Business angel investors in the HBAN all-island network invested a record amount in start-ups in 2022, putting €33 million into early-stage companies. That figure was 81 per cent higher than that recorded in 2021, with a total of 78 companies benefiting from the funding.
The Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) is a joint initiative between Enterprise Ireland and InterTrade Ireland, responsible for the promotion of such investment and the development of business angel syndicates in Ireland. More than 300 of its members invested in start-ups in Ireland in 2022, and investors linked to the network have now put around €177 million into more than 730 start-ups since 2007.
“As early-stage funders angel investors are giving the businesses of the future the best chance of success. Since 2007 our network of investors has been providing the capital, knowledge, mentoring and strategic introductions that start-ups need in their infancy,” said John Phelan, all-island director of HBAN. “Not only that but they also have a direct impact on a company’s ability to leverage additional funds from other sources.”
The number of deals signed was also higher, at 86 deals versus 71 in 2021. Some 30 per cent were investments in either female-led or female-founded companies, and 23 per cent had HBAN female angel investor participation.
The news of the increase was welcomed given the backdrop of a tightening international investment market. The most recent data from the Irish Venture Capital Association also showed a sharp drop in venture capital funding for Irish tech companies in the fourth quarter of 2022 as overseas investors fled the market, providing further evidence of the importance of building up domestic investment firepower.
“Every year Enterprise Ireland directly funds over 130 start-ups through our pre-Seed and HPSU (High Potential Start-Ups) funding programmes. These companies require additional capital to develop and our HBAN programme is designed to provide support to the business angel community through deal introductions and building of syndicates to become robust investment groupings,” said Leo Clancy, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland.
Mr Clancy said the agency was encouraged by the growth in female angel participation, and the activity in female-led businesses.