Ireland's "best of the class of 2013" early-stage companies are gathering in Dublin Castle this morning, hoping to meeting investors ready to part with some cash to finance their next stage of growth. About 200 entrepreneurs are in Dublin Castle for the annual showcase. These High Potential Start Up Units have been supported by Enterprise Ireland over the past year.
Enterprise Ireland's chief executive Julie Sinnamon says that the calibre of companies at today's event is very strong and they have big ambitions, lots of energy and enthusiasm and lots of ideas. This year a lot of the companies seeking funds are technology software and internet games firms. Ms Sinnamon notes that the amount of seed venture capital rose to 27% from 21% last year, while the level of business angel investments also increased - all very positive developments for the start-ups. She says the increased level of investment is based on the quality of companies coming forward. One of the outstanding features this year is the increased level of female entrepreneurship, the Enterprise Ireland chief notes, with 41 female entrepreneurs receiving funding last year compared to just 16 the previous year. The level of overseas entrepreneurs is also rising.
Brian Reynolds, co-founder of Balls Media, says that without the belief and investment from Enterprise Ireland he would still be working abroad in Canada. He says his company has changed the way sports fans interact with live games. Describing the last 12 months as "crazy" for his company, he says that there is great potential ahead for Balls Media and what it does, adding that it could be the Storyful of this year.
Peter Brady, from Equilume, explains that his company grew out of Nova at UCD. He says its product can result in the all important early foals in the equine industry, which make more money for horsebreeders. He says the product is something very special in the industry, which can also be developed further. The patented technology is now selling around the world, including the US, Australian and Japanese markets.