Investor forum may generate €10m for high-tech start-ups

Enterprise Ireland’s latest overseas investment forum could attract combined funding of €10m for high- tech start-ups based here.

The agency held its fifth annual International Investor Forum in London yesterday. It was attended by 25 Irish SMEs and start-ups and attracted more than 114 venture capital, corporate, and other investors from around the world.

While most investors were from the venture capital sector, a number of ‘business angels’ and high net-worth individuals were also in attendance.

According to Niall O’Donnellan, Enterprise Ireland’s divisional manager for investment services, the wide spread of investors — hailing from the Far East, mainland Europe, North America, and Britain — coming to meet Irish firms is “indicative of the many high quality internationally- focused growth companies now emerging out of Ireland”.

“These companies will have an increasingly positive impact on Irish exports and jobs over the coming years.”

Within the past five years, more than 50 international venture capitalists have invested in Irish companies and have syndicated with Irish-based venture capital firms.

Enterprise Ireland said the London event has continued to grow on an annual basis, but its aim remains to raise new investment to fund the significant growth plans of attending companies.

This year’s crop of companies — with an average headcount of about 10 employees — hailed from the financial services, clean-tech, software, and life sciences sectors.

Eamonn May, the banking relationship and growth capital manager with Enterprise Ireland, said the aim of the event is to continue to build relationships between companies and potential investors.

While quick to stress that it should not be viewed as a fixed monetary target, Mr May said a tally of about five separate investment deals — worth a combined €10m or so (the average amount each company seeks at these events is about €2m) — should be attainable.

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