There has never been a better time to raise equity – that was the message coming out of the most recent Venture Capital Conference which took place in Belfast. Expert speakers from the industry across the island told delegates how the diversity of funding available means that businesses in Ireland and Northern Ireland have now got more access than ever before to equity funding.
Venture Capital activity on the rise
The conference, the only one of its kind on the island, saw entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, business angels, other investors and company representatives who may be seeking investment, gather together to hear the latest industry news. With venture capital activity on the island up by 6% in 2013 from €260m to €284m according to the recent IVCA ‘venture pulse’, the event highlighted the many funding opportunities now available to businesses.
The diversity of funding and equity supports are greater than ever for high-growth companies with increased seed and growth venture capital funding, business angel funding, government match funding, co-investment funding and European funding streams including Horizon 2020, which will replace FP7.
Northern Ireland market catching up
The Northern Ireland marketplace is displaying increased buoyancy with investment funding opportunities now more in line with what is available for high-growth and early-stage companies in Ireland, which is excellent news for local fledgling businesses.
With substantial potential investment available from the VC and business angel community, this conference helped enhance delegates’ knowledge of many sources of funding. The outlook for 2014 is extremely bright as innovation and available equity are both at their highest levels in recent years, which is further stimulating the venture capital market and economic regeneration across the island.
What VCs and business Angels look for
Venture capitalists and business angels will have a checklist in their head of sectors in which they are interested and the desired financial gains.
Delegates heard from one of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs, and winner of EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2013, Patrick Joy, of Co. Louth based Sure Tank, as well as four other younger enterprises’ experience of raising equity.
At the conference, Patrick advised entrepreneurs to look at it from the investor’s perspective. He told delegates that they need to be committed, love your customers and thrive on the buzz of the business you are building. You have to have ambition and enthusiasm and believe in yourself enough to take risks; no matter what business you are in. Although setbacks are inevitable, he stated that it is how you come back from those setbacks that counts and is what investors are interested in.
InterTradeIreland offers SMEs various equity supports including regional equity advisory clinics delivered by a venture capital professional, investment pitch masterclasses, business planning workshops and the very successful All-island Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition.
InterTradeIreland’s 13th Venture Capital Conference was supported by Crescent Capital, Kernel Capital and Mills Selig. For further information on InterTradeIreland’s supports and equity initiatives, visit www.intertradeireland.com/equity.