Friday, May 25, 2007

20 sec pitch: Fergus Burns, Nooked, Ireland

Fergus Burns from Irish Web 2.0 startup Nooked does a speeeeeedy 20 sec "pitch via PodTed's Silicon Valley Minute at the Web 2.0 Conf in San Franciso.

Nooked Feedwizard enables marketers to use RSS technologies to deliver one-to-one marketing to consumers.

Anyone seen a faster summary ?

Spotted on James Corbett blog


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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Enterprise Ireland has called on SMEs to fully exploit the benefits of technology licensing

From Business Plus Online :

EI: SMEs Need To Exploit Technology Licensing

18/12/06: The agency said that while Irish companies increasingly recognise the value of technology licensing, spend on licensing as a proportion of R&D still not high enough

Enterprise Ireland's TechSearch programme assisted 35 Irish small and medium sized enterprises sign technology transfer deals in 2006, worth almost €2m directly and leading to over €5m of increased sales and exports annually.

Participation in the TechSearch programme, which provides direct assistance to Irish companies who wish to harness technological advances made in other markets to support indigenous growth, increased 60% in 2006 with almost 200 Irish SMEs entering the programme and 100 companies entering into negotiations with potential partners in Europe and further afield.

However, less than 5% of the estimated €1.4 billion invested in R&D by Irish companies in 2006 was spent on in-licensing, reflecting the need to further increase SME awareness of the potential for business growth that exists through technology licensing.

“Enterprise Ireland has some €60m to spend in its RTI (R&D) and Productivity funds in 2007, up to 50% of which is available for licensing and technology acquisition, and we want to ensure that this money is used to best effect,”
said Jim Cuddy, Enterprise Ireland's manager of the Innovation and Technology Transfer department.

“Many entrepreneurs who head up SMEs think their business doesn't fit the profile of a company who should take advantage of licensing but our TechSearch programme actively supports Irish businesses through each step of the process, including finding the technology or product, evaluating potential projects and contract negotiation.

“Several Irish companies, including Soft Edge, {Note: see Microsoft article} Alltracel and NTera, have already benefited from the rise in the rate of international licensing of IP by building partnerships with some of the world's leading global companies.

“This is a call to action to Ireland's SME business community...

A partnership agreement signed in October with Enterprise Ireland and the National Research Council of Canada to coincide with the opening of the new Enterprise Ireland office in Toronto gives Irish companies access to SMEs across Canada through a network of technology advisers.

Enterprise Ireland aims to involve 20 Irish companies in technology licensing partnership discussions with Canadian counterparts in 2007.

A number of Irish companies are already seeking technology and product partnerships in this market including Bord na Mona, Dromone Engineering, Jacob Fruitfield and bathroom products manufacturer Qualceram Shires.

As well as sourcing technologies, it is anticipated that Irish companies will be able to offer a gateway to Europe for Canadian companies, while Canadian companies can offer a gateway to North America for Irish companies.

Other Irish companies that have already benefited from the TechSearch programme include:
  • Inishowen Engineering, Donegal, which licensed an underwater lamp which will take them into international export markets
  • Butler Manufacturing Services, Longford, which acquired the rights to manufacture storm cell tunnels from Germany and the US
  • eXpd8, which announced a licensing partnership with a South African company to establish its software products in that market
  • Surface Power, Castlebar, which acquired the distribution rights to pellet burning stoves from Sweden
  • Techrec Ireland in a joint venture with an NI company COD International to give them refrigerator disposal technology.

It also includes an IP audit that will help businesses assess their readiness to participate in licensing agreements, a DIY search facility that allows Irish businesses to search for innovative technologies worldwide, as well as downloadable legal and tax guides and a patent search facility.

Sectors that have traditionally embraced technology acquisition include the biomedical, food processing, electronics and automotive engineering industries, however, Enterprise Ireland is keen to point out that companies of all sizes and of all sectors can gain from this practice.


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Business Angels have €20m to invest in startups- Dublin, IRL

from Business Plus online Feb 2007

The Halo Business Angels Partnership has announced that it has raised €20m to invest in startup and developing companies

The partnership is a pilot programme and has resulted from a joint initiative between Enterprise Ireland, InterTrade Ireland and the Irish Business and Innovation Centres. It is designed to match private investors with pre-screened investment opportunities in early stage and developing businesses. The programme is being managed by the Dublin Business Innovation Centre (DBIC).

DBIC said that four companies have received cash investment of €100,000 each in the past six months. Average investment amounts should range from €25,000 to €100,000.

DBIC chairman Hugh Governey said: "This fills a gap in the market for early stage companies which have major potential but which are outside the radar of traditional venture capital companies. We are interested in continuing to attract angels and investee companies. Our goal is to create excellent opportunities for investors and early stage funding for successful Irish companies of the future".

Welcoming the announcement, enterprise minister Micheál Martin said "Angel investment in countries such as the US has played an important role in helping to build a knowledge economy. This programme is unique in that it harnesses the experience of entrepreneurs and investors many of whom have already built successful companies in Ireland".

Although DBIC is responsible for co-ordinating the Business Angels partnership, it is available in the South West, South East and BMW regions through the offices of Cork BIC, West BIC and South East BIC

anyone know who got the 'funding'?
anyone applied and got turned down?


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€3.8m in funding for Irish based MapFlow from SOS

Glad to see some funding happening these days as current Irish VC funding seems 2 have gone down the tubes (more on that later)

From Business Plus Online
Mapping and location software firm Mapflow has secured €3.8m in funding in a round lead by Sean O'Sullivan's (outa of Texas) SOSventures

Spatial Ireland (Mathew Sammon) has more info-
Irish company Mapflow has raised US$5.1m in research and development funding from the Irish subsidiary of venture capitalist firm SOSventures, with a further US$6.6m forthcoming subject to targets being achieved.

