Drive to increase angel investment in Irish start-ups to €25m

Business network aims at 17% per year funding rise as it recruits seed investors

 Julian Seymour, syndicates manager; Sarah Cagney, communications and  relationship manager; and John Phelan, national director of  the Halo Business Angel Network  (HBAN) which plans to increase the amount invested in Irish start-ups to €25 million by 2020. Photograph: Mark Stedman

Julian Seymour, syndicates manager; Sarah Cagney, communications and relationship manager; and John Phelan, national director of the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) which plans to increase the amount invested in Irish start-ups to €25 million by 2020. Photograph: Mark Stedman

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A push is on to double the number of angel investors in Ireland with the aim of increasing the amount going into Irish start-ups to €25 million a year by 2020.

Marking its tenth anniversary this week, the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) said it aims to increase investment by 17 per cent per year for the next four years.

The network said its key focus over the next four years will be attracting more seed investors to invest in the ICT, medtech and health sectors in particular. Combined, these sectors attracted over €8.7 million, out of a total €13.6 million, in angel funding invested last year.

HBAN, which is a joint initiative of InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland, serves as a go-between to bring start-ups and investors together. Key sectors covered by angel syndicates managed by HBAN include ICT, healthcare, consumer products and food.

“We’re very focused on recruiting new angels and developing our regional syndicates. In particular, the HBAN offices in Galway, Cork and Waterford are very active in attracting new investors by inviting them to monthly forums and pitching events,” said national director John Phelan.

HBAN angels have invested over €80 million in Irish start-ups over the last ten years. When the €124 million invested by other funds in those agreements is taken into account, this brings the total invested to €204 million. The 395 investments include a number of success stories including AventaMed, Rubicoin, GloFox, iCabbi and Corlytics.

Noteworthy exits

Angels have seen a good return on investment on deals overall, with noteworthy exits including Mark Little’s Storyful; music analytics firm, Soundwave, which was acquired by Spotify; and biopharma company, Nexvet, which was bought by Zoetis for $85 million.

Last year, investors associated with HBAN ploughed more than €13 million into 50 Irish start-ups with the average investment running at €272,000. This marked a 25 per cent increase on the €10.8 million raised from angel investors a year earlier.

HBAN has six angel syndicates operating in Ireland. There are also four recently established international investment groups.

“In terms of return on investment, HBAN is providing excellent value. Over twenty times the cost of the programme is invested by angels in Irish companies through the network, and when other public and private funds are included, that jumps to 50 times the cost of the programme,” said Mr Phelan.

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