This is a guest post from Alicia Hunt, of the Irish Software Association. More info on what EI is doing for Software Companies looking for Investment (here on BestConnected)
If you are a software company seeking funding, legal advice and mentoring, then you should be applying for this year’s ISA Software Investor Forum. This forum, organised by the Irish Software Association, the Irish Venture Capital Association and HBAN is both a ‘pitching competition’ and a workshop for all scaling companies looking to grow their business.
Companies will be given a platform to pitch their product or service to a panel of established investors. This is a great opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to connect with venture capitalists and business angels on the look out for new business opportunities. All participants will receive constructive feedback from the panel. For some it could result in investment in their company.
The forum will be attended by a number of accomplished serial entrepreneurs including Iona co-founder Sean Baker, Helix Health CEO Howard Beggs and Holignment CEO Declan Kavanagh, who will answer your questions and offer advice on a range of business issues. If you are having difficulties navigating legal issues like shareholding and IP protection, Thérèse Rochford from WhitneyMoore will also be on hand to answer your questions.
The closing date for applications is the 13th April 2012 and the event will be taking place in the Guinness Enterprise Centre on 10th of May 2012
If you think your company has the potential to be the ISA Software Investor Forum Company of 2012 apply now!
If you are an active investor or an early stage company seeking funding, then you will know that there is a lot of chatter and activity around angel investment at the moment.
Not surprisingly in these tough economic times there is a lot more activity around the start-up scene, as many people find themselves looking to generate employment and as always, investors look for new business opportunities.
Yet for all the successes and supports available at the moment to the start-up, Angel investment as an investment type, on the island of Ireland, it is still pretty fair to say that we are in the early stages when you compare us to the US, but also to many of our European neighbours, not least Scotland or even France. It’s clear that we need to keep educating, sharing knowledge and building our own expertise in Ireland.
And Angels don’t come in one shape or form. Forget the TV stereotypes or the Silicon Valley expectation when you think of the Angel. There is no Golden Pages listing, and for once Googling doesn’t seem to work either. But the appetite for Angel investment is out there, and I’d say greater than ever before. We just need to tap into it and bring together the start-ups with the angels, creating dialogue and deals.
One unique form of angel investment is that of the syndicated group, a category that entails bringing together a group of individual investors to act as one. One such group in Ireland are Bloom Equity who have recently closed a number of investments with Irish start-ups. Like most angel investors, this group is made up of people who not only bring cash to the table, but also critically experience and insight into growing companies ready for international expansion.
Xcell Partners will be hosting Angel Meetup2012 in Dublin, an event, targeting both Angel Investors and Entrepreneurs. We have gathered a group of speakers from north and south of the island, plus a truly unique international line-up. The event is headlined by internationally renowned angel investor Bill Payne. Alongside Bill on the panel of speakers are Gavin Duffy, Entrepreneur & Irish Dragon’s Den Presenter; Bill Liao, Entrepreneur & Micro Angel; Danny Moore of Loughshore Investments based in Belfast; Nelson Gray an experienced Scottish investor; and accomplished business leader Leslie Buckley.
The event is calling all entrepreneurs with a pitching competition where 4 budding start-ups will get the chance to receive some one-to-one mentoring from Bill Payne. In addition, we will be hosting a master class workshop for budding angel investors in the afternoon.
The event will be taking place at Startupbootcamp located in Barrow Street, Dublin, a recent initiative which is taking 10 early stage companies through an intensive development programme. To find out more about the event head to http://www.angelmeetup2012.com
EI are delighted to say that we have two complimentary tickets to attend Angel Meetup 2012 for readers of BestComnected. To be in with a chance to win these tickets, just leave a comment below – don’t forget to include a valid email address so we can contact you if you win! We’ll pick two names randomly and announce the winners here on the blog on Friday the 16th of March.
Update: Winners chosen (randomly selected using the draw sequencer at random.org), congratulations to Gerard O’Brien of recipebook.ie and Kevin Lowe of payByMobile - enjoy the conference gents!
With 3 out of the top 8 business accelerators in Europe based in Ireland, here in Enterprise Ireland we are determined to help Irish startups succeed. We’re also convinced that Ireland is the best place for entrepreneurs worldwide to come and start their business.
The application process for one of the top 8, DCU Ryan Academy’s Propeller Venture Accelerator, has just opened. This award-winning accelerator has a tremendous amount on offer for smart, winning entrepreneurs: €30K investment, over 60 mentors (including serial entrepreneurs and product/business specialists), office space and a demo-day.
The snag? There isn’t one – you get all this for a 6.5% equity stake, which is surely the bargain of the century.
The primary aim of Propeller is to boost early stage technology start-up companies with an emphasis on software, Web 2.0, informatics, clean-tech and applications.
Paul Healy, CEO Fantom and a noted serial entrepreneur, is full of praise for the venture:
Winning a place on the inaugural Propeller Venture Accelerator was like being plucked off the bus and placed on the bullet train for our business. We were given access to the most senior Irish business talent and an inside track to the Irish and international investment community.
Interest in the application process has come from far and wide, with expressions of interest outside Ireland from USA, UK, France, Israel and Portugal. The closing date for applications is November 2nd, although applicants are advised to apply early. The accelerator starts with the companies moving to Citywest, Co Dublin, on January 2nd next year. For more information visit the Propeller Website and get the Propeller PDF brochure.
Not in Dublin? Enterprise Ireland support a range of business incubators nationwide (list at bottom of this blogpost).
Want an event where you take part instead of just listen? Do yourselves a favour by heading out west to Bizcamp 2011, which takes place on Saturday September 10, in the NUI Galway. This is the latest in the series of Bizcamp events which have been held around Ireland.
