ISIF announces its first two investments in its €50m initiative to promote female-led investment firms

ISIF announces its first two investments in its €50m initiative to promote female-led investment firms

The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), is today announcing its first two investments from its €50m initiative to promote female-led investment firms.

The two investments total €36m and will target the climate-tech and health-tech sectors.

Through the initiative, ISIF is seeking to demonstrate its commitment to addressing gender inequality and promoting greater diversity at senior levels – both within ISIF and in the companies and funds in which it invests.

The two investments announced today are:

  • A €15m commitment in a first-time fund managed by Blume Equity, a climate-tech investor.

Blume Equity is led by Michelle Capiod, Eleanor Blagbrough, and Clare Murray, with Eleanor Blagbrough leading Ireland coverage. Eleanor has worked with high-growth Irish companies for over a decade. Blume Equity has recently appointed Lucinda Woods as a Strategic Advisor. Based in Dublin, Lucinda is an experienced finance and strategy leader with a career spanning large publicly listed companies and the start-up and scale up ecosystem, as well as a Board Member of Enterprise Ireland.

A growth stage venture investor, Blume invests in businesses addressing climate and environmental challenges by focusing on sustainable food systems, responsible consumption and production, and healthy environment.

  • A €21m commitment to Norrsken Venture Capital, Fund II which is an impact focused venture capital fund that will focus on Seed and Series A investments in climate-tech and health-tech. Core investment themes include sustainable food systems, electrification, energy efficiency, and responsible consumption.

Norrsken Venture Capital is led by General Partners, Tove Larsson and Agate Freimane, and it aims to invest at least €21m from Fund II in portfolio companies headquartered in, or having material business operations or projects in, Ireland.

Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath TD said:

“I welcome today’s announcement by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) of its €36m investment in the climate-tech and health-tech sectors made up of a €15m commitment in a first-time fund to be managed by Blume Equity and a €21m commitment to Norrsken Venture Capital, Fund II.

Today’s investment is part of a €50m commitment to addressing gender inequality and promoting greater diversity at senior levels within ISIF itself and both the companies and funds in which it invests, which I fully support and am proud to be associated with.

We must never lose sight of the potential benefits that come with greater diversity and inclusion such as better decision making and also economic outcomes for companies.”

Nick Ashmore, Director, ISIF said:

“We are delighted to make these two investments, representing over 70% of our initial ambition for committing €50m to investment firms that are founded by or led by women.

As we said when launching this initiative, women have been under-represented at senior levels in finance for too long and these investments show that our commitment to changing this is now being matched by tangible action.

These commitments align with ISIF’s double bottom line mandate to invest on a commercial basis in a manner designed to support economic activity and employment in Ireland. They also demonstrate the importance ISIF places on supporting high-quality, female majority owned investment firms, to deliver greater diversity in decision-making and more opportunities for women to pursue and succeed in senior investment roles.”

Clare Murray, Co-Founding Partner at Blume Equity said:

With the consequences of climate change omnipresent, there has never been a more exciting nor urgent time to be investing in companies tackling the climate crisis. We at Blume Equity partner with these companies to support their scale-up journeys. With our partnership with ISIF, an investor with a clear commitment to this space, we are excited to work with Irish climate related companies – a country where we see significant innovation in climate-tech.”

Tove Larsson at Norrsken said:

“We're thrilled to partner with ISIF in driving impactful investments in companies building solutions for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This commitment not only underscores ISIF's dedication to fostering diversity but also aligns with our mission at Norrsken VC to support force of nature founders that address the biggest challenges of our time while building massive businesses. We look forward to leveraging this partnership to make meaningful strides towards a more sustainable and equitable future."

ISIF is working on a strong pipeline of opportunities with a number of investment firms that align with this initiative.

The initiative aims to build on existing measures by ISIF to drive greater female participation at senior levels within the financial sector.

These include establishing a dedicated programme to measure female representation at leadership positions within the ISIF portfolio, including the extent of female participation on Boards, at CEO level, and investment decision-making level.