IIBN Global Connections Issue 2 March 2021

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Chris Burge, Spark Crowdfunding on What does an Investor look for in a Start-up

Deirdre McGettrick, ufurnish.com on Growing a business in Covid

Ross Finegan, Lonsdale Capital Partners on Entrepreneurs - Plan Your Exit

IIBN

Global Connections www.iibn.com

Irish US Immigration Lawyers

Fiona McEntee and Janice Flynn Welcome The New Administration in Washington!

Connecting Irish Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals, Globally



WELCOME

A welcome message from Fionuala Pender, IIBN Global Chair Welcome to the first issue of Global Connections for 2021, the IIBN eMagazine for our 9,000 members globally. We are delighted to bring you a terrific line up of Guest Contributors this month, including Fiona McEntee of McEntee Law in Chicago, Janice Flynn of Janice Flynn & Associates in London, Ross Finnegan of Lonsdale Capital Partners in London, Chris Burge of Spark Crowdfunding in Dublin and Deirdre McKettrick of UFurnish in London. In addition to this, we feature the Profiles of a broad group of IIBN Members from across all of our

IIBN

Global Connections

Global Connections magazine is published by: Irish International Business Network Registered address: 2nd Floor, 15 Greycoat Pl, Westminster, London SW1P 1SB, United Kingdom Editor: IIBN Executive Team e: info@iibn.com Advertising Sales: Ailbhe Mullen t: +44 (0) 7470 339799 t: +353 892363821 e: ailbhe@iibn.com Design: Dean Coulter Design on Tap www.designontap.co.uk www.iibn.com

© Irish International Business Network Global Connections is published 6 times a year. No reproduction of any part of the magazine is permitted, nor storage in a retrieval system without prior consent of the publisher. No commercial exploitation is permitted. No warranty is implied in respect of any product or trader mentioned herewith.

Chapters and across all business sectors. Future editions of this Magazine will further extend these profiles and we will be in contact with you in the coming weeks and months for inclusion in these. For those of you who have been attending IIBN events going back many years we have included a series of photos from previous events. As a not-for-profit organisation, we are very grateful to our sponsors for their continued support of IIBN, many of whom you will see in the ads throughout this eMagazine. If you would like to promote your own business in future issues of Global Connections, we would love to hear from you. Finally, many of our Members may now be looking for new job opportunites and we are keen to stress that IIBN is well placed to help you deepen connections and / or advertise any job openings you may have in the coming months that can be shared with the IIBN community globally. We hope you enjoy reading (and

sharing!) this, our latest issue of Global Connections, as much as we have enjoying preparing it. Who could have imagined, as we gathered for events in London, New York and Dublin in February 2020, that it would be this long before we could meet? With the vaccination rollout well underway across all major cities, we are hopefully getting much closer to the time when we can start running face-to-face events again and we greatly look forward to meeting you all in person in the very near future. Fionuala Pender IIBN Global Chair

CONTENTS 03 Welcome and contents

12 Members Profiles

06 Entrepreneurs - Plan Your Exit by Ross Finegan

26 What does an Investor look for in a Start-up? By Chris Burge

08 New Visa Opportunities and Hope for the Undocumented Irish in the USA by Fiona McEntee

28 Growing a business in Covid by Deirdre McGettrick 34 IIBN Programmes

10 Good News for IIBN Members who want to Live and do Business in the USA By Janice Flynn

36 Throw Back from Event in 2019

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The Best Place to Meet the Best Senior Irish Professionals, Globally

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ENTREPRENEURS

BY ROSS FINEGAN, LONSDALE CAPITAL PARTNERS

Entrepreneurs - Plan Your Exit

Entrepreneurs are the life blood of business, the ones who take risks, seize opportunities, take chances and often fail. As much as they fail, the real entrepreneurs learn their lessons and start again. 06

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They continue to learn, regarding every day as an opportunity to do better and learn more. They create businesses big and small, from the local corner shop to multi-billion global corporations and they should all be recognised by society and governments, for bringing employment to those of us who are more risk averse. However, not even the best entrepreneurs are immortal, and there comes a time when even they need to step-back and spend more time with their families and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Connecting Irish Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals, Globally

Similar to a grown-up child leaving home for the first time, entrepreneurs need to start letting their “baby” go and let someone else take it to the next level. Succession and/or selling a business is often the most stressful part of an entrepreneur’s career because of this dynamic. What options do business owners have? The answer is multiple, too many to list here, but the few I am going to cover here are; a full sale to a competitor (a trade sale), a full sale to Private Equity (“PE”), or a partial sale to PE.


ENTREPRENEURS

A sale to trade typically marks the end of the founders’ involvement. Trade (generally) do not want a founder to hold a residual stake. They have their own way of running the business and do not need or want his/her help. Trade will acquire the business, integrate it into their business, implement the cost saving initiatives, keep some employees and let others go. This route often maximises day 1 proceeds as 100% of the business is acquired and the entrepreneur can retire and spend their time and money as they please thereafter. Looking at the PE route, the entrepreneur must decide well in advance of sale as to whether he/she wants to continue running the business post sale. If not, the founder will have had to replace themselves as CEO prior to a sale so the new PE owner has someone to “back” for the following three to five years (the normal holding period for PE). The new CEO will need to have had plenty of time to get to know the business, develop his/her own forward-looking plan and must be a credible leader. With the right person in place, entrepreneurs can sell up to 100% of their business to management (backed by PE). This is known as a Management Buy-Out (“MBO”). NOTE: Sometimes entrepreneurs underinvest in the new key person that will be backed, or make the hire too late in a process, leading to a new buyer doubting the ability of the new CEO and potentially walking away from the deal or reducing its desire (and thus price) to complete. My advice is to find the best person you can afford, with the right experience, attitude and hunger and bring them in well in advance of sale.

A more recent trend has seen more entrepreneurs “de-risking” and only selling a proportion (significant majority or minority) of their business to PE, remaining as CEO and continuing to grow the business post transaction. If done successfully, this can result in the entrepreneur making far more money than on a full trade sale because the entrepreneur effectively sells their business twice. Most entrepreneurs will not have taken significant proceeds out of the business and have “all their eggs in one basket” but are not ready to retire. This route enables them to take significant monies off the table on sale, but they stay on as CEO, owning a significant stake in the business going forward. The entrepreneurs can pay off the mortgage, buy houses for their kids, buy that second house in the sun or whatever they want. The important element of this is that the entrepreneur no longer needs to worry about having enough money. They can concentrate on growing the busines while also having a greater risk outlook on opportunities to expedite the growth of the business. A successful business has multiple options available to it, but the entrepreneur running it needs to plan well in advance. If the entrepreneur prepares early, all the options above (and more) are available. Sadly, too often, we see wonderful small businesses, with significant growth potential, but they are overly dependent on the entrepreneur who has not put a proper succession plan in place. Where do Lonsdale participate in this? Lonsdale focuses on the smaller end of the Irish and UK market, investing in businesses generating profits of between €2m

and €7m per annum. In 14 of the 15 (platform) deals we have worked with the founder/entrepreneur post transaction (the one deal where the founder was not involved relates to an asset purchased from a bank). This has taken various shapes and forms, from the Founder owning 10% and being non-executive, to the Founder retaining c40% and continuing as the CEO. Often, the combination of the entrepreneur and Lonsdale leads to significant growth in the business and results in the entrepreneur realising as much if not more proceeds on the second exit (the PE exit) as they did on the initial exit. One final word on PE in general. The vast, vast majority of what our industry does is backing management teams and entrepreneurs in growing their businesses. We help entrepreneurs and managers expand organically and by acquisition, by hiring the right people, by agreeing an effective strategy and going for it. Like anything in life, it does not always work, but in most cases, the combination of PE and entrepreneurs is successful and results in enhanced value for all. Meanwhile, we all have a lot of fun and work with wonderful entrepreneurs and managers, most of whom remain friends thereafter. Our current Irish portfolio consists of two businesses: Cross Rental Services in Dublin and Elite Electronic Systems in Fermanagh. At the date of writing this article, we are in processes to acquire two other businesses in the country. Ireland is a “hot-bed” of wonderful entrepreneurs and we will continue to invest in this exciting market!