Organised by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, Bizcamp 2011 ups the ante while taking down the formality a notch or two, and while it’s going to be packed with innovators and people with creative ideas (and, of course, entrepreneurs!), the event is deliberately not about sales pitches.
Ultimately, what happens is that speakers will give a short presentation (usually no longer than 20 minutes), with 10 minutes for open discussion, on a topic of their choice. The great thing about Bizcamp is that the topics vary from adapting your business, innovative marketing, product design and pricing to sourcing finance, engaging with web and social networking and evaluating stress management.
Bizcamp co-organiser and founder of xap.ie, Michael Fitzgerald, reckons that Bizcamp is all about encouraging, mentoring and supporting innovative and ambitious business ventures.
“There’s so much going on in the areas of technology, medical devices and industry in general in the West of Ireland right now. It’s a really exciting time, and we wanted to provide a platform for entrepreneurs to meet with new people outside their main circles to share and learn from each other.”
If you’re around on the day before the event (Friday September 9) , you’ll be pleased to know that a Demobar event takes place in The Oslo, Salthill, at 9pm.This is an informal event where you can view demonstrations of web-based applications, iPhone, iPad & mobile apps, and have a beer (free!) with the people behind these local companies. Demonstrations are on laptops and mobile devices – the guys promise no Powerpoint presentations!
If you’re interested in speaking , or just coming along, add your name to the Bizcamp list here.
This is a guest post by Brendan Binchy of ROCG, who spoke on corporate structure and strategy at two recent EI events. Here , Brendan talks about the impact of the recent Irish budget will have on the structure of your business.
The last budget heralded in a new business environment that will evolve and crystallise over the next few years. Like most significant change events many will only become aware of the changes when their own enterprise is impacted (or even compromised!) in some way by what has become a new or different business norm.
In my view a real point of strategic inflection occurred when the gap between personal taxes and corporate taxes widened, in that budget, to such a significant extent that when married to the more punitive restrictions imposed on corporate cash extraction through pension funding, it has heralded in an era where the incorporated entity has become ‘king’. Putting the low corporate taxation rate to one side, the Ireland of the past was dominated by tax breaks and reliefs which were largely focused on benefitting the individual rather than the incorporated entities right across the continuum that ranged from pensions to property reliefs.
In a period when credit was freely available this often meant that many investments and arrangement were made personally by individuals but were interwoven in some way with the incorporated business. Just fine when the economy and business is booming but not so good when both constrict – many a corporate nest is now looking for some of the golden eggs to be returned to the laying hen only to find they are too tarnished to be of any use!
So how will the new era of Corporate emphasis manifest ? Well watch out for some of the following indicators:
We’ve had a lot of people asking when the winning proposals for Enterprise Ireland’s Internet and Games Fund would be announced; After much work by the people in applying, and within EI to pick out the best prospects, the winners have just been made public.
These are the successful 1st set of companies that applied for the fund. We hope to announce the 2nd set (Competitive Start Fund) as soon as the successful companies finish the T&C’s and due diligence.
Congratulations to all ten companies – the hard work is just beginning. If you weren’t successful, there is some consolation in the strength of the people that did win through.
The deadline for Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund is the end of this week; Given that it’s a ‘lighter’ online process, you’ve still time to apply. Ray Walsh and I have had a lot of questions about how best to fill out the application, given that we are getting a lot of interest from companies in the Cloud, Enterprise, SaaS and Telco areas.
Adrian of Calom has a very good blogpost on his (successful) experience in applying for the EI Internet and Games fund in December. My own notes, based on going through the applications for the previous Games Fund are below.
Lessons learned (more…)
Enterprise Ireland are always looking to balance the need for companies to map out their business plans with the need to get on with the serious business of creating Sales, Exports and Jobs. That’s why we launched the Internet and Games fund in December. Because of that success, a follow-on initiative, the Competitive Start Fund, launches today.
If you are an early stage company with a software solution from any of the following sectors, you can apply to our Competitive Start Fund. The application form is all online, but you must complete it before March 11th, 2011.
• Cloud computing
• Enterprise software
• Internet & Games
Up to 15 companies will be selected to receive an investment of €50,000 , in return for a 10% ordinary equity stake. The investment will be made in two equal tranches. This means that the selected companies will be required to secure additional investment of €5,000 prior to the release of Enterprise Ireland’s investment.
If you’re a shortlisted applicant you’ll need to deliver a short investment pitch to a panel of industry experts and Enterprise Ireland. Full details can be found on www.enterprise-ireland.com/csf or email email@example.com Telephone: 01 727 2202
Musings of VC in NYC is a very good source of information and tips for entrepreneurs, investors, developers etc. in the software industry especially web services especially social, gaming and mobile. It can cover stuff from “What does a CEO do anyway” to “Retooling Stale Businesses” using web services technology to the ideal First term sheet and liquidation preferences. Themes or companies that pop up cover open source, cloud based platforms, mobile gaming etc. The VC has an interesting portfolio of companies too.
In terms of the Irish software industry what strikes me is the incredible power that a dedicated and skilled developer team has to create a compelling web service and this a compelling business with international scope. This is due to the power, accessibility and low costof open source, Internet and languages like Ruby on Rails etc. etc. This is the modern software industry and it is open to people with thise skills who can marry it to a business vision – i.e. do something that people are actually willing to pay for or solves a real problem. We defintely need more programmers with the right skills in PHP or Ruby on Rails etc. It is simply much cheaper to create a software business than it was before, if you do it right of course