Pat McCann, Chief Executive Officer, Dalata Hotel Group

Pat has nearly 50 years of experience in the hotel industry, having embarked upon his career in 1969 with Ryan Hotels plc. He left Ryan’s Hotel plc in 1989 to join Jurys Hotel Group plc as General Manager of its flagship Dublin hotel, the Ballsbridge Hotel. He was appointed Operations Director and to the Main Board of Jurys Hotel Group plc in 1994 and, subsequently, had responsibility for the integration of the Doyle Hotel Group following the acquisition of that company by Jurys in 1999. In 2000, he became Chief Executive Officer of Jurys Doyle Hotel Group plc, a position he held until 2006. Pat then worked as an independent consultant until August 2007. Pat founded Dalata Hotel Group Ltd in February 2007 and became Chief Executive Officer of the company in August 2007. He is a non-executive director of a number of private companies. His most recent appointment was to the board of IBEC as Deputy President, Irish Business and Employers Confederation in 2017. Pat has held a number of non-executive positions within the hospitality and other industries, including state and public company entities. He was formerly a director of EBS Building Society, Greencore Group plc and Whitfield Private Hospital Waterford. Pat has served as National President of the Irish Hotels Federation, was a Member of the National Tourism Council (Ireland) and a Member of the Irish Tourism Review Group (2003).

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.

Caroline Keeling, CEO and Managing Director, Keelings

Caroline Keeling is the CEO of Keelings. Keelings is a 100% Irish-owned family business which started producing fruits and salads on their farm in the 1930’s supplying produce to local Dublin markets. Keelings are focused on growing and sourcing the best fresh produce from around the world.

The Company has expanded to its current size with 4 divisions – Keelings Retail, Keelings Select, Keelings International and Keelings Knowledge. Keelings is headquartered in FoodCentral, Co. Dublin, Ireland but has operations in Ireland, the UK, Europe, South & Central America and Asia. Keelings employs over 2,000 people.

Keelings launched its branded range of produce into stores in 2010 and since then it has gone from strength to strength. Kantar Worldpanel recently disclosed the Top 100 FMCG brands in Ireland, ranking Keelings at #15 this year. As well as the standard range of punnets, the brand has also released a number of innovative products including the family platter, the twin pack and the Snack Pot range.

As well as fresh produce, Keelings has developed produce-specific ERP software solutions, consultancy and management services. Keelings Knowledge supplies a suite of software and services that provides industry focused solutions in procurement, stock management, warehouse and production planning & management, as well as sales and quality assurance.

Caroline has a BSc (Chem) & MSc in Food Science which she obtained from University College Dublin (UCD). Caroline started her career with Green Isle Foods, going on to join Keelings as Technical Manager in 1994. Caroline is a Board Member of Bord Bia, NMH, The Ifrah Foundation, Valid Nutrition and SEI. She is Chair of the Consumer Foods Board of Bord Bia, the Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020 Committee, and a member of the Export Trade Council

Marcus Stuttard, Head of UK Primary Markets and Head of AIM, London Stock Exchange

Marcus is Head of AIM and has responsibility for Primary Markets in the UK across both AIM and the Main Market. He is responsible for the management and development of AIM, London Stock Exchange’s international growth market for small and medium sized enterprises.

Marcus joined London Stock Exchange as a Regulatory Adviser in 1994. Since his appointment, he has held a variety of roles within AIM and London Stock Exchange mainly focussed on primary markets development and the management of the Exchange’s relationships with the corporate advisory community, including nominated advisers, sponsors, lawyers and accountants in the UK and overseas. Marcus became Head of AIM in 2009.

