CorkBIC today announces that business angel investment is thriving in Cork as it prepares to host Europe’s largest international private investment and entrepreneurship gathering next month. CorkBIC figures show that the HBAN Boole Syndicate, based in Cork, invested €2.3M in start-ups last year, up 52% on the previous year. It has now invested almost €11.5M in Irish start-ups since its inception in 2013.
The increase in investment activities has been supported by the growth of the Boole Syndicate. It now has 52 active members, up 24% from 2020. A significant proportion of the investments being made by business angels in the Boole Syndicate, managed by CorkBIC and the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN), are in Cork companies.
CorkBIC will showcase the strength of the Irish start-up ecosystem and early-stage investment at the EBAN Congress 2022 on May 18th and 19th, in the presence of Michael Mc Grath TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, as Europe’s business angels meet in-person for the first time in more than two years. A number of speakers have been added to the line-up, including Anita Bhatia, Assistant Secretary-General, UN Women; Pearse Flynn, founder, EI-H2; and Terence O’Rourke, Chairman, Enterprise Ireland.
The event will feature panel discussions; networking; an awards ceremony; and a pitching competition. It will educate Europe’s business angels and entrepreneurs on key elements of successful angel investing, including exits; cross-border investing; and syndicates. Speakers and panelists will also explore the opportunities of impact investing, ESG, DeepTech for a safer Europe and the funding of new technologies such as AI, blockchain and machine learning,
Michael O’Connor, CEO, CorkBIC, said: “Cork’s economy is thriving and that is reflected in the start-up ecosystem. Some of the world’s biggest companies are based in Cork, creating a talent pool for start-ups and a knowledge pool of angel investors who can share their expertise with entrepreneurs.
“As a result, angel investment in Cork is continuing to grow year-on-year. Now is the ideal time to showcase that on a European stage and use our knowledge to help our international angel investor community to be successful. We want to show investors that world-class innovation and expansion is happening nationwide and that some Cork companies have recently delivered returns to business angels that are twelve times greater than original sums invested.”
One example of a Cork company that has received significant funding from business angels and other investment sources is Gasgon Medical. The company recently raised €2.25M as part of a funding round that was led by DBIC Ventures and included HBAN’s Boole Syndicate, Irrus Investments, and MedTech Syndicate; Spain’s AIG; and a number of private investors in the US.
The company has developed a low-cost device, Air Vault, that attaches directly to IV drips in hospitals to eliminate air bubbles. These can be fatal for patients if they enter the bloodstream and dangerous for nurses, who must break the IV line if air bubbles form, therefore exposing them to medications that can be harmful over time. Gasgon Medical will use its funding to launch in the US in Q1 2023 and grow its team from six to 10 by year-end 2022.
Vincent Forde, CEO and founder, Gasgon Medical, said: “We deliberately sought investors that would bring strategic value to our business: not just capital, but smart money. They will be invaluable as we grow the business. We are currently carrying out pilot studies in hospitals in Ireland, Europe and the US. They see it as a no-brainer solution and our aim is for every IV system worldwide to have an Air Vault attached as the de facto solution to eliminating air bubbles.
“We have a growing MedTech community in Cork and that has proved very beneficial to us as we seek funding and supports to expand. The network effect is very strong and that gives us access to investors and knowledge in the industry, which we may not otherwise have.”
Speakers at the EBAN Congress will include some of Europe’s most successful investors and super angels. Tickets can be purchased online at https://ebancongress.com/tickets/.
Cathy Bryce, Managing Director AIB Capital Markets, said: “AIB is delighted to be a sponsor of this European business angel reunion. Business angel investment is a vital source of funding for start-ups and we look forward to supporting its growth in Ireland and across Europe through this year’s EBAN Congress. With AIB’s strong commitment to ESG we’re delighted that the conference will explore the role angel investing can play in driving sustainability and encouraging more women to be represented in venture capital.’’
Roger Wallace, EY Private and EY Entrepreneur of the Year Lead, said: “As a firm who works with, and supports, some of the most exciting entrepreneurial companies both here in Ireland and internationally, EY is very excited to be collaborating with CorkBIC on this year’s EBAN congress. It has been long-awaited and we encourage both the entrepreneurial and the investor community to attend, to benefit from the valuable networking and investments opportunities that this event will create.”
Leo McAdams, Divisional Manager, Investment Services and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland, said: “Enterprise Ireland welcomes the EBAN Congress to Cork this year. The creation of innovative start-up companies is the bedrock for economic growth nationally and I welcome this opportunity to showcase the strength of the Irish start-up ecosystem to EBAN’s international investors. This event will build on our existing HBAN angel activity and will enable entrepreneurs to connect with potential investors, partners and collaborators at the Congress.”
Partners & Sponsors for the EBAN Congress are EBAN, CorkBIC, EU Commission & Invest EU Portal, Cork City Council, Cork County Council, EY Private, AIB Group, Enterprise Ireland, Irish BICs & it@Cork.