New €2m technology investment syndicate established

23 Mar 2011

A new syndicate of angel investors was announced in Dublin today, which plans to use €2m to channel into knowledge intensive technology based start-ups, called TechExecs which is led by entrepreneur Ian Shearer and several other private investors.

Over 100 angel investors gathered in Dublin at the second annual Angel Investment Conference organised by Halo Business Angel Networks (HBAN) Investor Syndicates under the auspices of InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland. 

The conference consisted of discussions by expert speakers about the future of Ireland’s angel capital industry at the second annual Angel Investment Conference. The event provided expert financial and legal advice to delegates on how best to manage private investment opportunities as part of angel investment syndicates. 

The conference which was sponsored by Deloitte and Eversheds O’Donnell Sweeney, also heard a proposal for the establishment of a Government co-investment fund to further stimulate private capital investments into knowledge intensive start-up enterprises. Similar models have been successful among the angel investment community across Europe and in the United States.

Diane Roberts, national director of HBAN Investor Syndicates said, “This gathering marks the further professionalisation of the angel capital industry in Ireland where experienced entrepreneurs seek qualified investment opportunities that are investment ready.  This ‘smart money’ is following start-up companies with strong intellectual property and well defined prospects for commercialisation and growth.  Smart money investment also brings a new dynamic to invested companies which can profit from the advice, contacts, experience and know-how of their angel investors. The most effective method of angel investing is where investors pool their resources as a syndicate and form portfolios of companies where they can support greater numbers of businesses and spread the possible risk of investment.”

“The costs of starting a company are less today than they were some years ago and private investors can create an exponential growth effect with their funding.  Investments are also providing value for money as valuations are reflecting economic conditions.  Investing in early stage companies is also considered to be an attractive prospect by many investors following the fall in stock market and property values. 

“Internationally, private investors have become a well established source of capital for innovative companies. While in Ireland we currently count the number of angel investors in the hundreds, in Europe there are some 75,000 private investors across over 300 syndicates with some €3bn invested in emerging companies.

“In the United States, figures from the American Angel Association show angel investment at just about the same level as VCs in the last year (US$18.3bn). The difference is that while VC’s invested in nearly 3,000 companies, the angels invested in over 57,000, spreading their capital and its potential far more widely.

On the State Co-investment proposal, the conference heard that the average size of Government backed co-investment funds and angel investment funds across Europe are €27.2m. 75pc of these funds have up to €10m to invest. The average size of deal is approximately €570,000 and just under half of the funds invest on average €400,000 per deal.

Speakers at today’s conference included Dr. Sean Baker, CEO of Gridstore, Chairman of the Irish Software association and co-founder of Iona Technologies;  Norah Casey, entrepreneur and founder of Harmonia publications; Declan O’Sullivan, CEO of optical fibre innovator Firecomms (recently acquired by China’s ZJF Group); Sean O’Sullivan of SOS Ventures, also co-founder and managing director of the international Irish transport technology firm Avego, Ltd. and by the president of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN), Brigitte Baumann.  All of the attendees at the conference are either experienced or potential angel investors.

At the conference – chaired by RTE Dragons’ Den investor, Gavin Duffy – delegates were also briefed on the support structures available to investors, the key criteria on which to base investment decisions, the growth in the number of available investment syndicates, and the best ways to diversify a portfolio of investments.

InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland HBAN is a joint initiative between the agencies on an all-island basis, which was established in 2009 to identify the need to stimulate further seed capital from private investors.