John Phelan, All-Island Director at HBAN says to those interested in Angel Investing there is lots more information on the HBAN website here. We also have the HBAN London Event of Sep 25th, register here and in addition, the HBAN All-island Business Angel Conference will take place on 6th of February in the Powerscourt Hotel. The event is Ireland’s only angel investment-focused conference and is targeted at new angels who are looking for structured and quality deal flow. The event will also be of interest to those looking to invest and create de-risked portfolios with like-minded investors through syndicates. John invites members of IIBN who are considering becoming an angel investor to join the conference – you can register here.
We asked John, what are your main priorities and goals in your role?
- Create a sustainable Business Angel Network
- Close deals (50 plus per annum)
- Close Capital investment into those deals (~€10-€15m per annum)
- Raise the profile and awareness of Business Angel Activity
- Educate the market about Business Angels and sharing international best practise
- Increase the number of active female investors
What are your biggest challenges?
- Raising the profile of HBAN and the constant need to on-board new Angels
- Lead Angels (those who the many syndicate members chose as their leads- for example in one recent deal we had 48 individuals who essentially followed 2 lead angels) are short in supply
How do you keep your team/staff motivated?
- As tough as the sector is, we work in a bubble of optimism- many great promoters with great ideas and on the right path to success- It’s contagious!
- Work with people who are better than you at what they need to do, point them in the right direction, support them when required, but otherwise get out of their way!
What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?
- Maintaining the volume of quality unique opportunities developed by promoters with deep domain knowledge of the industry they are aiming to disrupt.
- Enough early stage capital to promote and accelerate ideas
- The incentive for a mid-senior manager to leave a Multinational is low… and understandably so, but if we want an entrepreneurial class then we need to incentivise them- This is a challenge!
What new trends are emerging in your industry?
- More angels investing per deal – making it difficult to manage
- Less individual €’s per deal (80% of individuals invested <€50k per deal in 2018)
- As a benchmark- We see the average in the EU to be €25k and the US at $20k
- Saying that, this is now making it more accessible to smaller investors and we encourage that.
Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?
- Government policy towards truly incentivizing Entrepreneurial activity for investors. The current EIIS scheme is nice but not fit for purpose.
How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?
- Companies are been hit with delayed contract negotiations and legal’s as UK companies wait and see what will happen.
How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?
- Seeing promoters and companies succeed and investors getting great returns.
- Deals closed.
- Successful companies for our investors.
- Virtuous circle as successful entrepreneurs become Business Angels (We have seen more come back into the market recently, which is very positive).
What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?
- It’s all about people.
- Work with great people who you trust, have the same principles, work ethic and honesty that you expect of yourself.
What have been your highlights in business over the past year?
- Two recent HBAN exits (Phorest and i-cabbi) where the investors received ten times their money back.
- The growth of HBAN into an All-Island, professional, structured organization with a great team.
What’s next for your company?
- Continue to develop sustainable syndicates both North and South on the Island
- Grow the International Syndicates (London and New York)
What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2019?
- The potential to double the HBAN outputs
- Double the number of Angels (There are an estimated 5,000 on the island and HBAN has 700 plus on the network- We would like 1,500 plus). Double the amount of investment from €10-15m to €20-30m