More than 200 start-ups were set up with an introduction to investors by the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) in 2016, according to new figures.
While not every pitch resulted in a successful match, some 25 per cent of the start-ups – 50 companies – found an investor as a result.
HBAN is a joint venture between Enterprise Ireland and Intertrade Ireland. The organisation acts as an introduction service between start-ups and investors, but does not get involved in the investments or take commissions or fees from completed investments. In 2016 it held 51 funding events, including a roadshow that pushed to raise €6 million in 48 hours.
National director John Phelan said the network acted like a sophisticated dating agency for investors and startups.
The network is a mix of individual investors and syndicates, which are groups of like-minded investors with a focus on a particular region or sector. Of the companies that pitched to syndicates, 64 per cent received investment from HBAN investors or outside investors.
“Every year hundreds of start-ups seeking funding approach us. It is our job to assess them, and identify which ones are investment-ready before introducing them to potential investors,” said Mr Phelan. “We’ve seen better quality, with companies more further developed, over the past five years. On both sides things have matured.”
Mr Phelan said HBAN was seeing a pattern of investment where syndicates were collaborating with each other, with some international involvement from syndicates in New York and Singapore.That opens up a path for Irish companies to win investment from overseas. “They are now investing in Irish companies with other syndicates.”
The network is currently on the hunt for fresh investment funds. Angel investors and companies typically have a relationship lasting between four and seven years, and although some investors will make a few investments, additional sources of funding are always being sought, Mr Phelan said.
Among the start-ups that successfully received angel funding in 2016 were medtech start-up Signum Surgical, which received €2.6 million from the Galway-based MedTech Syndicate; Full Health Medical, which received €500,000 and was backed by the West by Northwest Syndicate; communications platform TippyTalk, which received €400,000; and data logistics firm Caragon, which was supported by the HBAN Investor Forum, Dublin, with €500,000.