Innovation Focus At Kernel Capital

11 Aug 2017 | 05.03 pm

Innovation Focus At Kernel Capital

Ambition alone will not build a company, says Niall Olden

11 Aug 2017 | 05.03 pm

Established in Cork in 1999, Kernel Capital is the independent manager of the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Investment Funds, one of the largest and most active sources of equity finance in Ireland.

Kernel Capital has raised over €210m through institutional investors and undisclosed family offices. The company invests €1m to €5m per company, and is the only VC with dedicated funds for each jurisdiction on the island of Ireland.

Managing partner Niall Olden (pictured) says that consistently executing quality investments is never an easy process, though after two decades of investing in Irish technology Kernel Capital has established an extensive network and wide ranging access to the market place.

“Since 2002 Kernel Capital has invested in 79 companies and consistently delivered strong financial returns for our investors,” says Olden. “We have led more than 20 substantial trade sales and our portfolio companies employ over 1,100 people, most at graduate and post graduate level.”

Though based in Cork, Kernel Capital is geographically agnostic. “The differentiation we see north or south of the border is between those areas that have strong centres of excellence and those that do not. Where there are centres of excellence you get innovation,” Olden explains.

“From an investment perspective, UCC, Tyndall, CIT, UL and the TSSG at WIT all feed into the startups in the Cork region. Local companies that we have invested in include Farran Technology (sold to Smiths Detection), Bio Atlantis, Qumas (sold to Accelrys), Zeto, In Hand Guides, Radissons Diagnostics, MPStor (sold to Sanmina Inc), Ferfics and Wavebreak.”

In Olden’s view, ambition alone will not build a company. “We focus on intelligent entrepreneurs with a clear vision and strong work ethic. We focus on deep technology opportunities in software, semi-conductors, telecoms and engineering. These are the areas where we have strong domain knowledge and extensive commercial experience.”

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