Tekelek Partners with Paygo to Advance Smart-Tank Technologies

Tekelek Partners with Paygo to Advance Smart-Tank Technologies

Electronic monitoring company, Tekelek, has partnered with fuel technology leader, Paygo, for business development in their respective markets. The agreement, announced during an Enterprise Ireland Trade Mission led by Minister Sean Canney TD, allows both organizations to capitalize on advances in IoT technologies to provide greater intelligence for the management and procurement of industrial fuels.

Pictured (L-R): Colm Rochford, Tekelek Product Applications Manager; Duane Walton, Paygo Account Executive; Oliver McCarthy, Tekelek General Manager; and Minister Sean Canney TD.

Tekelek is delighted to announce that they secured an order for $1.4m with Paygo to serve the US and Canadian markets. In parallel, Tekelek is now developing an intrinsically safe sensor to facilitate the expansion of Paygo’s service offering.

“This agreement allows Tekelek and Paygo to make the most of a timely opportunity, effectively scaling in new territories,” said Leo McAdams, International Sales and Partnering Manager, at Enterprise Ireland. “We are very pleased to facilitate and support international partnerships between Irish and Canadian businesses as they each seek to develop business in new ways. Today’s agreement between Paygo and Tekelek presents an exciting opportunity for growth, and Enterprise Ireland will continue to support Tekelek’s expansion in Canada.”

Founded in 1995, Tekelek has established a strong European market with a range of tank monitor technologies including the Gremlin Tank Monitor. Tekelek also specializes in control based design and manufacturing solutions. These are collaborative and customized products that pride themselves on meeting environmental highly regulated environmental standards. Tekelek’s niche is delivering product requirements where innovation and flexibility is key.

“IoT in industrial applications is facilitating smarter decision-making and leaner, more agile businesses,” Oliver McCarthy, General Manager, Tekelek said today. “We’re very excited to apply this thinking and our technology to the industrial fuels market-place and we’re similarly pleased to partner with an organization of Paygo’s caliber to bring our technologies to the North America market.”

Phil Baratz, CEO Paygo, said “We at Paygo are delighted to be associated with Tekelek. Having completed a rigorous research and development process, it is great to introduce the Gremlin tank monitor to our customers in Canada and the United States. We see it as strengthening our current range of products and services.”

Enterprise Ireland-Supported Companies Employ Over 80,000 in the US

Enterprise Ireland-Supported Companies Employ Over 80,000 in the US

In the United States, Irish companies supported by Enterprise Ireland in the United States have created over 80,000 jobs. Seven hundred companies, operating across all 50 US states, provide employment in a diverse array of high-value sectors, including consumer products, construction products, and services, life sciences, software, food manufacturing, industrial and engineering products.

“The state of Ireland’s partnership with the United States is strong,” said Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland. “Our shared values, expertise and experience is business-positive for both countries — as evidenced by the 80,000 jobs created by Enterprise Ireland supported companies in the United States.”

Irish firms at the vanguard of employment growth in the United States include:

Sysnet Ltd.: A leading provider of cyber security and compliance solutions to the payments industry, Sysnet recently announced a $2 million investment and the creation of 500 new jobs for a new contact center in DeKalb County, Atlanta.

Oldcastle: The North American arm of CRH plc., one of the world’s leading building products and materials companies based in Dublin, Ireland. Oldcastle has more than 1,700 operations in 50 states and 6 Canadian provinces.

Kerry Group: One of the largest players in the global food industry with current annual sales of approximately $6.5 billion and multiple manufacturing operations across the United States. 

Smurfit Kappa: A world leader in paper-based packaging with approximately $8.5 billion in global sales, Smurfit Kappa employs over 43,000 people globally and owns multiple recycling and manufacturing operations across the southwestern United States.

Glanbia: One of the world’s top nutrition companies, Glanbia employs 2,000 people in 29 countries. The United States has the most Glanbia facilities of any country, with 12 manufacturing operations and corporate offices across seven states.

Enterprise Ireland @ SXSW 2017

Enterprise Ireland @ SXSW 2017

Each year, the South by South West (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, brings together the best, brightest, and most innovative people and companies to celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film and music industries. The event — an essential destination for global professionals — features a wide variety of business and networking opportunities.

For the seventh consecutive year, Enterprise Ireland (EI) exhibited at this year’s SXSW, proudly showcasing 11 Irish companies: Newswhip, Sanctifly, TransferMate, Parkpnp, Intuition, digisoft.tv, Helixworks, Systemlink Technologies, Vistatec, DataKraft and Cogni, which cover a broad range of industries, including finance, biotechnology, VR, health and education.

“Being at South by Southwest, you get to meet your clients, and you get to meet new prospects. It’s a reminder to them that you’re in the space and you’re important,” said Kevin Lowe, Head of Sales, NewsWhip.

