Catalyst’s Inbound Investors event yesterday welcomed investors from more than 50 venture capital firms based in the UK, Ireland, and the US to Belfast.
Run annually by Catalyst and supported by headline partner British Business Bank, Inbound Investors connects high-growth potential NI companies with the right investors through a pre-matched system, tailored to each participating company.
The investors had the opportunity to meet more than 45 fast growing Northern Ireland start-up and scale-up companies who are seeking investment of up to £10m+.
With the opportunity to pitch to multiple notable investors in the one day, there was a significant increase in female-led companies taking part this year, with the likes of BrokerIQ, Stormharvester, Loadar, and GoPlugable all benefitting from Catalyst’s highly focused fund-matching programme.
Gresham, Ada, Foresight, Two Magnolias, Wharton, and Finch were all amongst the well-known investment firms who attended the event, all having expressed interest in making investments into early-stage NI businesses through engagement with Catalyst.
Kieran Dalton, Head of Scaling at Catalyst, said: “Venture Capital funds play a key role in a modern economy, with investments into high-growth, early-stage companies allowing start-ups and scale-ups to realise their ambition and transition into the economic champions of tomorrow.
“Unfortunately, Northern Ireland attracts the lowest levels of VC investment of any UK region. The Inbound Investors event seeks to address this shortage and it has become the pre-eminent event in Northern Ireland for connecting local entrepreneurs to Venture Capital. This year’s event has connected over 50 Venture Capital investors with local entrepreneurs who are seeking financial support to grow their companies.”
In a challenging period for investment, Northern Ireland entrepreneurs have been able to ‘buck the trend’ and secure a significant increase in funding in 2022, according to Catalyst’s NI Deal Tracker Report, which showed £139m of venture capital funding going into locally based companies across 89 deals.
Angelene Woodland, Chief Customer Officer at British Business Bank, said: “It’s really encouraging to see the growing number of investors who are keen to support our local innovative companies and who recognise Northern Ireland as a great place to do business.
With our recent Small Business Equity Tracker report highlighting an increase in the number of larger deals coming through, connectivity to investors beyond Northern Ireland is key. Inbound Investors continues to play a pivotal role in providing that springboard for those connections to be made between investors and our local entrepreneurs.”
Partners for the 2023 Inbound Investors included Amplifi Solutions, Ulster University, Bank of Ireland, Whiterock Finance, Harbinson Mulholland and Haynes Boone.
Catalyst is an independent, non-profit science and technology hub focused on fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland.