Brian Caulfield, Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist and Chairman, Scale Ireland

Brian is Venture Partner and former Managing Partner at Draper Esprit, the leading European venture capital firm based in Dublin.
Prior to joining Draper Esprit, he was a partner at Trinity Venture Capital where his investments included AePONA (sold to Intel – NASDAQ: INTC), ChangingWorlds (Amdocs – NYSE: DOX), CR2, SteelTrace (Compuware – NASDAQ: CPWR) and APT (CSR – LSE:CSR.L).

Previously, Brian co-founded both Exceptis Technologies – sold to Trintech Group (NASDAQ: TTPA) in November 2000 and Similarity Systems, a business focused data quality management software company that was acquired by Informatica (NASDAQ: INFA) in January 2006.
Brian’s Draper Esprit investments include Movidius (sold to Intel – NASDAQ: INTC), Datahug (Callidus Software – NASDAQ: CALD), RhodeCode, Mobile Travel Technologies (Travelport – NYSE: TVPT), Graphcore and Clavis Insight (Ascential – LSE:ASCL).
He was a member of the senior management team that successfully IPO’ed Draper Esprit in June 2016. He is also a former director of The Irish Times.
He is a private investor/advisor to a number of early stage technology companies.
Brian is a Computer Engineering graduate of TCD. He was the 2007 recipient of the Irish Software Association’s “Technology Person of the Year” award and has been inducted into the Irish Internet Association’s Hall of Fame.
In 2010 he also received the Halo Business Angel Network’s “Business Angel of the Year” award.
Brian is a former Chairman of the Irish Venture Capital Association and currently chairs Scale Ireland, a new representative organisation for Irish innovation-driven enterprises.

John Purdy, Co-Founder and CEO, Ergo Group

John Purdy has been at the helm of Ergo for over 26 years as co-founder and CEO, spinning off two companies along the way – Fenergo and FlowForma – and winning the prestigious EY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2014 and Person of the Year at the 2011 ICT Excellence Awards.

Under John’s leadership, Ergo has grown organically and through acquisition (CDSoft, iSite, Micromail) to become Ireland’s leading IT services company with €85m revenue, over 400 employees and a culture that reflects his capacity for continuous reinvention.

He describes Ergo as “a mature company in constant start-up mode”, highlighting his appetite for innovation and change. At the same time, he’s a pragmatist and team player, qualities that infuse Ergo’s daily operations where he has been careful to recruit talented people who share his vision. It’s all about creating an environment where the focus is on forging long-lasting relationships with customers through service excellence and a tenacious commitment to solving their problems.

Alan Foy, CEO, Blueface

Blueface is a Comcast Business company. Alan is a member of the senior leadership team of Comcast Business. He is responsible for the strategic direction and overall management of Blueface, a leading global Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) provider which operates a proprietary platform and services businesses, enterprises and carriers.

Alan is Chairman of VentureWave Capital, an alternative investment fund manager focused on scaling technology for good companies. He was previously an executive with one of Ireland’s leading investment firms, NCB Group (now Investec) spanning Corporate Finance/Investment Banking, Wealth Management and Institutional Equities. He also worked with Coyle Hamilton (now Willis) in the area of business transformation and change and with AOL Finance. Alan holds a first-class Bachelor in Business Studies degree, a Master of Arts and Masters of Letters in Strategic Management from TCD.

He is also a Board Director of the Ireland Funds, a global Irish philanthropic network and is a Past President of the Trinity Business Alumni. Alan is a member of the Provost Advisory Council of TCD, a former Rotary Club President, District Officer and a Paul Harris Fellow.

Richard Kennedy, Chief Executive, Devenish

Richard Kennedy is a purpose-driven entrepreneur and Chief Executive of agri-tech company Devenish. He lives in Aclare, County Sligo with his wife Jacqueline, sons Oisín and Rian and daughter Molly. His purpose is to enable people to fulfil their potential and innovate through science for the greater good of farming, food and society. Richard grew up on the family-owned Livestock Mart in Aclare and has a B.Agri.Sc from UCD. Having held several senior roles within Devenish, he has driven a forward-thinking vision and attitude throughout the business. In November 2019, Richard was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year in Ireland. Richard’s passion for farming and food is at the core of Devenish’s One Health, from Soil to Society strategy. This sees Devenish focus on developing innovative solutions for meat, milk and egg producers with the aim of enabling them to produce safe, nutritious food that improves the health of the consumer. Driving this strategy has seen the business transform from a trading company focused on the Northern Ireland market to a research, development and innovation business trading in over 40 countries. Richard recharges his batteries on his family farm, on his bike or at the side of a GAA pitch, where he passionately supports his children, his club and his county.

