Annual Conference Addresses the Topic : Has There Ever Been a Better Time to Raise Equity?
With venture capital activity on the island up by 6% in 2013 from €260m to €284m according to the recent Irish Venture Capital Association’s Venture Pulse survey, the event highlighted the many funding opportunities now available to businesses and advice on accessing funds.
Growing Number of Local Investors
Drew O’Sullivan, InterTradeIreland’s lead Equity Advisor said: “There is an array of funding and equity supports available to Irish high growth companies, particularly venture capital, seed and business angel funding. Over the last 12 months alone we have seen a number of companies announce that they have raised significant funds including; Movidius, Sophia Search, Cleverbug and of course one of the biggest success stories led by an Irish team, Stripe. There has never been a better time for investor-ready SMEs to seek funding in Ireland.”
“What is particularly interesting to note is the growing number of local investors. Government support has helped create an environment where firms can look for funding without the need to go abroad. Companies can seek all levels of funding from seed level all the way up to larger venture capital investments from these local sources. Major overseas investors have also been attracted to Ireland, including the likes of Highland Capital, DFJ Esprit, Polaris, Better Capital, MML and Sofinnova. Having these signficant venture capital fund managers with partners working out of an Irish base means that Irish companies have a much better chance to complete large growth and expansion funding rounds, and we are seeing evidence of this now.”
Outlook for 2014 bright
Grainne Lennon, Operations Manager for InterTradeIreland, explains: “With substantial potential investment available from the VC and business angel community within the room alone today, this Conference will help to enhance delegates’ knowledge of and access to equity funding. The outlook for 2014 is extremely bright as innovation and available equity are both at their highest levels in recent years, which is further stimulating the venture capital market and economic regeneration across the island.
“With an opportunity to network with investors, it is important that companies understand what investors are looking for and have an understanding of due diligence requirements, be
‘investor-ready’ or at least armed with the knowledge of what they need to do to become ‘investor ready’. Venture capitalists and business angels, including those attending our conference today, will have a checklist in their head, of sectors in which they are interested and the desired financial gains.
Today is a warm and open environment which allows companies to make their first impression and introduce themselves to potential investors, which could set the ball rolling for securing future investment for their business.”
Belfast technology company, Analytics Engines, who shared their experience at the conference today, told how they raised more than £1million in venture funding for its products, highlighting the accessibility innovative companies can have to venture capital, if they are ‘investor-ready’ to do so. The company received this private venture capital to explore new markets but has previously availed of government initiatives, including the European FP7 funding stream; evidence in itself that the company is presenting itself as ‘investor-ready’ to varying investor audiences.”
Delegates also heard from keynote speaker, Patrick Joy, of Co. Louth based Sure Tank, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 and one of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs, as well as four other younger enterprises’ experience of raising equity.
The conference also included a speed networking session and three parallel sessions covering early stage funding, series ‘A’ funding and life sciences. Risk sharing, crowd-funding and state supports from InterTradeIreland, Enterprise Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland, also formed part of this comprehensive conference programme.
The event was supported by Crescent Capital, Kernel Capital and Mills Selig.
How InterTradeIreland is helping
InterTradeIreland supports SMEs through various equity supports including regional equity advisory clinics delivered by a venture capital professional, investment pitch masterclasses, business planning workshops and the very successful All-island Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition. For further information on InterTradeIreland’s supports and equity initiatives, visit www.intertradeireland.com/equity.