Start-ups pitch for €6.5m investment at Cork Venture Academy

A record €16.7m was invested in startups by angel investors in the southwest of the country in 2022
Start-ups pitch for €6.5m investment at Cork Venture Academy

(Left to right) Martin Corkery of Enterprise Ireland; Shemas Eivers, Boole Investment Syndicate; Larry O'Donoghue; Kate Popova of Everywhere English; Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Neale Richmond; Becky Popova of Everywhere English and Dr Niall O'Keeffe of Cork City Council at the Venture Academy in Cork city on Friday.

Seven start-ups were welcomed to Cork last week to pitch for €6.5m in funding in front of 50 investors, as CorkBIC says record angel investing of €16.7m in the region last year was a “key element” to supporting entrepreneurs.

Investors and entrepreneurs attended the Venture Academy in Cork city on Friday, part of the Growth Pathway Programme run by CorkBIC, with partners Cork City Council  and Cork County Council.

CorkBIC is a private-sector led organisation which helps entrepreneurs to navigate raising finance, sorting out business propositions, arranging agreements with shareholders and investors, and finding customers.

Friday’s Venture Academy event saw start-ups pitch their ideas in areas such as medtech, automotive, remote learning, retrofitting houses, personal data and automated reporting.

Dr Paul Byrnes, founder of DataMinfo, was named the Most Investible Start-up by a panel of judges. DataMinfo’s data-driven platform is designed to help manufacturers increase plant capacity.

Other companies pitching on the day were Akkure Genomics (Dr Oran Rigby), Everywhere English (Kate & Becky Popova), Hibra Design (Michael Keane), Kids Speech Labs (Gordon D'Arcy), RetroKit (Xavier Dubuisson), and Unbanx (Alan McDonald).

Over more than 30 years, CorkBIC has worked with more than 500 start-ups, with 85% of start-ups in its development pipeline surviving after five years, outstripping the international survival average of 50%.

CorkBIC have said that angel investment is a “key element” to ensuring the continued growth of start-ups and entrepreneurs, and that angel investing is “very strong” in the CorkBIC region.

A record €16.7m was invested in start-ups by angel investors in the southwest of the country in 2022, with investors predominantly coming from Cork-based Boole Investments, and Irrus Investments in Limerick.

Across Ireland last year, €33m was invested by angel investors, half of which came from investors in the southwest. Including investment also raised from VC and Enterprise Ireland, a total of €50.5m was invested in start-ups in Ireland in 2022.

Larry O’Donoghue, CEO of CorkBIC, said that angel investing brings opportunities “to investors and start-ups alike”.

“It is particularly important, during times of uncertainty, that we buoy the start-up community to come up with solutions that make a real-world difference,” he said.

Speaking at the Venture Academy on Friday, Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Neale Richmond said that Cork is “continuing to raise the bar as a hub for entrepreneurialism, scaling and investment”.

“Some of Ireland’s most promising start-ups and scale-ups are located here, along with some of the world’s largest enterprises. This event demonstrates the value of the investment community to start-ups in Ireland,” he said.

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