funding and although there are no immediate fears of an imminent drought coming from the US, we hope that it isn't just wishful thinking that a more balanced stream of investment can be achieved and an increased role being established from European funding and investors alike.
We watch with anticipation as analysts and governments seek positive action from the EU. It is possible that Irish companies reap some of the benefit of the €410 million European venture capital initiative, but for the moment US investment leads the way for Irish entrepreneurs.
"I would be very excited if we could do four or five investments over the next two to three years in Ireland. That's kind of our target," he added. SGE invests between $5m and $100m in firms. "We are looking for companies with sales. We are not an early-stage investor,"