The digital business week

13 Dec 2010

A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

A Budget fit for start-ups? BES to be revamped

The Business Expansion Scheme is to be revamped and renamed the Employment and Investment Incentive and the limit that can be raised by companies to be increased from €2m to €10m, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan TD said delivering Budget 2011.

The BES, which is used by many technology start-ups to raise seed funding prior to any serious venture capital investment, appears to be being broadened to enable companies across the wider economy and not just early stage businesses.

Known as the “friends and family” round in the investment world, the amount that can be raised in any one year will be increased from €1.5m to €2.5m.

No changes to R&D tax credit could damage competitive edge – Leyton

Leyton Ireland has said Budget 2011’s failure to enhance the R&D tax relief offering “may cause companies to question (Ireland)’s seriousness about repositioning itself as a global innovation hub.”

The consultancy firm, which specialises in optimising R&D incentives, said that simply managing to keep the tax credit should not be considered “a successful outcome.”

Leyton Ireland noted that the National Recovery Plan recognised how important it was for the country to re-invent itself as a location of choice for companies engaging in research and development activities.

The firm also feels that the 12.5pc corporation rate is not enough to ensure that levels of foreign direct investment into Ireland are maintained and increased.

Instead, Leyton calls for a “cohesive, holistic” set of tax measures to give the country a competitive edge in bringing companies in and keeping them here.

Banking 365 still experiencing technical difficulties

Customers with Bank of Ireland were still experiencing difficulties accessing their money late last week, as technical issues that have plagued the bank in recent days persisted.

BoI confirmed that the institution was still experiencing technical problems pertaining to their online services.

The bank told the Irish Times that while all ATM, Laser, branch and telephone banking functions were operating normally, some customers were experiencing issues accessing their online services.

A message on the Banking 365 website read: “We are currently experiencing technical issues and hope to have normal service restored as soon as possible. All our branches are open as normal.”

XING buys Amiando for €10.3m

European social network for business professionals XING has paid €10.3m for event management firm Amiando, which organises and processes 100,000 events a year.

The acquisition price comprises a number of components. At the time of acquisition, XING AG will initially pay €5.1m. An additional payment of up to €5.25m will also be made on 31 March 2013, if various conditions are met. Examples of these conditions include the current management team remaining within the company and the achievement of specific revenue and profit targets.

“Acquiring Amiando gives XING an opportunity to meet its members’ growing need for an integrated, comprehensive event registration and ticketing services,” said Stefan Gross-Selbeck, CEO at XING AG.

AIB investment in chip firm reaches €940k

AIB Seed Capital Fund, co-managed by Enterprise Equity Venture Capital, has completed the fifth tranche of equity funding in Movidius Limited, bringing the total investment from the AIB Seed Capital Fund to €940,000.

Movidius is an Irish fabless semiconductor company that develops high-definition 3D video chips.

MarketWatch names Steve Jobs CEO of the decade

Apple CEO Steve Jobs, an innovator when it comes to consumer technology, has been named CEO of the decade by MarketWatch.

Jobs has boosted the music industry via iPods and iTunes, revolutionised handheld devices and touchscreen technology with the iPhone, and surpassed PCs with the iPad. Not to mention yanking Apple, a company he co-founded, back from bankruptcy’s edge before the decade even began.

Today, Apple is tops in the technology sector in market cap at US$285bn.