Orla O’Gorman, Head of Equity Listing Ireland, Euronext

Orla is Head of Equity Listing at Euronext Dublin and is a member of the Euronext global listings team. She is responsible for managing the relationship with Euronext Dublin listed companies as well as working with companies looking to list on Euronext markets. Orla is responsible for the development of #IPOready which is a programme that provides executives in high-growth companies with the required skillset for raising strategic finance and accessing the capital markets.

Orla is an experienced corporate financier having worked on both the advisory and corporate side of a wide variety of public and private transactions. She has been involved in a number of IPOs, fundraisings, acquisitions, divestments, joint ventures, restructuring and other corporate transactions. Orla has a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Accounting from University College Dublin and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.

Rory Quirke, Partner and Co-Head of Investments, MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland

Rory has led MML’s investments in Lowe Rental, H&MV Engineering, Agenda Communications, Ashdale Care, Schivo Medical, RelateCare and Irish HomeCare, representing MML on the Board in all cases. Prior to joining MML Ireland, Rory spent five years as an Executive Director at TVC Holdings plc, following ten years as an Investment Director with its predecessor Trinity Venture Capital. He was previously Non-Executive Chairman of Dalata Hotel Group. Rory started his career as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and gained an MA in Economics from UCD.

Claire McHugh, CEO and Co-Founder, Axonista

Axonista is an interactive video technology company. Axonista’s technology is the engine behind some of the world’s most popular video streaming apps, used by hundreds of thousands of people every day around the world. The company has offices in Dublin and New York, customers include QVC, Virgin Media and the Irish Film Institute, and employs a team of 30 people.
Prior to co-founding Axonista, Claire was part of the team that established and managed the Setanta Sports channels in Ireland and UK, and previously worked in a number of digital agencies, where she developed her love for technology, media and innovation.
Claire is an active participant in the global start-up community. She is a member of the European Innovation Council jury, which reviews and awards EU grants to innovative SMEs. She has been an Ambassador for the Irish female entrepreneurship programme Going for Growth since 2017, and in 2020 is a lead Entrepreneur for its Starting Strong programme. Claire has been a mentor for multiple Techstars Startup Boost pre-accelerator programme in Dublin, and a mentor and Judge at various Startup Weekends at Google. She is an Advisor to Tech Ireland for Sports and Media since 2017, and is an active member of the Scale Ireland organisation, an independent non-profit that works to secure a more supportive policy environment for Irish innovation-driven enterprises. An ardent supporter of gender equality in the workplace, and female entrepreneurship, she is a frequent speaker at Enterprise Ireland female leadership events and spoke at the Women Mean Business Conference and Awards 2019.
Claire has had the privilege of being recognised at the Irish President’s Celebration of Female Entrepreneurship, and a guest at State Dinner in Honor of H.E. Jean-Claude Juncker. She has been interviewed and featured by RTÉ, Light Reading, Irish Times, Irish Independent, Joe.ie, Sunday Business Post, Irish Central, and Newstalk. Claire has been included in Silicon Republic’s ‘21 Irish software superstars’, featured in In Business Magazine’s ‘4 Female Founders to Watch from Julie Sinnamon’, and most recently as one of ’20 Irish Entrepreneurs to watch in 2020’ by Think Business.
She was the Winner of Image Magazine’s Businesswoman of the Year for Digital, Science and Technology in 2017, and of the People’s Choice Award at the 2018 TV Connect Awards in London.

Ian Huggard, Institutional Equity Sales, Goodbody

Ian is a senior business development and investor relations specialist with 30 years’ experience in Capital Markets. A trusted advisor to institutional investors and company management teams on issues relating to sustainability, strategy and financial analysis. After spending 15 years in the US and 15 years in Europe building successful businesses and leading high-performance teams within Investment Banks, he established Etoile Advisory in 2019. Recently Ian joined Goodbody where the team help boards and executive teams incorporate sustainability in strategy, processes and communications

Adrian McGennis, CEO, Sigmar Recruitment Group

Adrian was originally a founder director of Sigmar in 2002 and led the management buyout in 2009. Previously he was MD for Ireland with Marlborough Plc where he successfully managed the Irish business from its inception in 1993 until 2001.

Sigmar is regarded by many to be one of the leading professional Irish recruitment companies and has won many industry awards, nationally and internationally. Sigmar has over 145 employees, 400 temporary workers and its turnover is approximately €38m.

Adrian had a key involvement in two of Ireland’s most successful job creation support schemes, being a co-founder of Ireland-GatewayToEurope and Chairman of National Employment Week. He is a regular commentator on employment, recruitment and business issues in press, radio and television.

He has been recently awarded a position in Top 100 Recruitment Leaders in Europe by Staffing Industry Analysts.
 