The aim of the investment is to make the company a world leader in its sector; Mapflow provides mapping and location intelligence software primarily to the transportation, telecommunications and insurance industries.
SOSventures’ founder Sean O’Sullivan, an Irish-American who founded prominent GIS software firm MapInfo, will become chairman of Mapflow’s board.

ENN has has more info including ...,...
...which has effectively bought out Mapflow's previous backer Trinity Venture Capital..

The firm's major win last year was a EUR15 million deal with BT, to allow its location-based technology to be sold to mobile operators and internet service providers around the world.

O'Sullivan, who has relocated to Ireland from the US and joined Mapflow's board as executive chairman, said Mapflow's management team, customer relationships and innovation track record attracted him. "As I looked at Mapflow, I saw all three of these enablers in place. It is truly a gem of the Irish software industry, and the challenge is now to make it a global leader: number one or two in its markets worldwide.

from Mapflow site
SOSventures Investment Ltd is the Irish subsidiary of SOSventures SA, an investment company managed by Sean O'Sullivan which manages over $100 million in investments, primarily in the high tech industry. The rate of return has averaged 27%, compounded annually since its founding in 1994. SOSventures also manages the investments for the O'Sullivan Foundation, a charitable organisation that gives between $1-$2 million annually to various humanitarian and developmental activities, primarily in the third world.

So looks like another player in town --- good (more on funding aveneues, angel networks, VC's in Ireland later)


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EI in 2006 had 76 startups and 2007 predictions

From Business Plus Online:
07/03/07:Enterprise Ireland has said that indigenous Irish companies that it supports will create more than 1,260 new high skilled jobs and generate exports worth €110m over the next two years. The majority at 41 are located in regions outside of Dublin, with 35 companies being located in Dublin.

Kevin Sherry, manager of Enterprise Ireland's High Potential Start-Up Unit (HPSU) added: "Increasing the number of new high-growth export focused businesses is a key objective for Enterprise Ireland and 2006 has been a record year with the establishment of 76 HPSUs.

Martin and Sherry were speaking at Enterprise Ireland's annual High Potential Start-Up Showcase, an event ... also provides an important networking opportunity by bringing together these entrepreneurs, the investment community, Irish business leaders and Enterprise Irelands business development executives. “Furthermore it provides a platform for venture capital firms to identify investment opportunities,” he added.

... I am pleased to report that the pipeline of HPSUs for 2007 is already strong,” said Sherry.

A high potential startup is defined as a company which is:
  • based on technological innovation
  • likely to achieve significant growth in three years (sales of €1m per annum and employment of ten)
  • export oriented
  • led by an experienced team, with a mixture of technical and commercial competencies.

56% of those firms were in 'Software and Services'.  No further breakdown by Web 2.0, Enterprise, SaaS etc..
From EI news report
Enterprise Ireland invested €17.5m of the total €47.5m investment in the 76 new start-ups.

Two intial things:
  1. I have to read this from BizPlus and not EI's site as they don't have any RSS feeds - duh! - maybe one of their HSPU's can hack that together for them (Brian - can u kick someone : )
  2. Has anyone attended this showcase and any reports on it; who attended, what investors, angels, VC's, entrepreneurs, open or just EI affair?

Lets hope its a bit better in its predictions than the current economic stats  reported (great article going into a lot of depth) by Michael Hennigan at FinFacts

Only six jobs were created in the €110m Information Age Park Ennis (IAPE- Shannon Development) in the past 12 months...
...Enterprise Minister Mícheál Martin, who said it had the potential to create 3,500 jobs over the next 15 years.
...the numbers working at the Information Age Park are 43, increasing six
...The number of companies increased from 14 to 19.
...IDA Ireland has so far failed to attract any foreign direct investment into the park

Innovation specialist Professor Danny Breznitz of the Georgia Institute of Technology says our research infrastructure is too narrow in its focus and may not be sustainable. 
(Note: GIT has a great looking support/teaching stucture - will follow up with another article on "Whats needed for a support eco-system". I'll also talk about SFI and research orgs which (investment wise both via EU/IRL) seem to dwarf other 'support' initiatives.)

He says we are not creating enough new businesses, and when new businesses are set up, the
financial supports are not there to keep them innovating.

Professor Breznitz said that if a country wants sustained economic growth it has to focus on innovation, not only on the research side but on the commercialisation and the growth of productivity.

...GEM...found the percentage of people who were either thinking of going into business or had just started a new venture slid substantially in Ireland...

...He (Feargal Quinn) praised the Government’s decision to invest heavily in scientific research, but he said that turning Ireland into a world-class research centre is not enough.


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€53K available 2 apply 4 EU grants; wanna travel?

From Business Plus Online :

07/03/07: The EU has launched a new research fund that Enterprise Ireland said will allow Irish researchers and SMEs to reap the benefits from the new financial supports

As part of the funding, EI has announced financial supports for researchers employed in Ireland's private and public sectors taking part in the largest ever EU research programme, the Seventh EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). The FP7 fund of €50 billion will run until 2013 and offers significant opportunities to researchers to carry out their work on an international platform.
'Ireland's research community has already proved its ability to compete at European level, accessing over €200m in the previous round of EU research funding'

Industry based researchers in Ireland won almost €40m in funding under the last EU research programme (FP6 2002-2006), with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accounting for two-thirds of this figure. The supports are designed to help researchers cover the upfront costs incurred in writing research proposals and travel expenses.

Ireland's research community has already proved its ability to compete at European level, accessing over €200m in the previous round of EU research funding (FP6 2002-2006), according to Dr Imelda Lambkin, director of the Irish National Support Network for FP7.
"Irish participation in FP7 will be a critical component in delivering the targets set out in the Government Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation which covers the same timeframe,"
she said.
'The FP7 financial supports will be a great help to SMEs'

Dr Jimmie Parkes, managing director of Inter-Euro Technology, said he believed the
“FP7 financial supports will be a great help”
to SMEs.
"These new supports will relieve some of the financial burden of contacting and meeting prospective FP7 partners. EU research can be very exciting and profitable not only in money but also in contacts throughout Europe and the build up of knowledge and IP transfer from European technology leaders,"
said Parkes.

