Entrepreneur event brings Valley culture to Ireland


11 Feb 2008

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Irish tech entrepreneurs can learn from a panel of experts on how best to pitch their ideas and understand the angel investor and venture capital culture with xCellerate 2008 on 27 February, organised by former Enterprise Ireland employee Diane Roberts.

The aim of the event, says Roberts, is about giving advice to entrepreneurs and creating a mentor ecosystem in Ireland, where experienced business people like Chris Horn, the founder and chairman of Irish tech firm Iona Technologies, can give their counsel to up and coming entrepreneurs.

“I had the experience of being able to go to events like this almost weekly in the Valley, which were about inspiring entrepreneurs and creating an ambition in them, while allowing them to be very realistic about what they need to do in order to get funding,” said Roberts.

Roberts feels that entrepreneurs need to understand why an angel investor or a venture capital firm would put money into them and that this is unmistakeably because they want to make money.

“Entrepreneurs need to come to them with a proposition that will make these individuals money because it’s not philanthropy,” she says.

Attending the event will be Chris Gill, who runs the Silicon Valley Association of Entrepreneurs, which provides numerous workshops on a daily basis in Silicon Valley.

“This is the type of thing I wanted to bring to Ireland: someone telling the little secrets and inside thoughts but also in a sense giving them a dose of realism through a mentoring capability.”

Joining Horn of Iona Technologies will be Bernie Cullinan, CEO of Clarigen and ex-CEO of SteelTrace, as well as Noel Ruane, founder and CEO of BrandMail Solutions and David Smith from Merrion Capital.

Roberts said that not one of the individuals she approached to sit on the panel declined. She believes that the individuals with which to people these Valley-type ecosystems are already here in Ireland but need events such as xCellerate 2008 to bring them together.

While working with Enterprise Ireland in Silicon Valley, Roberts said she met a lot of high net-worth ex-pats who wanted to have an association with Irish technology companies.

Whether in an angel capacity, a mentoring capacity or going on advisory boards, these Irish ex-pats want to get involved, so at xCellerate 2008 Roberts will be launching the xCell Angels Group of ex-pats who are looking for deal flow from Irish and UK companies for early stage funding.

“There are many people in Silicon Valley who want to be re-connected back to Ireland and I want to harness that connection.”

Tickets for the xCellerate 2008 event cost €100 and can be purchased at www.xcellerate2008.com

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