Marc Coleman, founder, Octavian Research

Marc’s firm is an economic research publication and public affairs consultancy that wrote the world’s first researched strategy response to the Covid-19 crisis (download at www.octavian.ie ) and currently produces the world’s first weekly pandemic specific economic and business client research note (now in its 32nd edition). Marc works with leading clients across industry, financial services and government agencies to produce policy-influencing research and publications. He was formerly director of Ireland’s most influential financial services representative body, Financial Services Ireland, which is part of Ibec, Ireland’s largest business representative group. In that capacity, he led the industry response to Brexit, creating their main Brexit Working Group in 2015, a year before the referendum. He helped to transform the international financial services domestic reputation and was the first Government appointed Secretary of the IFS 2020 (now Ireland for Finance) industry growth strategy. Marc also spearheaded Ibec’s international commercial engagement strategy as its Head of International Business Development and was awarded the status “Champion of foreign language use in business”. Prior to this Marc was Economics Editor to both The Irish Times and Newstalk 106fm and a columnist with the Sunday Independent and, before that, an economist with the European Central Bank and in the Department of Finance. He has authored five influential and acclaimed books on Ireland’s recovery and holds a scholarship MBA (Smurfit Business School) and Masters in Economic Science from UCD and the Advanced Studies Programme qualification from the Institute of World Economics in Kiel, Germany.

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.

Jim Joyce, CEO and Co-Founder of Health Beacon

Health Beacon, a Dublin, Ireland-based company that provides a unique smart sharps system that helps patients who use self-injectable medications at home manage and improve their medical adherence more effectively. He is a serial HealthCare and Technology Entrepreneur, previously founding award-winning Dublin based healthcare company, Point of Care Health Services. Director of HealthXL, a global platform for digital health collaboration. Prior roles include General Manager Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals Ireland (now Merck). Over 10 Years in the pharmaceutical industry in varied roles at Schering Plough including Director of USA Finance Division and Director of EMEA.

Brody Sweeney, founder and Chief Executive, Camile Thai Kitchen

Camile Thai is Ireland’s largest gourmet healthy restaurant delivery business that Brody set up in response to changing eating habits, brought about by increased use of the internet at home. Camile operates all over Ireland and London.

He is also author of Making Bread a best-selling business book, and Small to Tall.

Brody has experienced the highs and lows of creating a global brand as he was founder, CEO and Chairman of O’Brien’s Irish Sandwich Bars, a global business with sales and operations in 14 countries, employing 3,000+ in over 320 stores and sales of €140 million. He successfully built an international brand selling products with the concept of “Irishness” to various cultures in Europe and around the world. The business went into examinership in 2009, when Brody lost control of it – but O’Brien’s has survived and continues to thrive.

He was previously a founder of the business charity Connect Ethiopia, a board member of Bord Bia and Paddy Power bookmakers. He is currently chairman of the award-winning Little Museum of Dublin.

Alan Foy, Chairman at Blueface and Co-Founder of Venturewave Capital.

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.

Mark Flood, Co-Founder, Renatus Capital Partners

Mark co-founded Renatus with Brendan Traynor in 2014. Prior to establishing Renatus, he spent seven years on the senior management team of The Racing Post in various operational and commercial roles. Prior to his career in The Racing Post, Mark was the first employee of FL Partners, an Irish based international private equity firm. Mark is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Masters in Accounting from NUI Galway.

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.

Dr. Fergal McAleavey, Senior Investment Director, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF)

The ISIF is a €10.5bn sovereign development fund is a mandate to make commercial investments which result in economic activity and employment in Ireland. The ISIF invests in all industry sectors, both directly and indirectly, and due to its nature as an “evergreen” fund has flexibility to consider longer duration investments. The fund has the flexibility to make investments across the capital structure of companies and projects, both debt and equity, and across a range of investment types and sectors.
Fergal is responsible for sourcing and managing ISIF’s direct equity investments and investments in private equity funds, all which support the growth and scaling of indigenous companies. He is a non-exec Director of several ISIF investee companies.
He was previously Managing Director at AIB Corporate Finance; he worked in the Department of Finance which had responsibility for the completion of the restructuring of the Irish banking system. Fergal has an MSc in Physics from DCU and a PhD in Physics from Trinity College. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and a qualified Chartered Director

Sarah Newman, Enrepreneur, investor and Ex Dragons Den star

Sarah left school aged 16, founded www.needahotel.com, an online hotel booking web site back in 1994, going from zero to €100 million turnover within 10 years, with no funding. She was ahead of her time becoming the first hotel booking wholesaler in the world to align herself with Ryanair.com and Aerlingus.com and selling over 1 million hotel rooms a year with 100 multi-lingual call centre staff.