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US IMMIGRATION

New Visa Opportunities and Hope for the Undocumented Irish in the USA Immigration law and policy have always been politically contested in the United States, but we have never seen more attacks on immigration than we’ve witnessed over the past four years.

By Fiona McEntee, Managing Attorney of McEntee Law Group, a full-service immigration law firm based in Chicago with a satellite office in Dublin. Fiona is also the Chair of the Media & Advocacy Committee for AILA, the national bar association of immigration lawyers with over 15,000 members. 08

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Under the Trump administration’s tenure, the USCIS - the agency tasked with handling citizenship and visa applications - removed reference to the U.S. being a "nation of immigrants" from its mission statement and instead replaced it with language about "protecting Americans.” For many, for me, this crystallizes how the Trump administration has relentlessly changed the government's approach to immigration.

agenda on immigration, amongst other things. The Biden/Harris immigration platform has confirmed its plan to reverse many restrictions on immigration put in place during the Trump administration; provide a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented immigrants; fully restore DACA; ensure a fair process for asylum seekers; keep immigrant families together; and, modernize the business/employment immigration system.

It’s also worth noting that no areas of immigration – business, family, student, humanitarian – have escaped the wrath of this administration. Even before all the pandemic-related bans (#banzilla), we had seen drastic reduction in approvals, and a dramatic increase in scrutiny and denials, across the board.

I am also hopeful that they will take into consideration many of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s comprehensive recommendations on swift immigration reform. AILA is the national bar association of immigration lawyers with over 15,000 members and I currently serve as the Chair of the Media and Advocacy Committee for the organization. Our policy recommendations were developed in consultation with AILA’s national policy committees and our network of volunteer lawyers.

But thankfully, a new day is here! I was honored to participate in some events for the Biden campaign and I’m delighted to officially congratulate President Biden and Vice President Harris. I’m really looking forward to seeing their administration advance their stated

AILA’s key recommendations for the Biden/Harris administration include: n Issue a presidential proclamation that sets a new vision for America as a welcoming nation and renounces anti-immigrant policies.

Connecting Irish Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals, Globally


US IMMIGRATION

n Ensure fairness, efficiency, and accountability in all immigration agencies that process family, employment, and other immigration applications. n Restore integrity and due process to the immigration courts and guarantee legal counsel. n Restore U.S. asylum law and humanitarian protections. n End inhumane detention. n Set a vision for immigration enforcement that is fair, humane, and effective. n Fully reinstate DACA and protect undocumented people and others with deep ties to America. n Promote immigrant entrepreneurship, business growth, investment, and job creation to revive the U.S. economy. The reality is that some of the Trump administration’s policies may take years to change. For some people, the damage of those policies could be permanent. Partisanship in Congress and competing priorities caused by the

pandemic could all contribute to extensive legislative delays in the months and years ahead. However, the Biden/Harris immigration plan is a strong start and it provides hope that things will get better for the immigration in the U.S. Notwithstanding that, he real work of rebuilding our country into a nation that accepts and embraces immigrants will take years of continued dedication to fight the age-old narrative that vilifies immigrants. As the American Immigration Council has stated, this is a “culture battle”, that will take perseverance in the advocacy and education against the misinformed concept that immigrants pose a threat to Americans and America’s wellbeing.

advocated both for the undocumented in addition to an option for future flow of workrelated visas to the U.S. The result of years of future flow roundtable discussions and lobbying was the possibility of the “Irish E-3 visa”. We have seen variations of this option make its way through Congress over the years and as recently two years ago it came very close to passing. If passed, it would have allowed eligible Irish citizens to apply for the approximately 5,000 E-3 visas unused by Australian citizens each year. It offered a suitable, long-term option for qualifying Irish citizens to live and work in the U.S. We hope that there will be a renewed effort on that front with a new administration, and a new Congress.

It remains to be seen what will become of the much-desired “Irish E-3 visa”. Many of us in the Irish immigration community in the U.S., especially my great friend and former Irish Senator Billy Lawless and former Special Envoy to U.S. Congress John Deasy, have long

The Biden-Harris administration undoubtedly signifies a more progressive stance for immigration and this, we welcome with open arms. It’s a starting point for moving forward and we’re excited to get to work! Immigrants, we get the job done!

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IMMIGRATION

BY JANICE FLYNN

Good News for IIBN Members who want to Live and do Business in the USA Today, as I write this on inauguration day, there is hope that the US will continue to be a nation of immigrants. With President Biden’s ancestral ties to the Blewitts of County Mayo and the Finnegans of County Louth and Vice President, Kamala Harris’ immigrant parents this administration understands first-

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hand of the power of immigration on people’s lives. This administration provides confidence in that we have a team capable of changing immigration law while improving US society and the economy.

Connecting Irish Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals, Globally

But that is not how it was in 2017. Just days after he was sworn into office, Trump signed an executive order banning those from predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States, aka


IMMIGRATION

the “Muslim travel ban”, then the phrase “nation of immigrants” was removed from US government web sites, and the heart break of refugee children separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border. Further, the leadership in the last four years has done more to impede US immigration than any other administration in history. The outgoing US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has been dubbed the “worst Secretary of State ever” and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services has suffered from a series of changes in leadership, budget shortfalls and the loss of 65% of its work force capacity during the pandemic. Humans implement US immigration law and those who review the applications have had a rough ride these last four years resulting in a loss of institutional knowledge and morale. Two days before Trump was to leave office, he was still trying to exert influence after he leaves office and he signed an executive order to rescind the COVID-19 travel bans for UK, Ireland, Schengen, and Brazil from January 26th, 2021, the date when all travelers into the US (including US citizens and Permanent Residents) must have a negative COVID test result within 72 hours of entering the US. Biden’s Press Secretary responded that the Biden administration will re-instate the COVID travel bans for the timebeing and will make changes on the advice of its medical experts (how novel!!). The good news is that, in the long run, the blunt instrument of blanket bans will likely be replaced with a smarter system of testing to prevent the spread of new variants of the COVID-19 virus into the United States from other countries. With Biden coming into office and a

Democratically controlled Congress, there is hope for a major change in US immigration law and policy. The Biden administration released fact sheets about the US Citizenship Act 2021 and executive actions to repeal Trump’s harsh immigration enforcement actions and to stop the Mexican-US border wall construction. The US Citizenship Act 2021 sets out an ambitious reform to the US immigration system including: n Growing the US economy and attract highly skilled and professional workers to the US with reforms to employmentbased immigration, increasing the number of temporary and permanent visas and making it easier for recent graduates of US advanced degree programs in STEM fields to stay in the US and eliminate other unnecessary hurdles for employment-based immigration. n Creating a pilot program to stimulate regional economic development, giving the Department of Homeland Security the authority to issue green cards based on macroeconomic conditions, and incentivizes higher wages for temporary, high-skilled visas to prevent unfair competition with US workers. n Creating an earned path to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented individuals which includes many Irish citizens living in the who do not have US visa status. The Biden administration proposes allowing those without status in the US to apply for a temporary visa and a

green card after five years which will lead to US citizenship. n Keeping families together by removing the roadblocks like the three and ten-year bars to reenter to the US that are keeping many families apart. n Clearing US visa backlogs to reduce wait times and eliminate per-country visa caps. n Increasing Diversity Visa Lottery visas to 80,000 from 55,000 immigrants from underrepresented countries including Ireland. n Prioritizing “Smart Border Controls” to guard US borders more effectively. n Addressing the root causes of migration to prevent future border crises. After four years of chaos, we will finally have strong leadership at the helm that knows that the US is stronger when we welcome the best and brightest to contribute to its economy and culture. This is good news for IIBN members who want to do live and do business in the US!

Janice Flynn is Principal Lawyer of Janice Flynn & Associates, a US visa and nationality law firm based in London and Dublin. Janice is the Secretary of the AILA Rome District Chapter’s Executive Committee and is the Vice Chair of Immigrant Counseling & Psychotherapy, a UK-based charity primarily providing counseling and psychotherapy to Irish immigrants in the UK.

