Angel investors raise €4m for investing in early stage companies

16 Mar 2010

The Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) said today its members have raised €4m in 2009 to support early stage enterprises in Ireland via regional networks and investment syndicates.

The group said it intends to create an Irish “angel capital” industry to support early stage investments, specifically in high-tech enterprises.

The group came together last year with the objective of creating a €6m fund that would initially support up to 20 early stage ventures.

HBAN funds raised for high-tech firms

HBAN, which is a joint initiative of InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland, raised these funds for 21 early stage firms in a range of different high-tech areas, including medical devices, mobile security solutions, life sciences, biotechnology solutions and software development.

“HBAN has made a significant contribution in a short period of time, by beginning to bridge the gap in the provision of seed and early stage finance,” Liam Nellis, chief executive, Intertrade Ireland, said.

“We look forward to further developing and growing the network to create and harness a culture of angel investment on the island of Ireland,” Nellis added.

About €3.6 million was raised through the angel investor networks operated by the four regional business innovation centres (BICs) – located in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Waterford. A further sum of just more than €800,000 was raised through angel investment syndicates co-ordinated by HBAN.

Diane Roberts, national director, HBAN said: “The Innovation Task Force Report, published last week, has shown that there is a definite need for a specific angel capital industry in Ireland. Our role is to promote this sector by creating links between investors and entrepreneurs”.

“A big part of this process is the development of syndicates of investors, as a means of creating a greater funding capacity by pooling resources and expertise. Instead of one investor taking all of the risk, we’re creating groups of five to 10 investors to put funds into firms that have significant export potential.

“A good example would be the syndicates of investors in life sciences that we began to set up last month,” Roberts added.

“Longer term, the development of the angel capital industry will be an important means of supporting economic recovery. It’s widely acknowledged that Ireland will not be able to rely solely on investment from multinationals in future, so supporting local enterprise, through angel investors and other means, will be critical for ‘Ireland, Inc.’,” she said.

About HBAN

HBAN operates regionally through the Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Galway Business Innovation Centres (BICs), who each run local angel networks.

“For firms like ours that have been in existence for just a few years and are looking for an extra injection of capital to support growth, HBAN represents an extremely important resource,” said Matt Norton, CEO of mobile security solutions firm Sentry Wireless, one of the early stage enterprises that has raised funds in co-operation with HBAN.

“HBAN not only helps to find the investment, it also helps find the kind of investor who has a knowledge and understanding of the business that you’re in.”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years