Kernel Capital has a long-standing strategic partnership with Bank of Ireland. The Bank is the largest private sector source of equity funding to Irish venture capital and is the corner stone investor in our venture capital funds, all of which carry the Bank of Ireland brand.
Kernel Capital operates the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Venture Funds on an independent basis with our own proprietary investment sourcing, screening and decision making process. The portfolio companies of The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Venture Funds employ over 1,000 people in Ireland, almost all at graduate and post graduate level. Bank of Ireland, our key strategic partner, has been at the heart of commerce in Ireland for over 200 years and is recognised as the No. 1 Corporate Bank in Ireland. The Bank plays a key role in supporting the SME sector in Ireland with SME loans amounting to €4 billion in 2013.
Kernel Capital has worked closely with Enterprise Ireland since 2002, when with the support of Enterprise Ireland, we established the first venture capital firm to be based in Cork, Ireland. From this initial €12.5m Fund we have grown our Funds under Management to €210m. Enterprise Ireland is a key investor in all our venture capital funds. Now an “all-island” venture capital firm with offices in Cork, Belfast and Dublin, we synergistically with Enterprise Ireland enable our portfolio companies to break into new markets and generate revenues of scale.
In 2013 Kernel Capital established its first partnership with Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI) following the creation of The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund. This fund has £30m allocated specifically for Northern Ireland and Invest NI is a corner stone investor. The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund (NI) was designed to help SMEs in Northern Ireland to accelerate their growth. Invest Northern Ireland has committed £15million of funding to this fund, which has the potential to invest over £24million in SMEs. Invest NI’s investment in the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Fund is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.
Invest NI is the Northern Ireland government organization focused on supporting businesses that are delivering economic growth within Northern Ireland. Invest NI’s Access to Finance programme has enabled the establishment of six investment funds providing over £170m of available finance. The funds are both debt and equity based, and invest in export focused businesses across the full spectrum of growth or development.
In 2016 the New York State Common Retirement Fund invested $7 million (£5 million) in the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund (NI). The Fund’s investment in Kernel Capital comes from its $115 million Emerging Europe Fund. The firm was selected following an analysis by 57 Stars LLC, which manages the Emerging Europe Fund.
57 Stars is an independent asset manager focused on investing in primary and secondary private equity partnerships and co-investments in select markets outside of the United States, primarily in emerging markets. With more than USD 2.8 billion under management, 57 Stars senior team has more than 100 years of collective experience investing in international private equity markets. The 57 Stars team has worked with notable institutional investors, including: US pensions, foundations, family offices, and sovereign entities.
In 2009 Kernel Capital established partnership with the University of Limerick when its Foundation became the first of its kind to invest directly in an Irish venture capital fund, i.e. The Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund, independently managed by Kernel Capital. This supports novel technology focused SME’s and enables Irish Universities leverage commercial success from their transformational research and intellectual property. University of Limerick on campus and related companies supported by Kernel Capital include; Stokes Bio (sold to NASDAQ quoted Life Technologies), Chip Sensors (Sold to NASDAQ quoted Silicon Labs), ResourceKraft and Altratech.
In 2011 Kernel Capital established a Partnership with NUI Galway when the Galway University Foundation invested directly in the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Seed & Early Stage Equity Fund, independently managed by Kernel Capital. It has an extensive board of Irish and U.S. business leaders from many of the world’s leading global corporations. This powerful network is a valuable resource for Kernel Capital portfolio companies, especially those associated with the NUI Galway and based in the Galway region, e.g neoSurgical, Veryan, Apica and Novate Medical.
Kernel Capital’s Cork office is based at the Rubicon Centre, Cork Institute of Technology. CIT is a major centre of learning, with over 1,400 staff and 12,000 registered students at under- and post- graduate level. The on-campus Rubicon Centre, where Kernel Capital has been based since its inception in 2006, is one of Ireland’s leading business incubation centers. With over 3,000 sq meters including extensive laboratory space, the Centre is home to over 50 knowledge based companies.
The Rubicon Centre is based in the same premises as the CIT NIMBUS Centre, Irelands only research centre devoted to the field of networked embedded electronic systems. This Centre supports research, learning and industry. The industry pillar is known as the TEC Gateway and is funded by HEA’s programme for Research (PRTLI), Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, FP7 and direct industry Funding. Companies on CIT campus supported by Kernel Capital include: MPStor, Radisens Diagnostics, Wavebreak Media, Nova Languages, Nomos Software and In Hand Guides.
Kernel Capital working with WIT is unique among Irish Venture Capital firms being the only firm who directly participated in the FP7 funded eDIGIREGION projects. This involved 16 partner organizations across Ireland, Hungary, Romania and Spain from Academia, Industry and Venture Capital. The objective of the programme was to establish a framework for the creation of an innovative ecosystem within the regions to facilitate the delivery of the EU Digital Agenda. The Irish Partners in the eDIGIREGION programme are WIT, Kernel Capital and IBEC. The output was published in 3 books in March 2017.
Waterford Institute of Technology is a University level institution in the South East of Ireland with over 10,000 registered students and over 1,000 staff. WIT has a thriving research and post graduate community, with many of its researchers having a high profile in both national and EU communities of academia and industry. It has formal Exchange and Research Partnerships with over 40 Universities worldwide.
Kernel Capital Partner, Ger Goold has participated in Silicon Valley based Kauffman Fellows programme and Niall Olden is a mentor. The Kauffman Fellowship is a highly sought-after two-year programme dedicated exclusively to the world of innovation investing. Many of the world’s leading venture capital firms are participants on the programme which creates for its participants a lifelong network within the global investment community.
Kaufman Fellows receive a structured curriculum with an individual development plan, executive coaching, facilitated mentoring, and peer learning and networking – all with a focus on giving back and on one’s responsibility as an emerging leader in the industry. Participant firms include Cisco, Bosch, Venrock, Sequoia Capital, Google, SAP, Battery Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvertson among others.