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MEMBER PROFILES

IIBN Member Profiles Jacqueline Quinn Creative Director, JACKIE Collection Jacqueline is based in New york city, but is originally from Dublin. She has been in Fashion for over 25 years and started the 'JACKIE' collection in January 2019. She had just finished a collection for Betsey Johnson as her Creative Director and wanted to do something for herself. The JACKIE collection is housed at Omdiveboutique, Drury street, Dublin. They also sell to some stores in the US and have a strong online presence. Jacqueline also has private clients, this is the main area of the business and she works as a freelance design consultant for two very large

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brands in New York. She has a small staff at her studio, one seamstress, an assistant and two interns. She employs more part time staff around photoshoots and runway shows when they are working and showing at Fashion week.Jacqueline designs, consults and makes all the design decisions, working closely with the market and Fashion trends. IIBN has been great to open up the brand and has given the JACKIE brand a great platform in New York, creating brand awareness. Jacqueline is looking forward to working with IIBN next year in planning a large Fabulous Fashion event. Jacqueline is offering all IIBN

members 20% off at all their pop up stores starting later this year and this can also be used for JACKIE accessories sold at: www.AdoreJackie.com

Jennifer Rothwell Founder, Creative Director & Designer at Jennifer Rothwell Jennifer is based in Dublin, but was born in New York. Her company is also based in Dublin, but sells internationally via the company website, with a particularly loyal customer base in the USA. In 2006, having returned from New York in 2005, Jennifer launched Jennifer Rothwell fashion brand in Dublin. Jennifer Rothwell offers ready to wear, accessories and tailored, made to measure, bespoke services for women and menswear. They also cater to corporate orders. Their client profile

is a confident person who appreciates good design and high quality, timeless fashion, seeking an investment buy. Their USP is iconic uplifting colourful silk prints which promote Irish heritage and culture through contemporary fashion. Telling the story of Ireland through wearable works of Art! IIBN Members could help Jennifer by purchasing her designs on www.jenniferrothwell.com and through introductions to partnerships which will lead to design licensing. Jennifer is offering a 10% discount online for the next 14 days if members use the special code “IIBN10” at checkout!

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MEMBER PROFILES

Jessica McClearn Trade & Business Tourism, Tourism Ireland Jessica is based in New York but grew up in Lisburn, County Antrim. She attended university in Belfast, studying History and Social Anthropology at Queen’s University and completing a Masters in International Tourism Management at Ulster University. Jessica works for Tourism Ireland in the New York office, located on Park Avenue. Tourism Ireland was established in 1999 as the international tourism marketing body for the island of Ireland. It works with US Trade and Media to target the Culturally Curious and Social Energizer consumer segments who are characterised broadly through their desire for authentic, unique experiences at

the heart of the destination. Tourism Ireland also has extensive advertising campaigns and brand partnerships to reach the consumer directly. Jessica gained her position with Tourism Ireland through the IBEC Global Graduate Scheme, working in Trade and Business Tourism. She works largely on trade education through hosting webinars with Irish industry partners and account management of three North American luxury trade consortia. Every day is different and she thoroughly enjoys the communication and liaison role which comes with her position and the forging of strong partnerships between the island of Ireland and North America. The IIBN will provide a platform to share knowledge into how to aid

recovery to Irish businesses over the coming months. It has been a supportive network to develop her own personal career through attending networking events in New York as well as participating in the LEAP- Leadership and Executive Leadership Program directed by Maura Kelly, Jennifer Scanlon and Courtney Sunna. Jennifer looks forward to continuing these connections!

John Lynch Founder and Lead Designer, Context Studio Originally from the Fair City, John previously worked in global design roles (consulting and in-house) in Ireland, Denmark, and the UK.He founded Context Studio in 2018 with the goal of improving Irish business and public service through service design. The company is a dedicated service design studio, on a mission to improve the services Irish people experience every day. They’ve already got an

international client base, and are growing the market for service design at home in Ireland. Service design improves the experience of both customers and stakeholders by better supporting “service journeys” – or the delivery/experience of a service over time. It involves research with customers and stakeholders, collaborative innovation with delivery teams, and prototyping – building and testing a service at low cost, to learn more, and de-risk implementation. Context Studio works with organisations to better understand customer behaviour and needs, delivery processes, and backend systems, and to design enhanced service delivery mechanisms which improve customer experience and efficiency at the same time. Additionally, John

believes a capability-building approach is core to achieving lasting impact. As Context Studio solves a problem for your business, your internal teams will collaborate, and attain the service design mindset and tools to maintain a customer centric approach and to constantly iterate and improve upon the way things work. John was thrilled to become a member of IIBN following a successful application to be part of the Department of Foreign Affairs “Back for Business” programme in 2020. Context Studio is happy to offer IIBN members a 1 hour live webinar and Q&A session for their teams to introduce the fundamentals of Service Design and how it might support bettering the ways we all do business.

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MEMBER PROFILES

John McLaughlin Founder of McLaughlin's Irish Shop McLaughlin's Irish Shop was founded in Bremen in 1986 and still operates from there. The business was originally a bricks and mortar retail operation with additional outlets in Hamburg and Cologne and a classic mail order catalogue business selling Irish products nationwide in Germany , Austria and Switzerland. After venturing into online retailing in 2006, they decided to concentrate exclusively on ecommerce and have not regretted the decision. The business is owned jointly by John, originally from Dublin and his German wife Petra. With very few exceptions, their products are sourced in Ireland and cover a wide range of items from Handknits to Smoked Salmon. Their customer

base is 95% German speaking and includes all age groups. These customers may or may not have been to Ireland, in fact the majority would not have been, but hold Irish products in high regard. John and Petra’s job is to match German expectations to suitable and available Irish products. They have never really specifically targeted the Irish community in Germany. Of course, many of the community purchase goods from them, in particular tea and brown bread, and recommend them to German acquaintances. John would love to increase this business, and the IIBN with its focused outreach to the Irish in Germany is certainly the

ideal platform for such efforts. An exclusive offer for IIBN members: A genuine Irish food specialty, a 205g jar of Lakeshore Wholegrain Mustard with Irish Stout to go with every order placed between 01.09 and 31.12.2020. Voucher-code ( type into "Gutschein"-box when ordering) is LAKESHORE.

John Naughton CEO of GoContractor Based in New York City, John is originally from Edenderry, Co Offaly. A Mechanical Engineering graduate from the University of Limerick, with an MBA from Torrens University Australia. GoContractor is a SaaS company advancing safety and productivity in

the construction sector. With offices in Dublin and New York GoContractor solves efficiency and safety problems for companies at their trade worker level. By digitizing the trade worker induction process, GoContractor helps projects achieve safety compliance and productivity before workers step foot on the job site. GoContractor allows trade workers to register, upload regulatory documents, and even complete safety training from a smart device. Major construction companies and federations like SISK, Turner, Gilbane, Roadbridge,

Exyte, and the CIF all utilise GoContractor on their projects. As the CEO of GoContractor, Naughton prioritizes innovation for health, safety, and welfare in construction by identifying the opportunities technology has in driving those initiatives for organizations. Naughton brings to GoContractor over 15 years of leadership experience in technology transformation in construction, agriculture, marine, mining, and manufacturing. GoContractor is rapidly expanding in the Irish, U.K. and U.S. markets. GoContractor wishes to network with IIBN members both locally and globally, connecting to leaders in those markets, and in doing so, reach new opportunities.

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Connecting Irish Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals, Globally


MEMBER PROFILES

Kevin Gallivan Founder and Executive Recruiter of Co-Digi After completing a Masters in International Business at DIT in 2012, Ken decided to move to New York where he spent 5 years gaining experience within the recruitment industry. He lived in Bushwick, the heart of Brooklyn and only 20 minutes from Manhattan. It was an exciting time and he had the opportunity to work with some excellent technology companies like CB4 Analytics, Adyen, Riskified, Rhumbix, Consensys etc. Co-Digi started trading in April 2019 and works with innovative tech companies to help them hire key sales and account management personnel. Co-Digi’s clients cover areas such as Martech, Fintech, Video, Ecommerce, AEC, Mobile and Data Analytics. Whilst headquartered in Dublin they actually signed the first client in NY and they have worked remotely from day one, servicing clients across the US and more recently in London. Co-Digi’s niche focus on revenue generating talent enables them to bring value and insight to the selection process. Through local knowledge and international expertise, they have a deep pool of candidates with industry and vertical expertise. Kevin is very grateful for the introductions and connections made through the IIBN network and is always keen to speak with candidates and clients alike within the technology sector.

