€90 million angel funds for start ups
Picture left: Anthony Bermingham, Bloom Equity; Michael Culligan, national director, HBAN; and John Ryan, Irrus Investments.
Last year, some 29 businesses received investment, in deals which HBAN, the all-island umbrella group in partnership with the Irish BICS is responsible for stimulating angel investment, worked on. Representing a 20 per cent increase on 2010, the investment will lead to the creation of 143 new jobs within 12 months, and 344 jobs within three years. A further eight companies received investment of € 1 million via Halo Northern Ireland.
Of the €12 million invested, € 6 million came from angel investors, with the balance being directly leveraged from organisations such as Enterprise Ireland, venture capital companies and founders.
“Despite the significant wealth destruction that has occurred in this country, these results demonstrate that there are still investors with cash and an appetite for the risk/reward opportunities presented by technology start-ups,” said Michael Culligan, national director of HBAN, which is a joint initiative of InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland.
He puts the rise in investment down to increased demand. “There are still lots of people who have money out there,” he said, pointing out that business owners who sold out during the good times are now keen to re-invest their cash in growing companies.
“There is a genuine desire from people who have been around the block and sold out, but now want to get involved again,” he says.
And while the global economy may remain volatile, there are still decent investment opporunities.
“My experience is that there is a very vibrant young start-up economy or culture here, with significant opportunities for investment,” said Mr Culligan.
Indeed John Ryan, of the Irrus Investments angel investor syndicate, noted that they are “delighted” with the quality of early stage technology company investment opportunities and will continue to actively invest in 2012.
Angel investments predominantly tended to be in the technology the sector in 2011, with some growth in medical devices and green-tech, Mr Culligan noted.
Companies that received investment last year included biotechnology company, TriMod Therapeutics; Radisens Technology, a medical diagnostics company; and Scurri, a web-based logistics company.
According to HBAN, the investment the 29 companies received will drive an average fourfold increase in turnover in three years, and the start-ups will contribute €33.8 million to Ireland’s export income in 2014.
Looking ahead, Mr Culligan expects 2012 to be “even better”. “We are actively seeking more angel investors and syndicates who can help us assist innovative startups create wealth and jobs on the island of Ireland,” he said.