Startups – what does it take to get funded?

Attended ‘KPMG’s Financing for Innovative Companies’ seminar this morning. Excellent panel of speakers. David Brabazon (CFO Azur Pharma) spoke from the real experience of building something with his two partners in five years. My real take there was their practical approach and their openness to different methods of financing business – through self investment, private equity, VC, wealthy individuals – whatever works in the context of requirements, vision and practical availability. Interesting model – generate commercial revenues before initiating R&D spend.

Niall Olden (Managing Partner Kernel Capital) spoke about many of the investments they have made in the last year in particular. Reminded us that the vast majorities of exits will be trade sales.

Anna Scally (partner KPMG) referenced the work of the Innovation Task force and empathised with some of the frustrations of the entrepreneur community in Ireland.

Barry Maloney (partner Balderton Capital) provided the international VC perspective. Reminded the audience of what they are seeking – and set the expectation for entrepreneurs of being in for a relatively long haul e.g. 7-8 years before any significant exit. Seeking those who want to be ‘rich, not famous’. More seriously, addressed (as did David Brabazon) the requirement for fit between the VC and the entrepreneur.

All in all excellent seminar hosted by KPMG – good contrast between perspective of the entrepreneur and the VCs (local and international).

…and no one pulled their punches – successful exits are the result of many things, but hard work (long hours, commitment to travel and drive) is the sine qua non.

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