Ken Kinsella Owner, The Source Bulk Foods Rathmines Ken operates and lives in the city he was born, Dublin, having spent 10 years in Belgium running his own juice bar concept which he grew from one bar in Antwerp to 13 bars across three countries. The Source Bulk Foods is a Zero waste grocer with over 500 products including organic wholefoods, cereals, herbs and spices, cooking liquids and oils, healthy snacks and sustainable personal and household products, all plastic free. It is an Australian concept and Ireland is the fifth country that it has entered under a franchise agreement operated by Ken. The client profile is varied with customers of all demographics. The main demographic is 30 to 40 year old females. Ken currently employs 7 staff and expects to have a team of 30 in two years from now. The Source Bulk Foods offers both click and collect and a delivery service. In the last 6 months Ken worked in many roles across the business as he needed to understand it from the ground up. He is now in the process of stepping back so he can expand nationwide. Ken is offering all IIBN members 10% off for the month of July.

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MEMBER PROFILES

Lisa Ronan Founder and Director of Cru Create Lisa is from Dublin, having recently returned after spending nearly a decade living in London. Her Creative Agency, Cru Create, is based in Dublin. Cru combines Graphic Design & Retail Design under one humble roof. At Cru, they design how brands look and feel and then, how you experience them. Their design services include Branding, Campaigns, Online & Social, Interiors & Pop-Ups, Events & Set Design and VM & Windows. The team at Cru has tons of creative experience, across big brands, small independents, in-house & agency side. They have wrapped London buses (NARS) and created a four tonne monster truck for a Westfield store (Missguided). They’ve been there, done the 40hr shifts, got the t-shirt. The difference is, they don’t have big heads or huge overheads. They keep it simple to be approachable. They keep it small to be affordable. They love what they do and it shows. Cru is on the lookout for a couple of partners; an Accountant, an SEO expert and a Web Developer to partner on projects with and invites IIBN Members with businesses in the Retail & Hospitality sectors for a one-to-one 2hr Branding Workshop. Contact hello@crucreate.com for more details. Their focus right now is on supporting businesses to re-open – for everyone’s benefit. In Cru’s ‘Reopening: Creative Strategy’ toolkit, they take a look at the creative steps your brand should consider in keeping your customers informed and engaged in your re-opening stages. Click here to view the toolkit.

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Liz O’Kane Founder & Owner, lizokane.ie Liz is originally from Drogheda, Co. Louth but based in Dublin she now considers herself a Dub. Liz is the Original Buyer's Agent, the first in Ireland and started her house hunting business 'Get-Sorted' in 2002. It's a niche business, just her! She purchases, negotiates and consults on residential property for a variety of client's: those living abroad, or who want to remain anonymous, first time buyers, investors, those who don't have time and the odd celebrity! The business is now lizokane.ie and she is back in action since Jan '20. Her job is to know every estate agent in the city and around the country and for them to know her! She also needs to know every property that's for sale and know about those that are off market. Liz liaises with estate agents on behalf of her clients. All communication is via Liz and discretion is paramount to her role. She is also a property columnist for Business Post, property TV presenter and and a regular commentator on radio, print and TV media. A lot of Liz’s business comes from referrals so networking events and continually meeting various people who need a specialised property purchasing service and advice for either themselves or clients is important. Sales is the life force of every business and therefore being able to put herself in front of people (face to face or on the Zoom machine!) is why IIBN is crucial to keeping her name and her business out there and in the conversation. For those IIBN members who require a property purchasing, negotiating or consultancy service, Liz is happy to offer an exclusive 20% reduction from her fixed fees to either you or your referred clients. Please quote Get-Sorted20.

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MEMBER PROFILES

Marian Murphy Director of Flourish with Social Media Originally from Cork, Marian lived in the UK for 10 years and returned to Cork in August where she is now based. Established in 2013 in the UK, Flourish With Social Media is a social media training company. It provides step by step training to clients on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. They still service some UK clients, however after moving back to Cork, Marian established the business here. Although located in Cork, they can service clients all over the world as their training is provided online as well as in person. Their clients to date are SMEs looking to improve their social media presence & attract new clients. They provide the following services; Flourish social media brainstorm sessions; Flourish Bespoke Client Specific Social Media Training - 1/2 day and full day; Flourish LinkedIn Profile Makeovers for Business Owners. Most businesses struggle with social media. Flourish With Social Media provides step by step social media training. Clients leave sessions with clarity on where to focus their time, what they should talk about on social media and how they can connect with their audience.In reviews of their work, their clients commented on the detailed preparation they undertake in advance of the training session and that their training sessions are tailored, strategic and fun. Marian would welcome a zoom call with fellow IIBN Members to tell them more about the business. She would also appreciate it if IIBN members would consider using Flourish With Social Media when they are looking for a social media training company and is offering a 20% discount for IIBN members using the code 'IIBN20' for all services booked & purchased by the 31st July 2020. Training can be scheduled after that date.

Maeve Staunton Founding Director and Leading Architect, Staunton Henderson Originally from Longford, Maeve is now based in Enniscrone in County Sligo. She left London two years ago, having been there for 7 years, and Cambodia for 2 years before that. Maeve has run the architectural practice, remotely, since September 2018. It operates as a virtual office, suiting their clients very much. The founding manifesto was based around their clients never having to take time off work to speak with architects, so they carry out screen-share design consultations at lunchtimes, in the evenings, and up to 2pm on Saturdays. They were awarded a Business All Star for Thought Leadership in Architecture because of this heavy emphasis on customer convenience. For residential clients, they offer full architectural services, from inception, through planning to construction. They go to sites all over Ireland and have on-the-ground consultant staff for UK projects. They have also carried out design consultations virtually to clients in America and Hong Kong. For commercial clients and government clients they have supplied tender packages in Revit software, and building condition surveys. Their in-house interior designer also offers interiors packages, both commercial and residential. There is a wealth of experience within the team of 4 right now, and they are continuously expanding. In time Maeve’s focus will shift towards growing the business. She is customer focused and loves helping people design their dream homes or inspired office spaces. Staunton Henderson are testing a model of online design consultancy with the UK, American, and UAE markets as targets. Maeve is offering a 50% discount for IIBN members to be product testers! The link to the service is first in Services on the webpage. The client sends the dimensions, they draft the space, and then carry out a screen-share where the clients can see live drafting options. Three options are produced in the plan, and one is developed into a 3D walk through! It is an extremely cost effective and informative "first step" in a design journey. Offer code: IIBN

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MEMBER PROFILES

Orlagh O’Reilly Co-Founder & Creative Director, Video House Orlagh grew up on a farm in a beautiful place between Kells and Oldcastle in Co Meath. She won a scholarship to Central Saint Martins to do an MA in Communication Design and planned on staying in London for a couple of years - returning home 18 years later. She and husband Oran wanted their young family to grow up in Ireland, and chose Dún Laoghaire to grow both their family and their business, Video House. Video House is a digital video agency, making video for the corporate, construction and property industry across Ireland and the UK. Founded by Oran and Orlagh, with almost two decades of experience in video production and strategic brand development, clients vary from boutique brands to global business for Accenture, Canary Wharf Contractors, Galliard Homes, BBC StoryWorks, Bloomberg, Virgin Media,

Mark Downey BDM of Oriana International Originally from Dublin but currently based in Budapest, Hungary where Mark moved to in 2000 to help establish a manufacturing facility for a global company. After almost 20 years on, he can safely say he has two homes. Oriana International is a Hungarian software vendor and professional services company specializing in the workflow and process digitalisation space. They licence their platform to

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Five Farms. Every client is different, from capturing the construction of the Sky Garden on the iconic London skyline to working with the WWF in the Amazon. Clients trust them to consistently deliver video that they can use to build their business, document their successes, innovation and celebrate their workforce whilst being affordable and of exceptional high filming and production values. Orlagh’s main responsibilities are for the strategic and creative direction of projects. London gave Orlagh rich and vast experience in brand expertise gained at some of the world’s most prestigious brand consultancies and design agencies. This expertise is used to help clients communicate, cut through the noise and weave video effectively through their communications. Everyone now understands why they should use video for their business; the increased engagement, conversion rates, search engine results, ROI and so on. The benefits are clear and video

is an essential part of a marketing toolkit. For Orlagh, video is more than just increased stats. Now more than ever human connection is needed for businesses, to engage employees and attract and retain talent, and really make your business be distinct to your audience. Orlagh is keen to align with conscious business & brands to share their CSR stories in simple, straightforward and meaningful ways and would like to offer IIBN members a 1 minute video where they can talk about and share their CSR stories. If you would like to learn more about how to use video Orlagh would be delighted to talk to you via her email orlagh@videohouse.ie or refer Video House to anyone who wants to use the power of video to platform their brand or business.

