Frequently Asked Questions

What is HBAN?

HBAN is an all-island umbrella group responsible for the promotion of business angel investing and development of business angel syndicates. HBAN actively works to increase the number of angel investors involved in investing in early-stage companies and supports the formation of new and existing angel networks, both regionally and internationally, and within industry sectors.


What does HBAN do?

HBAN recruits new angel investors and adds them to its existing network of registered investors. These angel investors are then aligned to particular groups (or Syndicates) according to their areas of interest. On the investee side, HBAN identifies, screens and prepares young companies that are looking to raise seed investment to connect with the angels. The primary way we match investors with companies is through pitching sessions to either syndicates and/or groups of individual investors. On occasion HBAN will also connect companies directly with investors.  The primary areas of focus for HBAN angels investors are in the broad Information and Communication Technology, Financial Technology and Services, Medtech, Food, deep IP based companies and Clean Technologies.

What is an angel investor?

An angel is a high net-worth individual who invests his or her own money in start-up companies in exchange for an equity share of the businesses. Other important things to know about angels include:

  • Many angels are former entrepreneurs themselves.
  • They make investments in order to gain a return on their money, to participate in the entrepreneurial process, and often to give back to their communities and/or sectors by catalysing economic growth.
  • Angels make a return on their investment when the entrepreneur successfully grows the business and exits it, generally through a trade sale.
What are angel syndicates?

Individual angels are joining together with other angels to evaluate and invest in entrepreneurial ventures. The angels can pool their capital to make larger investments and pool their knowledge to further derisk their investment. HBAN manages a network of 10 syndicate groups on the island of Ireland and some  international diaspora syndicates. Angel organisations come in many forms, but all have certain characteristics:

  • They meet regularly to review business investment pitches
  • Selected pre-screened and pre-prepared entrepreneurs make presentations to the membership of the syndicate group
  • Member angels declare their interest to potentially invest in the presenting businesses
  • Angels work together to conduct due diligence to validate the plans, statements and history of the entrepreneurial team
  • Using a singular nominee vehicle, the group of interesting angels will make a syndicated investment in any particular company. Typically they invest in innovative startups in a range of industries. The most common areas are software, medical devices, telecommunications, and manufacturing.
  • While some groups focus on a specific industry area others focus on investing in a specific region and are non-sector specific
What is the difference between angels and venture capitalists?

While both invest in entrepreneurial firms and take equity (ownership) in those businesses, there are some important differences:

  • Funding source - Angels invest their own funds directly in a business, while venture capitalists invest funds from other sources (e.g. pension funds, insurance companies, foundations).
  • Stage of entrepreneur - In general, angels invest in seed, start-up and early-stage businesses, while venture capitalists invest in later-stage businesses (although there are exceptions).
  • Size of investment - Venture capitalists generally invest €2 million and up in a financing round, while individual angels make much smaller investments (€20,000 to €500,000). Angel groups can make investments in the mid-range, between most individual angels and VCs.
What kind of companies do angels invest in?

Angels look for new innovative companies that can grow quickly in sales and value (creating jobs along the way). Examples of angel-backed businesses include Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Starbucks, Facebook, Costco, and PayPal. You can see a some of HBAN investee companies here and a list of successful HBAN exits here.

Is angel investing risky?

Yes. The most sophisticated angels make at least ten investments in order to make a return on their investment, counting on one or two to provide nearly all of their return.

How do angels help startup businesses?

In addition to financial capital,  angels mentor leverage their own experience and network, to coach and assist growth in their portfolio companies, which can often help them avoid mistakes and execute on a more focused strategy. They introduce entrepreneurs to potential customers and investors, see around potential problem areas, and help the start-up firms gain credibility in their fields. 

How can HBAN help me as an investor?

HBAN provides quality dealflow in the form of pre-screened investment opportunities via the GUST investment platform so you can review current investment opportunities at anytime. Investors can invest as an individual or join a syndicate and invest as part of a group.

In addition, HBAN provides investors with a variety of educational resources to help members to understand the core processes of reviewing, executing and managing an angel investment in a company. These resources support them to create and grow healthy investment portfolios. As a member of HBAN you will be invited to webinars, angel masterclasses and our All-Island Business Angel Conference and roadshow events. 

How can HBAN help me as an entrepreneur?

HBAN provides entrepreneurs and start-ups the opportunity to present their businesses to pre-screened, high net worth individuals who want to invest their money in Irish businesses.

HBAN can introduce entrepreneurs with relevant investors and syndicates who not only have the capital capacity to invest up to €250,000+ per investment but have extensive business acumen and industry experience which can help accelerate the growth of your start up.

HBAN also provide pitch-ready preparation to all presenting companies to ensure that they make the best possible impression on investors.

What criteria does my business have to fulfil to be considered to pitch to HBAN?

In order to raise funding ideally, your company should meet the following criteria:

  • A product/service that is commercial ready and in market.
  • Pre-revenue is considered, however, some early market traction is preferred.
  • A management team with relevant experience.
  • A clearly identifiable market opportunity.
  • An internationally scalable business model.
  • Currently fundraising a round greater than €100,000.
  • Startup or scaleup that is less than 4 years in operation
  • Ideally, you are an Enterprise Ireland HPSU client
What other sources of funding are available in Ireland?
  • Local Enterprise Office grants
  • Enterprise Ireland - CSF (Competitiive Start Fund) & HPSU (High Potential Start Up)
  • Mirco Finance Ireland provide small business loans
  • P2P (peer-to-peer) lending to established businesses (LinkedFinance and Flender)
  • Crowdfunding (reward or equity based)
  • For a further list of alternative sources of funding you can visit FUND SME.
How do the pitching events work?

The HBAN Investor Forum (for angels investing independently of each other) meets monthly up to 10 times a year and the syndicates meet anywhere from 3 to 8 times per year depending on the group and their preferences. At each event 3 to 5 entrepreneurs will present their business to investors.

Pitching slots consist of a 10-minute presentation followed by a 10-minute Q&A with present investors.

You can view a short video about pitching to HBAN HERE.

How do I become a member of the HBAN Investor Network?

To apply to HBAN as a Business Angel you should complete the form found HERE. Once that is done, a member of our team will be in touch with further information.

How do I apply to pitch to HBAN?

If you wish to apply to pitch to HBAN please visit our Entrepreneur Application page where you can find further details.

Is there a fee?

No, HBAN is an initiative of Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland and Invest Northern Ireland and there is no fee as a member or as a company. Some of the syndicates have annual membership fees which contribute directly towards operational costs of that syndicate.

I am considering creating my own business angel syndicate, can HBAN help?

Yes. The HBAN team have deep experience in building business angel syndicates. We know the common challenges faced and have lots of supporting materials and template documentation that can help new syndicates transition from the early exploratory stage to a formal structured syndicate operation.