The 15th annual InterTradeIreland Venture Capital conference took place in Belfast on 3rd March and was officially opened by Enterprise Trade and Investment Minister, Jonathan Bell. The conference this year concentrated on the theme of ‘Growing Successful Businesses’, and brought together an audience of more than 300 delegates comprising entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, business angels, other investors and start-ups who may be seeking investment.
One of Northern Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs, Brian Conlon, Chief Executive and founder of First Derivatives, was the keynote speaker at the event. Attendees heard about the meteoric rise of Newry-based First Derivatives which was set up in 1996 with a starting capital of just £5,000 - 20 years later the company is now one of only two plcs in Northern Ireland. The company floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2002 and is now the largest publicly quoted technology company on the island of Ireland and employs more than 1500 people.
Another contributor to the conference, and past Seedcorn regional winner, was Philip McAleese, CEO of successful Newtownards-based cycling technology company See.Sense, who shared his experience of two successful crowd-funding campaigns on Kickstarter. His second product, ICON, met its funding goal in under a day and went on to achieve nearly 1,000 backers and more than £80,000 in just 30 days. See.Sense has gone on to win multiple business and design awards and now employs 10 people.
The conference was supported by Crescent Capital, Mills Selig and Kernel Capital.
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