consulting and delivery partners and support their delivery projects, but also deal directly with End-User organisations via their Centre of Excellence in Budapest. Their platform differs from other competition in the low-code space by being an enterprise level solution, not just a simple line of business apps. Their workflow tool is extremely powerful and helps digitize the operations processes along with the benefit of delivering faster with low-code.The pricing model also allows OEM whitelabel products with their platform forming part of the technology stack which is quite unique.They are quite industry agnostic but deal a lot with

government, financial services, manufacturing and telco. Mark thinks Ireland is the perfect location for their growth into the UK and the US in the future. Having a network like the IIBN opens possibilities to find people in those markets who work in a similar space and help make referrals or simply offer their experiences and advice. Mark is happy to offer a free period to IIBN end users who might build solutions on their platform. To take advantage of this they ideally need local delivery partners. He would be happy to increase the channel discount margins for a period for IIBN partners who decide to work with them.

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MEMBER PROFILES

Dr. Nils Rehmann Founder & CEO, CaReh Biologics Dr. Nils Rehmann is originally from Mettmann, Germany. Now based in Connemara, he is the founder and CEO of CaReh Biologics, a company formulating and manufacturing natural health products to combat inflammatory conditions. Holding a PhD in pharmacology from UCD's Conway Institute, Nils is also the mind behind all of the company's formulations. CaReh's concept is to keep operations at the minimum size possible which has been a tremendous bonus during the coronavirus pandemic. All of their formulations are based on natural botanical products and are free from synthetics and preservatives which makes them unique in the space of inflammatory treatments. The company now carries formulations specific for skin diseases such as eczema, acne and rosacea as well as products for muscle and joint diseases, specifically arthritis and sports injuries. After spending 10 years in Canada, Nils’ membership in IIBN has been instrumental in establishing a good network in Ireland upon returning to Ireland and he hopes to continue building great relationships with fellow members.

Patrick Flynn Chairman, Flynn O’Driscoll Originally from Ballina, Co. Mayo, now based in Dublin, Pat has been a member of the IIBN from the very beginning when it was formed in London. Flynn O’Driscoll, Business Lawyers is a corporate law firm set up in 2002 by Pat offering legal services to Irish businesses. Pat’s vision was a boutique business law firm for mainly owner managed businesses which needed good legal advice for their business at a price that was fair. Over the last 18 years, they have expanded to 72 staff with 60 lawyers, trainee lawyers and paralegals and a smaller office in Galway. Clients now vary from all forms of businesses; private equity businesses, Irish operations for international companies and aviation leasing companies. Flynn O’Driscoll is different in that they always try to add value to the client, for example, if it is a car dealership, they buy their cars from them and send clients to them. They were the busiest law firm in Ireland for mergers and acquisitions in 2019 with 57transactions. Their strength lies in the Irish mid-market. They do a lot of what IIBN does; they connect people. Pat is now the Chairman of Flynn O’Driscoll, having run the business for 17 years up to July 2019. Still working 5 days a week plus, but doing less legal work and spending more time sitting down with clients advising them on the more sensitive things like, should they sell the business, how will they devolve ownership down to their families. Pat still spends time in London where he has good contacts and IIBN friends. This year, he spent time in Kenya and once Covid-19 is behind us he intends to open up more business opportunities for clients and contacts in Africa and vica versa. The biggest law firm in Kenya, Anjarwalla & Khanna are friends of his. His aim is to make Flynn O’Driscoll a go to firm for people looking at business opportunities in Africa, having done the same with Russian business. He has a brilliant Ugandan lawyer working with him, Prossie Nambatya, who is currently completing a PhD in TCD and is part of this process. Pat believes that fellow IIBN Members can benefit hugely from the knowledge and contact base of Flynn O’Driscoll. He also thinks his new initiative in Africa, which hopefully will start early next year after Covid, may be of interest to members. Russia is also a good country to do business with, Gerard McCarthy had a good expose in the last IIBN Magazine that is worth reading. Pat continues to secure both clients and friends from relationships in IIBN. His colleague Claire McDermott is on the Board and he loves the Annual Conference. Having been at every one to date, it is his favourite annual networking event. Claire and himself are always happy to take a call and help if they can. They grew from small things in 2002 and have never forgotten their roots as a successful business. That means not having an initial focus on the fee and what the call is worth to you financially. Often the first call may lead to nothing but when the person calls the second time, it could turn out to be the largest client over time. Google, Microsoft and Apple all started small and no doubt initially they could not afford to pay for the early legal advice.

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MEMBER PROFILES

Paul Grainger CEO, Complyport Ltd. Born and living in Manchester, Paul grew up in the vibrant local Irish community, his family originally from Dublin. He is a veteran piper in the Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band in Manchester. PreCOVID-19, he worked partly in Manchester/Northern England, partly in London and partly wherever else needed! (After working from home for several months, he hopes by the time of publication we are returning to something approaching that previous pattern.) Complyport Limited is a regulatory consulting firm that specialises in financial services and related professions. The firm was founded in 2002 and the head office is in London. It is part of the MAP S Platis Group. The team of over 20 people in the UK and over 150 in the wider group provides services to wholesale and retail financial services firms, principally in the UK and Ireland. They also specialise in cross-border financial services and through their sister and associated companies, offer Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) consulting services and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) consulting services relating to financial services sector firms in the Europe (EEA), USA, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. They provide broad bandwidth of sector coverage with deep dive capability, expertise and experience. They advise banks, investment firms, fund managers, lenders and insurance sector firms. They also provide innovative fintech and regtech software and applications. They like to think they can help firms deal with those issues that keep senior managers awake at night and perhaps help them to identify and deal with those that ought to be keeping them awake at night too! Paul is always happy to receive enquiries from or referrals and introductions to firms that may need their services.They offer discounted fees for advice, guidance and consulting services to IIBN members and their firms. Through their sister company LGCA, they also offer discounted training course fees to IIBN members and their firms.

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Rob Reynolds Founder & Executive Chairman, Elbe Valley Medical From Leitrim originally, Rob is now based in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath where Elbe Valley Medical is also based. This private research company has been established since 2017 and works on solving the big issues facing society. They are currently developing a novel cybernetic technology for destroying cancer tumours with a preference for large and aggressive tumours. They have plans to continue with the development of other cybernetic products in the medical device space but they also have projects in areas as diverse as nuclear energy and hypersonic propulsion (though that is a very new project and really quite fragile). Rob’s job is to make sure everyone has what they need to be successful. Elbe Valley Medical is 100% privately funded as they do not qualify for any grants or support (as they would have to hand over their IP to qualify and then have no business). Funding is always an issue and they welcome help from anyone who is eager to see cancer get a black eye in the next couple of years! If you need a technological boost to outperform your competitors, perhaps they can help you. Elbe Valley Medical focuses entirely on radical change but not innovation. Innovation is a pathway to mediocrity, only radical change can put you in pole position to enter or dominate a market.

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MEMBER PROFILES

Sarah Daly Founder & CEO , GroForth GroForth is based in Blackrock, Co. Dublin and caters for clients locally, nationally, and internationally. From a young age, Sarah watched her family business in Kerry grow from a small newsagent to a full-service convenience store employing approximately 25 people (the store has since been sold by the family and is still operational today). During that time, Sarah was privileged to see first-hand how a business operates and the highs and lows that come with being an entrepreneur. It is this unique experience that Sarah brings to my clients in GroForth. GroForth provides financial back office support and data-driven insight for growth-focused businesses, technology companies and professional services firms. We adopt

a partnership approach with our clients to gain a clear understanding of their goals, and then we tailor our solution to suit the unique needs of each client, regardless of what stage of development their business is at. Our reports and insights are timely, practical, and easy to understand. GroForth’s bespoke management reporting and information services enable clients to access insights and reporting not normally available outside of large corporations. This information helps clients to manage their businesses more effectively and make critical decisions to promote growth. Sarah is founder of GroForth and has a hands-on approach with the business but could not do it alone. She is so grateful and proud to have a fantastic team of bookkeepers, payroll managers and accountants on her side to support their clients.

