A leading European venture capital firm has joined forces with Enterprise Ireland to launch a new multi-millon euro fund aimed exclusively at the Irish market.

European micro-cap venture capital firm, Hoxton Ventures, yesterday announced the launch of its new €5.875m fund as part of the Government’s €700m Seed and Venture Capital Scheme.

The London-based firm has been quietly meeting with Irish entrepreneurs for the last few months and expects to make several investments in Irish start-ups over the coming three years.

Commenting on the announcement, Hoxton Ventures founder Rob Kniaz said: “We are excited to open up an Irish presence. Ireland has become a leading place for large technology companies entering the European market, and we think it has the seeds of innovation to build exceptional companies”.

Hoxton was founded by former Accel and Fidelity Ventures employees, Hussein Kanji and Rob Kniaz and invests primarily in software-driven companies and services.

The fund also announced two new members to its team yesterday, including Irish technology entrepreneur Dylan Collins – the man behind Jolt Online which was acquired by Gamestop, and DemonWare which was bought out by US video game publisher, Activision.

Enterprise Ireland chief executive, Julie Sinnamon said she was delighted to welcome another fund manager to the market, describing it as a major opportunity for early-stage firms.

“Enterprise Ireland is delighted to commit €2.5m to the first closing of Hoxton’s Irish Sub Fund. This fund will build on the success of the 2007-2012 Seed & Venture Capital Programme and the addition of a new fund manager to the Irish market represents a great opportunity for our clients,” said Ms Sinnamon.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton welcomed the increased availability of non-bank funding, as result of the decision, which he said is a key government concern.

Figures released earlier this year showed that the amount of venture capital funding invested in Irish companies from Enterprise Ireland-backed funds rose by 9% last year.

In total, 94 companies received a total of €59m in 2013 – an increase of €5m on the previous year.

Meanwhile,Enterprise Equity Venture Capital, announced that it has teamed up with Silicon Valley-based seed fund and start-up accelerator, 500 Startups.

The partnership will offer Irish start-ups the opportunity to be fast-tracked to take part in one of the accelerator programmes run by 500 Startups each year.

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