Posted: Mon 22nd Aug 2022
The next event in Enterprise Nation's Access to Finance programme is Access to Finance - Securing Angel Investment.
Ahead of the event on 30 August 2022, we caught up with panellist Niamh Sterling, investment consultant at Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN), to find out more about her role in the company, and how HBAN supports angel investment for Irish start-ups.
What is your role within HBAN?
I've been an investment consultant for the Halo Business Angel Network since 2017. I'm responsible for sourcing and selecting investment opportunities and managing our deal pipeline from initial engagement right through to supporting due diligence and closing.
I meet a lot of companies, so I do spend a lot of time saying 'not yet' or 'no' because angel funding isn't going to be a fit for everybody and timing is really important.
My goal is always twofold – one is to give the companies their best chance of success, and the other is to meet expectations in terms of sourcing investable companies for our angel investors.
What experience do you bring to the team?
I was co-founder and board member of Interact, the Irish-owned facilities management company, from 1997 to 2021. I was also co-founder of H2O Solutions, one of Ireland's leading water management companies founded in 2002. Both of those companies were acquired in May of 2021.
I'm also the founder and chairperson of Recipe Guru, a US-based digital publishing company. We digitise cookbooks for three of the big five global publishing houses, and we syndicate that content to go to global food and grocery brands. So, I have deep knowledge and experience in successfully founding and scaling export-driven companies.
How does HBAN help Irish start-ups?
Halo Business Angel Network is a network of 600+ business angels throughout the island of Ireland and we have four overseas syndicates as well.
We have 15 syndicates nationwide, some of those are regional, such as Northern Ireland Kerry Angel Network and WXNW. Some are sector-specific, such as MedTech, Impact and Bloom, which is our ICT syndicate. We also have syndicates overseas in New York, Singapore, Dubai and London.
HBAN gets around 600 referrals a year, so we look at a lot of companies. Out of that, my job is to select companies to pitch at our events, which we run from September to June – approximately 65 events a year. We select four or five investor-ready companies to pitch at each of these events.
We provide a lot of resource and education for our angels. For example, we run masterclasses on topics such as tax planning, managing investment portfolios and exits.
Knowledge sharing is an important part of what we do, so angels who are experts in their fields also give talks on their particular areas of expertise.
Are there any sectors you do not deal with?
We are sector-agnostic, but we don't invest in not-for-profits, and we don't invest in service companies. ICT accounts for the vast majority of what we invest in, with med tech a close second.
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