Thank you for this opportunity to share information about GroForth on the IIBN platform. Hopefully that there may be some members reading this who identify an opportunity for collaboration or client referral. For anyone interested in getting to know more about GroForth business, Sarah would be delighted to take a 30-minute call with you to chat further. If you really want to do it, you have to take the chance. It is always worth it. There is nothing worse than saying “What if…” in years to come. Have no regrets, be yourself and always ask for help.

Ruth Mac Gowan London Sales Manager, Blind Fashion Home and office base is in South West London, the Interior Design

with factory personnel of 30. UK Interior Designers come to them especially for the innovation, quality and high level of personalised service provided. They work with trade clients on commercial and high-end residential projects, both domestically and internationally and in Ireland of course. They offer many services, from fast turn around stock blinds in their distinctive fabric collection to hand made bespoke Roman blinds, using the designer’s selected fabrics. They provide a turnkey complete service solution from the manufacture of the blinds to the mechanics of installing the complex hardware alongside your designated electricians and builders. They also work on custom

made for larger scale hotel projects. This market place has moved to mostly motorised blinds, which is their area of expertise, being the first blind factory to collaborate with Lutron Smart home systems in the UK. They also supply Silent Gliss, Q Motion, Somfy and other major manufacturer’s products.

district. Originally brought up in Dublin, near the Leopardstown racecourse, an area very much developed since her childhood. Based in West Yorkshire, Blind Fashion have been renowned leaders in the manufacture of stylish window blinds for 40 years. They are a Head Office team of 10,

Blind Fashion is always looking to reach out and partner with Interior designers, Architects, Audio Visual companies so don’t hesitate to refer anybody you may know. Also Ruth can offer a trade discount to IIBN members should they have an upcoming project. Once an interior designer/AV company is engaged for your project please call Ruth directly for any of your queries and she can discuss next steps.

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MEMBER PROFILES

Shane O’Neill CEO of Audeohost Inc. Originally from Borrisoleigh, Co. Tipperary, Shane is now based in Toronto. Dammot Enterprises started in Toronto in 2002 providing media process and technology consulting. Assignments were mostly back in the UK. The company was dormant between 2005 and 2011 and reopened for general consulting, adding the concept to deliver location sound such as TVs to your phone and you control your

volume. The name changed in 2014 to reflect the brand and proposition. Audeohost is a device platform that manages and distributes real-time audio (including voice) over wi-fi. Users hear the content through a free phone app. They have customers in Ireland, Canada, the UK and Argentina, and post Covid, they plan to increase market share in all territories. Current clients are bars and restaurants – sport and non-sport. The platform has multiple applications including walking tours, museums, hotels, hospitals (waiting rooms, private rooms), stadiums, sports facilities, gyms, universities and student accommodation and even home. Audeohost helps the hard of hearing and can operate in quiet or busy locations. The team of 3 are lean and green!

They have Multiple Proof of Concepts and development is all outsourced under contract and NDA. They use physical hardware already in the public domain and manufacture under 10% of equipment. There is no risk of disease or contamination – works on user owned and maintained equipment. Audeohost provides all venues with the ability to incentivise customers to visit their location by providing live audio commentary to them on their smartphone, regardless of where they sit. Shane is Chief Audeohost Officer – Funder/Founder, CEO and CIO with some sales and onboarding. He welcomes help with funding and market intelligence, Business 2 Business possibilities - are there colleagues that need Audeohost? He would also like to explore partnerships and creating complementary product portfolios.

Shane Bourke Managing Director, Irish Office Space Originally from Dublin, Shane lived and worked in London for 10 years, returning home in 2018. Irish Office Space is an office finding agency, specialising in helping startups and smaller SME's find flexible office space to suit all budgets in Ireland and internationally. Looking for an office can be a bit of a minefield. They don't charge anything for their services (the landlord pays them a finders fee) so it really helps with cash flow for their clients. The Irish Office Space is a team of 3

with their head office in Dublin. Clients can be anybody in need of office space, whether it's a coworking desk or a private floor. Their USP is the lack of fees to clients and they also go on all viewings with clients and do all the negotiations on their clients behalf. Shane divides his time equally with helping clients look for office space and also with meeting new landlords to increase office availability. Shane welcomes any introductions fellow IIBN members could make and is happy to offer vouchers as a referral/thank you for any successful introduction. Nearly all

of us work or have friends and colleagues who work from offices. He is always happy to discuss real estate strategy.

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Connecting Irish Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals, Globally


MEMBER PROFILES

Siobhán Cahalan Founder of Siobhán Cahalan Executive Coaching Siobhán is from Co. Tipperary, has lived abroad for almost two decades and is currently based at the coast in Co. Wexford. Siobhaán Cahalan Executive Coaching collaborates with Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (GRC) senior professionals who care about organisation-wide implementation of good Corporate Governance. Siobhán recognises the courage of senior professionals who make a conscious decision to engage in coaching – they are committing to genuinely explore and analyse specific aspects of their lives, both professional and personal, as well as being prepared to alter existing patterns, set goals and take action. During a coaching conversation, coachee’s are encouraged to be totally honest with themselves, are guided to discover what they really want, and supported to dedicate themselves to that. The principles used during coaching conversations with Siobhán are confidentiality, listening, questioning and reflecting. Examples of outcomes of a powerful coaching conversation are greater clarity of independent thinking, greater leadership competence with an enhanced ability to delegate effectively and enriched confident and concise communication skills. The area of GRC is a challenging and growing area in many sectors. If IIBN members know of organisations whose staff would benefit from talking through challenges they face and improvements they would like to make, Siobhán would be very glad to collaborate with them. She is also happy to support IIBN members through offering the experience of a one-hour powerful coaching conversation. Having a global mindset, the company operates a global remote model where support is offered to GRC professionals in any country through using digital means of communication. The coaching practice follows the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) Global Code of Ethics which supports best practice of coaching professionals internationally.

Winnie Dee Business Owner of Rear Facing Originally from Rahara, Co. Roscommon, Winnie Dee is based in Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, where she runs her business. Rearfacing.ie is operated primarily as an online retailer. A family run business for over 2 years, the services offered are car seat consultations, online car seat sales with virtual installation support, face to face appointments, a trial car seat service to enable potential customers to trial a car seat before they buy, along with pop up stores. Extended rear facing car seats have a weight limit up to 25kg and Rearfacing.ie provide the largest selection of rear facing car seats that have passed the Swedish Plus Test standard as these car seats go above the EU regulation testing. It is a unique business model in that car seats are a high value purchase that are generally purchased in store. Customer profile is primarily parents, grandparents and child minders. The challenge is to promote the safety benefits of rear facing and inform the buying decision prior to the toddler stage car seat being purchased. Rearfacing.ie is the only rear facing car seat specialist in Ireland and one of the main aims is to spread awareness of the option for kids to travel rear facing and therefore safer for longer. It is a message supported by the RSA (Road Safety Authority) and one they would love to get more exposure for. Winnie welcomes any IIBN members who would like to support (through PR, marketing, companies operating in the parenting/children/education sectors). Rearfacing.ie are passionate about child car seat safety and their motto is kids travelling safer regardless of the direction of travel! Get an exclusive 10% off car seats purchases, with the checkout discount code IIBN10.

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The Best Place to Meet the Best Senior Irish Professionals, Globally

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START-UPS

What does an Investor look for in a Start-up? Raising money for your new business is difficult. Yes, there are stories out there where ‘New Ideas Ltd’ raised a seed round investment in a handful of days without breaking a sweat, but this is the exception, not the rule. Just this month, Spark Crowdfunding raised ¤1.2m from 320 investors in just 12 days for Akkure Genomics, a NovaUCD-based med-tech platform, but a lot of preparation had gone into this campaign.

To maximise the chance of positive outcome when engaging with investors, entrepreneurs need to fully understand what an investor is looking for when they make the decision to invest or not. Failing to know this checklist and ensuring that you have an answer for each point puts at risk that positive investment decision.

marketable product or service— typically, having begun operations and demonstrated an ability to sell the product or service.

