Meet The Team

John Phelan - National Director

John has extensive experience in start-up and growth businesses (three start-ups; one in the UK, two in Ireland and GM of a computer games company in Chicago). His first business was an Animation Studio in London focusing on Feature films, TV series and Commercials. The success of this venture led to his appointment as General Manager of a Computer Games company in Chicago.

His domain knowledge is in the MediaTech, Digital Media, Software, ICT, Games & Animation sectors, but has also engaged in early stage Research (FP7, H2020 and the European Commission) and Space (ESA) technology sectors.

Through his engagement with Dublin BIC, the Halo Business Angel Network, the AIB Seed Fund and Enterprise Ireland he has his “Finger on the Pulse” of entrepreneurial activity in Ireland and the funding requirements (Equity, Debt, Grant, R&D) for start-up and growth companies.

John is also the Independent Chair of Animation Ireland and a board member of Filmbase.

Julian Seymour - Syndicates Manager

Julian is a proven business development professional with over 18 years international experience in Telecoms, ICT, Cleantech, Education, NGO and FMCG sectors.

He has held senior sales roles with Diageo in Germany, Ericsson, Telecom New Zealand and is former Head of Operations for ECDL Foundation. He has also worked as Head of Industry Engagement for The Green Way, Dublin's Cleantech cluster.

Julian has a 1st class MSc in E-Commerce from DCU, an honours degree in Marketing also from DCU and post graduate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from UCD's Innovation Academy.

Michael Culligan - Director

Michael is an experienced international business development executive with a background in the ICT, financial & education sectors. He has direct business experience in the City of London, China, Japan, mainland Europe & North America. Michael has developed specialist skills in the seed capital arena - working with early stage, knowledge intensive, companies and has also lectured Business Strategy on the Michael Smurfit MBA programme at UCD for a number of years. He has advised multiple startups on successful seed and early stage fund raising. Michael in his role as Director of the Halo Business Angel Partnership, on behalf of Irish BICS, has led the team in raising over €30M for 80+ startup companies in co-operation with other public and private funds. Michael has an undergraduate degree in Applied Physics & Electronics and is a 1st class MBA graduate of the UCD Smurfit School.

Sarah Cagney - Executive Assistant

Sarah is an experienced Executive Assistant and Administration Professional with an extensive communications, marketing and sales background in an array of industries including Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, Banking and Retail. With social media and communications expertise.

Sarah is particularly interested in the Irish start-up eco-system and increasing business angel activity in this space.

Sarah holds a Degree in Marketing (GMIT), an Honors Degree in Business Studies (DKIT) and more recently a Diploma in Employment Legislation (DIT & IBEC).

Paula Finnan- Programme Coordinator

Paula is an experienced Administration and Human Resource Professional with an extensive background in the insurance, customer service and retail sectors which she has consolidated and broadened in the start-up eco-system. She brings a holistic view to the business world with her international experience in Education.  She is a natural networker and communicator with 3 years’ experience working with startups and business angels in the areas of programme content, development of the entrepreneurial workshop cohorts, project management, events and operations, social media & marketing. In addition, Paula specialises in a range of HR activities including recruitment, learning & development, talent retention and performance management. Paula holds a BA International Honours Degree in German and Psychology (NUIG), and more recently a Masters Honours Postgraduate Degree in Human Resource Management (UCD)

Ultan Faherty - HBAN Coordinator for West & North West Region

As a HBAN representative in the west and north-west region, Ultan works to match private investors with pre-screened investment opportunities in start-up, early stage and developing business and to create a community of investors in the region.

For over 20 years he has worked with WestBIC in providing tailored support to innovative enterprise through the initial stages, from concept to commercialisation in identifying incubating and supporting value-added enterprise opportunities.


Aidan Shine - HBAN Coordinator for South East Region

Aidan is the HBAN co-ordinator in the south east region and matches individual private investors with pre-screened investment opportunities in start-up, early stage and developing business. His role also involves the creation of a community of investors in the region.  The South East Business Angel Network (SEBAN) Members, who have a broad sector focus, are interested in investment opportunities in both start-up and more established businesses that are based primarily, though not exclusively, in the South East region.

Aidan is a business consultant with the South East Business & Innvoation Centre.  His role is to advise entrepreneurs and small companies on all aspects of business planning and development, with a special emphasis on financial planning and sourcing funding.  

Cormac Coade - HBAN Coordinator for South East Region

Cormac is the Coordinator for the South East. His role involves the creation of a community of investors in the region to match private investors with pre-screened investment opportunities in start-up, early stage and developing businesses.

Cormac has over 30 years experience working in the Financial Services Industry in Ireland. Prior to joining HBAN Cormac worked with the Bank of Ireland Group. He has worked in various functions including Credit Management,  Asset Finance and more recently in Wealth Management where he held the role of Regional Pensions Manager. Cormac is a Qualified Financial Advisor, holds a Pensions Diploma and a Financial Services Diploma from the Institute of Bankers in Ireland.