Page 27

L

Angel Investment  Feature

ast year Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) announced its aim to increase the funding going into Irish start-ups to €25 million a year by 2020. HBAN is a joint initiative by InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland and serves as a “dating agency” of sorts to bring companies and angel investors together. Since 2007, HBAN angels have invested €85m in 407 separate deals. John Phelan is the National Director of HBAN and says the organisation has 12 syndicates of investors that have come together around the country based around sectors such as medtech, tech and food. “We’ve meetings every month and we have pools of companies that we present to each syndicate – that’s the matching element,” he explains. “We make marriages with a planned divorce – investors have to have an exit.” Phelan says the human element is really important in this type of investment and says it’s really valuable for investor and company to see the whites of each other’s eyes. He also says though the relationship between investor and company tends to vary, sometimes they can be quite involved. “We had one company called Phorest that got investment quite a few years ago, and the founder, Ronan Perceval, said one of the investors [tech entrepreneur] Pat Garvey was really instrumental in helping grow the business and gave a lot of time and advice. He is also more than a soundboard in that he opens a whole network in terms of sales and contacts. So some investors bring a huge amount of value other than cash; some are more passive, and we’ve seen everything in between too.”

John Phelan, National Director, HBAN

“UNDERSTAND WHO YOUR INVESTORS ARE AND WHAT THEIR STRENGTHS ARE. AS A START-UP, YOUR NETWORK IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU HAVE.” A Question of Funding

Dr John Tinsley, Minister Damien English and Dr Páraic Sheridan at the announcement of 15 new jobs at Iconic Translation’s Dublin HQ

Dr John Tinsley is CEO and co-founder of Iconic Translation, a language technology software company. The business is a DCU spin-out and Tinsley and business partner Dr Páraic Sheridan decided to launch with a few existing customers, but when it came to growing beyond that, the question of funding came up. “We looked at the option of VC funding but you’re probably talking about larger sums and it’s a yes-or-no situation when you pitch to a VC. With the syndicates, it’s one to many – you pitch to maybe 20 people and while it may not be everyone’s fancy, it might appeal to five or six. When we raised our seed round we pitched to syndicates in Dublin and Cork through the HBAN and a number of individuals came together to invest.” Iconic Translation received over €400,000 in funding from Bloom Equity and the Boole Investment Syndicate. Tinsley says the relationship with his investors is mixed, with some quite involved and some essentially passive, SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 25

024_BB 2018_Q3_Angel Investment_V1.indd 25

19/10/2018 09:43

Profile for Ashville Media Group

Better Business Q3 2018  

Official magazine of Small Firms Association

Better Business Q3 2018  

Official magazine of Small Firms Association