So, here are the 6 areas that you need to address:

In some way, the venture must have a “proof of concept” to show investors. Companies raising funds on Spark Crowdfunding tend to be at an early stage in their evolution, but before they raise funds, they should be able to point to some level of achievement. This could be anything from a successful pilot exercise with a Minimum Viable Product to a signed contract from a paying customer. Another achievement could be in the form of third-party validation from Enterprise Ireland through participation in its High Potential StartUp (HPSU) programme.

Passion Having a passion for your start-up is pretty easy to come by for most business founders. You believe in the product/service you want to provide. You are confident that it is an improvement over existing products or is a new way to address an old problem. But how deep is your passion? Are you willing to be told “No” over and over and over again and keep going? While most investors want and appreciate passionate entrepreneurs, they are also looking for someone willing to invest their own money. As a founder, you will have to raise the initial capital yourself. You can do this from your own savings, borrowings, family, friends, etc. But you must be willing to demonstrate you believe in product/service enough to invest your own money. You will have to get the business off the ground on your own.

Traction Most of the time, a new venture will have to demonstrate that it has a

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Connecting Irish Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals, Globally

You will have heard over and over again Barry O’Sullivan of Dragons’ Den saying, “What you have is an idea, not a business.”

Significant Market Size Most investors are looking for a business opportunity with growth potential. Accordingly, if your market is only in your locality, your growth is limited. You need to have a market with significant reach, at least nationally depending upon the nature of your product. Not every product is going to have a worldwide market like the iPhone. However, a large enough market where the economies of scale can be incorporated into your operations to increase margins and profits will be needed to attract investors.


START-UPS

Chris Burge is a Co-Founder and CEO of Spark CrowdFunding, an equity crowdfunding platform based in Dublin. It provides small and medium-sized Irish investors to high-growth investment opportunities in Ireland.

If the product is not new, but a new entrant to an existing market, the same issues hold. However, it is assumed that any market share you attain is coming from some other competitor; thus, your competitive advantage must be demonstrable.

Competitive Advantage This is going to be a critical issue for investors. What makes your product/service unique? There has to be something about your product that sets it apart from the crowd. If you have a never-before-seen product and you’re the first to the market, that maybe it. However, most start-ups are entering existing marketplaces. What then makes you different? Do you have any IP, such as a Patent, that can protect it from new entrants to the market? Patents are extremely difficult and expensive to get, and most successful companies have no patents, so this factor should not be a deal breaker, but you might have other forms of a competitive advantage, such as a large database of users or a strong brand.

Team In an effort to save cost, most start-ups have very limited staffing: often only one or two founders of the operation. Whether a business has one or ten employees isn’t so much the issue — it’s whether or not the business has sufficient key employees covering the most important areas. You must have knowledge in the technology or market you are entering.

Another area is operating control. Investors want to know that the team has developed operating policies and procedures to control the business and ensure their investment is not wasted. Your business has to have moved beyond the “fake it before you make it” phase or investors will not have confidence that your company is “a real business.” And as the founder, have you delegated authority to the experts? No person has all of the skills necessary to run a business successfully. The founder(s) too often try to wear all the hats and centralise the control with themselves. Investors find comfort in a business that has a team in place, where team members have expertise and have been given enough authority to oversee their area of operation.

Exit Strategy Investors have two primary financial questions about projects: How much do I need to invest, and when do I have to invest it? How much will I get back, and when will I get it? Both of these questions can be answered by a thorough financial projection. The type of projection that investors want to see includes: 1. A complete description of the assumptions behind the model 2. A complete set of pro forma financials: income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flow 3. A return on investment analysis using capital budgeting

techniques and various ROI calculations 4. Sensitivity analysis around key variables 5. Cash sources and uses report It is recommended that such a model be prepared with monthly level detail, as this allows for monthly cash shortfalls to be identified. Essentially, investors want to know when they will begin to see a return and how large a return they can expect. Including a capital budgeting analysis and a full RoI analysis will address these concerns. Often, it’s not prudent for a start-up to hire a full-time financial analyst in its early stages. It’s far more effective to bring in experts who can assist with building out a financial model and pass on best practices to the founding team.

Conclusion In the end, getting a business funded is less about connections as much as it is about having a fundable project. Yet, the question of how to get investors can be summarized by whether your start-up can offer them the following: 1. Passionate founders with skin in the game, 2. Demonstrated traction, 3. Significant growth potential, 4. Product differentiation/competitive advantage, 5. Team members with expertise and delegated authority, and 6. A defined exit strategy If you can demonstrate that you have a good answer to all of the points above, the thousands of investors on Spark CrowdFunding will be very keen to read some more about your business. And with a good pitch, they might just give you your “Yes”.

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ENTREPRENEURS

Growing a business in Covid the last 12 months in the life of start-up technology company ufurnish.com

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The background to ufurnish.com all began in 2017 when an apartment was purchased in wonderful Woolwich as I like to call it. I was inspired to set up ufurnish.com after my struggle to find the perfect pieces of furniture for my first home, the perfect bed, sideboard, mirror and so on.

Connecting Irish Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals, Globally


ENTREPRENEURS

2019, where together with my cofounder (then boyfriend, now husband) we launched an MVP (minimal viable product) platform to test our business idea and see if it was commercially viable. Would we be able to sign retailers to the platform? Would consumers use the website to search for their furniture products? The answer to both was a resounding yes, so we set about transforming our MVP platform into a market leading product. In October 2019, after over 6 months of operating knowledge on the performance of our MVP platform, we realised we would need to raise outside investment to get our business up and running at scale. We started preparing investment pitch materials across September 2019 and we were ready to go to investors mid way through October 2019 with our investment proposal. We used our network to meet with angel investors and speak at events where potential investors would be attending, who we thought would be interested in the business.

I searched so many furniture retailers looking for the perfect items, finding the products in the right style, size, function and in line with my budget was an absolute nightmare. I felt I was constantly only finding a small subsection of retailers in the market and I was always worried that there was a better product, in a better style and a more affordable cost, that I hadn’t

found. I had decision paralysis which resulted in me spending 3 months on a blow-up mattress while I searched for the perfect products, not wanting to compromise on my key furniture purchases. Going from a business idea in our heads to creating a business was thoroughly kicked off in February

On 8th November 2019, I attended the IIBN annual conference and spoke in front of the attendees pitching my Kuldea business idea (the previous name of ufurnish.com). It was a great opportunity to speak to the audience and on the back of the pitch I secured a large investment for an attendee. Alongside a number of other investors, the business closed a seed investment of £1.8m from an original target of £1m, with the last money arriving in February 2020 from an investor in Hong Kong where Covid19 had just arrived and he was working from

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ENTREPRENEURS

home. Little did any of us think that Covid19 was coming our way. The feedback from investors was very consistent that they were not sold on the “Kuldea” name so on the back of that feedback, we undertook a review of our name, the impact on the business going forward in terms of pronunciation and spelling (or the lack thereof) and this piece of research culminated in us rebranding the business to ufurnish.com. A ‘does what it says on the tin’ type of name. Our investors are a wide group of individuals, including 23% female investors and include a number of prominent businessmen 1) Michael Holland and Craig Wilson founders of Financial Express 2) Anthony Ward, founder of Armajaro Asset Management and 3) Irishman Pat Mc Cann, founder of Dalata Hotel Group. Having raised investment, we then went about building the team. From just the two co-founder in January 2020, we are now a team of 14 people. The ethos of the business is that if you want to be the best you need to hire the best. We have attracted key talent to the business including our CMO Toni Wood, the former marketing and commercial chief at leading furniture retailer DFS, in addition to being the executive committee of DFS. Toni was also recognised by Marketing Week as one of the UK’s Top 100 Marketers in 2019. With the growth of our team, we were going to need an office. We signed and moved into our first office on Monday 2nd March 2020, we had it repainted with our

