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Susan Hayes Culleton Conference Host and the Positive Economist Margaret Hearty Chief Executive of Inter Trade Ireland Brian Caulfield Chair Scale Ireland and Lucy O Keeffe Chief Executive of Croi Valve
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Record numbers at InterTradeIreland’s Venture Capital conference reflect ambition of entrepreneurs on the island

13 Mar 2023

A record number of delegates attended this year’s InterTradeIreland Venture Capital Conference in Croke Park, Dublin. The theme of the day “Resilience and Creativity” brought together a capacity crowd of more than 500 attendees comprising entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists, business angels, other investors and start-ups seeking funding.

Commenting on the large crowd and networking opportunity, Isabelle O’Keefe of Sure Valley Ventures pointed out,

This is one the largest events for the Venture Capital community on the island. The number of people that turned up today really highlights the level of cross-border collaboration, which elevates the entire eco-system. That flow of information helps get more companies investor ready.

Chaired by Susan HayesCulleton, CFA ‘’The Positive Economist’’ guests heard from a diverse range of VC experts and speakers, including Kate Fullen from Elkstone Partners who are actively deploying a 100 million euro fund in the market. During a panel discussion on how to approach a Venture Capitalist, Kate reminded the audience,

It’s a network driven industry, as VCs we know we need to be on the ground. We’re not adverse to cold outreach, we want to make sure that we connect with people outside of these tight networks and we're doing this through eco-system and community events. If you have a great business come and talk to us.

Delivering a keynote speech, Lucy O’Keeffe the CEO and co-founder of a medical device company CrioValve spoke about the journey from concept to raising funds. A former participant of InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn Competition, the spin-out from Trinity College Dublin, makes a device to repair a valve in heart without the need for open heart surgery. To date the business has raised over 20 million euro and now employs over 30 people.

Speakers also provided guidance on key hires for early start-up businesses as well as advice on term sheets and opportunities in tech emerging from the digital transformation super cycle.

Margaret Hearty, Chief Executive at InterTradeIreland, said:

This year’s Venture Capital Conference falls in the year of the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday/ Belfast Agreement. This agreement was a turning point towards peace and consequently greater economic prosperity across the island.

Reflecting on the investment landscape today, I think there is much to be proud of in terms of the development of an equity culture and the supporting infrastructure both for business angel and venture capital investment. VC funding in Ireland last year performed reasonably well against global trends, and in Northern Ireland, the recent announcement by the British Business Bank of a new £70 million debt and equity fund will certainly be welcome.

For current and future entrepreneurs, access to finance and investor readiness is key to building a strong investment eco system. Supporting SMEs with the knowledge skills and contacts to secure growth finance, be that seed funding, business angel investment or venture capital funding will remain a key focus for InterTradeIreland. Our Funding for Growth programme directly supported over 1,000 companies in 2022. Our team work will continue to work with and support the wider eco system of platform programmes and incubators across the island.’
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