A number of angel investors have cashed out in the last 12 months with up to 10 times return on their investments, according to the Halo Business Angel Network.

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

Since August last year, Irish start-ups Finovation, Decawave, Payslip and Iconic Translation Machines have provided investors with an opportunity to make significant returns on their investments. 

Dublin City University spin-out Iconic Translation Machines, which specialises in language technology software, was bought by London-listed RWS Holdings last month  in a deal worth up to $20m. The company was established in 2013 with the backing of angels from HBAN's Bloom Equity and the Boole Investment Syndicate. 

Meanwhile, Mayo-based fintech start-up Payslip raised an additional €2.9m in a Series A funding round led by Frontline Ventures in March. 

The company provides automation and integration technology to multi-national employers to manage global payroll. Some HBAN investors from the Bloom Equity syndicate exited with a four-fold return on their investment, while others have continued to follow their investment.
Computer chipmaker Decawave was acquired by listed semiconductor company Qorvo for €362m in January. 

The Dublin-based company was founded in 2007 and investors from Bloom Equity and HBAN's Investor Forum were amongst the hundreds of international angel investors with a stake in the company. HBAN's angels received returns of between four and eight times their investment after the deal. 

And financial services company Finovation was bought by UK-based pensions and insurance firm Legal & General last August. The company, which trades as My Future Now, helps people to keep track of their pension pots and consolidate them, using personal data and employment details. 

It was established in 2014 with the support of business angels from Bloom Equity and was acquired by Legal and General for an undisclosed sum.
John Phelan, all-island director of HBAN, said the last 12 months have been very exciting for HBAN's angels and these exits reflect that, along with the value that angel investors bring to start-ups. 

"Business angels don't just provide capital - they have the industry experience, knowledge and connections that allow businesses to scale and demonstrate their market value," Mr Phelan said.

He also said that securing angel investment puts start-ups in a better position to attract additional investment.

" Last year, we passed our €100m angel investment milestone, which allowed start-ups to leverage an additional €170m in funding from additional sources. That is good news not just for start-ups, but also for angel investors, as it increases the likelihood of a successful exit," Mr Phelan said. 

John Phelan said that some of Ireland's most promising and exciting businesses started out with business angel funding. 

"As we set out along the road to post-Covid-19 recovery, these businesses will play a vital role in our economic future," he added.