Par Equity, the Edinburgh-based venture capital firm, has led investments totalling £3.2m in two Northern Irish software companies, Plotbox and Datactics.
The companies represent a growing collective of technology firms based in the country benefitting from consistent support for start-ups from the private and public sector. A study published last year by the Enterprise Research Centre showed that compared to the rest of the UK, a higher proportion of Northern Irish companies exceeded £1m turnover within three years.
Investment Manager at Par Equity Graeme Mckinstry said: “Northern Ireland is producing some very high-quality opportunities for venture capital investment. The government and councils are investing billions in business infrastructure projects that will run until the 2030s, providing fertile ground for entrepreneurship. And its universities are some of the best in the UK for research and commercialisation of intellectual property, generating ideas and supplying quality graduates.
“Plotbox and Datactics are two of the best in class. Both firms have track records of strong sales growth and success in their core markets, and what’s key for us is that they’ve demonstrated both the scalability of their businesses and their customers’ appetite.”
Par Equity partnered with Ironbridge Capital Partners on the £2m investment into Ballymena-based Plotbox. The company provides software for cemetery management, enabling the user to run every aspect from mapping plots to maintaining records and deeds. The investment will go towards improving product functionality and customer support as well as expanding the company’s sales and marketing efforts. Graham Paterson has been appointed to the board as the Par Equity – Ironbridge Investor Director.
Plotbox CEO Sean McAllister said: “The team at Par has shown a strong vote of confidence in both PlotBox and the wider technology scene in Northern Ireland. Their investment will enable us to continue to improve a vital service for grieving families, and simplify the work of those who carry it out.
Datactics is based in Belfast and received £1.2m as part of a partnership between Par Equity and Kernel. The firm provides software tools for large scale institutions to manage vast volumes of data, while ensuring they remain compliant with regulations. Today, most of its clients are in financial services but it is currently speaking to a number of arms of the UK government with intensive data requirements.
Stuart Harvey, CEO of Datactics, said of the investment: “Over the past three years we’ve tripled our revenues and had to open offices in both New York and Milan to meet demand. Yet we’ve stayed headquartered in Belfast because of its excellent business environment and the available talent, and part of this funding will go towards hiring additional key personnel for the head office.
“The rest will go towards creating additional proof of concepts and extending our software platform and sales.”