Adrian has served on the board of Newcourt Plc and was a board member of Marlborough Plc when it successfully became the first service business in Ireland to float in 1997. He acted as a non-executive director of Encore Exploration Ltd. He has been centrally involved in two successful IPOs.

He holds a degree in engineering (BE, Mech) from UCD, a postgraduate Diploma in Management from TCD, an award for Leadership4Growth IESE Barcelona and a Fellow of the NRF.

Lulu O’Sullivan, Founder and CEO, giftsdirect.com

In 1987 when Lulu started on her journey as an entrepreneur, she did so on a moped with €2,000 in her back pocket – and the spirit of her shopkeeper grandmother driving her forward! Starting off selling teddy bears via newspaper ads and some quirky PR, Lulu grew the business into giftsdirect.com, which became one of Ireland’s first websites. GiftsDirect.com ultimately became the largest online gift shopping destination in Ireland by providing a hassle-free experience for delivering gifts around the world. During the last recession Lulu and her team realised that to scale, they would have to look beyond Ireland and with that, TheIrishStore.com was born. TheIrishStore targets the 80 million-strong Irish diaspora and fans of Ireland around the world – its mission is to create magical moments of belonging, by selling a range of curated and re-imagined classic Irish products. Lulu is passionate about selling online, promoting quality Irish products worldwide, personal development and growth. She mentors other female entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs, has served on the Accenture Ireland advisory board for over 5 years and was a finalist in EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2019.

Philip White, Chief Financial Officer, Diaceutics PLC

Philip has over 15 years of experience as a finance director and played a central role in the successful flotation of Diaceutics on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in March 2019. He is responsible for the financial and risk management of the Diaceutics PLC, including business planning, financial reporting and analysis, investment resource prioritisation, and the development of a best-in -class finance organisation. He led the establishment of Diaceutics’ US corporate entity to build upon the existing group structure in Ireland and UK.

Philip has an LLB in Law and Accounting from Queens University Belfast, a diploma in Accounting, certificate in International Financial Reporting Standards and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. He is also a Fellow of the institute of Directors and recently completed the Senior Executive Program at London Business School.


Lorcan Tiernan,Partner and Head of Corporate and M&A, Dillon Eustace

The breadth of his work includes advising on equity investments, MBO’s, take overs and disposals for both private and public companies.

Examples of recent transactions are the sale of The Sunday Business Post to Kilcullen Kapital Partners, the disposal of the Merrion Group to Cantor Fitzgerald, the Briggs acquisition of Industrial Lifts Trucks, the Centric Health investment by Five Arrows Principal Investments, Causeway Capital’s investments in Turmec Teoranta and GTI, the sale by Sunrise Media of the Webprint business to its management team.

The Travel Department on its investment by MML Capital Partners and Storage Solutions on its sale to Iron Mountain.


Eoin Leonard, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, I3PT Certification

I3PT is Ireland’s largest independent building certification firm. Eoin has spent the majority of his career engaged in research and analysis of building controls, quality assurance and building failure. Eoin holds an MBA from UCC, as well as number of industry-specific technical qualifications. I3PT Certification are engaged by some of the largest companies in the world to certify their buildings in Ireland and overseas. The firm has offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway and London


Jim Joyce, CEO and Co-founder, HealthBeacon

HealthBeacon is a medical adherence technology company. Founded 5 years ago, the company has deployed its award-winning Smart Sharps Technology in 13 markets extensively in Europe and has received FDA approval. Originally from Boston, Jim has had a long career in the pharmaceutical industry and he came to Ireland over 14 years ago to run Schering Plough (Merck) pharmaceuticals as their General Manager. After successfully launching a new Irish division for Schering Plough he identified a market for improving patient care for patients with long term chronic conditions and left to launch his first company, Point of Care Health Services. Point of Care went on to become one of the largest patient services companies in Ireland working with both the HSE and large pharmaceutical companies and it was acquired by Uniphar, a UK and Ireland pharmaceutical distributor. Jim sits on the board of Health-XL, a digital healthcare accelerator launched by IBM, has an MBA from UCD and BA in Economics from Fordham University.


Robert Stokes, Equity Analyst, Heights Capital Management Ireland

Heights Capital Management is an affiliate of Susquehanna International Group. Heights Capital Management is a Global Equity Fund with teams in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Dublin. Working in Dublin, Robert invests in European equity markets and is responsible for the firm’s analysis and investment in European IPO’s and capital increases. In 2019, Robert analysed in excess of 30 successful IPO’s throughout Europe. His work includes meeting with company management, undertaking financial due diligence and appraising company valuation in order to assess whether or not the company is an appropriate equity investment for Heights Capital Management. Robert previously worked as a sell-side analyst working in London with Morgan Stanley and more recently with Davy in Dublin. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and holds an MSc in Finance and a Bachelor of Commerce Degree