Phorest, the HBAN-backed software company, has been named "most successful business financed by early stage investors" at the European Business Angels Network (EBAN) annual congress in Helsinki.

The win by Phorest continues HBAN's winning streak at the event - its sixth win in seven years. 

Phorest's software is now used in more than 5,600 salons in six countries and is the market leader for salon software in the UK and Ireland.

The company's market share in the US, Germany and Australia is also rapidly growing. 

To meet increasing worldwide demand for its technology, Phorest now employs 200 people in Dublin, Cologne and Philadelphia.

HBAN is the all-island organisation responsible for the promotion of business angel investment and a joint initiative between Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland and Invest Northern Ireland.

Along with an equity investment from Enterprise Ireland, Phorest raised €700,000 from 12 HBAN angel investors in two funding rounds in 2011 and 2013. 

Last June, Phorest completed a third round of investment, receiving €20m from US investment firm Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE). 

As a result, eight of the original HBAN investors were bought out, each receiving an average return amounting to 10 times their initial investment.

Ronan Perceval, CEO and co-founder of Phorest, said the award reflects how far the company has come and the vital role business angel investment has played in its success. 

"Our initial funding allowed us to develop the technology that is now the fabric of our business today. 

"But not only that, taking on external funding also changed us as an organisation - we had people who were invested in our success and that drove us to implement the organisational structures we needed to succeed and scale," he added.

This latest award is the sixth won by HBAN at the EBAN congress in seven years. 

In 2013, the network was named EBAN Federation of the Year, followed by DecaWave's winning the most successful business financed by early-stage investors in 2014. 

HBAN partner, Cork BIC, was the best performing EBAN new member in 2015 and in 2017, HBAN scooped the best business angel week award. 

Last year, HBAN was named the most globally networked organisation at the awards ceremony.

John Phelan, all-island director at HBAN, said Phorest's success reflects the enormous impact angel investment can have on a business in those vital first years. 

"It means a lot to us at HBAN to see the work we do with our investor members and investee companies recognised internationally," Mr Phelan said. 

"Angel investment is vital to our economy and we will continue to work hard to support the start-up community on the island of Ireland by helping businesses become the kind of companies that angels want to invest in, as well as introducing them to the people who can significantly impact their future," he added.