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Angels with halos can help with funding for entrepreneurs


Diane Roberts, national director of HBAN Investor
Syndicates, with KidSpotter founders Liam Darling
(centre) and Andrew Dunne

Diane Roberts, national director of HBAN Investor Syndicates, with KidSpotter founders Liam Darling (centre) and Andrew Dunne

Diane Roberts, national director of HBAN Investor Syndicates, with KidSpotter founders Liam Darling (centre) and Andrew Dunne

FOR internet start-ups, and indeed start-ups across the board, one of the biggest problems of the bust has been the removal of the banks from the seed capital space.

It's impossible to tell how many potential businesses, have been suffocated by the apparent lack of credit in the market.

In many other countries, entrepreneurs who would have relied on banks have rarely used them. Instead they have gone to angel investors and pitched for investment.

To the public, the most obvious example of an angel investor appears on the TV show 'Dragon's Den'. In reality, however, few angels are worth €250m and nobody is stroking piles of cash in front of them. In simple terms, an angel is a person who invests in start-up companies looking for a return on their money within five to seven years.

With the downturn cutting off credit, the angel investor is a route now being taken by more and more start-up companies, and yet angels are relatively thin on the ground here compared to elsewhere.

To that end, the Halo Business Angels Network has been holding a series of events to bring angels together to share knowledge and perhaps pool their resources. HBAN director Diane Roberts takes up the story.

"We're trying to create investment groups who can come together and source opportunities so that they can evaluate and invest together. Our investment syndicates are growing. Last quarter we did just under a million euro and this quarter we expect to invest somewhere between €1m and €1.5m.

HBAN have brought in Keith Wallace, a Dutch based investment expert, to share expertise with potential investors. To him, being an angel is a lot more than just putting up money and leaving it at that.

"An angel investor is someone who wants to build a relationship with an entrepreneur. They are motivated by self interest because they want a return on investment (ROI) but it's also about working together. It's the fun part of business.

ROI is one of the motivations; probably the principal one but there is a lot more to it.

"If the entrepreneur is only interested in the money and the angel is only interested in ROI then this is probably the wrong place for them."

One of the difficulties with angel investing is that often the wrong entrepreneur can end up with the wrong investor. That is one of the key issues the HBAN network hopes to resolve.

"We're working to get to a point where our investors can be matched with the right entrepreneurs. All our investors are listed at our website (hban.org) and we're trying to match the right people together."


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