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-
- 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
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.
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
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)
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.
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"!
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..
- Bernie Goldbach from Podcasting in Ireland and Conn O Muineachain from Edgecast Media will both be giving 20-minutes talks under the heading of "Podcamp Waterford". more detail on Conn's talk
- James Corbett : How blogging can win you a position on an Advisory Board more detail
- Sabrina Dent : Second Life and Virtual World opportunities (per James)
- Rory Fitzpatrick : Satellite broadband for the roving and the rural
- Brian Caulfield : Accessing Venture Capital Funding
- Paul Watson: Unconventional Rails. Rails outside of its comfort zone. more detail
- Haydn Shaughnessy : A Discerning Future for Content
- Elly Parker : Dealing with Death & Divorce in today's Digital World more detail
- Aidan Finn : Idiots guide to Ruby on Rails, Django, Turbogears and other assorted newfangled frameworks. more detail
- TJ McIntyre: "Who owns software? What developers and clients need to know before the lawyers get involved." more detail
- James Cooley Eclipse for Java and other languages. more detail
- Laurence Veale: NEW! Personas and how they fit into the user centred design process
- Alan Burke: The Benefits of a CMS for a Club Website / A year with Drupal
- Brian Cleland: OpenIreland & Open Source Software in Ireland
- Damien Mulley: Pissing People Off: Experiences from running a lobby group
- Donncha O Caoimh: WordPress.com - running the biggest wpmu site in the world
- Jan Blanchard: How Not To raise funding to launch your Web App.
- Panel Discussion - "Building a Web Services company" Joe Drumgoole, Conor O'Neill, Walter Higgins, Helene Haughney and Jan Blanchard
- . Panel Discussion - "Finding money for your start-up" Louise Grubb, Mick Cahillane, private investor, Brian Caulfield, Tom Doherty,Bernie Goldbach from Podcasting in Ireland ; more detail
- Justin Mason: A quick intro to Amazon's S3 and EC2 web services
Long list of attendees:
- Jason Roe
- Laurence Veale
- Walter Higgins
- James Corbett
- Conor O'Neill
- Michele Neylon
- Bernie Goldbach
- Ken McGuire
- James Cooley
- Aidan Finn
- John Butler
- Lee McGuigan
- Will Letters
- Dennis Deery
- Tom Atkins
- Paul Watson
- James Mernin
- Brian Caulfield
- Conn O Muineachain
- Haydn Shaughnessy
- Elly Parker
- John Ronan
- Brian fives
- Sabrina Dent
- Rory Fitzpatrick
- Richard Delevan
- Chris Gallagher
- Ferghal Reidy
- TJ McIntyre
- Brian Cleland
- Paul Power
- Tom Doherty
- Alan Burke
- Martin Whelan
- Justin MacCarthy
- Donncha O Caoimh
- Siasy Collins
- Ray Griffin
- Keith Gaughan
- Kim Leahy
- Cathal O' Riordan
- Colm Dunphy
- Niall Doherty
- Brian White
- David Murphy
- Kieran Gleeson
- Paul McAvinchey
- Andrew McAvinchey
- Cormac Moylan
- Chris Chedgey
- Barry Downes
- Damien Mulley
- Joe Drumgoole
- Evert Bopp
- Jan Blanchard
- John Handelaar
- George Pratt
- Miguel Ponce de Leon
- Eoghan McCabe
- John McCormac
- Paul Brennan
- Laura Czajkowski
- Helene Haughney
- Roger Galligan
- Ken Guest
- Donal Mc Carthy
- Grainne O Connell
- Adrian Smith
- Fiona Haughney
- Paul O'Leary
- Dominic Maguire
- Stephen Burke
- Zac Burke
- Mike Bennett
- Stephen Power
- Donal Lehane
- Bill O'Gorman
- Justin Mason
- Ray Leahy
- Stéphane Corlosquet
- Cian Foley
- Paul Wright
- Michael Shanahan
- Brendan Lyng
- Jamie Good
- Dave Hearne
Oh and I wasn't there-- bummer.