Business Irish

Thursday 26 April 2018

Smyths Toys family invest in Dragon O'Sullivan's Altocloud

Smyths Toy Store
Smyths Toy Store
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

Two of the brothers behind Smyths Toys have emerged as backers of Altocloud, the fast-growing Irish software business founded by a former RTE Dragon.

Galway business Altocloud helps online retailers to convert shoppers into buyers. Its technology prompts websites to contact high-value customers when they are most likely to buy, or to contact customers who appear to be having difficulty with the shopping process.

Low-profile entrepreneurs Anthony and Padraig Smyth were early investors in the start-up, which was set up in 2013 by RTE regular Barry O'Sullivan.

The two are also co-founders of the country's most successful toy retailer Smyths Toys, alongside their other brothers Liam and Thomas. Another member of the Smyth family, Joe Smyth, is Altocloud's chief technical officer.

The brothers' investment is not thought to be particularly large. Altocloud has only raised $3m (€2.7m) so far - and most of this came from a more recent fundraising round that closed in March, in which investors including Digicel, Delta Partners and ACT Venture Capital, invested $2m in the business. It has 15 employees with three based in the US.

Founder O'Sullivan, who is best known for his stint on RTE's Dragons' Den, has a background in business-to-business software. Previously he was a senior vice president at Cisco and also worked for Canadian telecommunications group Nortel.

He was an early investor in Pat Phelan's online fraud protection business Trustev and is also an investor in Irish start-ups Healthwave and Mcor Technologies.

As well as counting two of Smyths' founders among their early investors, Altocloud recently signed a deal to do business with the toy retailer.

Smyths, which has 80 stores across the UK and Ireland and was set up in 1987, is using its services to improve its website.

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