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branding colours and even paid for a partition wall to be constructed so we have a meeting room within the office. After only 2 weeks in the office we were all working from home and have been ever since. I cycled into London Bridge from Woolwich in April to make sure it was still ok, but we have since let the office go. We will not be returning to an office and have instead moved to a fully distributed workforce. Hiring a team of 12 over zoom calls wasn’t ideal but we have managed to attract great talent as mentioned already. I recently had a 3 month review with one member of the team, who said "isn't it strange that we still haven't met?" It made me realise how weird a world we are experiencing but also how adaptable we are as people to change. It was strange but I genuinely feel like I know her inside out. We also spoke about how tall we are, again actually brings back to real life how weird this scenario is...for your interest, she's 5'9 and I'm 5'2 - but we both look the same on zoom :) Working remotely is not as we expected and we have been trying to build a culture within the business by having team quizzes and team drinks. This was easier at the beginning but with a total of 14 people now in the business we are nearly getting too large for social events on one screen and making sure that everyone has a chance to partake. We officially launched our business on 20th July 2020. The launch was a release of our new name ufurnish.com, new branding and most significantly a new scalable

Connecting Irish Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals, Globally

technology platform which the development team had been working on since the start of the year. Since the launch of ufurnish.com, we have seen an influx of enquiries from over 35 new retail partners who were keen to come onboard the platform, joining our other 100+ furniture retailers partners. Those who have been onboarded since our launch in July include Wayfair, Swoon, The Norfolk Bay Company, Fusion Living and Noa & Nani. We have just brought on an additional Partnership Development Manager to help support our retail partners and keep up with the extensive demand and growth.


ENTREPRENEURS

It’s not just the retailer side where we are seeing rapid growth. Recent research conducted by ufurnish.com during the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that since being confined at home, 56%* of those surveyed admitted that COVID-19 has changed their future furniture habits, opting to now shop online rather than visit in store. This is supported by ONS data which recently revealed total retail sales online have increased from 20% to 35%. Sales are growing by 200% month on month consistently and website sign ups have increased 500% since January. In September, I was honoured to be nominated for the Lloyds National

Business Awards, New Entrepreneur of the Year award so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It's a great stamp of recognition for the whole team to reflect the growth we've made in 2020. Last but not least, I also squeezed in my wedding in Ireland to Ray (my co-founder), the first in Ireland with guests post the Covid lockdown! It’s certainly been a busy 12 months at ufurnish.com and I’m looking forward to the next 12 months. We have huge ambitions for the ufurnish.com business including a Series A investment raise to help continue to fund our growth as we look to turn ufurnish.com into the ONLY place consumers go to search for

furniture in market, just like the trailblazing similar companies we aspire to be such as Rightmove, Skyscanner and Trainline.

Deirdre Mc Gettrick is on a mission to revolutionise how we search and shop for furniture online. Her business, ufurnish.com is the destination website for furniture, allowing consumers to search everything from 100+ furniture retailers on one website, from larger well-known retailers such as John Lewis, Made.com and Dunelm to smaller less wellknown retailers including Grace & Grey, Abigail Ahern and The French Bedroom Company.

The Best Place to Meet the Best Senior Irish Professionals, Globally

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The Best Place to Meet the Best Senior Irish Professionals, Globally

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IIBN PROGRAMMES

IIBN Programmes for the next generation of Business Leaders and Female Entrepreneurs IIBN runs a number of different programmes designed to assist its database of members in London and New York. With each of these programmes, current IIBN members make themselves available to share their business knowledge and facilitate connections. You can learn more about these programmes here. Future Leaders Programme (FLP) London Established in 2013, the programme is designed to identify and assist young Irish executives who are looking to accelerate their progress along their chosen career path. The FLP is a mentoring programme which connects the

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next generation of Irish executives with successful Irish entrepreneurs and business professionals. FLP participants are typically between the ages of 25 and 35, and will have demonstrated high potential characteristics within their career to date. We have had over 100+ participants on this programme since inception.

Connecting Irish Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals, Globally

GIFT (Global Irish Female EnTrepreneur) London Established in 2016, this programme is designed to assist female entrepreneurs who have achieved a certain level of scale in their business and are looking to take their business to a higher level. Supported by a panel of high profile ambassadors,


IIBN PROGRAMMES

the primary aim of GIFT is to facilitate brokered access to international, scalable business opportunities, entrepreneurial pathways, medium to long term connectivity and to inculcate their ongoing commitment to positive promotion of Ireland and its diaspora.

LEAP™ (Leadership & Executive Acceleration Program) New York The LEAP programme helps ambitious professional Irish and Irish-American women living in the Greater New York/Tri-State area get more opportunity to have a seat at

the table with key decision makers, and to promote a culture of women helping other women.

Future Leaders Board (FLB) New York The Future Leaders Board builds and supports a globally inclusive community by creating relevant connections for young Irish professionals in New York. It provides guidance to new younger members in order allow them to effectively network at events and engage with the Irish American business community in NYC. Some of the many successes from

these programmes include new job offers, investment in early stage businesses, the appointment of new directors and the securing of new overseas partnerships. We would like to thank the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their support with the running of these programmes via its Emigrant Support Programme. If you would be interested in participating in one of these programmes, either as a Mentor, a Future Leader or a Female Entrepreneur, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line to info@iibn.com

The Best Place to Meet the Best Senior Irish Professionals, Globally

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THROW BACK

Throw back.. IIBN at Lord's Cricket Ground

Dravan McConville, Laura Murphy and Sinead McConville

IIBN Networking Drink, Cafe en Seine, Dublin

Louise O'Conor, Siobhan Fitzpatrick & David Crowley

Dearbhaile Flynn and Dermot Ryan

Yvonne Dolan, Siobhan Fitzpartick, Tess Bryne & Joseph MaGuire

Tour of Lord's for IIBN Members Don Harris & Catherine Thomas The Long Room at Lord's

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Networking at Cafe en Seine, Dublin

Connecting Irish Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals, Globally


THROW BACK

for IIBN Events From January 2019 to July 2019.. Dublin, London and New York. IIBN London Fireside Chat with Eamonn Quinn, star of Dragon's Den Ireland, Investor, Chairman of Kelsius Real Time and Buymie, Director at yReceipts and former Deputy Chairman of Superquinn supermarkets.

Eamonn Quinn & Emilie Quinn

Eamonn Quinn & Carol Jordan

Stephen O'Connor The Underwriting Exchange

Eamonn Quinn Lloyds

AMERICAN VentureClash (VC), Connecticut’s FUND LOOKING FOR IRISH START-UPS

John White Managing Partner Beauchamps, Nial Ring Mayor of Dublin & Conall O'Morain IIBN Dublin Chair

Jessica Dodge

Doug Roth

Eddie Evans, Jessica Dodge & Shona Darcy The Best Place to Meet the Best Senior Irish Professionals, Globally

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THROW BACK

An Evening with Conor O'Shea

Fiona Craughan & Conor O'Shea

Conor O'Shea & Kieran Hynes

Networking at Conor O'Shea event

Anne Geaghan, Conor O'Shea & Ann Marie O'Shea

John Sexton & Paul Reidy

An Evening with John Teeling

An Evening with Samantha Barry & Shaunagh Connaire

Whiskey Tasting at Teelings

Paddy Duggan and John Teeling

Shaunagh Connaire, Samantha Barry & Kevin Murphy

Tour of Distillery, Shona Darcy and Russell Murphy

Ailish Carew, Mary Reynolds, & Meave Kneafsey Samantha Barry & Shaunagh Connaire

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Connecting Irish Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals, Globally


THROW BACK

An Evening with Philomena

IIBN London Summer Party

Stephen, Philomena, Jane, Emer Rock & Conall O'Morain

Ruth MacGowan Ann Marie O'Shea & Kelly Curran

IIBN Summer BBQ, London

Summer BBQ London Networking

Networking at Philomena

Melissa Curry & Siobhan Fitzpatrick

Jane Libberton, Philomena, Conall O'Morain & Maeve Kneafsey

Rena Maycock, Philomena & Fergal Harrrington

An Evening with Dómhnal Slattery, CEO and Founder, Avolon Poppy Kroeger, Conall O'Moran & Domhnal Slattery Domhnal Slattery CEO & Founder Avolon

Networking at Domhnal Slattery Event Networking at Domhnal Slattery Event

Joanne McEnteggart, Tess Byrne Matin McEvoy, Stephen Mullins and Andrea Linehan

The Best Place to Meet the Best Senior Irish Professionals, Globally

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Connecting Irish Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals, Globally