Investment firms backed by Enterprise Ireland invested €5m more last year than in 2012, according to the semi-State agency.

Firms using its Seed and Venture Capital Programmes invested €59m in 94 companies during 2013, it said, compared to a €54m investment in 84 companies during 2012.

To date half of the investments made via the programme were in the software sector, with more than a third going into life science firms.

The programme currently manages almost €700m in capital, according to Enterprise Ireland, with around 2,100 people employed by the firms that have gained investment through it to date.

Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton said venture capital funds provide “critical funding, mentoring and access to networks” for emerging companies, with the latest figures showing that the State has been successful in encouraging more VC activity here in recent years.