New event connects Irish tech firms with UK investors

Moore Stephens establishing TechTrailblazers event to help firms secure growth capital

Dublin’s IFSC. The TechTrailblazers 2018 event will take place in October and is open to everything from biotech and fintech to media technology. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Dublin’s IFSC. The TechTrailblazers 2018 event will take place in October and is open to everything from biotech and fintech to media technology. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Accountancy firm Moore Stephens is establishing a new event that will bring Irish technology companies in search of growth capital together with UK investors.

Investors who have committed to TechTrailblazers 2018, which will take place in October, represent combined funds in excess of €1 billion, Moore Stephens said.

The event is open to everything from biotech and fintech to media technology.

“We noticed a real gap in the Irish market for tech companies looking to raise growth capital,” said Damien Ryan, partner with Moore Stephens, noting there was a supportive eco-system and infrastructure in Ireland for start-ups and seed capital funding. “But when they get to a certain size, a lot can run into the growth capital challenge.”

Falter

That is typically when companies need to raise between €5 million and €30 million, and this is where companies can falter in Ireland, Mr Ryan said.

“That is much harder to raise in Ireland than other countries. We thought maybe we could help.”

Ned Murphy, managing partner with Moore Stephens, said he expected to have a strong list of 100 companies to reduce to a shortlist of about 20. “We’re prepared to devote a considerable amount of manpower to this,” he said.

Applications for the event, which will take place in October, are now open. Tech companies throughout the island of Ireland can apply. A range of criteria has been agreed with the UK investment funds, and Moore Stephens will review applications over the next couple of months against that list.

The scope of venture capital funds was quite broad, Mr Murphy said.

Investment readiness

A long list of companies will be drawn up and candidates will be interviewed by Moore Stephens, with the final shortlist announced in September. Those that make the shortlist will be invited to join investors for an “investment readiness” workshop in London before meeting with the investors later that day, where they will deliver speed-pitches to the investors. As part of the event, attendees will also be invited to an event at the Irish Embassy.

Brexit is creating a demand for investments in EU countries, Mr Ryan said, particularly for investors close to London.

“They are now looking to invest in euro technology companies because it gives them a hedge,” he explained. “There are companies in Ireland looking to raise money, and investors looking to place it.”

The initiative could also help job creation in Ireland, with Irish companies at the growth capital stage would often become targets for acquisition by international companies. Mr Ryan said this could sometimes be negative for job creation in Ireland.