Saturday, March 31, 2007

Finding Money for your Start-up - "Irish style"

These are notes from watching (and trying 2 listen) to "Finding Money for your Start-up" from BarCamp South East (Waterford) Ireland 20 Jan 2007. This was held at ArcLabs Research and Innovation Centre at the new WIT West Campus at Carriganore just outside Waterford City and organised by Keith Bohanna and Tom Corcoran


There were several other presentations and talks (see below) but the main interest for this topic was-
Panelists were:
  • Louise Grubb is the CEO of Nutri-Science, a nutraceutical company based in Waterford. In business since 1999 they have raised funding from a variety of sources including County Enterprise Boards, Enterprise Ireland (€150k) and BES (€250k). They are previous participants on the SEEPP program.
  • Mick Cahillane is an active private investor and may be able to help participants understand the way in which Angel Investors make their decisions.
  • DELETED Evert Bopp who is in the process of fundraising for his WiMax venture --- DELETED
  • Tom Doherty of Lecterna instead
  • Brian Caufield of Trinity Venture Capital
  • Bernie Goldbach -very active blogger and journalist as well as teaching at the Tipperary Institute of Technology
Notes from video :


Brian Caufield:
like most VC's they cannot fund very early (less money) startups due 2 the way funds work. They are most interested in market opportunity. U need 2 have sussed that out and thought thru the process, what the problem is u're solving, how u're going 2 solve it, why u're better than the competition, why the customer will buy it from u, how u're going 2 sell.
Get advice from whoever u can. The more feedback u can get the better.
Don't tell me u have no competition - its like shooting yourself. Either u havn't done your research or maybe there is no market 4 what u're trying 2 do.
Get a customer and better still one thats given u a purchase order - then his very interested. Previous experience can help but in priority order 1) market potential 2) people on board 3) technology (and thats way down the list)
They've only once funding (cayala?) a startup with 2 guys and idea and a powerpoint.
For funding help go talk with ISA, accounting firms (corporate finance division) - not so much for the money but more for referrals to their private investors if they like u're idea, ditto for lawyers that are in the space (again connections).
Very little money is available for early on startups and more so because of the Irish property market and won't get money to build a technology foundation. Bootstrapping is back in fashion but time can be an issue regd. opportunity (in case another funded startup will get ahead of u).
Its better 2 build a team around u that can fill in (your) gaps and that team (and individual functions) can change over time. You will have to give equity share for those willing 2 put in that effort (where Evert disagrees) and get that "good" team.
Don't take money from employees if they cannot afford 2 lose it. Its rare 2 have investors as FT employees.

Louise Grubb:
don't go looking 4 money at an early stage. Its very time consuming and unless u have something 2 show its next 2 impossible. Spend the time on developing your product and trying 2 get a customer. Self-fund yourself and maybe go back 2 your FT day job and work the startup on the side.

Get as much advice and mentoring as u can. There is plenty available from Enterprise Ireland and others - u just have to ask and your all the connections u can. When showing people (bank manager etc.) your idea and work ensure u have done your homework and have it well thought out (hence the advisors etc..)
the further out u can delay the funding aspects the better position u r in, the better your product is, the better tested it is

Mick Cahillane:
can now get up to EU2M thru BES scheme; a good business plan can raise this funding; beware of high initial charges (up 2 10%). Friends & family can be good 4 fund raising. Also approach different banks/building societies for spreading the (their) risk and even if they don't take up with u they can recommend some private investors 2 talk with. Starting small is important. Believing in people and their commitment (from investor side).
Five areas/criteria for success (from 'best pratices from 100+ US entrepreneurs)
1) integrity
2) self discipline
3) own personal skills
4) family support
5) hard work

Bernie Goldbach: (came in late due to other talk he was giving)
Was involved with a media startup outa Shannon (failed). He indicated they should have gone after "pivot" leads? with the other startups that were in the same location as there was money available (lots!). He stressed that u need 2 have someone that is good on the phone and is willing 2 chase down invoices that are owed and get the money in the door. Don't screw up on cashflow.
Banks love looking at hard financial data (spreadsheets) so make sure u know what the figures say.

Tom Doherty:
had some interesting thoughts regd. ownership of company (clashed with Brian) and raising money. 

He ran two other startups before and sold both (I think) - both of those were self funded and no outside investment. His current startup has some funding.

