‘We need to scale from local resources’ urges new IVCA chair

Failing to provide locally sourced funding risks Irish jobs and the most promising businesses being cherrypicked though acquisition and moved abroad, warns Denise Sidhu.

Denise Sidhu has been named the new chair of the Irish Venture Capital Association and begins her term of office with a stark warning.

She warns that Irish jobs and headquarters risk moving abroad through acquisition just as these indigenous businesses reach their maximum growth potential. It’s time to draw a line in the sand.

“Ireland’s most innovative technology firms are being cherry picked by global investors”

Sidhu replaces Investec MD Leo Hamill who has completed his term of office.

She is the third woman to chair the IVCA in the last four years.

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The Irish Venture Capital Association is the representative organisation for venture capital and private equity firms in Ireland. Last year venture capital investment into Irish tech start-ups and SMEs totalled over €1.3bn.

Commenting on her election, Sidhu said that her focus would be to work with Government and all relevant stakeholders to put financial structures in place to ensure indigenous technology and life science firms will be able to source funding locally and maximise their potential.

“Ireland’s most innovative technology firms are being cherry picked by global investors. We need to be able to scale from local resources, rather than letting international investors harvest our best companies and develop jobs and headquarters overseas rather than here in Ireland.”

She added: “Failure to provide locally sourced scaling funding means that that Irish jobs and headquarters move abroad just at a time when companies are reaching their maximum growth potential. Funding local companies and scaling them here will help to broaden the tax base.”

Sidhu, who joined Kernel Capital in 2001, has played a key role in over 20 trade sales of the firm’s venture capital portfolio companies. She is a board member with portfolio investees B-Secur, Cirdan Imaging, Kianda Technologies and Nova Leah.

Before joining Kernel, Denise who is from Blackrock, Cork, was head of finance in Ulster Bank Commercial Services Limited and prior to that financial controller of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Channel Islands.

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.