Dithering Irish tech firms likely to get bad equity deals

Bank of Ireland says its lending to indigenous tech companies rose 150% last year

Katherine Byrne, corporate finance partner in BDO, Adrian Mullet head of technology sector at Bank of Ireland, Sandra Notardonato, research vice president with Gartner, Roomex chief executive, Jack Donaghy, IT Alliance chief executive, Philip Maguire and Paul Sweetman, director of Technology Ireland

Katherine Byrne, corporate finance partner in BDO, Adrian Mullet head of technology sector at Bank of Ireland, Sandra Notardonato, research vice president with Gartner, Roomex chief executive, Jack Donaghy, IT Alliance chief executive, Philip Maguire and Paul Sweetman, director of Technology Ireland

 

Many Irish technology firms aren’t aware of the many funding options available to them and don’t consider raising capital until so late in the game that they don’t get the best deals.

Katherine Byrne, a corporate finance partner at BDO, also said a delay in launching a second generaiton of allocaitons of local funds was holding back indigenous ctart-ups.

Speaking at a “Successful Scaling” event in Dublin on Wednesday, she said: “Irish companies naturally look abroad in this situation which means we are losing the opportunity to scale Irish businesses.

“We originally had a good attitude towards seed funding but have become a little complacent about it in recent years. We need to do more to ensure there are local funds that partner with international VCs,” Ms Byrne said.

Her comments come as Bank of Ireland’s head of technology sector Adrian Mullet told delegates the bank expects revenues at indigenous technology firms to rise by 20 per cent this year to 3.5 billion.

The event, which was organised by Ibec-affiliated Technology Ireland and Bank of Ireland, also heard from a number of other speakers including Sandra Notardonato, a research vice-president at Gartner, IT Alliance founder Philip Maguire and Roomex founder Jack Donaghy.

More incentives

Ms Byrne said tech companies often realise they have a funding requirement late on, which means they aren’t in a position to shop around for the best deal. She and other commentators also highlighted the need for the introduction of more incentives for entrepreneurs.

Mr Mullett revealed his bank increased its lending to Irish firms by 150 per cent in 2017.

Mr Mullett, who was a senior market analyst with the biometrics software firm Daon before joining Bank of Ireland, said the bank was in the process of establishing a dedicated relationship team to better serve mid-market technology companies and to capitalise on a rise in lending in the sector.

“Everything that we’re seeing in terms of trends and dealing with tech companies on the ground indicates strong future growth in the sector,” he said.