Catalyst's Inbound Investors hosts more than 60 venture capitalists in Belfast

L-R: Sophie Day, Smedvig Capital; Susan Nightingale, British Business Bank; Terry Canning, CattleEye; Angelene Woodland, British Business Bank; and Kieran Dalton, Catalyst.

AROUND 60 venture capitalists from the UK and Ireland have visited Belfast to listen to bids from local innovation-focused start-ups.

Catalyst’s Inbound Investors scheme showcased a range of innovative, high potential companies seeking investment from £250,000 up to £5 million.

The programme, which is backed by the British Business Bank, offered new firms the opportunity to pitch to multiple notable UK investors in one day.

A not-for-profit organisation, Catalyst provides intelligent and highly focused sources of fund-matching for high growth-potential innovative companies. The matching process is personalised to each participating company and investor.

The investment firms which visited Belfast included Ananda Impact Ventures, Mercia Asset Management, Outward VC, BGF and Concept Ventures.

They heard pitches from companies including StimOxyGen, Cumulus Neuroscience, Plaswire Ltd, Automated Intelligence and Ubloqity.

Kieran Dalton, head of scaling at Catalyst said: “In order to see tech and innovative companies in Northern Ireland, we need to tap into the wide array of funding available in the UK, Ireland and beyond. The more deals done by non-NI funders, the easier it will be to get others to take notice and invest too.

“This is why Inbound Investors is so important. It provides local companies with the opportunity to connect with investors and build meaningful relationships,” he said.

“Catalyst helps to maintain these funder relationships and facilitate that crucial investment by understanding what they want and don’t want and matching them to the right NI companies.

“The event was a huge success and we are delighted with the results. We successfully matched 55 NI companies with suitable investors and provided a space where VCs in attendance could build relationships with budding entrepreneurs.”

Susan Nightingale from British Business Bank added: “It has been encouraging to witness the growth of this event from just 17 global investors attending in 2018 to almost 60 in 2022.

“The equity funding ecosystem in Northern Ireland is reasonably strong, however, it can be challenging for companies in scale-up mode to secure funding in excess of £1m.

“Inbound Investors is proving successful in terms of introducing innovative smaller businesses to non-Northern Ireland investors, which are increasingly seeing Northern Ireland as a great place to do business.”