This Startup Wants To Scale Anonymous Mental Health Support – Starting With Founders

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Female-led Irish showtime-ups raised €230m in funding last year, more than double the €105m raised in 2020, co-ordinate to a report issued past
for International Women’due south Day.

The research shows that 55 tech beginning-ups and small businesses with a female founder or co-founded raised a total of €230m through venture capital, grants equity finance and affections investments,

The full represents an increase of 120% from 2020 when female founders at Irish kickoff-ups and scale-upward companies raised €105m, breaking the €100m bulwark for the first time despite an international down turn in venture capitalist funding for female founders amid the pandemic.

Imbalance remains within the investor community, nonetheless, with only 20% of partners and xxx% in mid-level teams at Irish gaelic venture capitalist firms being female, and just 13% of investment in Irish gaelic tech goes to female-led companies

“From an investor’s perspective, and for Republic of ireland, ameliorate operation ways more wealth and employment,”
John O’Dea, chief executive of TechIreland, said. “These are great results, but they are non grounds for complacency – females-led tech businesses still just become 13% of the investment into Irish tech. We tin and must practise better than this.”

Sarah Jane Larkin
of the Irish Venture Capital Association added: “We tin exist confident that the investment climate for female person founded companies in Ireland is improving. All the same, none of us can be happy with a world where women secure only 13% of all funding, and we must now focus on efforts to accelerate the funding of female founded start-ups.”

The 470 female-founded companies tracked by TechIreland correspond xvi% of outset-ups and calibration-ups on the island of Ireland, and of the 311 companies that raised funding terminal yr, 18% were female founded.

8 companies raised more than than €10m each, representing 70% of the total raised by female-founded firms last twelvemonth as well every bit a major increase in the number of female person-led firms raising viii-figure sums from just two in 2020.

Female person-led starting time-ups and scale-up companies raised €230m in 2021. (Pic: Getty Images)

Female-founded companies still raise less than average amounts of funding, however, with an average investment of €4.1m comparing to the overall average of €v.3m, and the report also shows a driblet in the number of early stage rounds between €100,000 and €1m despite back up by
Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Startup Funding and the Competitive Startup Funding.

“Back in 2011 only seven% of Enterprise Ireland backed High Potential Startups included a adult female founder. By putting a spotlight on this and providing capability and funding supports specifically targeting women, this has now tripled to over 21%,” Sheelah Daly of Enterprise Ireland said.

Wellness sciences, and specifically life sciences, remains the top sector for funding among female fundings, bookkeeping for €117m or more than than half of the total, while enterprise solutions tops the charts in terms of volume of companies receiving funding at 35% of 19 out of 55 companies.

Jennifer McMahon
of Seroba Life Sciences said the €117m figure was representative of “great strides” existence made, but that “female founders face up challenges in accessing upper-case letter, and in endmost the confidence gap.

“We need more female person led start-ups and diverse initiatives have created a nurturing surround for founders to ‘start’.”

Sectors such equally CleanTech and FinTech recorded marginal increases in investment activeness, whereas others like AgriTech, Education and Consumer products saw a marginal decline, TechIreland said.

Dublin-based companies deemed for two-thirds of funding (66%) for female person-founded companies, receiving some €152m, up from 46% of funding in 2020, but at that place were some significant investments in female person-led firms in Galway and Mayo. Northern Irish gaelic companies correspond less than one% of full funding raised, downwards from iv% in 2020.

(Movie: Getty Images)

is expanding into Ireland and claims its approach will automate the legal documentation and administration that startups and investors require.

The company says information technology has become a platform for funding rounds in Great britain since foundation in 2016, embracing
more than 25,000 companies.

SeedLegals says it enables founders and investors to create, negotiate and sign all the legal agreements required to finalise a funding round.

Chief executive and founder
Anthony Rose
(pictured) said: “Ireland is a hotbed for innovative tech startups, representing a huge opportunity for SeedLegals. Until now, the legals surrounding setting up a business, and securing investment have been complex, lengthy and costly.