He is a regular speaker on growth and business funding issues and sits on a number of industry and policy advisory bodies and has played a leading role in key policy changes such as making AIM shares eligible for inclusion in ISAs, the abolition of stamp duty on the trading of shares admitted to Recognised Growth Markets such as AIM and the approval of AIM as the leading European SME Growth Market, a categorisation created in MiFID II

Derek Butler, CEO, GRID Finance

Derek is an experienced senior executive and chartered accountant who has worked in a variety of organisations, across industries around the globe. He began his professional career in Goodbody Stockbrokers and Ernst and Young. He subsequently worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dublin, Boston and Los Angeles with a specific focus on financial services and private companies. He also led a variety of special projects within the firm. Following PWC he worked for 4 years with aid agency GOAL, initially as Financial Controller in Uganda but then as Country Director in Haiti following the 2010 Earthquake. With his experience in financial services and exposure to microfinance, he returned to Ireland in 2013 to found a business that builds financial well-being in Ireland by providing small businesses with access to capital. GRID Finance is leading the development of non-bank SME lending through its technology driven financing solution and product innovation.

Sandra Whelan, Chief Operations Officer, Immersive VR Education

Sandra co-founded the company, alongside her husband, David Whelan in 2014. During that period, Sandra also worked as a Senior Editor and Content Creator for a top ranked virtual reality website, where she developed a strong rapport with key software developers in the industry. Sandra also has significant experience working with large corporations’ contract management and accounts management. Additionally, Sandra was a judging panel member for the Waterford Local Enterprise Irelands Best Young Entrepreneur Competition in 2017, where she judged finalists for three National Category Awards; ‘Best Business Idea’, ‘Best Start Up Business’ and ‘Best Established Business’.

In March of 2018, Sandra and her team successfully listed VR Education Holdings on the London and Irish Stock Exchange. Following this, Sandra and her husband were the recipients of The Irish Times Business People of the Month Award for March 2018 and finalists for the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2018 under the Emerging Category.

Eavan Gannon, Head of Dublin Investor Relations, Powerscourt

Eavan joined the Powerscourt Dublin office in September 2018 as Head of Dublin Investor Relations and Senior Consultant specialising in corporate communications in the public and private space. She has 20 years’ financial services experience having worked at Davy as Director of Corporate Broking and as a Senior Private Client Specialist in the Wealth Management division. While at Davy she worked alongside top listed ISEQ and FTSE 100 and 250 companies including CRH, Bank of Ireland, DCC, UDG Healthcare and Permanent TSB. She is skilled at providing strategic advice to C-Suite, Investor Relations and Boards of Management on their Strategic Communications policies and complex capital markets transactions.

Dr. John Ghent, CEO, Sytorus

John is a co-founder and CEO of one of Europe’s leading data protection firms, Sytorus. A company leading the market by delivering end-to-end Data Protection solutions.

John is a proven technical entrepreneur, with over 15 years of insight into business operations and execution. John has extensive experience in developing smart technology solutions around data protection compliance, and is the primary IT architect for PrivacyEngine, Sytorus’ innovative product to help Data Protection Officers be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation. PrivacyEngine is deployed in over 40 jurisdictions and Sytorus has offices in Dublin, London, Stockholm and Frankfurt.

He is a certified Data Protection Practitioner, holds a 1st class bachelor’s science degree and a PhD in computer science from National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He attended Harvard Business School, completing an Executive Education Programme. John was awarded Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up Founder of the Year Award in 2018.

Mary O’Brien, Co-Founder and CEO of videoDoc

Mary O’Brien co-founded videoDoc in 2014 with Damian Kissane, they shared a common vision to utilise technology to deliver healthcare. The vision for videoDoc is to tackle the growing problem of accessing healthcare by offering on-demand access to consultants, GPs, physiotherapists and psychotherapists. videoDoc provides both technology platforms as a stand alone solution to clients as well as online healthcare services, to date they have deployed 12 white label platforms and have integrated their APIs into partner’s technologies.

videoDoc is an on-demand healthcare service operating 7 days a week. videoDoc’s route to market since inception has been partnerships, these include the UK’s largest employee benefits company – Personal Group, NHS Improvement, Vhi Healthcare, pharmacies chains throughout Ireland and the UK, the Irish Postmasters Union, the British Army, Beaumont Hospital, Rugby Players Ireland, the Union of Students of Ireland, to name a few.

