Irish-American entrepreneur targets early-stage companies with new fund

EFO Ventures, which is co-founded by Sean Flood, has also made its first acquisition

EFO has just acquired Frog Mobility, which has an enterprise value of $15m

EFO has just acquired Frog Mobility, which has an enterprise value of $15m

 

An American entrepreneur who relocated to Co Donegal last year after selling his start-up has established a new venture capital fund that is targeting early-stage Irish companies.

EFO Ventures, which is dual-headquartered in Dublin and Atlanta, Georgia, is backing companies at seed stage with investments of between $50,000 (€40,000) to $150,000 (€123,000). Speaking to The Irish Times, co-founder Sean Flood said however that negotiations have begun about raising a larger fund valued at up to $20 million (€16.3 million).

Founded by Mr Flood and David Touwsma, EFO is an early-stage investment and concept incubation firm focused on companies developing ideas in a number of areas, including mobility, sustainability, tech-enabled services, and health and wellness.

While primarily focused on investing in start-ups rather than buying them out right, EFO has also made an acquisition. It has bought Frog Mobility, an Atlanta-headquartered shared scooter services company that is live in cities in the US, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Portugal and Australia, for an undisclosed sum.

Gotcha

Mr Flood and Mr Touwsma, previously founded Gotcha, a Charleston-headquartered micromobility company that was acquired in a $12 million (€9.8 million) deal in March 2020 by Last Mile Holdings. Last Mile has itself since been acquired by Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt’s Miami-based Bolt Mobility.

Prior to its sale, Gotcha provided dockless bike share and e-scooters and operated in more than 30 cities and universities across the US.

Given the entrepreneurs’ experience in the space, Mr Flood said while not part of its game plan, the option to acquire Frog was “too good to turn down”.

“The premise of EFO is not just to invest but also to incubate to help companies grow. We’ve made six investments to date and we’re looking at doing more both in Ireland and farther afield,” he said.

“I’d be keen to see companies that we back who are from outside of the country relocating to Ireland too,” he added.

Mr Flood said he would be keen to see Frog bidding for licenses to run shared e-scooter schemes in the Republic once legislation is passed.

“Frog is already in Lisbon and we’d love to see them in Ireland and in other European towns and cities,” he said.

The deal value for Frog has not been disclosed but the company has an enterprise Value of $15 million (€12.2 million) based on revenue and units deployed, Mr Flood said.

The businessman’s father comes from Leitrim and so he is no stranger to the Republic. Originally from Florida, Mr Flood said that having not been able to engage with others in the tech space due to the Covid crisis he is now looking forward to engaging with other entrepreneurs both in Donegal and Dublin.