The new supports will also benefit researchers based in higher education institutions who accounted for 70% of the FP6 funding to Ireland. Larger travel grants to visit potential research partners in other countries and grants to aid proposal preparation by project coordinators have been extended to include all research projects. Eligibility for these grants has been expanded to include researchers in publicly funded organisations and all research areas including the socioeconomic sciences and humanities.

Researchers based in Irish companies and public research bodies who want to participate in FP7 can now avail of the following financial supports:
  • Proposal Preparation Support for Companies
The maximum grant for this support has been increased to €25,000 (at 50% grant rate i.e. €25,000 based on a total expenditure by the company of €50,000). Eligibility has been expanded to include all research projects.

  • Proposal Preparation Support for Academic Coordinators
The maximum grant under this support is €25,000 and all research projects are eligible. Eligibility has been expanded to include researchers in publicly funded institutions.

  • Travel Support for Researchers
Researchers based in higher education institutions can apply for a maximum grant of €3,000 to facilitate multiple visits to research partners. Eligibility has been expanded to include researchers in publicly funded institutions.

For more information on FP7


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UCD: Ireland. VC Backed Tech Firms Central To Knowledge Economy

From Business Plus Online:

"The study said that high tech companies accounted for 84% of all Irish VC investment in 2005. This is the highest technology weighting in Europe where the average is 17%. "

23/03/07: A new report by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies in UCD has found that venture capital backed firms continue to provide the impetus for development of a knowledge based economy

The study said that high tech companies accounted for 84% of all Irish VC investment in 2005. This is the highest technology weighting in Europe where the average is 17%. The report finds that on average, VC backed firms are about ten times the size in terms of revenue and employment at the exit stage compared to the time of the initial venture capital investment.

It found that VC backed firms increased employment in 2005 by 39%, significantly up from 14.6% in 2004. The 2005 increase compares to an overall increase in employment in the economy of 5.1%.

This is the second in depth study into the economic impact of venture capital in Ireland to be carried out by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies in UCD under Professor Frank Roche and Vincent Sheehan.

Commenting on the findings, Roche said:
"At a time when we are seeing closure and cut backs by international firms seeking lower cost centres, there is little doubt that indigenous VC backed firms have an important role to play in creating high value, knowledge based jobs in line with public policy objectives. They grow faster, create more employment, export more and invest more in R&D and in sales and marketing than other indigenous firms".

Other findings included:
  • Graduates represent 74% of the workforce of VC backed firms. In 2005 graduate employment in these companies increased by 25%, compared to a 15.4% increase reported in 2004.
  • VC backed companies are growing fast, with revenues increasing in 2005 by 34.1% to €1.95 billion.
  • VC backed companies raised €211m in 2005 compared to €242m in 2004. 34% of this capital was invested in start up and early stage companies compared to a European average of 23%.
  • Expenditure on R&D by these firms increased by 33.7% in to €89m compared to an increase in BERD (Business Expenditure on Research & Development) from indigenous companies of 11%.
  • Irish high tech VC backed firms are highly export focused. They export 63% of revenues compared to 33% in the case of UK software and computer companies.

While the stats are useful they are based on 2005 data. Whats the info on 2006 and 2007 up?
Certaintly 2007 doesn't look too good with VC money slackening off.


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NovaUCD Entrepreneurs Live seminar- Apr 2007 - Dublin, IRL

from Business Plus online mag

Yep - I know its past, as it gone, over, done, dusted...
anyone go to it, any feedback ?

04/04/07: Benchmark Capital partner and Bebo director Barry Maloney was the first guest speaker at the NovaUCD Entrepreneurs Live seminar series

Maloney advised entrepreneurs to "set themselves ambitious goals which will require sacrifices, to hire the best and to never ever give up".

The Entrepreneurs Live seminars will bring leading Irish entrepreneurs talk about their experiences of setting-up and running their businesses. During each seminar attendees have the opportunity to ask questions of the guest speaker. The series continues each Tuesday lunch time (1 pm to 1:50 pm) until April 24 in the William Jefferson Clinton Auditorium, at UCD and attendance is open to all.

Three other Irish entrepreneurs will be speaking at the series: Oliver Tattan, founder and chief executive of Vivas Health; Garry Moroney, founder of Similarity Systems; and Dermot Lawton, director of eBay European Services.

The series is being organised by UCD technology transfer centre NovaUCD with the backing of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Board.

Commenting on the event, NovaUCD director Dr Pat Frain said: "The Entrepreneurs Live seminars attract a large and diverse audience and stimulate a lively and enthusiastic debate on issues relating to entrepreneurship and innovation and the establishment and development of technology-based companies. The level of interest at these seminars is evidence of a growing culture of entrepreneurship at UCD which augurs well for Ireland's ability to generate the new knowledge-intensive and innovative enterprises which are critical for the sustained development of Ireland's knowledge-based economy".


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Irish VC Investment Slackens- Q1 2007

from FinFacts
Irish Venture Capital plunged to €4.2 million in Q1 2007;
European Venture Capital flattened

Coming off the strong growth made in 2006, venture capital investment into European companies flattened in the first quarter, with €1.07 billion invested in 207 financings, according to the quarterly European Venture Capital Report released by Dow Jones VentureOne and Ernst & Young. Compared year-on-year, both capital and deal flow decreased 11% from the first quarter of 2006.

Irish Investment Activity Slackens
In the first quarter, €4.2 million in venture capital was invested in young innovative firms in Ireland, significantly down from €26.3 million in 4Q’06 and the €28.6 million invested in 1Q’06. Only one deal was completed in 1Q’07, down from 4 deals in 4Q’06 and 7 in 1Q’06.

