Business News

Business angel food syndicate helps start-up raise €700,000 investment

By Business & Finance
14 February 2014
Michael Culligan, Donal Hanrahan and Alison Cowzer

HBAN (Halo Business Angel Network), the all-island umbrella group responsible for stimulating business angel investment, today announces that the newly formed business angel food syndicate has invested in its first company, Elivar.

Elivar has raised €700,000 from multiple sources including the HBAN food syndicate, Enterprise Ireland and other private investors, to support the ongoing development of its sports nutrition products and brand.

On the back of this investment, Elivar will create 10 new jobs by the end of 2015. The positions will be in the areas of food science, production, ecommerce, marketing and finance.

Elivar’s main markets are the UK and Ireland, from where 90% of its current sales emanate. It also exports to Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands and is looking to expand its sales channels across Europe in the coming year.

Elivar was founded in Dublin by Donal Hanrahan and Len Dunne in 2012. It develops a range of sports nutrition products, specifically formulated and tailored for the over 35 age group. Both Hanrahan and Dunne trained and rowed at an international level in their 20’s and now, in their 40’s are active in endurance sports. They found that while there is abundance of sports nutrition products that support endurance and recovery for young and elite athletes, there was nothing tailored for the needs of their specific age group, despite having different nutritional needs.

Elivar’s core products have been developed with nutritionists and food scientists to deliver a full nutrition system, providing the correct levels of energy, protein and micro-nutrients to athletes who are over 35.

Hanrahan,commented on the significance of this investment: “While our initial funding was required to bring Elivar to market, the HBAN Food Syndicate investment also provides us with the active support of some of Ireland’s leading food entrepreneurs. In the long term it is their combined experience which will help us develop Elivar to its fullest potential, as a successful Irish food company operating in a global market place.

“The HBAN syndicate model was perfect for us. An issue for companies seeking investment is the time it takes to get in front of the right investors. The food syndicate gave us the unique opportunity to address a group of engaged investors, with a specific interest in food investments.”

Alison Cowzer, managing director of The Company of Food and founding member of the HBAN food syndicate commented: “We are a very new business angel syndicate, founded under the auspices of HBAN. The syndicate chose Elivar as our first investment as its founders really impressed us. They had clearly researched their market and the growth potential for this business. The clear niche they have identified in the expanding over 35’s sports market shows the innovative nature of this product and we see this as a long-term sustainable market.

“As a new syndicate, we are seeking further business angels to join our group and thereby add to the levels of funding we have available for Irish businesses and the expertise and market insights we can share.”

Michael Culligan, national director of HBAN said:“The Irish food industry, North and South, continues to grow. In the republic of Ireland, the industry now accounts for 8.6% of total employment and 11% of all our exports, with exports having surpassed the €9bn mark.  The investors within the Food Syndicate recognise and understand this potential, as they have all been involved in starting or growing businesses in this area. Through the syndicate we hope to support this burgeoning market and continue to further Ireland as a centre of excellence for start-up businesses.”