Securing a spot on a prestigious accelerator programme in Boston was a big deal for Irish start-up Machinery Partner. But the company impressed the programme’s director so much he has come on board as a co-founder of the company.
Belfast-based Machinery Partner was one of 10 companies worldwide to win a spot on the Techstars Boston accelerator. During its time on the programme, it wowed managing director Clement Cazalot so much that he has invested in the company and become its chief operating officer.
Founded by Ciaran Gillen in 2018 and formerly known as Enginius, the company makes it easy to buy new heavy equipment used in the construction, demolition and recycling industry, direct from the manufacturer.
The business, which recently surpassed $1 million in sales for the first six months, is currently focused on crushing and screening equipment.
It targets small to medium-sized contracting businesses in the United States that are often overlooked by machinery dealers due to their deal sizes. While not on the scale of some transactions, the deal volumes are big enough with an average sale amounting to $200,000.
Mr Cazalot is a successful entrepreneur who previously founded DocTrackr, a company acquired by listed company Intralinks. He then served as Intralinks’s vice-president for technology and product design until it was bought by Nasdaq company Synchronoss. More recently he operated as an angel investor and board operator in addition to running Techstars Boston.
The businessman is joining Machinery Partner as it is closing a $4 million oversubscribed funding round.
“After seeing thousands of companies through my role in Techstars and directly mentoring hundreds more, I left for Machinery Partner because Ciaran is one of the most charismatic and decisive chief executives I have ever met,” said Mr Cazalot.
“Together we have a genuine opportunity to support small businesses all over America and beyond. This is the single biggest opportunity to come through Techstars,” he added.
Founded in Boulder, Colorado, in 2006, Techstars is a global network that runs accelerator programmes and provides funding and mentoring to start-ups. The organisation has 2,590 portfolio companies, including Irish start-ups such as SwiftComply and Talivest.
Prior to establishing Machinery Partner, Mr Gillen worked in the heavy equipment industry for over 15 years. He realised there was a service gap where the focus from dealers was on the sale rather than the aftercare.
“We are giving customers a world of machinery, allowing them to source the best piece of equipment based on the specifications or the material they want to make,” he said. “Before we started, it was difficult for smaller customers to buy equipment at all let alone sticking with them through the whole life cycle of the machinery,” Mr Gillen added.
While the US is the company’s primary market, Mr Gillen said Machinery Partner would continue to be headquartered locally.
“I’m based in Ireland right now and we’re always going to have a base here, not least for the fact that some 70 per cent of the world’s crushing and screening equipment is made right here so it is a natural place for us to headquarter ourselves,” he said.