14th Annual InterTradeIreland Venture Capital Conference

By InterTradeIreland
Friday, 13th March 2015
Filed under: Year2015

Venture capital funding to SMEs rose over 40% to €401m last year, the highest level seen for 10 years and 22 VC funds and Business Angel networks attending the conference.

The 14th annual InterTradeIreland Venture Capital Conference entitled, “Your opportunity to meet investors’’ sponsored by Kernel Capital and Eugene F. Collins today (March 11th 2015) attracted all of the major active venture capital and business angel networks from across the island. This year’s conference taking place in the Helix, Dublin City University today will build on the experiences of companies that have been through the venture capital and Business Angel funding process and showcase the buoyant equity scene on the island, with an increasing number of venture funds and Business Angel syndicates actively competing for the best early stage investment opportunities.

Venture capital funding to SMEs rose over 40% to €401m last year*, the highest level seen for 10 years. Since its inception over 14 years ago the flagship event has attracted more than 3,000 delegates. This year’s event in particular was a great success with over 300 delegates in attendance. With 22 VC funds and angel networks taking part, this is the highest number of investors the Venture Capital Conference has ever had taking part in the investor panel. In addition, following on from delegate feedback from the 2014 conference, InterTradeIreland extended the networking time giving companies additional opportunities to directly meet and directly engage with investors.

Richard Bruton, TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said; “Venture capital funds provide critical funding, mentoring and access to networks to fast-growing companies and expanding established businesses – ultimately supporting them to create more jobs. The attendance of over 300 delegates at today’s InterTradeIreland conference highlights the positive equity environment in Ireland and the potential that exists across the island in this sector. Entrepreneurs and firms are meeting face to face with investors from across the country and they are looking at ways they can work together to grow their businesses and importantly create more jobs.”

Amongst the keynote speakers at the conference was Niamh Bushnell, Dublin Commissioner for Startups who spoke about her own startup entrepreneurial journey and also contrasted the start up and investment scene in Ireland and the USA.

Speaking at the Conference, Margaret Hearty, Director of Programmes and Business, InterTradeIreland said: “InterTradeIreland has been an active player in helping companies raise venture capital for over a decade and with venture capital funding at the highest level in 10 years it is now more important than ever that firms become investor ready. Today’s conference brings together expertise and resources from across the island fostering a collaborative approach to sharing knowledge and experience amongst speaker, firms and investors.”

She continued; “InterTradeIreland continues to see a buoyant venture capital and business angel sector as essential to a strong growing economy. An example of this is the Halo Business Angel Networks (HBAN) across the island, which in 2014 facilitated 48 deals worth €9 million in direct investment from Business Angels, an increase of almost €8m raised in 2013.”

Drew O’Sullivan, Lead Equity Advisor with InterTradeIreland said, “At the early stage, there is a substantial amount of seed equity funding and a trend we experienced in 2014 was an increase in the level of Series A funding. In 2014, the level of Series A round funding saw 35 deals, each from €1.5million to €6.5 million, which is an increase of 10 deals from 2013 and the highest it has ever been. This is a strong indicator of a better calibre of start-up companies in Ireland and that companies are becoming investor ready and attracting this level of funding. Traditionally in the past, this level of funding would be associated with the IT software sector but we are seeing increasing interest in the life science sector from international investors. There are also several accelerator funds that are working to get early stage companies off the ground. It is a good time to be seeking equity across the island.”

InterTradeIreland offers a range of supports to early stage companies to ensure that they are better prepared as they seek to raise equity and that they are ‘investor ready’.  This ranges from Funding Advisory Services, Education Programmes, Business Angel Finance and the all-island Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition. The organisation delivers a series of monthly regional advisory clinics across the island where entrepreneurs can meet on a one to one basis with their Lead Equity Advisor.  For more information on the range of equity supports available from InterTradeIreland visit www.intertradeireland.com/equity

For more information following the InterTradeIreland annual Venture Capital Conference please visit http://www.intertradeireland.com/vcc/ to access speaker presentations.

You can also follow the post Conference conversation on Twitter - @VCC2015 and follow hashtag #itivcc.

* Source: IVCA Venture Pulse Survey 2015