John Phelan, HBAN

HBAN predicts blended reality, medtech will lead investment trends in 2018

John Phelan, HBAN

4 January 2018

The Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN), has predicted a 17% increase in angel investing in Irish start-ups as the economy grows in 2018, with augmented reality, virtual reality and medtech the key trends.

The record level of investment will be driven by an increase in international syndicates taking an interest in Irish start-ups and the trend towards co-syndication, where different syndicates invest simultaneously in the one start-up.

John Phelan, national director, HBAN, said: “Irish start-ups are increasingly of interest to US and other off-shore investors as they recognise that Irish start-ups seeking angel investment are often more developed with revenue streams, technology and business platforms already in-situ. Some are even making a profit.

“Although the start-up scene in Ireland is fertile, it needs to be continually nurtured. Both the Employment Incentive and Investment Scheme (EIIS), which enables individual investors to obtain income tax relief on investments made, and the Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP), which provides advantageous tax treatment on employee share options, are helpful to the start-up sector. Notwithstanding that many investors are returning to the property investment market, HBAN would like to see more schemes and policies that incentivise investing in and creating the next generation of Irish start-ups.”

Last year the medtech sector proved to be attractive to HBAN angels, with €4.1 million invested in just seven major deals. One of the big stories was Cork-based, AventaMed which received €1.8 million in a deal with three HBAN syndicates – MedTech, Boole and Irrus. HBAN predicts that Ireland’s medtech hub will continue to present excellent opportunities for angel investors in 2018, and that the average deal value done in this space will increase from this year’s €585,000.

“Companies [are] beginning to understand the business application of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR),” said Phelan. “Previously in VR, it was mainly the ‘techies’ who understood the technology and created the visuals. However, as more creatives engage with the technology, the images will become more beautiful and realistic. This will broaden the appeal for the consumer market and I think we’re set to see some interesting start-ups in this space as the business models develop.”

HBAN angels have invested over €80 million in Irish start-ups. These investments have leveraged a further €124 million from other public and private funds, bringing the total invested to €204 million.

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