Winner of Women in Tech Entrepreneur of the Year, Tech for Good at Digital Entrepreneur Awards, Most Cost Effective Service and Primary Care Awards at the Irish Medical Devices Association, Best Use of Technology at the Irish Healthcare Awards, Emerging Irish Business 2016, Bank of Ireland Technology Start Up of the Year Award. Shortlisted for Women Mean Business Newcomer of the Year Award and Women in Technology Entrepreneur of the Year award. Participated in the prestigious San Francisco based BlackBox Connect as well as Female High Fliers and Going for Growth.

Mary has over 18 years’ experience in the healthcare sector, working for several pharmaceutical and healthcare companies both in Ireland and internationally.

Brendan O’Riordan, CEO, Zutec

Brendan has been with Zutec since 2011 and has served as Business and Operations Manager Ireland & UK before being appointed the CEO in January 2016. The CEO role covers being very active in marketing, sales and expanding the company.

Brendan is educated at Blackrock College and Dublin Institute of Technology from where he graduated with a BTech in Building Services Engineering. As CEO for Zutec, Brendan’s relevant experiences covers years of work within Building and Construction having worked as Contracts Manager, Electrical Coordinator, Project Manager, Heading of Building Development and Facility Management between 2008 and 2011.

Leo Casey, Head of Republic of Ireland, BGF – Business Growth Fund

Leo joined BGF in September 2017 to head up BGF’s Dublin office with responsibility for identifying, investing and supporting businesses throughout the Republic of Ireland with a requirement for longer-term and patient capital to support growth plans.

Prior to his current role, he was a director and board member of IBI Corporate Finance. Based in Dublin, Leo has more than 18 years’ experience and knowledge of the Irish mid-market, helping Irish owner managed and family businesses secure growth capital and unlock value.

BGF was set up in 2011 to offer growing companies and ambitious entrepreneurs patient capital and strategic support. Today, BGF is the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in small and medium-sized companies. An established and independent company, BGF has £2.5bn to support a range of growing companies – early stage, growth stage and quoted – across every region and sector of the economy. BGF recently made its first two investments in the Republic of Ireland. In January, BGF acquired a significant minority stake in one of the largest Nursing Home operators in the country, Brindley Healthcare, investing €10 million in the business which will be used to fund acquisitions and to support growth. In March, the firm invested €5m in Winterbrook, the residential housebuilding business controlled by the Rhatigan family

Cathal Friel, Founder and Managing Director, Raglan Capital

Cathal has 30 plus years of corporate experience and is the Managing Director and founder of Raglan Capital. Cathal is Director and one of the founders of Open Orphan, a European and Middle East focused orphan/rare and speciality pharma product platform which is due to IPO in 2019. He is also Non-Executive Chairman of Venn Life Sciences plc (VENN), an integrated drug development partner offering drug and device development expertise and clinical trial design and management. Cathal was a Co-founder and Director of Amryt Pharma plc (AMYT), a leading European Orphan Drug Company listed on the London and Dublin Stock Exchanges. He was also Executive Chairman and

co-founder of Fastnet Oil & Gas plc and was one of the founding directors of Merrion Stockbrokers. Cathal has an MBA from the University of Ulster.

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

The ISIF is an €8.9bn sovereign development fund with a mandate to make commercial investments which result in economic activity and employment in Ireland. The ISIF invests across the capital structure, in all industry sectors, both directly and indirectly, and due to its nature as an “evergreen” fund has flexibility to consider longer duration investments.

Fergal is responsible for sourcing and managing ISIF’s investments in private equity funds, venture capital funds and direct equity investments all which support the growth and scaling of indigenous companies. This portfolio encompasses over 45 individual investments and over €1.4bn of committed capital.  Investment quantum minimum is c. €10m with an average investment of €40m.