EI also hosted a business panel with Garret Flower of Parkpnp, Karl Llewellyn from Sanctifly, and Fearghal Kelly from digisoft.tv, participating in the informative discussions. The panel was moderated by Daniel Ramamoorthy of Parkpnp, and they discussed why Ireland was a great place to do business, and how Irish startups are getting noticed.

“Enterprise Ireland is a government body that helps Irish businesses grow, test their business ideas, establish some feasibility of their business ideas, and become investor-ready,” said Carol McKeon, CEO and Founder, DataKraft. “Everybody loves Ireland. There’s so many people who are a little bit Irish, and they see Ireland here, and there’s such enthusiasm and such a warm reception to us.”

With roughly 75,000 in attendance this year, and journalists representing thousands of different print, radio, TV, and digital outlets from across the US and around the world, SXSW continues to prove that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.

EI client company, Helixworks, won the Most Innovative Company award at the SXSW incubator pitch competition — Congratulations Helixworks!

Part 4: What US VCs Require to Invest in Irish Companies

Part 4: What US VCs Require to Invest in Irish Companies

Enterprise Ireland has teamed up with Daniel Glazer a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where Daniel leads the New York office’s technology transactions practice and also advises Irish and other European emerging technology companies on US expansion, fundraising and strategic partnership transactions. This series will offer perspectives on setting up a business in the US and considerations for Irish companies looking to raise VC investment from US investors

Post below written by Daniel Glazer, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Robert Mollen, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson

US Expansion – Setting up the Right Way

What US VCs Require to Invest in Irish Companies

Daniel Glazer, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Robert Mollen, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson

We are frequently asked by Irish companies what they need to do to attract US venture capital (VC) investment.  This article discusses the general requirements of US VCs considering early-stage investment (Superseed/Series A or Series B) in Irish startups.

Proximity matters – how near are you to the VC?
Venture capitalists – especially in Silicon Valley – place a high value on proximity to their early-stage investments.  The reason for this is that VCs bring to the table not just capital, but also their experience, advice and networks.

Consequently, we find most US VCs are reluctant to make early-stage investments in Irish companies without a founder (or at least a strong decision-making team) in reasonable proximity to the VC’s location.   We have seen exceptions where the VC was willing to invest in a company on the condition that it uses the funds to establish US operations.  However, in our experience this is usually where the company already has contracts with, and revenues from, significant US customers and business partners so that its further US business potential is clear.

It may be possible for an Irish company to raise early-stage funding from a US VC without a significant US presence if the US VC teams with an Irish or another non-US VC.  In this scenario, the non-US VC leads a Superseed/Series A round (with participation from the US VC) for a company located near to the non-US VC.  The US VC is then in prime position to lead the next investment round when the company sets up in the US.  While we believe this kind of cross-border teaming will increase, at present it’s not particularly common.

Thus, Irish companies seeking US investment may be faced with pressure to establish US operations earlier than they might otherwise prefer.  This can be done cost-effectively, but it’s still expensive relative to the operating budget of a typical early-stage company.  There also typically needs to be a founder willing to relocate to the US, and the company will need to work out an approach to cross-border management.  For Irish companies, this poses particular challenges if the most likely potential VC investors are on the West Coast – that is eight time zones distant, with potential flight times of 11 hours or more.

To be clear, as we’ve discussed in a previous article, setting up in the US does not necessarily require an Irish company to “flip” to become a subsidiary of a Delaware-incorporated holding company, and there are good reasons to resist doing so.  However, it is advisable to form a US subsidiary corporation (probably in Delaware) to do business in the state or states where you want to establish your operations.

Comfort with local laws and tax
While many US VCs are prepared to make early-stage investments in Irish and UK holding companies, you are likely to find lower levels of comfort with companies based in many other European jurisdictions.  That is not because there is anything inherently wrong with those countries’ laws, but rather because it may be expensive for the early-stage VC to gain sufficient understanding of the relevant corporate and tax laws.  As you would expect, this is less true of larger early-stage VCs, who are more likely to have made prior investments across a wider set of jurisdictions.

Relevance of sector, competition and expertise
US VCs are also likely to be more interested in Irish companies in some sectors than in others.  Some of this has to do with the reputation that some countries and their start-ups have already developed as leading in certain sectors.   For example, European and Israeli companies in fintech or cybersecurity businesses have attracted specific interest from US investors, particularly where the companies have notable US customers and business partners.

As we’ll discuss in more detail in a subsequent article, it is important for you to identify which VCs are most likely to be interested in, and knowledgeable about, your business.  You should also consider whether they are already investing in companies that are competitive with, or complementary to, your company’s business.  More generally, you need to have a deep understanding of your global competitors.  US VCs are only likely to invest in Irish companies if they are seen as having a true competitive advantage over investment opportunities in the same sector within the United States.

