Cork start-up Altada to be sold to tech entrepreneur after financial woes

12 Jan 2023

Altada co-founders Allan Beechinor and Niamh Parker. Image: Keogh

Turbulent AI start-up Altada is set to be sold to Eoin Goulding for a figure in the low millions – but not everyone is happy.

The receiver to AI start-up Altada has agreed to sell the company to tech entrepreneur Eoin Goulding despite a higher bid from a rival bidder.

Based in Cork and founded by husband and wife duo Allan Beechinor and Niamh Parker, Altada went into receivership last November after facing months of financial difficulties.

In August, it announced that it had temporarily furloughed a number of staff due to “unforeseen market conditions”. It also said it had to postpone its planned funding round – which it hoped would value it at more than €1bn – due to these market conditions.

The company employed more than 70 staff in offices across Europe and the US, but said it had to fire its US team due to financial issues.

Yesterday (11 January), multiple outlets reported that the High Court heard the receiver agreed to sell Altada to Goulding over the rival bidder because if the deal was delayed any further dozens of employees who haven’t been paid for five months would leave the company.

According to a report by The Irish Times, the value of the deal is understood to be between €3m and €5m.

Eoin Goulding is an Irish tech entrepreneur who founded cybersecurity company Integrity360.

His plan to acquire Altada, however, faces challenges from the liquidator and the Revenue Commissioners – reportedly one of the company’s biggest creditors – on grounds that the receiver, Nicholas O’Dwyer of Grant Thornton, should not have been appointed in the first place. The case is to be listed for mention on Monday.

Founded in 2018, Altada claims to offer clients domain knowledge on AI and deep learning, with the aim of bringing AI expertise to drive efficiencies for its clients’ businesses.

The company had been recognised many times as an Irish start-up to watch, including being named Emerging Company of the Year 2021 by Cork Chamber and listed among Enterprise Ireland’s high-potential Irish start-ups for the same year. It was also spotlighted as a Start-up of the Week.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic