Sunday 4 December 2016

Star angel investor McClure values Intercom at €500m

Published 12/06/2016 | 02:30

Dave McClure was an early investor in Intercom
Dave McClure was an early investor in Intercom

Famed US angel investor Dave McClure has said Irish technology company Intercom is worth around half-a-billion dollars.

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McClure was an early investor in Dublin-based Intercom, which has developed a customer services platform for businesses. It was founded by chief executive Eoghan McCabe, Ciaran Lee and Des Traynor in 2011 and has raised $116m since then.

"We invested because we thought Eoghan was smart and he had an interesting idea for how to connect with customers" said McClure, speaking from Google's Dublin headquarters at an angel investor event.

"That has far exceeded our hopes. I think he has really created a platform for real-time customer communication.

"That sounds sort of buzz-wordy, but being able to track how customers are interacting your product and being able to fix stuff before it happens, or as it happens, is pretty compelling."

McClure is a very well known investor in start-up companies.

He began his investing career after selling shares in PayPal - he was one of the payments company's first 300 employees. He went on to found investment fund 500 Startups; three of its companies have reached a valuation of over $1bn. McClure's strategy is to invest smaller amounts in as many companies as possible.

Intercom are number one in the world at what they do, McClure said. "They are creating a whole new category of customer interaction."

But Ireland is not in his top ten locations for producing start-ups.

"There are plenty of smart people here and lots of companies that have moved operations here for their European headquarters so there is no reason why it couldn't or shouldn't be.

"There is certainly a fairly active environment for large companies here because of tax policy.

"One should lead to the other - if you have a lot of larger companies operating here there, should be a pretty active environment for entrepreneurship and angel investing.

"At the moment, London and Berlin are the places we are paying more attention to [in Europe]."

McClure has visited Ireland at least once a year for the past five, primarily to attend Paddy Cosgrave's Web Summit. The move of Web Summit from Dublin to Lisbon was a loss for Ireland, he said.

"If I could wave a magic wand I would probably do my best, if I were on the government policy side, to keep it."

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