Business Irish

Wednesday 25 April 2018

'If you're running on rocket fuel, you can't afford to dilly-dally' - Super angel Christopher Mirabile believes in importance of mentoring start-ups

Christopher Mirabile
Christopher Mirabile
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Human capital investment in a budding start-up can be just as, if not more, crucial to success than a cash injection.

According to super angel Christopher Mirabile, who has personally made over 60 investments in fledging firms, mentoring is vitally important.

"There are three different kinds of mentors; one who really knows the industry, one who generically knows how to build a company, and then a leader who is invested in the person. You need all three in diminishing capacities," he told Independent.ie.

"Many small businesses that can make their own way while running on ordinary petrol but if you're running on rocket fuel (fund injections) you can't afford to 'dilly-dally'.

"You can't afford to move slowly or make avoidable mistakes, you need to have the right advice to take rapid steps assuredly." 

US-based Mirabile, previously CFO of Iona Technologies, is one of the keynote speakers at an angel investment-focused event taking place next month.

HBAN's national event in the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, is targeting new angels who are looking to invest in high potential start-ups.

Mirabile, who was named one of the "Top Angel Investors in New England" by Xconomy, said that his speech will involve talking about the power of leveraging community to get started in relation to angel investment.

Read more: 'Of course I have FOMO but you can't regret things' - Angel investor Peter Cowley learns from the ones who got away

"For a startup I've never met, I'd like to have seen them use their networking skills and see who is willing to spend a bit of associated human capital investment on their behalf," he said.

"It's not that investors are so elite but this effort is important to to stand out from all the background. Startups who take the time to research the investor that's right for them will get noticed."

He also offers advice on understanding what the difference is between a 'proper deal' and a syndicate 'just based on grouping people together'.

"Having a group of intelligent potential investors together willing to part with money is not enough," he said.

"The deal lead needs to be competent enough to marshall the process and set the company up for success. Anyone can get involved in investing once the deals you're in are well-led".

Mirabile is the Chair Emeritus and Public Policy Chair of the Angel Capital Association and the co-founder of portfolio management tool www.seraf-investor.com.

He is also co-Managing Director of Launchpad Venture Group, a venture investment group focused on seed and early-stage investments in technology-oriented companies. Launchpad is the largest angel group in New England and top-three ranked group in the U.S.

The HBAN conference is on Thursday, February 8, and is open to non-members who want to see how the HBAN network works, connect with HBAN angels and listen to pitches from high-potential start-ups. Tickets for the conference are priced at €50.

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