“The Irish market is quite small, therefore quarterly numbers need to be treated with caution as they can be skewed by cyclical patterns and by the small number of deals. More meaningful data should emerge with respect to the underlying trend for 2007 as we complete the second quarter” said Garry O’Rourke, Transaction Advisory Services Director at Ernst & Young in Dublin.

There were no seed, first or second round deals in 1Q’07, which represents a decrease from 3 deals in 4Q’06 and from one deal in 1Q’06. A single later stage deal was completed in 1Q’07, just as in 4Q’06, compared to 5 in 1Q’06, raising a total of €4.2 million compared with €2.6 million in 4Q’06 and €27.4 million in 1Q’06.

No investments were made in the healthcare sector in 1Q’07, compared with two deals in 4Q’06 and a single deal in 1Q’06.

There was only one IT sector deal closed in 1Q’07, just as in 4Q’06, although this is down from the 7 deals in 1Q’06. The amount invested totaled €4.2 million in 1Q’07, an increase from €2.6 million in 4Q’06 but significantly down from €28.6 million in 1Q’06.

There were no exits in 1Q’07, compared to the two exits in both 4Q’06 and 1Q’06.

Ireland ranked fourteenth in Europe in terms of the number of deals, level with Poland, Romania and Italy, but behind Russia and Austria. Ireland was fifteenth in terms of amount raised, behind Austria and Italy but ahead of Poland and Romania.

European Investors Focusing on IT
The first quarter found investors renewing their interest in information technology, which showed signs of a significant comeback; there were 9% more deals and 6% more capital invested in this industry than in the same quarter a year ago. In addition, later-round financings were at their highest point in a year and second round financings also showed significant growth. Another positive sign, according to the report, was that median round sizes across all industries improved upon last year’s increases to reach the highest point on record at €2.7 million overall.

“The continued growth in round size, especially in second and later rounds, indicates that investors are providing the most promising portfolio companies with the resources needed to progress along the path to exit," said John de Yonge, Global Research Director of Ernst & Young's Venture Capital Advisory Group.

"Last year saw the most venture-backed initial public offerings in Europe in six years and steady acquisition activity. Investors are focusing greater capital and attention on the subset of companies with the most potential to take advantage of the supportive exit climate in the near term."

Later Rounds Dominate Activity
Forty percent of the rounds in the first quarter were later-stage rounds, the largest percentage since 1999. In addition, the €606.7 million directed to the 83 later rounds was the most capital invested in this round class in a year and represented more than half of all capital invested in Europe in the first quarter. Capital investment into second rounds also showed a significant quarter-on-quarter increase, growing 21% to €257.1 million. The median size of second and later rounds is now €3 million and €3.5 million, respectively.

Seed- and first-round financings, meanwhile, made up 37% of the deal flow in the first quarter but only 19% of the total investment.

Round allocations varied by industry. Healthcare financings in the first quarter were particularly dominated by later rounds, which made up 55% of the deal flow activity to this industry. Conversely, information technology saw more early-stage activity with seed- and first-round deals representing 41% of financings.

Information Technology Posts Significant Growth
Information technology had the most significant upturn of any industry in the first quarter, according to the report. In total, €550.2 million was invested in 133 technology deals, representing €30.1 million more in capital and 11 more deals from the first quarter of a year ago. The software and information services segments showed the most activity for the sector. Software deals increased by 20% over the same period a year ago to 73 and investment increased11% to €222.5 million. More dramatically, deal flow in the information services segment increased 131% to 30 deals, and capital increased more than two-fold to €114.7 million.

“The emerging interest in Web 2.0 technology—which is mostly focused in the information services segment—seems to be fueling this growth in European technology investments,” said Jessica Canning, Director of Global Research for VentureOne. “In addition, the number of IPOs for information services companies doubled over the past year and this is likely a factor in investors’ preference for the segment this quarter.”

European venture capital investors also invested more in energy companies, according to the report. There were 10 energy deals in the first quarter, only slightly more than the nine that occurred in the same quarter of 2006; however the capital invested in this segment more than doubled to €58.6 million.

The healthcare industry in Europe was more constrained in the first quarter, the report found. The 38 healthcare deals and €387.8 million invested here represented declines of 42% and 19%, respectively, from the first quarter of 2006. Nevertheless, the €50 million second-round investment in antibacterial company Novexel of France was among the largest deals of the first quarter.


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EU startup environment improving but still a gap in early stage support

From alarm:clock euro:

"'Startups are being funded at a faster pace lately and some projects are really interesting with global ambitions and presence but there is still a huge gap with other countries and the USA. There is in particular a lack of light investment structure like YCombinator or CRV quickstart or even experienced business angels to support projects at very early stage before they arrive in VC hands.'"

I will write more regarding this as I feel this is a key element in the startup eco-system. I've had some talks with David Cohen from TechStars on what get him onto his idea and will also talk with Brad Feld regarding whats the 'magic ingredients' necessary for startups at an early stage.

I have more 'bodies' lined up to talk with (especially as regards Ireland) but if you know of anyone that can help lead some experience/advice please let me know.


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How's this for an exit - Zanox - without VC funding

From alarm:clock euro:

"Affiliate marketing startup Zanox, has been acquired by Swiss PubliGroupe and German media company Axel Springer for €214.9M plus an additional undisclosed performance related payment. It took less than a year for Zanox, which grew into a hundred million a year company within six years and without the aid of VC, although it did raise an undisclosed single digit million euro amount from unnamed Asian private investor in 2005, to be acquired after making sure the business press knew it was looking for a buyer."

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Web 2.0 VC Dealmaking On The Upswing in UK/EU

From alarm:clock euro::
"Europe can do well if we learn to live with the losses. Some companies will fail. In the US, when that happens, people say ‘hey, we tried’ and start again, but in Europe people remember the failures more readily than the successes.”

Today the Financial Times has a report inspired by fresh research from Paul Fisher of First Capital on Web 2.0 and Internet investments in the European region in 2006. It reports the amount raised last year jumped to more than £144M (about €219M). It also has commentary from active online service investors, such as Barry Malone of Benchmark Capital who talks about the "spray and pray" approach to investment and Fred Destin who talks about what it will take for Europe to grow.

Fisher posted the original data on his blog along with some good analysis, and created a good table showing all the deals in question. He writes:
More than £144mn was raised in Europe across seed and first rounds in 2006 by 54 European web2.0 companies. This total doesn’t include the “undisclosed investment” rounds, of which there were 16.

The growth is remarkable.

In the UK in 2005, just £24mn was invested into web2.0 companies. In 2006 that figure increased threefold with £79mn worth of early stage investments into 21 companies.

The FT's article is currently not behind its firewall, so you can read it now. Here are some quotes from Benchmark's Malone:
These [Web 2.0] companies are also much cheaper to set up than other technology businesses.

"It is very difficult to build up a semiconductor company or an enterprise software business. You need to invest $40m to $50m before you know if you have a product that works," Mr Malone said. "With web 2.0 companies you can find out after three or four million dollars whether it will work."

As a result, Mr Malone said, many European venture capital companies were using a "spray and pray" strategy, spreading small amounts of investment over dozens of companies in the hopes that two or three would make it.

Just in case you think Barry doesn't know what he is talking about -
Prior to joining Benchmark, Barry spent five years as CEO of Esat Digifone, Ireland's second largest GSM mobile operator. Under Barry's leadership, Esat Digifone expanded to a profitable company with 900 employees, more than 1 million customers and IR400 million in revenues. Esat Digifone was acquired by British Telecom at a market value of IR£2 billion and is now part of the O2 Group.

Before Esat Digifone, Barry spent two years at Xerox Corporation in Palo Alto, California, where as Vice President of first Business Development and then Channel Operations, he was instrumental in revolutionizing Xerox’s approach to global marketing. Before this Barry enjoyed a pan-European career at Digital Equipment as European Pricing Manager, Director of Software Business Europe and Vice President of the Component and Peripheral Business Unit Europe.

Previously looked at Enterprise Irelands 2006 startups and mentioned FinFacts current report on economy and investments etc.. - not good reading.
Only six jobs were created in the €110m Information Age Park Ennis (IAPE- Shannon Development) in the past 12 months...
Professor Danny Breznitz of the Georgia Institute of Technology says our research infrastructure is too narrow in its focus and may not be sustainable...not creating enough new businesses,...
......GEM...found the percentage of people who were either thinking of going into business or had just started a new venture slid substantially in Ireland...

Also posted about Irish VC Investment slackening in Q1 2007
Only one deal was completed in 1Q’07, down from 4 deals in 4Q’06 and 7 in 1Q’06.
There were no seed, first or second round deals in Q1
There was only one IT sector deal closed in 1Q’07, just as in 4Q’06, although this is down from the 7 deals in 1Q’06.
There were no exits in 1Q’07, compared to the two exits in both 4Q’06 and 1Q’06.
Ireland ranked fourteenth in Europe in terms of the number of deals

Mentioned goverment subsidies and views in a previous post.
Bridges Ventures..VC group.. invest in deprived parts of the UK... make its 27th investment

Bridges raised £40m for its first fund, including £20m from the UK govn... as well as private equity executives ..and 3i. But its second fund of £50m had no government money.

 micro financing may look unattractive to many VCs ... claims his funds are outperforming the rest of the VC market.

Also mentioned some views on angel/VC investing from EU Innovate conference.

So it will be interesting to see how Ireland does over 2007 as so far it looks sloooow, besides MapFlow.


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Irish/ EU R&D funding for SMEs seminar, May 28th, Cork UCC, IRL

from Business Plus  online news

University College Cork is to host seminar on how SMEs can take better advantage of Irish and EU R&D funding

On May 28, UCC, in conjunction with the South West Regional Authority (SWRA), Enterprise Ireland and CorkBIC, will host a seminar entitled “Research for SMEs – How to Benefit from New Funding Programmes” to highlight the latest supports for industry to gain access to R&D both nationally and in Europe.

SWRA, as part of its DRIVE for Growth Initiative, is working in conjunction with all regional research organisations and business development agencies to address deficiencies and barriers in the way academia and business exploit public R&D and knowledge transfer. These include cultural differences between the business and science communities, legal barriers and fragmented markets for knowledge and technology.

Sinead Crowley, projects manager at SWRA, said: “If we can increase the number of indigenous companies who participate in R&D and build the levels of knowledge being shared, then we have new opportunities to create economic spin-offs for local companies and support their economic sustainability and competitiveness moving forward.”
'TTI facilitates the effective transfer and commercialisation of technology between university and industry'

Crowley said that a major innovation is taking place to help Irish companies benefit from the world-class research expertise available in UCC through its Technology Transfer Initiative (TTI), an industry outreach programme to provide access for Irish companies to world-class research facilities. “Funded by Enterprise Ireland, the TTI facilitates the effective transfer and commercialisation of technology between university and industry, applying new knowledge and technologies for the economic benefit of the region.”
'Recognising the concerns and constraints of small industries is the key to the TTI's success'

According to Miriam Collins, TTI programme manager: “Recognising the concerns and constraints of small industries is the key to the TTI's success together with the provision of an easy-to-access entry point to the resources and expertise within UCC. As a prime source of knowledge, UCC has a significant role in the process of technology transfer to Irish industry.”
'Speakers will give participants a greater understanding of what's involved in national and European funding programmes'

Collins said that innovation can be an “expensive and lengthy course of action”, adding that many companies find it difficult to begin the process. “Negotiating the minefield of funding agencies and bureaucracy often puts people off trying. However, help is available and this seminar aims to assist industry through the process. Speakers will give participants a greater understanding of what's involved in national and European funding programmes as well as ways to access that funding. A number of case studies, involving local companies, Science2Business (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK?) and Cybercolors (?), will highlight the advantages and benefits of collaborative R&D.”

Artie Clifford, managing director of Dingle Bay Seafood Soups, feels that “with the assistance of the TTI at UCC, food producers are being given access to the huge depth of knowledge which is available in our universities and which will help to give us a major competitive advantage in Europe”.

For more information on the seminar contact Sinead Crowley, Projects Manager, SWRA on 021 487 6877 or e-mail or contact Miriam Collins, Programme Manager, TTI, UCC on 021 490 2823 or e-mail


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EU VC: What have we learned?

From Paul Fisher's blog-European Venture Capital: What have we learned?:

"I think that the European VC scene is a notably better place and that THNGS ARE GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME.

The ecosystem for entrepreneurs is getting better: from uni spin-out hubs & clubs to booze fuelled dinner table debates.

The quality and segmentation of investors is getting better; from international success-stories like Index to small, ultra focussed funds like Eden Ventures.

The DIALOGUE is getting better;
I doff my cap to initiatives like open coffee club which fosters mutual understanding.
I believe VC –entrepreneur relationships are far less adversarial and far more informed than they were 8 years ago. (Fred has a nice angle on this too)"

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Anyone apply for Top 15 EU Startups competition?

(OOPS - this one got stuck in the Web2Ireland blog Drafts Q :(    )

Anyone know or enter for this?
Deadline was by May 2nd, and happens on May 10th in Madrid.
I found it via Richards post on ReadWrite

StartUp2.0 is a competition of European web 2.0 sites whose objectives are to promote and reward the European startups (either created or willing to do so in the future) that work in the field of 2.0 technologies.

The Irish boys not up 4 this and fancy a trip 2 Spain (with cheap RyanAir flights) ?

I see our man Tom is on the panel...

Should EI or someone be keeping a 'diary of relevance' for Irish startups?

Fergus gave a mention earlier


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Views on Goverment subsidies from Vinod and UK

from Library House latest newsletter:

Keep an open mind on subsidies 

For many entrepreneurs, the mere mention of subsidies has them shaking their heads in disbelief. Vinod Khosla, a founder of Sun Microsystems and a serial entrepreneur, said he viewed companies that rely on government backing with great suspicion. But Mr Khosla, speaking at Library House’s Essential Cleantech conference last month, did entertain the possibility of limited subsidies for very new industries.

The fact is, like it or not, governments are getting increasingly involved in venture capital. They recognise the positive effect that well-directed investment can have on jobs, GDP growth and, importantly on public morale.

For this reason the most prolific European investors, according to VenturePedia, are High-Tech Gründerfonds Management, which partners with the German government, and funds run by Scottish Enterprise, which are also state-backed. High-Tech Gründerfonds Management has made 49 investments in the last year while Scottish Enterprise funds have made 45. The average deal size involving these organisations is less than €1m, indicating they are operating at a micro level, targeting companies that are below the radar of most venture capitalists.

There are also a number of hybrid investment companies, that are ostensibly privately-owned but whose funds are swelled by government money. One of these, Bridges Ventures, the venture capital group set up by Sir Ronald Cohen to invest in deprived parts of the UK, will this week make its 27th investment, lifting to £26.5m the amount of capital it has spent since being set up in 2002.

Bridges raised £40m for its first fund, including £20m from the UK government, with capital also provided by Sir Ronald's charitable trust, as well as private equity executives Jeremy Coller, Nigel Doughty and Jon Moulton, retailer Tom Singh, and listed private equity group 3i. But its second fund of £50m had no government money.

Although micro financing may look unattractive to many VCs given the amount of due diligence that is required to complete a deal, this may be a false impression. Phil Newborough, the chief executive of Bridges claims his funds are outperforming the rest of the VC market. That should, at the very least, give the sceptics food for thought.

I'll comment some more as I write about goverment involvment/support on the Irish scene and startup eco-system.


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Next Web conference - Amsterdam

OOPS - another one stuck in the Web2Ireland blog Drafts Q :(

Anyone else joining the Irish lads Conor and RTE at the The Next Web Conference event at Amsterdam, June 1st, 2007?

The Next Web Conference presents The Startup Arena and introduce three great opportunities for innovative tech start ups to boost their PR, meet up with VC’s and/or show off their service or product to the tech savvy crowd.

Startup Arena
There will be 15 20 tables in the main Coffee plaza available for startups (at no additional costs) to show off their services. Sign up to get a free startup booth. The 20 selected companies will be announced a week before the conference.

Two companies will be selected by a jury to give a 10 minute Showcase / presentation on the main stage! If you think you’re up to it, take a chance!The 2 selected companies will be announced a week before the conference.

During the lunch break the Big bang Ventures will host a Speed pitching session, which is open for all startups, VC’s and press. Startups are matched to VC’s and press for a 4 minute speed pitch. So, meet, pitch, impress, make sure you meet up at the party, shake hands, and get a card and the next Speed pitch is coming up! Join the Speed pitching session.


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Start your own business course- Dublin, IRL

OOPS - this one got stuff in the Web2Ireland blog Drafts Q :(
so its a little late !

In case anyone is interested in this : Start Your Own Business: Starts Thu, 17th May 2007

Venue: Nutgrove Enterprise Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14
Find on Map

Who Should Attend?
Anyone who is looking to become their own boss but who is not sure where to begin. By the end of the 6 session course, participants will have achieved the following:-

    Prepared and assessed a professional Business Plan
    Learned about how to market their business
    Understood the concepts of business taxation
    Gained information on possible sources of funding
    Understood the importance of cash-flow management
    Learned about the legal aspects of business formation, including health and safety and insurance considerations.

Certification from ILM (Institute of Leadership & Management) is available.

6 weeks (one evening a week from 7pm - 10pm).
There is a 30 min break during each session.

    Session 1: Tue, May 17th Business Plan Development
    Session 2: Tue, May 24th Marketing
    Session 3: Tue, May 31st Law & Taxation
    Session 4: Tue, June 7th Finance
    Session 5: Tue, June 14th Sales
    Session 6: Tue, June 21st Guest Speaker/Conclusion

Course Fee
Only €195 per person. Places are limited.


