£750m up for grabs for Northern Ireland technology firms
Northern Ireland start-up tech companies could receive a £750m cash injection today as a Co Down man hopes to bring in major venture capital funding through an event in Belfast.
Patrick Magee, the chief commercial officer at the British Business Bank, a Government-owned organisation that brings advice and Government money to smaller business finance markets, is behind the 24-hour marathon of appointments that will connect tech companies with investors.
He will bring up to 12 venture capital managers to the Tech Belfast Advocates VC event in a first for the bank.
"The VC marketplace is very much focused in London, and Northern Ireland is only getting around 1% of the equity market so we are really under-served here," explained Mr Magee.
He said the event would showcase the province's strong tech talent pool as well as "dozens of really interesting high tech companies".
"If we have all these exciting tech companies and an underserved equity capital market, I thought why couldn't we bring them together.
"There will be lots of business cards swapped.
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"I would be very disappointed if they didn't invest," added Mr Magee.
Founded in 2014, the British Business Bank has already invested in the region of £0.5m in three tech companies here through its Angel CoFund, including Neurovalens, a health-tech start-up that specialises in combining neuroscience and technology. It secured funding of £1.4m raised from both the Angel CoFund and Beltrae Partners, as well as TechStart NI.
Mr Magee, who is also a member of Belfast Partners, an investment networking organisation, is confident the tech companies involved in the events will reap the benefits. He said: "The rate of business start-ups here is good, research and development is on a par with the rest of the UK.
"The British Bank thinks in terms of clusters, the right dynamics, smart and educated workforce and Belfast has that and we can really help to bolster that sector."