Posts Tagged ‘funding’

Deadline for Seedcorn Start-Up Competition Approaching Fast

conor 15th of September 2009 by conor

It’s that time of year again where start-ups all over the island are busy tweaking their business plans for the Seedcorn competition. There is still enough time if you start now and you’re missing out on a big opportunity if you don’t. There is €360,000 in prizes up for grabs.

Do you meet the following criteria?

  • In the seed, startup or early stages of business development
  • Incorporated on the island of Ireland
  • Not more than 5 years old at Friday 25 September 2009
  • Have a new equity requirement of at least €100,000 (or sterling equivalent)
  • Have cumulative sales targets of less than or in excess of €5m by year 3,4 or 5

Deadline is 1PM FRIDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER 2009

IQPrize Launch Today – €10k up for grabs

conor 25th of March 2009 by conor

The site goes live at 2pm today. It’s very simple, send IQContent a 5-page business plan that shows how your will turn your idea into a great online business.

The best submissions will be shortlisted and asked to present their business plans before a panel of independent judges.

The final winner will be announced at the end of June.

This bit is important:

We're not investors. We're not venture capitalists. We're not looking for equity and we don't want any intellectual property. There's no catch. There are no strings. Seriously.

All details on What are you waiting for, get your ass over there!

Seedcamp Seeking Hot New Irish & UK Web Start-Ups

conor 20th of March 2009 by conor

Seedcamp is holding an event in London on 20th April aimed at Irish and UK start-ups, called Mini Seedcamp London. It will be bringing together 20 of the best seed stage web tech startups with experienced entrepreneurs, investors, and developers from all over Europe to participate in a day of intense mentoring, panel discussions and presentations.

Applications are open now and the closing date is midnight on April 6th. All the details, including how to enter, can be found here. Secures €400k Investment

conor 11th of January 2009 by conor

I love posting good news and this is just wonderful to hear. Niall Harbison and the crew at iFoods have just announced a €400k investment.

It proves that great businesses with a world class team can still secure serious money. We’ve been fans of the iFoods concept since day one. They are going to be serious players in the food web-site niche. eMarketer did an article on this during the week.

According to comScore, food sites attracted 45.6 million unique visitors in September 2008, up 10% from 2007more than double the rate of total Internet growth in the US.

What’s another €500m between friends?

conor 29th of December 2008 by conor

David McWilliams did an uncharacteristically bad fan-boy analysis on his blog recently of the latest attempt by the government to bootstrap home-grown high potential businesses. His post lacks any real substance and drowns in Minister-style knowledge economy buzzword bingo.

Creative Commons License photo credit: John Griffiths

It kicked off a very long comment thread, most of which is unreadable, but which contains some real gems. The best of the lot is by Johnny Dunne who has a deep knowledge of the investment environment in Ireland.

Johnny does a brilliant analysis of how wrong-headed the €500m approach is in the short term, whilst accepting that long term it could provide benefit. It’s just a pity that those who are making these fundamental decisions are taking their advice from the foxes minding the hen-house who have already killed all the chickens.

I’m quoting it here with Johnny’s permission:

The €500 Innovation Fund is a great 'medium to long term' idea to help fund the development of businesses based in Ireland selling valuable good and services to international customers.

Our problems are a lot more urgent – we face a serious fall off in economic activity again in 2009. For example, Dell alone pulling out of Ireland with €10 bn+ / 10% of GDP gone in one go !

David, if the government can invest NPRF of €1.5 billion in 'cash' within 'one month' in a bank with 'poor' assets and without a CEO and therefore you would have to assume NO business plan. I have never heard of a VC or a bank investing in a company without a Chairman, CEO and agreed plan !

Why not focus the 'special finance unit' in Anglo (and AIB,BOI) to invest say €500 million in growth companies without taking security as the government is not doing so! This unit which exist already invest in many 'larger' growth oriented companies some of them would be Enterprise Ireland clients. For example, the main criteria used for lending in Anglo are people, cashflows and asset quality. The government have guaranteed the liabilities and injected cash so the banks should lend to 'good' people with a 'credible' and (dare I say it) innovative business plans without recourse to personal guarantees and propert / assets backed security.

There needs to be urgent action with a 'fund' launched in January with say €500 million to invest in 2009 – why not? Anglo increased lending by €9 billion in 2008! A medium term plan to invest €500 million over many years is not enough. This money may not 'start' investing for at least another 12 to 18 months, even then if it is in the hands of US VCs it may provide little employment in Ireland – assume investee companies will need qualifying Irish operations ? If the local VCs like Delta, Atlantic bridge and NCB can't find opportunities with their strict 'VC' criteria, then the international VCs will find it harder unless we open the 'flood gates' to fund earlier stage / developing companies.

