An Irish Venture Capitalist has said that the
availability of seed funds to invest in Irish companies in 2011 is at its
highest level in 30 years.
Speaking at the launch of the InterTradeIreland
Capital Conference on Monnday, Niall Olden, founder of Kernel
Capital said that this is an extremely vibrant time for Irish VCs and that there
has never been a better time to start up a business in Ireland.
Olden will be amongst the speakers at the tenth
Annual InterTradeIreland Venture Capital Conference, in association with Kernel
Capital, and will take place at the Institute of Chartered Accountants' headquarters, Dublin, on April
Paul Kerley, CEO of Norkom will be the keynote
speaker at the event. Last January, BAE Systems, the UK defence contractor,
agreed to buy Norkom, the Dublin-based financial software company specialising
in regulatory compliance and crime detection products, for €217m.
InterTradeIreland is the cross-border enterprise
agency that was established under the 1998 Belfast Agreement and it said that
the conference is designed to facilitate networking between Ireland’s leading
venture capitalists, business angels and start ups that are seeking funding from
across the island. Investors attending the conference have access to over €250m
available for new investment opportunities. The agency says the event, has
attracted more than 2,000 delegates over its nine years and a further 250
attendees are expected at next months conference.
The theme of this year’s conference focuses on
three key areas: securing investment, becoming self sustaining and realising the
Speaking to launch the event, Niall Olden
said: “Now is an exceptional time to set up a business
and in 30 years of Irish venture capital there has never been more seed and
early stage funding available than there is today. We are seeing a lot of early
stage companies that are presenting very exciting technologies and innovation
that is scalable globally. There has never been a better time to start a
business in Ireland. Business costs are at an all time low for startups as they
hire staff and lease premises at much more cost effective levels.
Ireland is at the top of the curve
internationally and has an excellent infrastructure in place to support new
business. I have a strong level of optimism about Ireland’s future and our
ability to deliver on our objective of becoming an ‘innovation’ economy.”
Sean Gallagher, entrepreneur turned
investor and board Member of InterTradeIreland added:
“The future of this economy will be driven by small and medium enterprise. These
enterprises require support in order to be given the opportunity to grow and
prosper in a new Ireland. We know that venture backed firms outperform
non-venture backed firms, create more jobs and invest more in R&D - - our focus
in InterTradeIreland therefore is to transform equity raising businesses into
first class investor-ready companies. In doing so, they can play a part in
assisting economic recovery and growth.”
InterTradeIreland offers a range of supports to
early stage companies to ensure that they are better prepared as they seek to
raise equity and that they are ‘investor ready’. This ranges from advisory
services, education programmes, business angel finance and the All-Island
Seedcorn Business Competition.
Kernel Capital has €196m in active venture
capital funds under management and is supported by Bank of Ireland, Enterprise
Ireland, the University of Limerick Foundation and NUI Galway. The company
recently launched a €10m Medtech venture capital fund.