 

Daniel Glazer leads the US expansion team, and the NYC Tech Transactions practice, at Silicon Valley-based Wilson Sonsini.  He can be reached at daniel.glazer@wsgr.com.

Robert Mollen advises European companies on US matters at Fried Frank in London.  He can be reached at robert.mollen@friedfrank.com.

 

Part 3 : How to Connect with US VC Investors

Part 3 : How to Connect with US VC Investors

Enterprise Ireland has teamed up with Daniel Glazer a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where Daniel leads the New York office’s technology transactions practice and also advises Irish and other European emerging technology companies on US expansion, fundraising and strategic partnership transactions. This series will offer perspectives on setting up a business in the US and considerations for Irish companies looking to raise VC investment from US investors

US Expansion – Setting up the Right Way

How to Connect with US VC Investors

Post written by Daniel Glazer, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Robert Mollen, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson

Irish companies frequently ask us, “how can we meet US venture capital firms and get them to invest in our company?”  This article discusses how to connect with the US VCs that are most likely to be interested in your business.

Research your sector

A key starting point in reaching US VCs is to identify those who are most likely to be interested in you.  These are also the VCs who are likely to be the most useful to you because they can bring critical sector-specific business judgment and networks as well as cash.  So, how can you find them?

First, research the VCs in your sector.  Identify the key firms (and the specific individuals of those firms) that have been active in making investments in your sector and at your stage of investment.   Keep in mind that this may be a double-edged sword: if they have invested in businesses that are your direct competitors, they may be unable or unwilling to invest in you.  That being said, the most successful connections we make are where the emerging company is asking us to knock for them at an open door.

Remember that the US is comprised of numerous different markets and VC communities.  Silicon Valley has the largest and most mature venture capital market, but it is highly competitive and not necessarily the best place for every type of business to seek investment.  Also, early-stage VC investors will want you to locate (often with a founder) in proximity to the investor; Silicon Valley is a very expensive place to do business, with fierce competition for talent.

Consequently, you should keep in mind the following regional alternatives:

  • Biotech                                           Boston/Washington, D.C.
  • Cybersecurity                                 Washington, D.C./New York
  • Media/Games                                 Los Angeles/New York
  • Insurance                                        New York/Chicago
  • Emerging Markets                         Miami/New York
  • Hardware/Enterprise Software       Seattle
  • FinTech/Ad Tech/Publishing         New York
  • Various                                           Austin

Leverage your network

Next, seek advice from your existing investors, industry sources, professional advisors and other contacts who are knowledgeable about your sector. Some business sectors, like cybersecurity, are very specialized, with a limited number of key players; others are more diverse.

Attend conferences, conventions and other programs where those interested in your sector can be expected to attend.  In many cases you will be able to see an attendees’ list from a prior year and determine whether the event has been of interest to investors.   Many such events are very large, of course, and it is difficult to make contact with potential investors unless you have planned out, in advance, how you would propose to do so.   If at all possible, pre-arrange meetings with investors whom you would like to meet, or obtain introductions from other attendees whom you know.

Take advantage of trade missions and other pitch opportunities that may provide useful introductions.  Enterprise Ireland, for example, takes regular trade missions of Ireland-based companies to the US (and elsewhere).  Participation may provide opportunities to meet interested investors and to raise your profile so that investors are contacting you, rather than vice versa.

Recruit angel investors and non-executive and advisory board members who are well-connected in the markets/sectors on which you are focusing and are invested in helping your business succeed.  These key connectors will not only help you attract investment – they may also provide invaluable connections to potential customers and partners, and their participation in your business may enhance your company’s credibility in the market.

In a related point, use your wider network to obtain introductions.  Contacting investors on a “cold call” basis is always very difficult.   Don’t hesitate to ask your professional advisors, mentors, accelerators, investors, board members, government contacts and others to introduce you.

Know your investors

Finally, diligence potential VC investors in the same way as you would expect them to diligence you, and understand the dynamics of the environment in which they operate.  Key questions include:

  • Is their current fund coming to close, such that they are unlikely to make early-stage investments in a new venture?
  • Would an investment in your business be likely to generate, in the relevant time frame for their fund, the kind of return that they need to produce?
  • What will be the impact on you if they invest in your current round and then decide not to invest in your later rounds (particularly if they are a larger and higher-profile fund)?
  • Based on their reputation in the market, are these investors that you would want to play a key role in your business?
  • Are they likely to stand by you if things do not go entirely accordingly to plan?

You should view potential VC investors as partners in a marriage.  Before you spend the time and effort in persuading them to invest, you should determine whether you actually want them to invest!

Daniel Glazer leads the US expansion team, and the NYC Tech Transactions practice, at Silicon Valley-based Wilson Sonsini.  He can be reached at daniel.glazer@wsgr.com.

Robert Mollen advises European companies on US matters at Fried Frank in London.  He can be reached at robert.mollen@friedfrank.com.

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