“We’re disrupting the legal industry and irresolute the manner companies start, grow and scale. Whether yous’re a founder or an investor, we brand the funding process easy, saving users time, coin and hassle.”

The platform provides tools such as a cap table builder, contract and understanding templates, and share options schemes, likewise as features such as:

  • Pitch – an investor pitching and tracking solution
  • SeedFAST – avant-garde subscription agreements
  • EIS and SEIS approval – for Irish companies raising funds from UK investors
  • SeedOptions – options schemes to attract talent and engage employees
  • Fundraise – a powerful workflow for all fundraising legals.

Guinness Enterprise Heart
in the cardinal Dublin has officially opened its 100,000 sq ft extension, post-obit an investment of €10m.

The chapters increase adds two floors to the incubation centre, a 75% increment in net floor infinite with chapters for 760 people, and was funded by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund; the Regional Enterprise Development Fund administered by Enterprise Republic of ireland; Dublin City Quango; Diageo; and Dublin BIC, which manages the facility.

The expanded space will enable the GEC to back up 150 resident companies, up from 85, and the facility can now suit 220 co-working companies, up from 160.

David Varian
said: “The newly-expanded infinite will give more entrepreneurs access to the supports, networks, learning and investment funds they need to scale globally. We are creating a global entrepreneurial super-hub that will give our startups every opportunity to become world manufacture disruptors.”

ISIF senior investment director
Donal Murphy
added: “This project is an first-class example of ISIF’due south double bottom line mandate in action — a commercial investment, underpinned by the GEC’s successful rails record, which is now set to evangelize significant and ongoing economic bear on.”

University College Dublin
has launched a new accelerator programme dedicated to early-phase agri-tech and food technology startup companies, under the auspices of its
AgTechUCD Innovation Middle.

The programme volition commence adjacent September and will involve an intensive 12-week programme (including ii mornings per week online), which includes defended business development workshops and investor readiness training, mentoring from sector experts and business concern advisors,
plus guest speakers and facilitated introductions to AgTechUCD’s venture capital letter and business angel networks.

The programme will conclude in December, with participating startups pitching their businesses to a console of investors, with the chance of funding in a number of accolade categories.

AgTechUCD manager
Niamh Collins
said: “In add-on to helping participating offset-ups with their commercial development, the program volition also shine a spotlight on the outset-ups, enabling them to increase their visibility and attract new customers and investors and to develop new partnerships.

“The programme team has built potent relationships with strategic players in the ag and food tech sector in Europe and in the The states, which will assist the startup founders to launch their products or services into new territories. Nosotros at present wait forward to working with our get-go cohort on our inaugural plan.”

Enterprise Ireland evolution executive
James Maloney
added: “This plan really is the best kickstart for all startups in the ag and nutrient tech sectors. Ireland has played, and will always play, a key function in shaping the future of food and science globally. Enterprise Ireland are delighted to support this primal initiative.”

Partners on the programme include AIB, The Yield Lab Europe, Bimeda, Devenish, Carberry, Origin Enterprises, Ornua and HerdWatch, with financial and mentoring back up.  Additional mentoring back up will be provided by Greencore, Kubota, Dairymaster, the Virtual Vet, Finistere, Macra Na Feirme and Atlantic Bridge.  Participating startups will take access to specific supports from AWS Activation, Catalyze, Deloitte and FR Kelly.

Further data and an awarding grade are available

Photo (l-r): AIB’south Shane Whelan, Nicky Deasy of The Yield Lab Europe, Niamh Collins and James Maloney. (Movie: Conor McCabe)

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Despite challenges acquired by Covid-xix, venture capital funding into Irish SMEs grew by 13% to €925m in 2020, compared with €820m the previous yr, according to theIrish gaelic Venture Capital letter Association VenturePulse survey published before this year in association with William Fry.

Nevertheless, deals under €5m, which represent startups and early-stage indigenous companies, fell by nearly one-third (32%) to €194m in 2020 from €285m the previous year.