Selling her business in 2006, Sarah was subsequently invited to be the first Dragon on Ireland’s Dragons Den. She was a regular speaker at corporate events, charities and helped inspire young people to reach for the stars and follow their dreams.

Sarah invested heavily in bank shares, property around the world and in multiple companies. Sadly, when the global economy crashed over 20 years ago, so did her investments. She filed for bankruptcy in the UK four years ago and hit rock bottom having lost it all – her home, her confidence and she suffered from constant press intrusion. Sarah has been very open and vocal about her subsequent depression and loss of self-esteem. But today, she is back on track, feeling stronger and had learnt from her mistakes,

One of her latest ventures is www.onezerobravo.com a business that manufactures the world’s leading anti-microbial face masks. She supports ex-military veterans, especially those who are injured and sick with her ex-military business partners. Sarah is dedicated to vocalising the importance of supporting anyone who suffers from any mental health issues,
“I believed I was untouchable, I was so very wrong. I’ve been in the deepest depths of misery and loss, I don’t know why I’m still on this earth, but I am and there is a reason. If I can support anyone, anyone at all, I will endeavour to do so”

Elaine Coughlan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Atlantic Bridge

Elaine has over 22 years experience in running and scaling technology companies, including successful realisations through IPOs and M&A. She was co-founder and director of Glonav, a GPS company that was sold to NXP for $110 million. Elaine served as CFO or vice president of finance for three successful technology IPOs − Parthus, IONA and Smartforce – that realized more than $5 billion in value for investors. She is also a co-founder of the China Ireland Growth Technology Fund aimed at helping European companies scale in China.
Elaine is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a qualified Chartered Director. She was named as one of Europe’s Inspiring 50, one of Europe’s Top 100 Women in Technology and appointed by the Irish Government to the Board of Enterprise Ireland.

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


Myles O’Grady, Chief Financial Officer, Bank of Ireland Group

Myles has 30 years’ experience as Finance professional with over 25 years in financial services. Prior to joining the Group he was Chief Financial Officer at D|Res Properties, an Irish homebuilding and property development company. Previously, he was Group Director of Finance & Investor Relations at AIB Group, an Irish financial services group operating predominately in the Republic of Ireland and the UK. Myles’ earlier career was spent at Citibank, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson and AIB Bank. Myles has significant expertise working with international and domestic regulators, government and state authorities, investors, market analysts and international investment banks. He is also experienced across strategy development, business restructuring and recovery, Finance function transformation, investor relations and IPOs.


Robert Stokes, Equity Investor, Heights Capital Management

Robert is an Equity Investor for Heights Capital Management in Ireland. 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. 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.


Dermot Crowley, Deputy Chief Executive, Dalata Hotel Group plc

Dermot worked with PWC, Procter & Gamble, Forte Hotels and Renault before joining Jurys Doyle Hotel Group plc in 2000 as Head of Development. He spent 6 years with Ion Equity before joining Dalata in 2012 as Deputy Chief Executive – Business Development and Finance. Dermot is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland. He is a graduate of University College Cork.


Mark Thorne, Partner and Head of Banking and Capital Markets, Dillon Eustace

Mark is a partner and Head of the Banking and Capital Markets team. He served as Managing Partner of the Firm from 2004 to 2020 and has broad experience across Banking and Capital Markets, Corporate, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Finance and Financial Services.

His banking and corporate finance practice includes experience in public and private acquisitions, joint ventures, partnerships and restructurings. In the finance area his emphasis is on local and cross-border NPL acquisition and financing, asset and structured finance, repackaging, capital markets and complex fund financings.


John Dolan, Managing Director of Private Equity, Cardinal Capital Group

Prior to joining Cardinal, John was a partner with Investec Ventures focusing on growth capital investment opportunities. He was lead investor and director in a number of Ireland’s fastest growing technology companies including AMCS, Helix Health, Fenergo and Brite:bill. John previously worked in an advisory capacity with NCB and Deloitte Corporate Finance.

Cardinal is Ireland’s leading provider of alternative capital, directing private equity capital and alternative lending to a broad range of sectors in the Irish market. Cardinal raised a new equity investment fund in 2020 dedicated to supporting Irish companies by investing between €10-€50m into individual companies looking to grow further under private ownership.

Cardinal and the Carlyle Group jointly manage the Carlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI) Fund. CCI has been an active growth investor in the Irish market over the last five years investing in 11 Irish companies. Investments included AA Ireland, the roadside assistance and insurance business, Payzone, the largest provider of multi-channel consumer payments across Ireland, Tullamore-based cooked meats producer Carroll Cuisine, Kildare-based premium chocolate manufacturer Lily O’Brien’s, Sports Surgery Clinic, Ireland’s leading specialist orthopaedic hospital and Learning Pool, the Northern Ireland based e-learning company.