Sunday 25 February 2018

Ex-FF minister Kitt was adviser to crashed firm

Board Advisor: Tom Kitt
Board Advisor: Tom Kitt

Roisin Burke

A promising software company where former senior Fianna Fail figure Tom Kitt is a board adviser is calling it a day as plans for millions in funding were cancelled, according to the company.

Wealthy American renewable energy figure Arunas Chesonis helped lead €4.1m fundraising to 10n2 Technologies, through an early stage VC called Cranberry Capital.

State body Enterprise Ireland invested €1m of that.

Arunas Chesonis founded Paetec, an energy company he sold for €1.8bn in 2011.

A commitment for a further €4m investment was given, but the backing, due to be injected in several tranches, fell through, according to 10n2 co-founder Ciaran Hynes.

"We tried really hard to find alternative capital but we couldn't replace that funding," Ciaran Hynes said. "We tried to fundraise in the UK, Ireland and the US. It's been a difficult nine months."

Keith Wilson, of Cranberry Capital, said the company did not wish to comment when contacted yesterday.

Mr Chesonis, a non-executive director of the board of 10n2, didn't respond to an email request for comment. A creditors' meeting was held yesterday. Around €500,000 is mainly owed to suppliers and lawyers, including patent attorneys, Mr Hynes said.

"A commitment was made to apply funds in stages in September, December and January, which may then have put the company on the road to meeting its targets", but that fell through, Mr Hynes added.

"Things were going really well and we really felt that the rug was pulled from under us."

Mr Kitt was a senior figure in the Fianna Fail administration for over two decades, holding the role of government chief whip from 2004 to 2008 and minister of state at departments including that of the Taoiseach, Defence and Foreign Affairs.

With offices in Dublin, Boston and Dubai, 10n2 Technologies was founded in 2009 and had a unique software aimed at tackling the phenomenon of 'distracted driving' caused by smartphone and tablet use while on the road, a problem often referred to as the new drink driving.

Hynes and his co-founders had invested €500,000 between them, but Mr Kitt is understood not to have been an investor.

Sunday Independent

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