Home > DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship, Propeller Venture Accelerator > Is there a Need for Non-Tech Startup Funds?

Is there a Need for Non-Tech Startup Funds?

After spending the day in Croke Park at the RTE Pop Up Bank event, which highlighted early stage funders in profit and non-profit sectors, one thought struck me – where do you get funding if you are not a high tech startup?

There is no doubt that getting the unemployment level down in Ireland will come from further development of the SME and startup sector – Google and Facebook, welcomes as they are in the Dublin ecosystem, will not save us. The BES funds do tend to get involved in some non-tech or at least non-traditional tech companies, but at the event last week I saw some entrepreneurs trying to talk to investors about for example food products or manufacturing products. They didn’t get too far, as most funds, like our own Propeller Accelerator fund, tends to focus on technology companies.

Yes, with so many large organisations of Irish origin like NTR or CRH or the larger food companies, there would be seem to be a pool of potential acquirers for successful startups in other sectors. The arts, crafts and music industries are others that we have excelled as a small country.

For example, an early stage fund supported and mentored by leading lights in the food industry would seem to be a no-brainer for Ireland. We know the ‘Ireland’ brand for food is very strong and that we haven’t even yet tapped the potential in this area. Of course fast-moving consumer goods like food have a very high failure rate, but our combined expertise in this area would seem to suggest we could do well in this area. There are plenty of other niche sectors that we have been world leaders, from cleantech to building material to low-cost airlines.

If we are create growth oriented companies in areas outside of high-tech we are going to have to do some serious thinking about the kinds of early stage funding we want and need to have in Ireland.

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