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.

Drew O’Sulivan, Lead Equity Advisor, InterTradeIreland

In his role Drew gives one-to-one equity advice to over 150 companies per year on the island of Ireland that are planning Seed (up to €2m) and Series A (€2-10m) rounds. He also delivers workshops on VC and Angel investing and supports the finalists in the SeedCorn competition. In addition, Drew is currently the adviser to the European Investment Fund on the deployment of the €40m European Angel Fund Ireland. He has been involved in the start-up funding ecosystem on the island for over 18 years – variously as a mentor, a corporate finance advisor, heading up accelerators and as a VC investor.

Enda O’Coineen, Chairman, Kilcullen Kapital and The Business Post

Enda O’Coineen is Chairman of Kilcullen Kapital and The Business Post. He has a strong background in hospitality, technology, finance and corporate governance. He has also been a journalist, broadcaster and author of several books. Enda recently completed a lifelong dream to sail solo around the world.

He has worked in investment management, has led enterprises in the chairman and CEO roles and has a broad range of small and large transaction experience – investing directly, and on behalf of third parties.

A graduate of the NUIG in management and finance, Enda has worked extensively in the US and in Central and Eastern Europe where he has led and played key roles in several highly successful turnarounds and start-ups. He has professional acquisition and exit expertise and extensive experience in the technology and internet early mover space. With Kilcullen Kapital Partners he has led major brownfield investments in manufacturing in Ireland, Central and Eastern Europe.

In addition to success in management, finance and leadership, Enda believes strongly in ‘putting something back in’ and in particular has contributed significant time and personal resource into community and youth development.

Mark Flood, Partner, Renatus Capital Partners

Renatus Capital Partners was founded by Mark Flood and Brendan Traynor in 2014 to provide investment capital to dynamic and growing Irish mid-market businesses. Renatus’s optimum investment size is €1m +. We will also co-invest alongside other investors and partners in larger sized investments.
We want to work with proven entrepreneurs, committed management teams andbanking partners to develop dynamic, growth orientated companies.

Investments have included:

  • Boojum when they had five stores and now have grown to 18 stores.
  • Simtech, a pilot training company.
  • Renatus has backed Mike Flanagan and Dolores Cantwell to lead an MBO of Rennicks.

John Flahavan, Managing Director, E. Flahavan & Sons Limited

Flahavan’s produce Ireland’s favourite porridge brand. Flahavan’s is one of the oldest private family-owned food companies in Ireland and John is the sixth generation of the family to run the business.

Flahavan’s have been milling quality oats for over 230 years at the family mill in Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford. The company now employs 100 staff and have been the recipient of a number of prestigious industry awards such as the National Green Awards, National Organic Awards, and numerous Business Awards. Flahavan’s has also received many awards for the quality and great taste of their products.

Over 2 million servings of Ireland’s favourite porridge brand are consumed each week. The company now offers an wide range of oat-based products and is exported to almost 20 countries worldwide.

Lotta Edling, Editorial Director, Bonnier News, Sweden

Lotta is the Editorial Director of Bonnier News Group, owned by Swedish media family Bonnier and gathering some of Swedens strongest media brands in business, national and regional news.

Lotta has a background in business press and was until recently the Editor-in-Chief of Dagens industri (Di), Swedens largest business daily with 328,000 readers.

In 2017 she initiated the launch of Di TV, Swedens first and only business-tv-channel, Di TV, in collaboration with Expressen TV which is the exclusive affiliate to CNN in Sweden. Di TV is, in collaboration with CNNMoney, also the host of yearly conference Business News Video Summit which brings together the worlds most important business journalism brands for discussions on video and tv.

Prior to Editor in Chief position, Lotta has been in business journalism for 20 years, both as a reporter and in top executive positions. She is also on the board of danish business daily Dagbladet Börsen and Swedens national news agency TT (Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå).

