Irish-led Sure Valley Ventures launches €113m UK tech fund

Sure Valley plans to expand its London and Cambridge presence with a new office in Manchester to invest in disruptive software innovation across the UK.

Sure Valley Ventures has completed a €101m first close of a €113m UK software technology fund.

The Irish-led venture firm invests in high-growth software companies in sectors such as the metaverse, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

“Many cities, including Manchester, as well as Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, have become dynamic tech hubs for start-ups”

The new fund includes a cornerstone €60m investment from the British Business Bank through its Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme, which aims to increase the supply of equity capital to high-potential, early-stage UK companies.

Scaling tech in the UK

Sure Valley is a seed capital investor in software companies that are focused on bringing a disruptive innovation to market. It plans to invest into 25 software companies from across the UK through its new fund.

“As entrepreneurs and founders ourselves, we have been on the other end of the table and therefore understand the challenges that start-ups face for funding”

“We are delighted to partner with the British Business Bank and existing and new investors on this new £95m UK software technology Fund,” said Sure Valley Ventures managing partner and co-founder Barry Downes.

“We are excited to expand on our existing London and Cambridge hubs, by opening a new office in Manchester. Many cities, including Manchester, as well as Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, have become dynamic tech hubs for start-ups. As entrepreneurs and founders ourselves, we have been on the other end of the table and therefore understand the challenges that start-ups face for funding. A local presence will ideally position us to execute on exciting deals in this region and we are always willing to travel across the UK to meet exceptional leaders, to invest in their businesses and help them scale and grow in international markets.”

Currently based in London, Dublin, and Cambridge, the Sure Valley team will also be opening an office in Manchester to help access deals in the significant and exciting innovation clusters that have developed around creative technologies in the North of England and in the Metaverse and AI opportunities in cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle.

The first investment from the Fund will be into a Belfast-based company, and the new office is expected to allow better access for Sure Valley’s team to proactively reach out to the creative and innovation clusters in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“The British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme plays a significant role in developing and maintaining effective venture capital provision in the UK, lowering the barriers to entry for emerging fund managers and for those targeting under-served areas of the market,” said Ken Cooper, managing director, Venture Solutions, at British Business Bank.

“Our cornerstone commitment to Sure Valley will support investment into high potential, early stage software companies that are leading change in the disruptive tech sector, across the UK.”Irish 

The sectors that Sure Valley Ventures invest in have significant growth potential over the next few years, for example Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are predicting that the Metaverse could be an $8trn opportunity.

In addition, the cybersecurity market is due to grow to $203 billion by 2027 according to Market Watch. Sure Valley has established a strong track record in these sectors, having invested in them since the firm’s inception in 2017 through investee companies including Getvisibility, Smarttech, Nova Leah and Precog Systems in the security space, Engage XR, War Ducks, Admix, Volograms, VividQ and Virtex in the Metaverse sector and Cameramatics, Artomatix and Ambisense in the AI sector.

Alongside the equity invested, Sure Valley supports entrepreneurs via its value-adding Platform, which draws on the team’s knowledge and experience as founders to create a programme which is tailored to each investee company’s individual needs. Sure Valley’s platform also features a global network of advisors, based in leading innovation hubs across the globe, including San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, LA, Austin and Seattle in the USA as well as leading European and Asian hubs.

Sure Valley has had success helping its investee companies grow and scale from Seed to Series A, and beyond with 93% of its investee companies raising follow-on Series A or B rounds within 24 months of the initial seed investment. This is a notable result, considering that on average 48% of companies fail to raise a follow on investment round at all, according to CBInsights.

In addition, many of Sure Valley’s current portfolio have gone on to further successes, including to IPO, e.g. Engage XR – a leading corporate metaverse company and Smarttech 247 – an AI-based cybersecurity company that plans to IPO in Q2 2022.

“The AI and immersive tech sectors are major British success stories and investments like this one by Sure Valley Ventures ensures that early stage companies in the Northern Regions can access the funding necessary to help them compete at the forefront of global innovation,” said UK Minister for Investment Lord Gerry Grimstone.

“It’s fantastic to see this investment into the North of England which demonstrates the UK’s investment attractiveness as we continue to level up all parts of the UK.”

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

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