NW ‘Angel’ investors inviting pitches

A group of North West business people including George Fleming of Fleming Agri-Products Ltd. and Derry City FC Chair Philip O’Doherty, the Chief Executive of E&I Engineering are calling on local entreprenuers to pitch their business ideas to them in Londonderry on Tuesday, December 1.

Thursday, 29th October 2015, 9:30 am

An angel syndicate entitled ‘Acorn Angels’, committed to investing in startups and high growth companies in the Londonderry area, was established last year.

But the group - also including Patrick McGonagle (Pakflatt), John McMonagle (Omega Mechanical Services), Ann-Marie Slavin (Opt2Vote), Paul McElvaney (Learning Pool), Padraig Canavan (founder of Singularity), Richard Sterling (former MD of Coolkeeragh Power Limited) and Eamonn Gee - says there has been a shortage of companies from the North West applying to them for funding - and they are thus missing out on a growing source of finance.

Three fledgling companies will be selected to pitch to the NW angels at an evening event on Tuesday, December 1. Applications to pitch close on Monday, November 16.

This week, Halo, the Northern Ireland Business Angel network, held a breakfast event in the North West Regional Science Park attended by potential companies and professional services to debunk any myths startups might have about angel investment.

Attendees heard from entrepreneur Grainne Kelly, the creator of the inflatable child booster seat company, Bubblebum. Grainne took on angel investors three years after she launched in 2011 and now sells the product in over 26 countries.

She said: “Culturally we are averse to ‘sharing’, should that be information or equity. We are all familiar with the phrase ‘half a loaf is better than no bread’; 60 per cent of something big is much more attractive than 100% of nothing.

“Without funding many businesses will never reach their full potential and many will fall by the wayside. Many startups rely on a notion that they will get bank funding, which could be highly unlikely, so angel funding should be the first port of call for anyone seeking to scale or start their business.”

Alan Watts, Director of Halo, said, “Angel investment is fast becoming a viable source of finance. Not only can angels invest substantial capital, but they come with invaluable amounts of experience, insight and business contacts.

“Acorn Angels are actively seeking companies from the North West as there is a real desire to help stimulate growth and jobs in the area. The Acorn Angels are open to looking at companies from Proof of Concept to Growth stage and from all sectors. If your company is looking for finance, this is a real opportunity to take your company to the next level.”

To apply for the event, visit the Halo website – www.haloni.com – and complete the short application document.

Since its inception, Halo business angels have invested almost £10million into companies in Northern Ireland. Paul Clancy, the Halo Manager, is based at the North West Science Park every Thursday for companies who wish to find out more about angel investing. He can be contacted on 02871 867600.