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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

3 days 2 apply: Essential Web 2007 Europe’s top web innovators -Library House- London

Library House is seeking the fifteen most innovative businesses to present at the Essential Web conference this June. A panel of industry experts will select the very best companies to present to an audience of leading investors, business, and media players. If you would like your venture to be considered please nominate yourself by Friday 25th May

Date: 27th June 2007, 8:00am - 8:00pm
Location: BFI IMAX Cinema, Waterloo, London

Essential Web 2007 is a one-day showcase celebrating Europe’s web innovators.

Key themes

Mobilising the web: how do mobile web and internet web work? Is the technology up to scratch? Where are the biggest opportunities for entrepreneurs?
Social, social, social: The explosion of vast social networks and the countervailing surge of micro-blogging
Monetising the web: Great idea. Now how do you make it make money?

Raw companies: pre-funded start up companies screened by Library House and a panel of experts to represent the newest, most innovative and exciting web ventures in Europe.
Hot companies: investor-backed ventures on a fast track to growth.
Star companies: mature web ventures - market leading or looking towards exit.
Plus: insight from experienced entrepreneurs, dealmakers and commentators.

As an entrepreneur behind a web venture you will qualify for a special rate of £95 (a £200 discount on the early bird price) to attend the event, and if your company is selected to present you will be refunded the £95*.

All entrepreneurs who qualify for this special rate have the option to:
Attend a special day's training at no extra cost
Access a database of venture-backed companies until 27 June at no extra cost

The audience will vote for the best presenting company of the day, who will receive a year’s access to Library House's VentureConnect events series (£4,950 value) and our VenturePedia database of competitive intelligence on top European venture backed companies (£4,950 value).

This programme will focus on successfully presenting to investors and addressing a large audience with impact. Please note that attendance is not a requirement for selection.

Agenda for training days
9.00am Arrival and coffee
9.30am Session 1 commences: Elevator Pitch
Company elevator pitches. Each delegate presents company elevator pitch. The whole group gives feedback. Facilitators give feedback.
10.30am Break into two groups for each facilitator to give additional coaching and advice on elevator pitch. Further rehearsals
11.30am Revised elevator pitches presented back to entire group
12.00pm Session 2 commences: Company presentation
Break into two groups for each delegate to give 10 slide/10 minute company presentation to respective group. Each group gives feedback.
1.00-1.45pm Break for lunch
1.45pm Facilitators score each presentation and give feedback to overall group
2.15pm Delegates breakout to work on improving company presentations Facilitators circulate amongst delegates and spend min 20 mins one one-to-one basis with each delegate during this period. Further rehearsals.
4.45pm Final company presentations in two groups with external opinion-former (ideally VC or corporate investor) in attendance.
5.45pm Review and close Once you have booked a ticket we will send dates and locations of these free training sessions.

Investor attendees to Library House events in the past few months have included:

3i, Acacia Capital Partners, Advent Venture Partners, Add Partners, Albany Venture Managers, Aloe Group, Amadeus Capital, AMF Ventures, Atlas Venture, ATOS Origin, Benchmark Capital, Bridges Community Ventures, BT Group, Cambridge Capital Group, Capricorn Venture Partners, Catapult Venture Managers, Celtic House Ventures, Chesham Holdings, CLS Holdings, Enterprise Ventures, E-Synergy, Esprit Capital Partners, Eden Ventures, ETV Capital, First ventures, Foresight Venture Partners, Foursome Investments, Impetus Partners, Intel Capital, Katalyst Ventures, Mitsui Capital, Quester, Scottish Equity Partners, Siemens Venture Capital, Sofinnova Partners, SRPE, TLcom Capital Partners, TTP Venture Managers, Zouk Ventures, Warburg Pincus, Wheb Ventures, YFM Group


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Mobile tech panel at Innovate EU 2007

Rudy De Waele has another follow-up from the panel on Mobile technology at the Innovate EU 2007 conference in Zaragoza.

Moderated by the illuminated Thomas Crampton, another interesting panel on Mobile technology followed after the break with Scott Cooper, VP Mobility Solutions at Nokia; Augustín Núñez Castaín, Handsets & Services Innovation Director at Telefónica Móvilés España and Avi Shechter, CEO of Fring. Some notes on that panel:

- big intersection between web 2.0 conversations and being present in a network/community, this model comes now to mobility
- next generation mobile services will be monetised in different ways
- roaming call from Helsinki to NYC and back: roaming cost 2, 45 $ while through wi-fi 0,04$ (!)
- UGC (User Generated Content) is really changing the face of society
- it’s all about the value created around the ecosystem
- remember Google & Yahoo are not FREE, it’s a different way of paying, of collecting money from users
- new ways to collect money will arise, like targeted advertising, personal profiling, added-value services
- rich presence services - it’s the blend of technology and individual content creation
- right time to open up and have the right tarification plans for early adopters
- people want to pay for a good mobile service
- upload of personal content will become the next wave (personalisation, tuning of music, uploading your life with pictures, video…
- as for the operator: it’s a matter of where to put and manage the bandwith and how to garantuee a seamless integration for our users…
- sharing personal content, user-generated content
- adapted TV programs, still a need to find the right broadcast solution
- explosion of new buisness models will come, the opportunity for the operator is that it has the user’s trust
- there will be low-cost carrier and low quality but also room for high quality servcies, connectivvity, device managemenent, storage for contents, handset replacement, entreprise applications, etc…
- related to mobile 2.0 startups in need to connect to operators: operators have the experience, the support and the billing experience


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Innovate Europe 2007 Wrap-Up and Angels/funding

Rudy De Waele has a summary (just copied his part of Angels/funding in EU) from the Innovate Europe 2007 Wrap-Up

Power Angels panel, composed of:

