Offaly man's company launches seed fund to support start-ups

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly


Offaly man's company launches seed fund to support start-ups

Offaly man's company launches seed fund to support start-ups

Zoosh Ventures, which funds and works closely with 'early-stage tech start-ups, and its Offaly CEO have launched a new seed fund programme.

The new Zoosh Investment Partnership (ZIP) Seed Fund is available to what Bert Farrell refers to as ‘domain experts and experienced professionals within the Startup ecosystem’, which includes Startup ventures at both concept stage and those high potential Startups looking to grow their business. The seed fund will co-invest with other European investment vehicles.

Banagher man Farrell is the CEO of Zoosh Ventures, which is part of the Zoosh Group. Zoosh Ventures is a growing Irish company with a European footprint. Zoosh employs forty people between the National Science Park in Mullingar, as well as its operations in Hungary and Finland.

Co-founded in 2014 by Bert Farrell – formerly a manager of Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme – the company focuses on funding and working closely with early-stage technology Startups, concentrating on commercialisation, product build, entrepreneurial development and future growth strategy, while constantly increasing efficiencies and the value of the venture through each step of the development process. Zoosh’s other co-founders are Mervyn Graham (Ireland), Balazs Bakos (Hungary) and Kimmo Arrpe (Finland).

Since its foundation in 2014, Zoosh has received funding from a number of successful business executives and entrepreneurs in Ireland, Hungary and Belgium, including Zoosh’s original investor, well-known Irish businessman David Brophy, founder of DMJB Consulting and previously with Smurfit Kappa and Ballymore Group. David is also Chairman of Zoosh Ventures.

Zoosh Ventures is particularly interested in domain experts – experienced business people with great ideas to start Software as a Service (SaaS)/B2B cloud technology companies. Technological expertise, where required, can be provided through another Zoosh company – Zoosh Digital, until the viability of the venture is established and the venture can build its own R&D team.

"Using the Zoosh Investment Partnership (ZIP) we plan to make over fifteen investments in carefully chosen Startups over the next eighteen months," says Farrell.

"The fund is geared to investing in entrepreneurial ventures at both the concept stage and at the early seed investment stage (High Potential Startup). Concept or idea stage investments will range from between €30,000 and €50,000, while High Potential Startup investments will range from €100,000 to €150,000 and be part of a larger round, co-investing with European partner investors," he added.

"At every stage our aim is to achieve the most efficient use of investor capital and use our experience to support our Startups in focusing on customer traction and business model development from the very start."

"We offer a lot more than money through our seed funding. We give our Startups the quality and expertise to get things successfully off the ground and then we act as partners through the different stages of development, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on proving there is a market for the product," Bert said.

To date a number of very successful cloud Startups have come through the Zoosh stable. IDASO (Innovative Data Solutions) is based in Mullingar and is a pioneer in the area of automated vehicular traffic data collection services – generally provided for local authorities and engineering firms. Services include traffic counts, vehicle classification, turning movements, origin destination surveys, parking studies and pedestrian footfalls. 

Another is Tixserve, in Maynooth, Kildare, headed by Pat Kirby, a SaaS paperless ticket delivery platform for ticket sellers in the global sport, music and theatre live events market. Tickets are delivered directly to mobile phones in complete security, while eliminating high distribution costs and ensuring fraud prevention.

A sporting venture created through Zoosh technology is Fanlink, a joint venture with a Kilkenny-based company called Sportego. This app framework delivers a superior fan experience, while capturing fan data and creating revenue generation opportunities for sports teams. It provides OTT streaming, quizzes and polls, augmented reality, live scores, in-game data and e-ticketing capabilities. This is the ultimate way to interact and engage with sporting fans.

As well as entrepreneur-led Startups, Zoosh Ventures is working with its Digital colleagues and corporate partners on innovative cloud products in areas such as eCommerce, Agtech and Logistics with the ultimate goal of commercialising those that can demonstrate customer traction.