Frontline VC, an Irish-run venture capital firm who are invested in some of the most exciting Irish technology companies around, launches a guide to the New York tech scene for Irish entrepreneurs exclusively on IrishCentral today.
This follows their very successful guide to the Irish tech scene that was released last year which garnered over 60,000 views 15,000 of which were from the New York area.
Who are Frontline VC and why did they feel the need to release a guide to the tech scene here in New York targeting Irish entrepreneurs? According to one of the partners, Will Prendergast, Frontline only invests in software companies and for the most part enterprise, rather than consumer focused, software companies. So for Frontline it makes sense to educate their existing and potential future investments about the fact that the largest enterprise software market is the US.
“Having your main commercial function in that market is for us completely logical. There are secondary benefits of having a meaningful US presence, which include access to funding and talent, but the key driver is customers.”
Among Frontline’s investments are CurrencyFair, a money transfer company that recently passed $1 billion in transactions on their platform and Boxever, an airline industry analytics company who recently raised $6m in a fundraising round.
"We set up Frontline a year ago and to date have invested in 8 Irish companies, 6 of which already have a commercial presence in the US. The same questions kept coming up – ‘Where should I live?’ ‘Where do I get an office?’ ‘Who should I meet to connect into the tech scene?’ ‘What about Visas?’ We decided to capture the answers to those common questions to help Irish companies get setup in the US.”
Another reason Prendergast and his fellow partners at Frontline VC put this guide together is the fact that “Ireland has always had a stronger connection to the East Coast of the US rather than the West Coast. NY has always had plenty of large customers but with its recent rise as a funding market we decided to that a NY Guide made the most sense.”
Prendergast continued, “As VCs we tend to look at everything through the lens of growth rates as well as absolute size. What has been happening in NY over the last few years on the startup and funding side is incredible. Nick Beim, a VC at Venrock last week very succinctly captured the data on this.
Another factor for Prendergast and Frontline to do this guide was the huge demand from people in NY to understand what is going on in the Irish Tech scene. The Irish Startup Tech Guide Frontline produced recently received 60,000 views, of which a surprising 15,000 came from the NY area.
It is really important to Frontline that their entrepreneurs take their first steps into the US market very early, and they are actively encouraged and supported to do so. The reasons for this are simple
“It’s too late to visit customers when your product is already built, as the needs of a US customer are usually not the same as EU customers of a similar size.” According to Prendergast, Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government agency responsible for startups has some great support programmes to help with accessing the US market.
There are some problems that Irish companies do face when setting up in the US. The major challenge is hiring the right people. So for Irish companies getting access to networks can be tough.
[[quote:“We all know how difficult that can be at the best of times but doing it when you’re relatively unknown in a city is next to impossible.”, pos:right]]
Prendergast says “Frontline as a fund works hard to bring US capital and connections into our investees to make sure that they have access to recruiting networks in advance of needing to hire.”
Will Prendergast is a Partner with Frontline Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm focused on software investing with offices in Dublin and London.