Then why do startups and early on-stage companies find it then difficult to attract investment?

Gaining finance for your company isn’t always piece of cake. It’due south a very competitive marketplace out at that place and just having a ‘great idea’ is not ever enough, says
Connor Sweeney, Seedcorn Project Director at

To give yourself the best possible chance, you lot need to accept an ‘air-tight’ business concern plan and have the power to deliver a professional, articulate and engaging pitch. But don’t worry, information technology’southward not as difficult as information technology sounds, and with some help and guidance you will be on your fashion to securing investment.

Preparation and getting your business programme right

Ane of the first steps towards becoming investor ready is having a impenetrable business program. Not simply volition this brand y’all more attractive to investors but it also increases your chances of gaining investment for your company. Here’south how y’all tin become prepared.


Your plan should be laid out in a way that’s easy to read. Make certain to utilize headings, paragraphs and tables or graphs where advisable. This will help to pause upward large chunks of text and keep the reader interested. Keep industry jargon to a minimum; non all readers volition be familiar with the industry language either, so if yous’re using acronyms, ever explain them get-go.

Stick to the objective

When writing a business program, keep to your objective. If the purpose is to raise finance so tailor the output to the investor’s point of view, i.eastward. a return on their investment. Set up your plan with this in mind and really sell your project to the reader.

Keep the length advisable

A business plan should be straight to the point. The plan should merely serve to get you lot in front of an investor to make your pitch. Keep the main part of your plan, the executive summary, to two or three pages and your whole plan less than 25, using a size 12 font.


Ever make sure what yous say in your plan is correct, and use external data and research results to dorsum this up. Never enlarge the size of the market, equally your turnover will demand to reflect this. Also, avoid saying things like “we’ll accomplish five% of the global marketplace” – instead, explain how!

Accept your fourth dimension

If you’ve rushed your programme, readers may be able to tell. E’er take your time when writing a business plan. It may exist helpful to give yourself a break before reviewing your document. Or fifty-fifty ameliorate, ask someone outside the industry to await it over.

The fundamental to a successful plan is one that catches the eye of the investor, so become the financials right and make sure you have enough item on the route to market.

Perfecting your pitch

In one case your concern programme is complete the next step is to perfect your pitch. The point of your presentation is to sell your production, or if you’re seeking investment, your visitor.

One pitch does not fit all and every presentation should exist tailored to the audience. Your job as a presenter will exist to tell a story and excite the viewer. Here’s how you tin can prepare for your pitch and structure your presentation.


Decide every particular in advance – e.g. who will the presenter exist? Will in that location be more than one? Practice the simple things such as handovers and introducing your colleagues. Research your audition and try to anticipate questions; it volition print the viewer if you lot embrace all the important areas before the Q+A session.

If you take a concrete production, bring this along for investors to come across and actually pass it around the room. Always position your laptop in front of yous where you tin can see it comfortably: this means y’all’ll not accept your dorsum to the audition and are non blocking their view. Aim to go on your pitch to effectually 15 minutes, as ‘short and snappy’ beats ‘long and drawn-out’ every time.


Your pitch should accept three things: an introduction, main torso and conclusion. Employ your opening slide to set out a short introduction to the speakers and what you’re pitching for.

Following the master slides, terminate your presentation with a clear telephone call to action. Endeavor not to fill your slides full of text; a couple of words on screen should set out the subject, which you tin can further explain equally the presenter.

Filming and reviewing your pitch is always a good exercise and will allow for small corrections. You should know your subject area inside out, but avoid memorising a script, equally at that place can be a danger for encephalon freeze. If you make a mistake, don’t say sorry – chances are the audience hasn’t noticed and so just comport on.

Finally, practice centre contact and aim to sound enthused when discussing your pitch, ever remembering the signal of your presentation and why you’re at that place.

InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition

If you still don’t feel confident that you are investor ready, why not consider InterTradeIreland’due south,Seedcorn Investor Readiness Contest?

