Northern network of angel investment body backs 22 start-ups in first 18 months

Jim Curran and Claudine Owens of Clarendon Fund Managers, pictured before social distancing restrictions, with Yolanda Cooper, founder of WeAreParadoxx, which has received investment through the angel investor network.
Ryan McAleer

AN angel investment body set up in the north 18 months ago has hit the £5 million mark.

HBAN (Halo Business Angel Network) Northern Ireland is an off-shoot of the all-island organisation set up by Invest NI, Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland to support Irish start-ups.

First established in 2007, HBAN passed the €100 million (£89m) mark last November.

The more recent network, set up in October 2018, has already backed 22 high potential firms in the north from 28 deals with a combined £5m invested.

The body has almost 80 angel investors registered as members of the network in Northern Ireland, which is managed by Clarendon Fund Managers.

The 28 deals to date have typically ranged from £25,000 to £100,000, with the largest single investment round topping £300,000.

The start-ups backed include pharmacist booking platform Locate a Locum, beauty brand We Are Paradoxx and gin makers Boatyard Distillery.

The network’s next virtual pitch event takes place tomorrow (May 27).

Clarendon Fund Managers partner Jim Curran said HBAN has become a significant part of the local start-up ecosystem in the past 18 months.

He said aside from the investment, the start-ups had benefited from the expertise of entrepreneurs and business leaders with vast amounts of experience.

“By providing a platform for high potential start-ups to pitch to investors we are creating opportunities for more of these businesses to fulfil their potential.

“As we come out of the coronavirus lockdown and the economy is more uncertain for a period of time, experienced entrepreneurs who become business angels will be vitally important if NI is to meet the demand for start-up funding.

“We’d love to see more of those people who have enjoyed success and perhaps grown and sold other businesses to join the network,” he added.

The network includes Colin Reid, who served as chief executive of Consilium – later rebranded TotalMobile - and led it to a successful exit before becoming an angel investor and business mentor.

“Joining HBAN has put some really interesting investments on my radar and got me involved with several exciting companies I wouldn’t otherwise have heard about,” he said.

“These are companies I think could do something great and who will benefit from my own experience.

“I would highly recommend HBAN to any entrepreneurially minded investors who want exposure to the best of Northern Ireland’s high potential start-ups and scale-ups. I enjoy collaborating in small groups with other like-minded investors to review deals and mentor the next generation of innovative founders.”

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