Sure Valley Ventures takes on a CTO as venture partner

Is a CTO a new prerequisite for venture firms keen to identify the next big thing?

Sure Valley Ventures, which last month revealed a new €50m deep tech fund for Irish regions, has appointed a chief technology officer and venture partner.

John Frizelle has more than 20 years’ software experience across start-ups, scale-ups, financial services, enterprise software and Web 3.0.

“We have been investing in AI since our inception in 2017 and recognise the huge opportunity right now for software start-ups to disrupt the current status quo and for us to find new unicorns”

A spokesperson for Sure Valley Ventures said that appointing a CTO and venture partner will give the firm an edge in terms of product vision, revenue growth and talent acquisition.

AI is a Sure thing for the regions

Frizelle joined Sure Valley from Pluto Digital, now Emergent Games, a leading metaverse and blockchain games studio, where he was a founding member and held the role of CTO. Prior to that, he was part of the early team at FeedHenry, a leader in mobile cloud technologies.

FeedHenry was sold in 2014 to Red Hat Inc, a leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, where John went on to become a Platform Architect and Senior Engineering Manager for a further seven years.

“John’s software expertise and network will be invaluable as we deploy our latest funds into exciting AI investment opportunities,” said Sure Valley Ventures CEO Barry Downes. “I am delighted to welcome him to the team, having worked with him on the development of several software companies throughout my career.

“As a founder-led firm, we are deeply interested in the software behind our companies and see huge potential in having a CTO on board who can truly immerse himself in the tech. John’s technical skills and experience in founding teams will be a huge asset to our portfolio as he understands what it takes to grow and scale a successful software business.

“We have experienced significant growth over the past year and have also grown our investment team and appointed a new marketing hire, reflecting the successful launch of two new funds with attractive investment return potential. We have been investing in AI since our inception in 2017 and recognise the huge opportunity right now for software start-ups to disrupt the current status quo and for us to find new unicorns.”

In February Sure Valley Ventures launched its third fund with a €30m first close to invest in the Republic of Ireland in deep tech areas like enterprise, immersive technologies, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

State agency Enterprise Ireland has contributed €15m to this stage of the fund which ultimately is targeting a final close of €50m.

“I am delighted to be joining Sure Valley Ventures at such an exciting time with the launch of our latest Irish Fund, focused on AI/ML in Enterprise, Immersive Tech and Cybersecurity,” Frizelle said.

“Sure Valley has been investing in these areas since 2017 with a mission to be at the forefront of emerging technologies and to support visionary entrepreneurs who are passionate about driving change. There is a thriving start up scene in Ireland and I am looking forward to working with founders, incubators, accelerators and industry leaders across the entire country as we usher in the next wave of innovation.”

Main image at top: John Frizelle, CTO, with Sure Valley Ventures CEO Barry Downes

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