Irrus business angel syndicate plans to increase equity investments to €10m

8 Aug 2013

Aidan O'Driscoll, founding member of Irrus Investments

Business angel syndicate Irrus Investments is aiming to increase the amount of equity available to Irish business to €10m over the next two years, which it envisages it will achieve by growing the group’s membership by 60pc.

Irrus Investments currently has 30 members and is the largest business angel syndicate in Ireland. It is looking to increase its membership to 50 in order to increase the level of equity and expertise within the group and therefore also increase the number of companies it invests in each year.

It is seeking new members to join the syndicate who have a real interest in investing in high-growth potential technology companies in the life sciences and other technology sectors.

Irrus Investments reviews up to 100 early stage companies that seek investment every year. The majority of these businesses are Irish owned but the syndicate has also invested in international companies. From these 100 companies, typically 20 are invited to pitch to the group at one of its six annual syndicate meetings.

In a typical year, Irrus Investments moves to diligence with about 40pc of those who present to it, with three to four companies receiving investment.

The minimum investment in any company is €500,000 and the average is about €1m. In most cases, Irrus provides 40-50pc of the total investment and co-invests with Enterprise Ireland, other angel investors and seed funds. Up to 10 business angels from the Irrus group will usually invest in each deal.

Some of the businesses that have received investment in the past include Teamer, Betapond, NexVet, Sigmoid Pharma and Wattics.

“There are so many benefits investing as part of a syndicate,” explained founding member Aidan O’Driscoll.

“Our members are presented with only the best, fully screened investment opportunities and have the choice to invest smaller amounts of money in a portfolio of businesses, spreading the risk and the potential rewards.

“While many of our members have successfully grown and exited high-performing businesses, anyone with business know-how and expertise that wants to invest in growing businesses can join our syndicate. They will gain access to a network of successful, experienced investors who will support them in the decision-making process and there is never any obligation to invest. Each member decides whether to invest or not and how much,” O’Driscoll said.

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