There is a requirement (and suggestion) for many small funds say of €10 million each investing less than €1 million in a number of firms in order to open the 'pipe' of funded start-ups which can access further development capital at a later stage. Enterprise Ireland's policy with the latest round of €175 million of VC funds which 2 years after it's announcement has only allocated to 5 of the possible 8 funds. There is a 'believe' within Enterprise Ireland that small funds don't work as they don't have sufficient fund to follow their money. There has been calls for proposals from VCs, one in 2006 and another this year for the same money as the selected VCs couldn't seem to raise matching funds ? While over 20 funds applied on each occasion, only 8 were selected as 5 of these could only raise sufficient funds of at least €30 million inclusing state money. EI says this initial funding has leveraged €500 million for investment but already some of the more active funds like Delta and Atlantic Bridge have made multiple investments in non Irish companies. The reason ? based on their 'investment' criteria not sufficient opportunities in Ireland ?

So why are the Government allocating Irish 'pension' funds to US VC funds on a 50:50 basis now, when it could have done this many years ago when it was suggested before. Instead the 'mandarins' in the NPRF and 'beancounters' in the Dept of Finance felt it was better to invest in international equities which we know where they've gone – south! US 'Tier 1? VC funds are well able to raise their own funds without state support 9this should apply where the market won't go – remember there was 20 unsuccessful applicatns locally for the previous EI VC funding rounds). Why not just use the 'preferential' tax to ensure they invest through and in Ireland not invest directly when they can access other sources of finance and need to be free to invest on an international basis. Local fund and banks can invest !

There is €400 billion of loans outstanding but AIB have contributed €15 with Enterprise Ireland to a €30 million seed fund and BOI have invested about €20 million in a €70 million fund which EI would have invested a similar amount. Recently Ulster invested a smaller amount with EI in the NCB fund. We are investing over € 5 billion within 3 months in 3 banks with 'no security' and a relatively small return up to 10% (VCs look for 30% and use preference shares all the time but ensure they can convert to control the business if management don't execute on the business plan). Why not pass the same terms through to ANY business certified by Enterprise Ireland or the IDA with a 'qualifying' export oriented operation with the potential to generate more jobs and exports in the short term generating tax revenues.

The 'mind change' needs to be within the Irish financial services sector to fund this 'Smart Economy' of the future.

Or should we just let Science Foundation Ireland spend €7 billion on education and training in the years ahead with no medium term opportunity of generating sales !

There must be independent advisers with experience of investing or raising VC and banking funds better placed to advise the Minister rather than 'City folk' from Merrill Lynch generating massive fees to 'give away' tax payers and pension funds money in return for no equity in the 2 major banks AIB and BOI which are obviously undervalued, as they don't seem to understand where the irish economy is and what it needs to survive over the next decade ???

dbTwang Closes Angel Round

conor 20th of December 2008 by conor

Whilst the funding environment is very very tough right now, we are still seeing glimmers of light in the gloom.

The latest is dbTwang, a site for guitar owners, which closed its Angel round yesterday. Keith Bohanna and co-founder Fintan Blake-Kelly worked for many months with new director Gerry McQuaid (ex-O2) to raise the funds.

They are using Contrast for the design of dbTwang and Lunar Logic in Krakow for the development, aiming for early closed beta around the 3rd week of February.

If you have any good news on the funding front, drop a line to web2ireland DOT editor AT gmail DOT com

European Blogging/Journalism Competition

conor 3rd of December 2008 by conor

Ruth Spencer from The European Journalism Centre (EJC) contacted me to let us know about The European Blogging Competition they are launching in Brussels from 25th to 27th of January coming.

The theme is TH!NK ABOUT IT and the focus of the competition is the European Parliament Elections 2009. EJC wants to offer a platform for journalism students, aspiring journalists and bloggers to express their views on European topics as well as to report and cover the elections.

They want to have three bloggers from each country attending the launch event and will cover the travel costs. The timeline is:


  • Launch event: 25 January, 2009 – 27 January, 2009
  • Blogging: 1 February, 2009 – 9 June, 2009
  • Competition results: 12 June, 2009


If this is of interest to you, read all the details and apply at

If you are wondering what this has to do with Web2Ireland, I’d simply say that the direction the EU takes over the next few years, particularly in how it deals with a global recession, will have direct impact on start-ups here.

Can you get a Capital Grant for a Web Back-End?

conor 15th of August 2008 by conor

Keith Bohanna of dbTwang has a very interesting question – is it possible to get a Capital Grant from a County Enterprise Board for something intangible like the backend of a webapp?

Answers on a postcard to his blog.