Software firm investors reap big return
A number of the original investors in software developer Phorest have been bought out for an amount that equals almost 10 times their initial investment.
Twelve Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) investors provided €700,000 over two funding rounds to Phorest in 2011 and 2013. Hban national director John Phelan said that the Phorest deal has yielded one of the largest returns in HBAN history. "It is a real indication that the angel investing market in Ireland is maturing," he said. "We are seeing deals where our members are now getting substantial returns on their investments, particularly in ICT , medtech, life-sciences and healthcare sectors."
Phorest, which provides management software for hair and beauty salons, was founded in 2004 by Ronan Perceval and Jamie Myerscough. The software, which enables salons to take bookings online, manage appointments, roster staff, control stock, implement marketing campaigns and create loyalty programmes, is used in more than 4,500 salons in 10 countries around the world.
Completing a third investment round of €20m with US investment firm, Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE), in June, led to the full buyout of three of the original HBAN investors in Phorest, with five others opting for a partial buyout. Mr Perceval said: "Investors often tell you the cliche that they bring more than money, but in this case it was true - many of the angels brought unrivalled expertise and invaluable advice in relation to structuring and scaling the business from €1m revenue to €13m."
Bloom Equity and Boole Investments made the original investment, the first-ever deal involving two HBAN syndicates.
Pat Garvey of Bloom Equity acted as lead angel on the investment and now serves as Phorest chairman. "As well as an excellent track record in the software as a service world, [SGE] is committed to Phorest's development and ambitious growth plans for expansion into new markets," said Mr Garvey.