He indicated that the team should be employees and not investors and both should be kept seperate. 
Its better to hire the expertise when needed and keep control is important.
Are your customers your investors (as opposed 2 getting outside funding/investment).
U need 2 have >=1 customer before u can go get funding. 
A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tommorow.
U will sell your product if u're really committed. Get out and sell.
Get advice. He indicated EI can be "Ei Ei No" and they keep giving u advice, which u forget and go back doing what u were doing. U go back again and they "Ei Ei No" and give u the same advice. Eventually if u listen and u go get that first customer the penny drops and they then hymm "Ei Ei Yes"!




some presentations:
Ken Maguire had a summary of the overall events here
Anrian Smith also had a summary here. He also has a graphic from the “Building a Web Services company” from
James Cooley has a couple of notes here
Conor O'Neill posted up a video of Donncha O Caoimh Wordpress talk here. Some interesting discussion on working for a US company outa IRL and dealing with Solo in Soho, time/cultural differences etc..


The agenda:


Long list of attendees:
  1. Jason Roe
  2. Laurence Veale
  3. Walter Higgins
  4. James Corbett
  5. Conor O'Neill
  6. Michele Neylon
  7. Bernie Goldbach
  8. Ken McGuire
  9. James Cooley
  10. Aidan Finn
  11. John Butler
  12. Lee McGuigan
  13. Will Letters
  14. Dennis Deery
  15. Tom Atkins
  16. Paul Watson
  17. James Mernin
  18. Brian Caulfield
  19. Conn O Muineachain
  20. Haydn Shaughnessy
  21. Elly Parker
  22. John Ronan
  23. Brian fives
  24. Sabrina Dent
  25. Rory Fitzpatrick
  26. Richard Delevan
  27. Chris Gallagher
  28. Ferghal Reidy
  29. TJ McIntyre
  30. Brian Cleland
  31. Paul Power
  32. Tom Doherty
  33. Alan Burke
  34. Martin Whelan
  35. Justin MacCarthy
  36. Donncha O Caoimh
  37. Siasy Collins
  38. Ray Griffin
  39. Keith Gaughan
  40. Kim Leahy
  41. Cathal O' Riordan
  42. Colm Dunphy
  43. Niall Doherty
  44. Brian White
  45. David Murphy
  46. Kieran Gleeson
  47. Paul McAvinchey
  48. Andrew McAvinchey
  49. Cormac Moylan
  50. Chris Chedgey
  51. Barry Downes
  52. Damien Mulley
  53. Joe Drumgoole
  54. Evert Bopp
  55. Jan Blanchard
  56. John Handelaar
  57. George Pratt
  58. Miguel Ponce de Leon
  59. Eoghan McCabe
  60. John McCormac
  61. Paul Brennan
  62. Laura Czajkowski
  63. Helene Haughney
  64. Roger Galligan
  65. Ken Guest
  66. Donal Mc Carthy
  67. Grainne O Connell
  68. Adrian Smith
  69. Fiona Haughney
  70. Paul O'Leary
  71. Dominic Maguire
  72. Stephen Burke
  73. Zac Burke
  74. Mike Bennett
  75. Stephen Power
  76. Donal Lehane
  77. Bill O'Gorman
  78. Justin Mason
  79. Ray Leahy
  80. Stéphane Corlosquet
  81. Cian Foley
  82. Paul Wright
  83. Michael Shanahan
  84. Brendan Lyng
  85. Jamie Good
  86. Dave Hearne

PS The audio (video wasn't bad) needs 2b a lot better 4 non attendee's 2 follow this. At a min. the speakers need 2 have mic either collectively or individually. Having the mic way at the back (inbuilt with video I presume) just doesn't work

Oh and I wasn't there-- bummer.

Lal

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3 Comments:

At April 1, 2007 at 3:44 AM , Anonymous Conor O'Neill said...

Good sum-up Brendan, thanks. However I think Evert was a no-show and was replaced by someone local. His name escapes me right now but Keith will know.

 
At March 28, 2008 at 4:30 AM , Anonymous ilanit said...

How can you know what the latest Orange Country business investment advice is? If you do not have time to spend every day looking for the investments you should be investing in, consider hiring a full service stockbroker. These guys take a straight fee of what they make for you and they give good advice that you can take with you to the bank.

 
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