These are the sectors Irish angel investors are most interested in

7 Jan 2022

All-island director of HBAN, John Phelan. Image: HBAN

A HBAN survey of 114 angel investors found they’ve pumped a median of €200,000 into Irish start-ups.

A survey of angel investors across the island of Ireland has identified ICT, fintech, medtech and life sciences as the sectors angels are most interested in.

Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN), the all-island body that promotes angel investment in Ireland, surveyed 114 of its angel investors about their portfolios, expectations and future plans.

Other sectors that angels are interested in investing in this year are engineering, manufacturing and electronics (40pc), food, beverages and agriculture (31pc) and business services (29pc).

The angels surveyed have invested a median of €200,000 in start-ups on the island of Ireland, with the average angel investing in 6.3 companies. Those surveyed said they expected to hold their shares for an average of 5.5 years, with a majority preferring to invest as part of a syndicate rather than alone.

Almost a third of investors said they had achieved at least one exit in their portfolios, while 22pc said they were planning to make their first angel investment.

The first half of last year saw angel investment in Ireland surpass pre-pandemic levels as restrictions eased and the economy opened up. Average angel investment per funding round stood at €324,500 in the first six months of 2021, 29pc higher than the 2019 figure of €251,000.

“Angel investing is high risk, but it can be extremely rewarding and that is why we see business angels investing in multiple start-ups,” said John Phelan, all-island director of HBAN.

“Internationally, best practice would suggest a minimum of 10 investments in a personal portfolio and our survey shows that while many have already exceeded that, others are well on their way,” he added.

Phelan noted that the survey results show “a strong appetite” to back companies operating in high performing sectors such as medtech. HBAN’s medtech syndicate based in Galway has seen a rise in activity recently, he said, and is expecting this to increase in the next 12 months.

HBAN published the survey results ahead of an all-island conference it is organising on 2 February to encourage more people to get involved in angel investing. Speakers at the conference will explain how to simplify the process through discussions and workshops.

“Those with an interest in investing, and who have industry knowledge that they can impart with start-ups, are realising that they don’t need to be high-net-worth individuals to become angel investors and have a positive impact on the start-up community,” Phelan said.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic