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Investing in innovation

Entrepreneurs looking for advice on how to attract investment in their business got plenty of sound advice at the Capital Summit yesterday. John Stiernberg, principal consultant at Stiernberg Consulting, and John Bowen, managing partner of MediaBridge Capital Advisors, moderated.

On the panel were speakers representing the private equity, banking and manufacturing sectors, as well as an entrepreneur who had sold two technology companies.

There’s no single solution to finding the right investor, said Bowen: “No deal is the same. The journey is to find the best answer for that particular situation.”

Charles Elkington, investment partner at Electra Partners, advised anyone approaching a potential investor “to be prepared. The more prepared you can be the better.

I want to hear about a business that has got a future, not just today, but tomorrow.” He added that while hiring an advisor wasn’t compulsory, he or she can play a valuable role in the process of achieving a successful deal.

The panel agreed that most private equity firms were looking to invest at least €10 million in a company, which made it challenging for start-ups and smaller companies to find investment.

Stiernberg noted that the AV/IT industry was “small and fragmented, and has a casual, loose culture.”

He wondered if this was an obstacle to finding an investor. Elkington said it was not: “We’re used to working with different business cultures, whether it’s uptight aerospace engineers or funky audio engineers.”