A cash injection of £1.55 million into female-founded Belfast-based IT firm Kinsetsu means 100 Northern Ireland companies have now benefitted from investments of nearly £43m since the Co-Fund NI programme began in 2011.
Managed by Clarendon Fund Managers, Co-Fund NI is part of Invest NI’s Access to Finance suite of funds and a partner of the Regional Angel Programme, delivered by British Business Investments.
It co-invests alongside business angels and other private investors in deals typically valued between £150,000 and £2m, and its support has extended into sectors including advanced manufacturing and engineering, financial services, life and healthcare sciences, and digital ICT.
The first company to benefit 12 years ago was Cirdan Imaging, and to date Co-Fund NI has provided close to £43m in funding to businesses in the north, alongside £285m in private investment.
The landmark 100th company back by the fund is Kinsetsu, which secured £1.55m in a round led by Par Equity alongside business angels, supported by a £300,000 investment from Co-Fund NI.
Founded by Jackie Crooks and Joanne O’Doherty, Kinsetsu is a global software and IoT company that provides innovative sensor-based and automation technology solutions for tracking equipment, people, inventory and fleet to organisations within the healthcare, defence, government and commercial sectors.
It plans to use funding to scale business operations and fuel growth, with chief executive Joanne O’Doherty saying: “This funding has come at a hugely important time for our business.
“In recent months we have secured a number of large contracts, and this financial support will play a vital role in the expansion of our business operations.
“It will also support plans for further growth within the critical sectors we serve and help us to continue to provide positive change through our technology solutions.”
William McCulla, director of corporate finance at Invest NI, said: “Since 2011 we have provided investment support to 100 high growth potential companies through Co-Fund NI, which has leveraged significant private investment in the portfolio. We’re pleased our funding will contribute to Kinsetsu’s growth and support its plans for the future of the business.”
Claudine Owens, investment manager at Clarendon Fund Managers, added: “Reaching the 100th company milestone is a fantastic accomplishment and makes Co-Fund NI the most active equity investor in Northern Ireland.
“We’re proud that over a quarter of our businesses have a female founder, and we’re particularly pleased to welcome female-founded Kinsetsu as our 100th portfolio company and be part of their growth journey.”