Seedcorn is more merely a competition; it mirrors the existent-life investment process and helps startups and early-phase companies become investor ready. Throughout the competition, businesses have the chance to receive feedback and advice from real-world investors on their concern program and pitch, also as the opportunity to make invaluable connections and enhance their contour. In addition, you’ll besides be in with a chance to win a share of the €300,000 prize fund!

The Seedcorn process is an invaluable learning experience even if you are not successful the first time around. Businesses larn a nifty bargain from the process and many try once more the following yr. Final twelvemonth’s winner NUA Surgical did just that – information technology was the company’s second time inbound, following an unsuccessful application the previous year.

So, what accept you got to lose? The deadline to enter is 1pm on 28 May 2021,  so find out more than about Seedcorn and enter

Photograph: InterTradeIreland’southward Connor Sweeney (right) and Shane O’Hanlon

Enterprise Republic of ireland
is inviting applications from early-phase startups for its latest
Competitive Beginning Fund
circular, which will honor up to €l,000 in equity funding to each of 20 successful applicants.

The land agency said that its CSF is open to early-phase companies from all sectors with an eligible innovative product or service fix for global markets.

The fund is designed to help startups reach fundamental commercial and technical milestones, including evaluating overseas market opportunities, edifice prototypes, developing marketplace entry plans, and securing third-party investment. The closing engagement for applications is 3pm on
May 25.

A number of CSF awarding-support workshops will be held online by the national Concern Innovation Centres (BICs) over the coming weeks. Details of these workshops, also as the Competitive Start Fund awarding form and eligibility criteria, can be accessed on the Enterprise Ireland website.

Jenny Melia
(pictured), director of Enterprise Republic of ireland’south HPSU sectionalisation, said that the successful applicants will receive mentoring opportunities with Enterprise Ireland experts and access to entrepreneurial networks, as well as the €50,000 in funding.

Previous CSF applicants include construction software company LiveCosts. “The resources helped us to develop our cost-tracking software and turn a fledgling prototype into a real solution for SMEs in the sector,” said founder and CEO Ciaran Brennan.

“The support also immune us to accelerate our plans to aggrandize internationally, and we at present take clients in Ireland, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.”

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Patience, consistency of effort and quality editorial are essential ingredients in international PR, writes

ClearStory International

James McCann

Emerging Irish gaelic startups engaging in international public relations for the first time typically face up similar challenges. For first-time founders, these challenges tin be exacerbated every bit they lack a track record, leading to what we call the ‘first-time founder conundrum’.

The crux of the conundrum lies in the fact that while you are working on something impactful, nobody knows who y’all are and so information technology is far more than difficult to garner attending. Existence unknown has a knock-on effect on the brownie of every startup, particularly if their market positioning has been scattered after pivoting over time.

Proactive Reputation Management

For those seeking to compete in key international media markets such equally the United states, UK, Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore, many mistakenly assume their stiff domestic reputation volition be sufficient to secure traction. While it helps to have some rails record online domestically, it does not always translate into success abroad, requiring a more proactive approach every bit opposed to a passive reputation direction approach.

Aside from the need to overcome the ‘first-time founder puzzler’ on an international ground, early on stage companies are competing with hundreds of others, each of which are looking to secure a mention to attract investment, users or partners.

So what are early stage companies looking to expand internationally to do? The first footstep is recognising that reputation-building in any new market takes time. A quick path to instant market recognition domestically or internationally is rare. Just remember, the larger the media market the higher the time investment required to lay the foundations of your company’s reputation.

The second gene is to ensure consistency of effort. Momentum and growth are 2 core narratives that help bulldoze credibility in the marketplace. Making a splash and disappearing back into obscurity tin can leave more questions over time. In gild to construct a strong narrative around your company you need to maintain a consistent presence. Most importantly, you need to ensure journalists are receiving quality editorial textile.

Credibility is built over time, and while relationships aid with relevant journalists, potent editorial is key to ensure your story makes the cutting above others. The harsh reality is that journalists are increasingly pressed for time and when in contest with established brands, you lot e’er demand to announced more interesting.

Growth and Momentum Narratives

Key points of leverage for reputation-building among early on stage companies tend to revolve effectually fundraising and task announcements, product launches and partnerships, merely reputation-building doesn’t ever have to follow that formula. Growth and momentum narratives can be disseminated based on founder backgrounds, key milestones, innovation, civilisation and thought leadership, as well equally stories that tap into local context which provide just equally much impact.

Of form, size and scale matters, as does staff count and coin raised, just over time and through consequent attempt, fundamental announcements as the offset-time founder puzzler is overcome pay a college dividend, accelerating the reputation-building process.

The transition from reputation-building to reputation management comes naturally with market place recognition. Further inbound queries and strategic considerations as companies scale bring that need into the spotlight, requiring a higher level of intendance with founders’ public profiles.

The largest reputational risk bug for most later on stage technology companies centre around the use of user data, cybersecurity issues, internal company civilization, financial irregularities and investor relations, which accept attracted an almost palace intrigue format of coverage in contempo years. Thankfully, it is rare that these reputational issues come into focus for early stage companies, where the sentiment is oft overwhelmingly positive.

Equally with any public relations campaign, any visitor that engages in the PR process needs to call up two things: transparency on deliverables is essential, every bit are realistic expectations. Remember that time, consistency and editorial will gradually deliver what you require.

Visit ClearStory International at

Tel: + 353 1 961 0048


Twelve finalists in
The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition
will compete for a share of €27,000 in cash prizes in June, after the shortlist was announced this week.

The contest will provide greenbacks to kick-start four of the ventures, which are all new tech ideas emerging from enquiry centre and universities around Republic of ireland.

Organisers of the competition are The Ireland Funds, NDRC and St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.

The finalists in this year’due south competition are:

(Queen’southward Academy Belfast)
Carbon Capture
(Trinity College Dublin)
(Trinity Higher Dublin)
(Trinity Higher Dublin)
(Trinity College Dublin)
(Dublin City University)
Project Grace
(National University of Ireland, Galway)
(Dublin Business School)
(Trinity Higher Dublin)
Indicate Optimiser
(Queen’s University Belfast)
Keep Appy
(Trinity College Dublin)
(National Academy of Ireland, Maynooth)

Lily Devices, led by NUI Galway student Aaron Hannon, won the top prize of €15,000 in 2019 for its product, which aims to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy.

The shortlisted teams volition now participate in a iv-calendar week programme of pre-acceleration workshops, likewise as receiving mentoring and feedback throughout the procedure.

At that place volition be a final pitching consequence in June and three prizes volition be awarded. The winner will take the opportunity to pitch for a place on one of NDRC’s investment programmes, too as securing a €15,000 cash prize. Second place volition receive a €7,000 cash prize and tertiary identify volition receive €two,000.

In 2019, The Ireland Funds partnered with St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS) to honor a prize to kick-starting time a mental health-focused business plan. The partnership continues this year with a €iii,000 prize fund for a technology thought that focuses on mental health. The prize will be awarded in addition to the €24,000 prize money for first, 2d and 3rd runner upwardly.

Caitriona Fottrell, Ireland director of The Ireland Funds, said that the competition has a long history of encouraging ambition and creativity amidst Ireland’south immature entrepreneurs. “In this time of great change we are fortunate to be able to adapt and continue to evangelize a fantastic programme in 2020 remotely,” she added.

Orla Gogarty, director of digital wellness at SPMHS, said that a quiet revolution was being witnessed in terms of how innovative engineering tin assist people stay connected with work, health services and social support networks, when they cannot be together in person.

“This competition is particularly important at this challenging fourth dimension when entrepreneurs and startups need our support peradventure more than than always,” she continued.

Photo: Lily Devices founder Aaron Hannon (left) with Bill McKiernan, creator of the BPC (Image: Aengus McMahon)