Zoosh Ventures announces new seed fund for domain expert entrepreneurs with ambitions to create cloud technology Startups
Zoosh Ventures, part of the Zoosh Group, 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 Zoosh Ventures CEO 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 Arppe (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.
The new Zoosh Ventures 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.
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. Zoosh Digital provides highly skilled cloud design, system architecture and software development experts with a focus on usability, innovation and scalability of technology products. The commercialisation function continues to expand in Ireland, with system architecture and software development primarily carried out in Hungary and design between all three locations.
Rapid advances in cloud technologies and services allow Zoosh Ventures support commercially focused entrepreneurs build quality products, designed with the end-user in mind, in a cost-effective and professional manner. Zoosh supports their ventures by providing an all-embracing approach that builds the right product for the right market at the right time.
‘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. 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.’
The Zoosh Investment Partnership is structured as a limited partnership with a number of Irish and European investors involved. These are successful business people who view the quality and range of investments – as well as the Zoosh experience – as a key ingredient in de-risking their investment into the ZIP. As one investor commented, ‘I really like the idea of having multiple horses in the race’.
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. These services are delivered using customised artificial intelligence software developed with Zoosh. As IDASO continues to expand internationally, they are currently building their own R&D team of artificial intelligence experts.
Tixserve, in Maynooth, County Kildare, headed by Pat Kirby, is 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.
Kyzentree Technologies in Galway is in the business of maximising continuous improvement programmes. Using innovative technology, the company measures productivity in manual assembly operations much more effectively and efficiently than traditional manual, paper-based systems. Its advanced applications eliminate recurring operational problems and provide effective solutions in the areas of labour and equipment effectiveness, as well as space utilisation.
Profile 90 is a smart scouting platform that integrates scientific insights into athletes’ performances. It focuses objectively on the key areas of performance – physical, tactical/technical, psychological and social. It’s the first platform to provide a 360 view of players to identify talent before a club signing is made. This Startup is changing how clubs find their next generation of players. Swansea City and Burnley are among the Premier League sides that are committed to the Profile 90 scouting system.
Another 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.
Xtract is a powerful claims tool developed in Ireland and based on advanced vehicle telematics that aggregates and visualises crash data at the moment of impact for the motor insurance industry. It transforms how motor claims are processed, by visualising crash data at First Notice of Loss (FNOL), facilitating claims and driving decision-making. At the same time it allows accurate liability identification, detects fraudulent claims and eliminates significant claims costs. The system uses real-world incident data with mapping software and real time weather reporting to deliver accurate visual context to crash scenes.
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