Funding successes for friends of Inspirefest, Sugru and Astia Angels

4 May 2017

Image: cristovao/Shutterstock

Sugru and Astia Angels have revealed separate successes in the form of crowdfunding and acquisitions.

With just two months to go before Inspirefest 2017 gets underway, two companies considered friends of the sci-tech event are celebrating two funding successes for very different reasons.

Last March, London-based Sugru – founded by 2017 speaker Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh – announced it was holding another crowdfunding campaign to raise £1.5m to take the clever, mouldable glue international.

Until this point, Sugru had already raised a total of £7.5m in both venture and crowdfunding capital.

Now, the company has confirmed it has achieved more than its £1.5m target. More than 2,000 people invested in the company through the Crowdcube platform, with nine days still to go before the campaign closes.

The success follows a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign back in 2015, which saw the company raise more than £3.5m.

A new, child-friendly Sugru formula is scheduled to launch later this year as the first in a series of formulations designed to encourage more people to fix and repair their things. It could open up significant opportunities within the craft and stationery markets.

Sugru has plans to launch this year in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, while also extending its reach in Europe.

“The pressure was certainly on to try and match the runaway success of our first campaign back in 2015, so reaching such a high target of £1.5m, thanks to 2013 new investors, feels great,” said Ní Dhulchaointigh.

“The investment will help us reach new markets with a brand new innovation launching later this year, as well as supporting retail expansion overseas. We’re all genuinely excited for what lies ahead!”

Astia Angels makes first exit

Meanwhile, Astia Angels – whose CEO Sharon Vosmek spoke at Inspirefest 2016 – has announced its first exit with the acquisition of Ciel Medical by Vyaire.

Astia Angels has established itself as one of the largest women-focused investor groups out there. It has credited Inspirefest with connecting it with Irish start-up Soapbox Labs during the Astia Venture Showcase.

After some successful talks, the company building speech technology specifically for young children revealed in January that it had received €1.2m in seed funding from the investment firm.

Astia Angels said that the acquisition of Ciel Medical – the medical device company it invested in in 2015 – is a step towards the company’s stated goal of becoming the global leader in the respiratory care market.

The investment group has also confirmed it is to return to Inspirefest 2017 in the hope of finding some other future Irish and international start-ups to support.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic