‘Getting into a relationship with a VC is like getting married’ – start-up tells masterclass

4 Oct 2013

Maurice Roche, partner, Delta Partners, chats with Richard Barnwell, CEO of Digit Game Studio, at the Securing Seed Capital Masterclass at Bank of Ireland in Dublin

High-growth start-ups linked up with investors to share insights during a masterclass in Dublin last night, where guest speaker Richard Barnwell, the founder and CEO of Digit Game Studio, also touched on how start-ups need to learn to almost ‘flirt’ with venture capitalists (VCs) in order to form a symbiotic relationship.

In it for the long haul …

The event, which was organised by Delta Partners along with Bank of Ireland (BOI), was held in the latter’s Burlington Plaza building on Burlington Road, Dublin 4.

In all, 20 Irish high-growth start-ups from technology and other fast growth sectors – think med-tech and healthcare – engaged in the Seed Capital Showcase organised by Delta Partners.

That particular VC firm has pumped in more than €7m in these companies via the BOI Start-Up and Emerging Sectors Fund.  

More than 200 home-grown Irish jobs have apparently been spawned as a direct result of these investments. And many of the entrepreneurs steering these particular 20 start-ups are forecasting more job growth during the coming year.

Speakers included the aforementioned Barnwell, John Hickey of Cloudium, Tony McEnroe, former MD of Farran Technology, and Terry Nealon of Fishtree.

The event, which was attended by members of various Irish tech start-up accelerator groups, also included a separate master class in raising seed capital. Entrepreneurs shared their experiences of the process.  

‘Wooing’ the investors

Speaking about his own experience during a fireside chat with Maurice Roche of Delta Partners, Barnwell compared the process of connecting with potential investors to that of a romance, and schmoozing.  

“Getting in a relationship with a VC is just like getting married, but it takes even more work,” he claimed.

“You will need to prepare your company to date, flirt and close the deal with a potential suitor [or ‘suitress’] and spend lots of time reviewing the proposal (term sheet) before getting to the altar.”

The ‘schmooze’ effect

Roche said last night’s event was important, in that it showcases some of the great companies that have been emerging across Ireland over the past two years alone.

Furthermore, Roche said it reflects the opportunities for similar, as yet-undiscovered Irish start-ups, to secure funding to allow them to grow their businesses, creating new jobs for Ireland in the process.

“It is a clear message that Ireland is open for high-growth businesses that can hold their own on an international platform.”

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic