John Harbison Key Note
John Harbison is Chairman Emeritus of Tech Coast Angels – the largest Angel investor group, where he has led 14 deals and invested in over 60 startups. He is also an active investor in public companies, and has realized returns from 100x – 1100x in five companies (Microsoft, Apple, Abbott Labs, Nucor and McGraw-Hill). He currently serves on the ACA Board, and has served as a Director on Boards of many early stage companies -- John enjoys mentoring and helping these companies succeed. Previously he co-founded Next Autoworks – a disruptive new American car company backed by investors such as Kleiner Perkins and Google Ventures. Before that he served as CEO of network security software SilentRunner Inc., and as President of Raytheon Commercial Ventures Inc. where he launched four businesses in two years leading to two successful exits and a third company which achieved $700 million in annual revenue within eight years. Earlier in his career, he was a strategy consultant and partner at Booz•Allen Hamilton where he led the firm’s Aerospace/Defense Practice, its Strategic Alliances functional practice, and opened its Los Angeles office. He has an BA cum laude from Harvard College, an MS in accounting from NYU Stern and a MBA from Harvard Business School with first year honors.
Áine Denn Key Note
Áine Denn co-founded Altify, in 2005. Recently acquired by US technology company Upland Software (UPLD) for $84.0 million, Upland Altify is the leading Customer Revenue Optimization (CRO) cloud solution for sales and extended revenue teams.
Prior to Altify, Áine studied computer science at Trinity College Dublin and served in senior executive positions in public and private companies, including The SCO Group, NewworldIQ, Prudential UK and Accenture.
Driven by her belief in relationship building and sales excellence, Áine spent the last fourteen years relentlessly drawing focus to customers and their needs. Today Upland Altify is driving towards a goal of 100% Customer Success.
Having had direct experience of doing good whilst doing well in business, Áine is passionate about giving back to the community and investing in people and businesses that challenge norms. Áine volunteers as a lead entrepreneur for the Irish government sponsored programmes Going for Growth and Back For Business, helping foster the success of female and returning emigrant entrepreneurs.
Jim Mountjoy Key Note
Jim has spent almost his entire career in telecommunications and software. An Electrical Engineer by education, he has worked in the telecommunications service provision space, as a Science and Technology advocate and as CEO of two software companies which he co-founded.
He was the founding CEO of Baltimore Technologies and remained in that position for seven years before setting up Euristix in 1990. Baltimore Technologies went on to be listed on Nasdaq and Euristix grew profitably at a spectacular rate in the nineties culminating in it’s being acquired in 1999 by one of its customers, Fore Systems of Pittsburgh, U.S.
Jim has spent the last twenty years acting as one or more of an investor, mentor, non-executive director and Chairman with a large range of individuals and companies, largely in the technology field. Jim has advised and served on the board of a number of not for profit organisations.
The technology companies with which he has been involved and which have been successfully acquired in this period include Similarity Systems, Havok, Cape Technologies, Perlico, Duolog, Amartus, Corvil, Trintech and Brown Bag. He has served on the Boards of Barnardos, the Abbey Theatre and Science Foundation Ireland and is currently a Board member of the Higher Education Authority and is Chairman of the Insight Research Centre. He is also currently also on the Boards of Op4g (U.S.), CR2 and MCO.
Debbie Rennick Panellist
Debbie is a general partner of Act and has been involved in corporate finance and venture capital investing for over 20 years.
For the last two decades Debbie has been at the forefront of technology investing in Ireland. Debbie has been partnering with and advising our portfolio companies, to ensure the right decisions and correct moves are made to ensure lasting success.
Some of Debbie’s current investments include Ocrex, Alpha Wireless, Grid Beyond, Keelvar and LogoGrab.
Debbie is a graduate of Law from UCD and is a fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland. Prior to a career in VC and Act, Debbie worked in corporate finance with KPMG specialising in fundraising and M&A.
Outside of the office, Debbie is an adventurous explorer and can be found climbing the mountains of Patagonia or cycling up the Atlas mountains in Morocco.
John O'Sullivan Panellist
John is CIO of Beechbrook Ireland and an Investment Committee Member. He Joined Beechbrook in 2018. Previously John was Senior Vice-President at Enterprise Ireland. John Co-Managed Enterprise Ireland’s Direct Equity Fund, responsible for Series A, B, C investments and Private Equity and Private Debt investments in Irish, UK and US based SME’s, including origination, follow on, co-invests and completing 100 plus exits. John is based in Beechbrook’s Dublin Office.
Jenny Melia Speaker
Jenny Melia, Manager of High Potential Start ups in EI. Jenny joined EI in 1996 after completing a BSc and PhD in Chemistry in UCD. In the 90’s, part of EI’s Research and Innovation team in commercialization and industry research and was based in Trinity College for several years. Managed EI’s Research & Innovation programmes between Industry and 3rd level research institutes and was the Irish liaison for EU nanotech and advanced materials funding programmes and appointed by the EU Commissioner to their High Level Advisory group. Spent a decade working closely with EI’s food & beverage clients – from start up to scaling to global players, and subsequently with SMEs across all sectors and regions across Ireland. Joined the High Potential Start Up team in May 2019 and is thoroughly enjoying working with the clients and the HPSU team.
Drew O'Sullivan Masterclass
Drew O'Sullivan currently advises the EIF on the deployment of the €40m European Angel Fund Ireland and also acts as Lead Equity Adviser for InterTradeIreland. Drew has been involved for 20 years in the startup fundraising landscape on the island of Ireland. He has worked as a venture capital investment manager, corporate finance adviser and run incubator/accelerator programmes.
Diann Cannon Masterclass
Diann Cannon is a Senior Associate at Flynn O’Driscoll with a primary focus on private equity and venture capital investments. Diann also regularly advises on mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring and banking transactions. Diann has acted for a wide range of clients including high net worth individuals, angel investors, venture capital funds, start-ups and more established companies.
Diann has expertise across a number of sectors including, most particularly, angel syndicate investments and venture capital transactions in the healthcare, technology and food sectors. Diann advises a number of the HBAN syndicates including the Medtech Syndicate, Irrus Investments, Bloom Equity, Boole Investments, the Food Syndicate and the West by North West Syndicate.
Alan O'Driscoll Masterclass
Alan O’Driscoll is a Corporate Partner at Flynn O’Driscoll with considerable transactional experience in acting on corporate mergers and acquisitions and angel syndicate and venture capital investments. Alan advises companies, private equity funds, angel investment groups and entrepreneurs on a variety of commercial and corporate transactions. Alan has been involved in start-ups, fundraising, acquisitions, disposals and IPOs in Ireland and the UK.
Alan has expertise across a number of sectors including, most particularly, angel syndicate investments and venture capital transactions in the healthcare, technology and food sectors. Alan advises a number of the HBAN syndicates including the Medtech Syndicate, Irrus Investments, Bloom Equity, Boole Investments, the Food Syndicate and the West by North West Syndicate
Pat Garvey Panellist
Pat is a technology industry veteran and private investor in the sector. He has co-invested with VCs, independently and as a member of Bloom Equity - a business angel group of technology entrepreneurs.
Before turning his attention to private investment he was founder and CEO of the Sharptext Group which he built organically and by acquisition into one of the most profitable European IT distributors with operations in the UK, Ireland and Southern Europe.
He sold his interests to DCC plc at the start of the millennium. This business, rebranded as DCC Technology, continues to thrive reporting revenues of more than €4.0bn in its most recent financial year. GFK Technology, an accountancy software platform developer for the small business market, also founded by Pat, was acquired by Sage and integrated into their range of products.
As an active private investor in the technology sector, a sector he has a deep interest in and where he enjoys mentoring the new generation of entrepreneurs, he has been involved in a number of successful investments and exits. They include a co-investment with IIU in Deecal, a commercial credit card software business developed and sold to First Data. A co-investment with Hibernia in the Cara Group. Its HR and payroll software division, CaraPeople, was sold to Northgate plc and its systems integration business was sold to BT Group plc. Other recent investments include ElasticHosts, a UK based virtual server business sold to Host Europe. Pat led these transactions as Chairman of each company.
His current investments as part the Bloom Equity group include; Phorest, a leading software supplier with a growing international presence in the Salon industry. Phorest successfully completed a €20m investment round recently and; Iconic Translations a rapidly growing neural machine translation software business.
Pat has served on a number of private and public sector boards and held positions as a business consultant for the Irish Management Institute and as a marketing manager for Xerox in his early career.
He holds an M.Sc. in computer science from Trinity College where he got his rugby colours, is an average golfer and a former Leinster rugby player of little note who played at a time when 300 was a big match crowd.
Richard Watson Panellist
Richard is Managing Partner of DBIC Ventures, the venture arm of Dublin BIC, which has just launched a new seed and early stage fund focused on B2B software and medtech. He has over 20 years’ experience in venture capital, R&D and operations. Richard was Investment Manager with the AIB Seed Capital Fund from 2009 to 2017 and prior to this, Investment Manager with UK-based NorthStar Ventures.
Richard started out in the medical device industry in Sweden, as Development Engineer for a Swedish diagnostics company, which was acquired by Medtronic. Following this he was R&D Manager for a Stockholm-based drug delivery start-up, working on the design of inhalers and pen injectors for pharma customers. He went on to spend four years with Intel in operations & systems development and was closely involved in the scale-up of Fab 24, one of Intel’s main global fabs.
Richard has a 1st class honours degree in Electronic Engineering from Trinity College Dublin, a Research M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from Trinity College Dublin and a 1st class MBA from Durham University.
Laura Lynch Masterclass
Laura Lynch is managing director of Laura Lynch & Associates tax advisory firm. Laura provides personal and corporate clients with strategic and commercially focussed tax, financing and structuring advice on issues such as wealth protection, succession planning, pensions, cross border matters and tax efficient employee remuneration. She works closely with both angel investors and investee companies, facilitating investments in start-up and expanding companies and is also the tax advisor to the HBAN Medtech Business Angel Syndicate and the Ireland Smart Tech Fund recently launched by Dublin BIC.
Laura was recently awarded a Fellowship of the Irish Tax Institute and is also a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland. She has lectured extensively for several professional bodies, particularly the Irish Tax Institute, including delivery of their annual Finance Bill nationwide tour. She is co-author of the ITI’s annual publication, FINAK, which provides in-depth commentary and comprehensive technical analysis of each section of a Finance Act following enactment.
Laura is also on the Board of the Irish Tax Institute and is a member of their TALC (direct taxes) Committee, which is the main forum for making representations between Revenue and practitioners on the administration of tax in Ireland.
Aidan O'Driscoll Masterclass
Aidan has spent the last twenty-five years in the technology sector both in an executive and consultancy role.
He spent his formative years in Ernst & Young/
In 1985 joined a high tech start up called Intepro Systems as financial controller. Subsequently, he transformed an engineering-led company with a competitive presence in one regional market, into the world’s number one supplier of power supply AT instrumentation, software and turnkey systems. In 1991 he successfully negotiated the sale of the organization to Shaffner giving the VC investors an annual return in excess of 12% per annum.
He spent 4 years with Avocent International as VP Sales EMEA from 1999 to 2002 where he expanded and grew the sales organization into a $35m annual turnover.
He has spent the last number of years working as an independent consultant working with companies in setting and implementing their strategic direction in the area of sales, marketing, finance and strategic management.
Aidan is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.
Niamh Sterling Panel Moderator
Niamh is the Co-founder & Board Member of several high performing export driven companies both in Ireland and the UAE. Most recently her digital publishing company is targeting the U.S market.
With over 20 years Directorial & Senior Executive experience, Niamh brings a wealth of commercial and customer focused insight to her new role. She has developed & implemented viable business growth strategies & cohesive business processes, exercising control and accountability for driving revenue growth & profitability.
She has a dynamic career spanning both the corporate & entrepreneurial space with a passion & energy for delivering results and is a key member of the team to build strategic partnerships and negotiate contracts across the UAE and MENA regions.
Niamh is a member of the Institute of Directors.
John Phelan HBAN All-Island Director
John is commercially driven to identify, create and scale new business opportunities. He has grown and scaled companies, including his own, in Ireland, the UK and in the USA. These include several start-ups; one in the UK, three in Ireland (most recently RecommenderX AI) and GM of a games company in Chicago. His domain knowledge is in the AI, Software, ICT, MediaTech & Animation/content sectors.
John is involved with all stages of funding (Equity, Debt, Grant, R&D) and stages of development from M&A exit transactions, Series A, Seed and R&D, and has also engaged in early stage Research (H2020 and the European Commission).
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.
John is also the co-founder of RecommenderX (www.recommenderx.com), Chair of lifestyle learning content brands Knowhowdo (www.knowhowdo.com ) and the Independent Chair of Animation Ireland (www.animationireland.com ) with members employing over 1,500 and annual revenues ~ €100m. Sometimes artist, sometimes sailor...
Julian Seymour Panel Moderator
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.