Why do Investors invest? Exits!

By hban.org
Thursday, 7th July 2016
Filed under: Year2016

The obvious objective of Angel Investing is not just to strategically support a new start-up, by providing the "Smarts" but also most investors are also looking for a financial return on their investment, obviously the sooner the exit the more attractive angel investing becomes. To date, the average European trend has been an exit within 5-7 yrs, however in some sectors it has been longer, e.g Food Sector 7yrs+, hence the ask during a pitching session, what is your exit strategy?

HBAN is delighted to share some information on exits that you may not yet have heard about! Contrary to trend, these exits have actually come about less than 3 years after the comapnies received their investment. The actual  ROI varies from company to company but can be up to 7x times the investment – highlighting how rewarding risk can be!



Mark Little, a journalist for more than 20 years, (Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Washington Correspondent and news anchor for RTE)left RTE in December 2009 to set up the social news agency, Storyful, which extracts news from the social media noise. HBAN was instrumental in arranging angel funding for Storyful, when it raised its initial round of €430K,leading to subsequent rounds totalling €3 million. Mark presented to the angels in September 2010 and the HBAN business angel investor made a return of seven times his investment when Storyful was sold to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for €18million in December 2013.


In 2011, HBAN introduced energy demand software company, Activation Energy to one of its registered business angels with a strong background in the energy sector. The HBAN business angel worked closely with the founder Patrick Liddy to realise his exit strategy. Activation Energy was acquired by Nasdaq listed EnerNOC in February 2014 with the business angel realising a significant return on his investment. “The team over at HBAN understood what industries matched my domain knowledge and to which I would add value. One of the first businesses they linked me up with was Activation Energy which turned out to be a perfect fit and fortunately for all a profitable exit opportunity!” Aidan McDonnell- Investor in Activation Energy.


Microsemi Corporation, a leading provider of semiconductor solutions, acquired Cork based Mingoa in September 2014, a leading provider of semiconductor IP for hardware accelerated Ethernet OAM and embedded tests. This was a successful exit for investors including members of the HBAN Boole Syndicate.​


The initial investors, registered with the HBAN in 2007, exited c.2009 when the Pervenio was acquired by the New York Stock Exchange Company.


Music technology, heavy weight Spotify acquired Soundwave, known as the “watercooler” for music fans, by both tracking what you listen to, what your friends listen to, and then using algorithms to suggest music based on that while also providing a messaging platform to discuss your playlists in Jan 2016 after presenting to the HBAN investors in 2014. You can read more about this exit here:

Official Press Release: https://press.spotify.com/us/2016/01/20/spotify-acquires-cord-project-and-soundwave/


20/20 Insights exited following the successful completion of sale to Swisspost in late 2011 and provided a return on investment of 7 times to the original angel investor.



Belfast agricultural software company FarmWizard was bought over by the global Grosvenor Estate, in a deal which will see the local firm triple in size.

See more at:



Guide Central “a DIY platform” presented to HBAN in November of 2015 and subsequently received investment. Following that, they have been acquired by the “How To” King – wikiHow in March 2016 “This fits very well with wikiHow’s model and universal approach to skill sharing and day ­to­ day knowledge.”

Read more here:



*We can only disclose some of this information dependent on the agreement that we have with these companies and the investors.