Joe Barrett, Chief Operations Officer, Applegreen PLC

Joe joined Applegreen PLC in its second year of operation with a strong background in retail and fast-moving consumer goods having worked for Tesco and John West Foods. Mr Barrett has over 20 years’ experience in the retail industry and has a key responsibility for management and developing the Group’s retail and food offerings. Mr Barrett has been instrumental in developing the Group’s partnerships with its international food brand partners. He has a B.Comm and MBA from University College Dublin

Conor Sheahan, CEO, CKS Finance

Conor founded CKS in January 2009, originally to negotiate inventive but realistic debt deals on behalf of clients with large debt exposures in excess of €1,000,000. Since then CKS has become the leading independent debt advisory firm in Ireland and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Conor is a fellow of the institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, having trained in BDO and IBI Corporate Finance. Conor has also worked in industry where he led several businesses to scale internationally through his roles as CFO, CEO, Non-Executive Director and Chairman. He has worked in Ireland, America and Australia, developing a strong international network.

CKS has expanded to deal with a range of debt and equity raising, M&A and other Corporate Finance engagements. A lifelong music fanatic, Conor even co-founded a record label, but he is a deal maker at heart, dogged to the point of what’s reasonable and gets creative when it comes to how a client gets to the finish line.

Claire Carroll, Senior Investment Advisor, Growth Capital, Enterprise Ireland

Claire has been involved in the fund management, investment and banking sectors for 25 years. Prior to joining the Enterprise Ireland Growth Capital team in 2016, Claire worked at Bank of Scotland (Ireland) within the Integrated Finance Division.

Earlier in her career, she managed institutional funds in the Lloyd’s of London Insurance Market before returning to Ireland to join ICC Venture Capital where she sourced and managed investment rounds into early stage businesses and gained extensive experience at board level with early stage and growing companies. This experience has enabled her to connect with entrepreneurial teams, and to work within the Growth Capital team at Enterprise Equity which seeks to maintain funding in the market for high potential start-ups, and mature companies seeking to scale and grow.

Claire is a qualified CFA and MBA from City University London.


Lorcan Tiernan, Partner, Dillon Eustace

Lorcan Tiernan is a partner and head of Dillon Eustace Corporate and M&A team. Lorcan acts for many SMEs, private investors, venture capital and private equity funds as well as organisations such as the European Investment Fund who he advises on their Irish Business Angel programme. 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.


Kingsley Aikins, Founder and CEO, The Networking Institute

The Networking Institute is a Dublin based organisation whose mission is to help individuals and organisations achieve their goals through Networking. He is a recognised expert on the topic and has written and spoken extensively on the benefits of Networking and how to get better at it. He has run workshops and developed online and offline training programmes in the areas of Networking, Public Speaking, Philanthropy and Diaspora Engagement. To date he has trained over 10,000 people in more than 100 organisations in 22 countries. Clients include major accounting, consulting, law, non profit and government organisations. He is an Economics and Politics graduate from Trinity College Dublin. In his career he has worked 10 years for the Irish Trade Board and IDA Ireland and was based in Sydney. He then led The Ireland Funds for 21 years mostly based in Boston. In his time with the Funds over a quarter of a billion dollars was raised for projects in Ireland. He was awarded a CBE for his work on British – Irish relations. He represented Trinity College, Irish Universities, Vichy (France) and Leinster at rugby. He is married with three children and lives in Dublin


Owen Travers – Managing Director, AIB Corporate Finance

Owen has over 20 years of experience working in Finance and joined AIB Corporate Finance in 2017. AIB Corporate Finance is one of the leading providers of fundraising and M&A advisory in Ireland. Prior to that Owen was a Business Unit Head in AIB Corporate Banking and was responsible for managing sector based teams covering areas such as Hotels & Leisure, Healthcare, Transport, Energy & Renewables and Retail.

Owen holds a degree in Finance from Trinity College Dublin and completed the Interalpha Executive Management program at INSEAD. Owen is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.