On behalf of the Council of the IVCA let me welcome you to our first news briefing for our members and those interested in venture capital in Ireland. The IVCA, which was established in 1985, represents members who professionally manage over 95% of the EUR1.25 billion managed by venture capital funds on the island. Our membership also includes accountancy firms, corporate financiers, lawyers, consultants and financial institutions. We hope you find the content of interest and we are grateful for the support of our members and their guests at our evening seminars and other social events.
Best wishes for 2004.
The 18th Annual Dinner of the IVCA was held on 6th November at Jury’s. Our guest of honour was Dan Flinter former Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland. The Dinner was very well supported by members and guests with over 425 people attending an excellent networking event.
Shay Garvey Vice-Chairman IVCA,
Michael Murphy Chairman IVCA, Dan
Flinter Former CEO Enterprise Ireland,
Des Fahey Secretary IVCA
Dan Flinter said that a key development challenge for Ireland for the future would be to facilitate
the emergence of a significant number of Irish companies of competitive scale in the technology
sector as had already happened in the food industry. This would depend on three factors. Firstly
intellectual property, which is emerging from publicly funded research, must be commercialized.
Secondly there is a need to deepen our knowledge of target markets and build closer relationships with international buyers. Finally we need to continue to support a vibrant venture capital industry that has the capacity to support growing Irish companies.
The Chairman announced the launch of the publication A Guide to Venture Capital which was a joint venture with Equity Network. The guide is a very useful reference setting out all the sources of venture capital in Ireland and advice for those seeking funding. All attendees received a copy of the guide and an online version will shortly be available on the web site (www.ivca.ie). The IVCA
acknowledged the role of the Equity Network team under Barry Fitzsimons and Liam Nellis in the
production and in having the guide available in time for the Dinner.
The after dinner speaker was RTE sports personality Des Cahill and with the Rugby World Cup in progress Des shared some great and humorous sporting insights with the audience.
In July 2003 the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment, Mary Harney launched a major initiative to chart Ireland’s enterprise strategy over the next decade. The Enterprise Strategy Group, chaired by Eoin O’ Driscoll will provide the Tanaiste with a blueprint
in 2004 for an enterprise strategy for growth and employment in Ireland up to the year 2010. The IVCA welcomes the inclusion of Frank Kenny a former IVCA Council member on the Strategy Board of the Group.
In response to a call for expressions of interest the IVCA has made a detailed submission to the Group and will present it’s recommendations to a sub committee of the Group in January.
The IVCA hosted an evening seminar in September for members and guests on the topic Venture Capital: Driving Entrepreneurship. Professor Frank Roche who holds the Berber Chair of Entrepreneurship at University College Dublin presented the seminar. The presentation was a reflection of his personal views on the role venture capital plays in driving entrepreneurship.
The IVCA Chairman, Michael Murphy, opened the evening by briefing attendees on the Association’s history and activities.
Prof. Roche linked the availability of venture capital with the number of high potential start-ups and the increased level of entrepreneurship in Ireland over the last 10 years. He estimated that the
level of VC investment would have to treble to achieve the vision of Ireland as the best place in Europe for entrepreneurship. However this level of investment will require a significant pipeline of new ventures at pre start-up and early-stage of development and industrial policy initiatives would be necessary if this is to happen.
He stated that policy makers should decide whether indigenous industry was as important or perhaps more important than foreign direct investment. The significant success of the software
industry, which employs 15,000 people in 800 indigenous companies, was given as an example. Another important issue for Ireland, in his view, is the area of competitiveness and productivity.
Uncompetitive enterprise will be replaced in time by forcing the pace in manufacturing and services he said.
To answer the question “How Entrepreneurial are we in Ireland?” he presented research findings from the GEM survey of 2002 which showed that of the 37 countries worldwide in the survey, Ireland was ranked 12th. The survey also demonstrated that 5% of the population in Ireland said they were planning to start a business in the next three years.
Ireland could become the entrepreneurial capital of Europe but policy initiatives, finance, level of
awareness and nurturing of start up companies would be required. The IVCA is grateful to Frank for sharing his thoughts with us on a subject matter that he is passionate about and which he
clearly excels in.
The IVCA hosted an evening seminar in March on aspects of Company Law relating to directors and in particular the Corporate Law Enforcement Act 2001 and the Companies (Auditing and Accounting) Bill 2003. The guest speakers were Ms Geraldine Barnwell of PWC and Mr Michael Quinn of William Fry Solicitors.
Michael Quinn gave a detailed exposition of directors’ duties and in particular the responsibilities of non-executive directors appointed by venture capital funds. He advocated the approache directors should take to manage the real risks they faced
and gave the attendees a very useful “whistle stop tour” through the various provisions of the Companies Acts and Case Law relating to directors.
Geraldine Barnwell gave a presentation on the Companies (Auditing and Accounting) Bill 2003 and have outlined the potential impact of the Bill on directors, audit committees and auditors.
The Bill proposes a requirement for Directors to make a compliance statement in the annual accounts to the effect that the company has complied with all laws. In addition the Bill introduces the concept of audit committees into company law for the first time. Audit committees are to be mandatory in all public companies and in private companies with turnover of greater than €50m.
The IVCA is grateful for the stimulating presentations given by Geraldine and Michael.
The IVCA and Enterprise Ireland (EI) hosted an evening (6pm-7.30pm) seminar for members on 27th November and the topic was Enterprise Ireland Financial Supports. There were 45 people at seminar comprising VCs, Corporate Finance members, Accountancy and Legal firms. Many
members had suggested the topic recognising the importance of EI supports in the funding of SMEs and the catalytic role that they play in the in venture capital process.
EI gave an excellent exposition of the various products they offer and they have streamlined their funding into 5 categories. The audience was particularly interested in the funding available for High Potential Start Ups and EIs policy in relation to equity investment in start-up companies. Pat Maher, Julie Sinnamon (presenter), Denis Marnane and Kevin Sherry handled all issues raised in what was an interactive seminar ranging from milestone funding to convertible preference shares, liquidity preference policy, R&D funding and competitiveness funding.
The IVCA is grateful to EI for hosting the seminar and to Julie Sinnamon for her detailed presentation.
IVCA Annual Golf Outing 2004 will take place at the Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links on Thurs 6th May 2004. For more details contact: Ciara Burrowes 01 2301725
Michael Murphy (Chairman)