Melior raises €160m fund to invest in Irish SMEs

Ireland’s equity investment resources for backing Irish SMEs are gathering in strength.

Melior Equity Partners’ Fund II is the latest equity fund to be created for investment in Irish SMEs.

The fund has closed at €160m, making it one of the largest private equity funds in the State.

“We have built strong track records at leading global investment firms over many decades as well as locally over the last eight years working with ambitious Irish management teams”

It comes on the heels of the Bank of Ireland-backed Delta Fund which aims to close at €70m and Elkstone Capital’s €100m early stage fund.

In recent days Enterprise Ireland revealed that €28m was invested in 125 Irish start-ups in 2021.

The funding comes in the wake of the Irish Government revealing a new €90m fund for Irish start-ups via the Irish Innovation Seed Fund Programme. As seen in the past, such funds have the potential to be leverage by various investors to between €800m and €1bn to be invested in promising Irish companies.

Supporting ambitious, scaling Irish SMEs

Melior Equity Partners Fund II is backed by a pool of local and international blue-chip investors including The Carlyle Group, the European Investment Fund, Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, Bank of Ireland and AIB and will support ambitious Irish SMEs with strong growth prospects.

The new fund aims to fill the financing gap for small to medium sized businesses in Ireland. The firm is targeting ten equity investments in private Irish companies over the next four years, worth between €20 to €100 million, with a focus on founder-owned businesses seeking capital and support to radically accelerate their growth.

Melior uses its international networks and expertise, combined with its in-depth experience of the Irish market, to provide a differentiated proposition for Irish business owners and management teams with strong growth ambitions. Melior was launched by Jonathan Cosgrave and Peter Garvey in 2020.

“We are very proud of what the Melior team has achieved over the last two years,” said Jonny Cosgrave, co-founder of Melior Equity Partners.

“We have welcomed several new limited partners to our blue-chip investor base and succeeded in raising one of the largest Irish private equity funds.”

Melior has built an experienced team of ten professionals based in Dublin. The firm recently hired the former head of corporate finance at Key Capital, Jonathan Dalton as managing director. In addition, Melior has partnered with six Irish business leaders who act as senior advisors to the firm namely Fergal Leamy, CEO, Glen Dimplex; Laura Heuston, founder, Sustainability Works; Jimmy Tolan, former CEO, VHI; Conor Jones, senior director, Google; John-George Willis, former senior partner, Tughans, and Ulric Kenny, chair, Prepay Power. In addition, Campbell “Cam” Dyer, the former Co-Head of Global Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) at The Carlyle Group recently joined the firm’s senior advisor panel.

Prior to establishing Melior Equity Partners, Cosgrave and Garvey led the CCI Fund for The Carlyle Group investing in companies such as AA Ireland, Carroll Cuisine, GSLS, Learning Pool, Lily O’Brien’s, McCauley Pharmacy, Payzone, Sports Surgery Clinic and The City Bin Co.

“We have the most experienced investment team in the Irish market,” said Garvey.

“We have built strong track records at leading global investment firms over many decades as well as locally over the last eight years working with ambitious Irish management teams. We have a tremendous bench of senior advisors and an unmatched international reach through our ongoing relationship with The Carlyle Group. Collectively these attributes make Melior the partner of choice for many Irish business owners seeking help to grow.”

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