Business angels say they have €85m available for start-ups

6 Feb 2012

Some €85m in business angel funding is available to start-up companies across the island of Ireland, InterTrade Ireland said today. Last week, Irish venture capitalists warned of a sharp fall off in venture capital funding in 2012.

News of available funding from business angels is particularly welcome as the Irish Venture Capital Association warned there will be a shortfall in future funding.

Speaking at the launch of the InterTradeIreland Venture Capital Conference, Margaret Hearty said that with a total of almost €50m, investment in funding partnerships since the Halo networks were set up.

Hearty warned it is a crucial time for start-ups to become “investor ready”.

“The environment for start-ups has changed dramatically with the advent of lean start-ups, born global start-ups and the Social Local Mobile internet media revolution, bringing both increased opportunities and competition,” said Michael Culligan, national director of Halo Business Angel Network.

“Supports such as business angel investing, angel co-investment funds, accelerator programmes and seed venture capital funds are a response to this reality. Notwithstanding the severe macroeconomic challenges of recent years, there exists a vibrant entrepreneurial culture on the island.  

“This responsive entrepreneurial ecosystem is exactly the environment where business angel activity can flourish and play an increasingly important role in the creation of wealth and jobs,” Culligan continued.

The 11th annual InterTradeIreland Venture Capital Conference, which will take place at Belfast City Hall on Wednesday, 7 March, is designed to facilitate networking between Ireland’s leading venture capitalists, business angels and start-ups that are seeking funding from across Ireland.  

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Navigating the Funding Maze’ and will build on the experiences of companies that have been through the venture capital process and showcase the options and opportunities that are out there for Irish companies today.

Delegates at the conference will be able to put questions to the active venture funds on the island, hear first-hand experiences from companies that raised finance, as well as perspectives from key investors Danny Moore, principal at Lough Shore Investments, and Dennis R Costello, managing partner at Braemar Energy Ventures.  

The conference will showcase not only the current sources of equity funding but also alternative sources of funding. As the only Venture Capital Conference on the island it is a flagship event for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, business angels, investors and anyone with an interest in venture capital.

“The island of Ireland has an excellent infrastructure in place to support new business and InterTradeIreland is at the coalface of this,” Hearty said.

“Small and medium businesses will drive the future of our economy and they need support to take the opportunities and to grow. Research has shown that venture-backed firms outperform non-venture backed firms. Job creation is also much stronger within VC-backed companies, with research indicating that VC-backed companies create 80pc more jobs than non-VC-based companies. Our focus at InterTradeIreland is to work with SMEs to help them become first-class, investor-ready companies.

“This event provides a unique opportunity for those looking to access funds to meet with leading venture capitalists and business angels, as well as representatives from companies who have been successful in securing funding,” Hearty said.

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