Irish sovereign fund invests in online sales platform
Ireland’s sovereign development fund has joined a $50m (€46.9m) equity raise by sales platform InsideSales.com, which will see the creation of 120 jobs in the country.
In addition to funding from the €8.1bn Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), the website also attracted support from Microsoft and existing venture capital investors as part of the latest round of fundraising, which brings its total capital to $250m.
In a statement, InsideSales said its long-term goal was to create a centre of excellence for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in Ireland, with plans to hire 120 staff across product development, engineering and sales once a suitable location for the office is decided on.
Eugene O’Callaghan, the ISIF’s director, said the fund was pleased to welcome InsideSales to Ireland’s “flourishing” technology community.
O’Callaghan added: “This investment is well aligned with the ISIF’s mandate, with the key benefits to the Irish economy being the targeted creation of more than 120 high-quality jobs over the next three years.”
InsideSales.com’s chief executive Dave Elkington underlined the firm’s commitment to opening an office in Ireland, stressing that the AI technology at the heart of the sales platform would be unique among Ireland’s technology companies.
“We’re not only looking to hire some of Ireland’s best and brightest technology graduates,” said Elkington, “but also to help build a new, highly skilled industry in the region.”
The creation of jobs is but one of the metrics employed by the ISIF to measure how successfully its investments are at stimulating Irish economic growth.
In an upcoming issue of IPE, O’Callaghan said the fund had recently begun expanding its impact metrics beyond measuring job creation to be “a bit more verbal, a bit more qualitative, a bit more case-study driven”.
Its most recent economic impact report, covering the six months to June 2016, estimated that nearly 19,000 jobs had been created through the ISIF’s activities but also that the jobs created paid employees €657m in wages last year.
For more on the ISIF’s investment strategy, see our interview with Eugene O’Callaghan in the February issue of IPE