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Medtech, AI and IoT big trends for Irish start-ups - and angel investment - in 2018


John Phelan

John Phelan

John Phelan

HBAN is expecting angel investment in Irish start-ups to grow by 17pc in 2018, with increased funding in particular for the medtech sector.

In forecasting its predictions for the year ahead, the group has also identified that artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) will be big trends amongst start-ups.

HBAN also reiterated its plans to increase the amount invested in Irish start-ups to €25m per year by 2020, as the Irish economy continues to recover.

National Director John Phelan said that the vibrant start-up scene in Ireland "provides excellent opportunities for investors".

"Irish start-ups are increasingly of interest to US and other off-shore investors as they recognise that Irish start-ups seeking angel investment are often more developed with revenue streams, technology and business platforms already in-situ. Some are even making a profit," he said.

In the last ten years, HBAN angels have invested over €80m in Irish start-ups and have completed 395 investments.

The medtech sector secured over €4.1m angel investment last year, in just seven deals, demonstrating the sector's popularity.

One of the big stories was Cork-based, AventaMed which received €1.8m in a deal with three HBAN syndicates – MedTech, Boole and Irrus.

While HBAN forecasts AI and IoT to be big in 2018, Mr Phelan said the group is also seeing companies beginning to understand the business application of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)

"AI has growing phenomenally for the last number of years, is estimated to reach revenues of $60 billion by 2025[1], and has reached a critical point....IoT is growing exponentially with lots of different platforms for both products and infrastructure. We are starting to see emerging business models for applications and it’s another exciting and fast moving space," he said.

"We are also seeing companies beginning to understand the business application of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Previously in VR, it was mainly the ‘techies’ who understood the technology and created the visuals. However, as more creatives engage with the technology, the images will become more beautiful and realistic. This will broaden the appeal for the consumer market and I think we’re set to see some interesting start-ups in this space as the business models develop.”

Mr Phelan said that although the start-up scene in Ireland is fertile, it needs to be continually nurtured.

"Both the Employment Incentive and Investment Scheme (EIIS), which enables individual investors to obtain income tax relief on investments made, and the Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP), which provides advantageous tax treatment on employee share options, are helpful to the start-up sector," he said.

"Notwithstanding that many investors are returning to the property investment market, HBAN would like to see more schemes and policies that incentivise investing in and creating the next generation of Irish start-ups."

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HBAN will hold its national conference on Thursday, February 8, in the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham.

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