* Klaus Hommels, Venture Partner, Benchmark Capital
* Oliver Jung, Investment Manager, Adinvest
* Saul Klein, Venture Partner, Index Ventures
* Simon Levene, Partner, Accel
* Mark Tluszcz, Managing Partner, Mangrove Capital Partners

Here my rough notes from that session:

- 20 relevant vc’s and 20 angels in europe
- 30 investments last year, diversification (oliver)
- a lot less opportunities in EU then elsewhere
- just less deals in EU
- too much advertising as biz model for tech startups, Oliver likes to see more real pure business models build on revenues
- 50% funded seed companies will not survive
- too many companies on to few opportunities
- more people starting companies then people joining companies
- great talent pool in europe
- great examples serve as role model
- first 50 people building a team are fundamental!
- need more people joining teams than starting companies

Conclusion: it’s all about smart entrepreneurs and passionate people


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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Wanna pitch? Microsoft Campus, Silicon Valley - June 2007

from Event Launch : Silicon Vally 2007

Following the success of the initial Launch: Silicon Valley event in November 2006, we are pleased to announce Launch Silicon Valley 2007 will be held on June 5, 2007, at the Microsoft Campus in Mountain View, CA. The event, co-presented by Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs (SVASE) and Garage Technology Ventures, provides the next generation of emerging technology companies with the opportunity to pitch their products to, and network with, an audience of Silicon Valley’s top movers and shakers. The first Launch: Silicon Valley event featured 29 top startups, presenting their products and services to an audience of over 180 VCs, Angels, corporate business development executives, prospective customers and partners, bloggers and media.

Launch: Silicon Valley 2007 is designed to uncover and showcase products and services from the most exciting of the newest startups in information technology, mobility, security, digital media next generation internet, life sciences and clean energy. Launch: Silicon Valley 2007 will feature new companies that are ready for launch, but are not yet well known. These are companies that have a product or service available (as of June 5, 2007), but have not been out in the marketplace for more than a few months. Companies that are interested in presenting their products at Launch: Silicon Valley 2007 should send an Executive Summary of no more than 2 pages to by latest May 13, 2007

Up to 30 of the most interesting companies will be invited to present their product or service at Launch: Silicon Valley 2007, and to network with the audience of Silicon Valley’s top movers and shakers at the Pre-LSV Event Party on the evening of June 4, as well as at the event itself on June 5. The CEOs of the companies voted “most promising new company” in each of the six sessions will also receive invitations (for two) to attend the prestigious Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” Gala Dinner on June 29 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.

Costs approx $750. got until May 13th 2 sign up!!

Here's what 2 of the presenting companies from Launch: Silicon Valley 2006 have to say:

Launch: Silicon Valley was an extremely valuable event for cFares, as it was there that we met the firm that subsequently became the lead investor in our latest round of finance. We would not have achieved as much progress as we have without Launch: Silicon Valley.

Vajid Jafri
Founder & CEO

Since L:SV we closed series A with Innovacom and ATA and have gone on to win large customer deals across the Telco and mobile social networking world. We’re growing significantly and are now looking at closing a new round of funding as well that we will announce sometime early next month.

On the team side, we’re up to well over 50 people and are looking to be over 120 by end of this year across the globe. We currently have people on the ground in Santa Clara, Beijing, Karachi, Tokyo and soon to expand to Hong Kong, Paris, London, Dubai and Bombay.

So things are going quite well so far. Thanks much for giving us the opportunity to present at L:SV; it was indeed a very good show for us.

Faraz Hoodbhoy
CEO, PixSense, Inc.


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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Latest comments

Yep just a couple :)

Need 2 add in alt text so u can see what the topic was about for those that don't have nice URL's


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

AACS takedown notice on DRM key backfires via Dig

AACS takedown notice backfires

from link above nice story on how the 'crowd-sourcing' of Digg has back-fired on the might of lawyerdoom.

legal threats from the Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator (AACS LA).
All well n good u might say...
...except ....
Complete and utter chaos. Tens of thousands of Digg users posted story after story containing the 16-digit encryption key. Traffic on the site was so high that it was unavailable for parts of the day.

In the end Digg stopped taking down their users posting of the key and gave up and sided with their users.

So instead of supressing the code, all the AACS managed to do was generate a ton of negative publicity and spread thousands of copies of the code indelibly all over the internet.

AACS is all above DRM on DVD's etc..


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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

browser=3270, Ajax=lipstick on a pig

Dave Thomas has an interesting post with lots of great comments/dialogue on REST, CRUD and how it can be improved. The article is titled "RADAR Architecture: RESTful Application, Dumb-Ass Recipient".

Most of the article is in relation to increasing the usefulness and seperation of a presentation layer so the browser side can be a lot more intelligent. He proposes some server side proxy elements and HTTP rejigs etc..

To me (as some of the other guys point out) its partly overkill and XML/XSLT looks like an 'easier' answer but maybe HTML 5 and Xforms (or whatever variation comes out from W3c - whenever!) will help.

He has some great comments ...
Because HTTP is stateless, and because applications talk to browsers using a fire-and-forget model, your servers and networks can handle very large numbers of devices. This is exactly the architecture that IBM championed back in the 70s. The half-duplex, poll-select nature of 3270-based applications allowed mainframes with less processing power than a modern toaster to handle tens of thousands of simultaneous users. The browser is really not much better than a 3270 (except the resolution is better when displaying porn). (Recently, folks have been trying to circumvent this simplicity by making browser-based applications more interactive using technologies such as Ajax. To my mind, this is just a stop-gap until we throw the browser away altogether—Ajax is just lipstick on a pig.)

As I've indicate on my initial profile page, HTTP is a lot like the old 3270 green screens that IBM used and the protocols that ran underneath (BMS maps into a CICS transaction).
Somehow when u compare 'web' applications to that scenario it doesn't look as if it (foundations) hasn't moved on very far. Oh sure we have SOA, Web services, Atom, RSS, video streaming, podcasting and all these wonderful 'applications' on top of a very client-server layer.


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