Sports nutrition company Elivar has raised €700,000 from multiple sources, including the HBAN Food Syndicate, Enterprise Ireland and other private investors.
Elivar develops a range of sports nutrition products, specifically formulated and tailored for the over-35 age group.
On the back of this investment, Elivar will create 10 new jobs by the end of 2014. The positions will be in the areas of food science, production, e-commerce, marketing and finance.
HBAN’s new business angel Food Syndicate will support export-focused food, drink and nutraceutical start-ups.
HBAN director Michael Culligan said the Irish food industry, North and South, continues to grow. In the Republic of Ireland, the industry now accounts for 8.6pc of total employment and 11pc of all Ireland’s exports, with exports having surpassed the €9bn mark.
Elivar’s main markets are the UK and Ireland, from where 90pc of its current sales emanate. It also exports to Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands, and is looking to expand its sales channels across Europe in the coming year.
Donal Hanrahan and Len Dunne founded Elivar in Dublin in 2012. The duo trained and rowed at an international level in their 20s and now, in their 40s, are active in endurance sports.
They found that while there is an abundance of sports nutrition products that support endurance and recovery for young and elite athletes, there was nothing tailored for the needs of their specific age group, despite having different nutritional needs.
“While our initial funding was required to bring Elivar to market, the HBAN Food Syndicate investment also provides us with the active support of some of Ireland’s leading food entrepreneurs,” Hanrahan explained.
“In the long term it is their combined experience which will help us develop Elivar to its fullest potential, as a successful Irish food company operating in a global marketplace.
“The HBAN syndicate model was perfect for us. An issue for companies seeking investment is the time it takes to get in front of the right investors. The Food Syndicate gave us the unique opportunity to address a group of engaged investors, with a specific interest in food investments.”
Elivar’s core products have been developed with nutritionists and food scientists to deliver a full nutrition system, providing the correct levels of energy, protein and micronutrients to athletes who are over 35.
Alison Cowzer is managing director of The Company of Food and is also a founding member of the HBAN Food Syndicate.
“We are a very new business angel syndicate, founded under the auspices of HBAN," she said. "The syndicate chose Elivar as our first investment as its founders really impressed us. They had clearly researched their market and the growth potential for this business. The clear niche they have identified in the expanding over 35s sports market shows the innovative nature of this product and we see this as a long-term sustainable market.
“As a new syndicate, we are seeking further business angels to join our group and thereby add to the levels of funding we have available for Irish businesses and the expertise and market insights we can share,” Cowzer said.