The start-up tag features blog posts about, and related to, new businesses and enterprises around the world. A start-up is a newly established business.


SURE Thing: Start-up Refunds for Entrepreneurs

SURE Tax relief for start-ups, Start-up refunds for entrepreneurs

SURE: Tax relief for start-ups

Start-up Refunds for Entrepreneurs, Ireland

Are you thinking of starting a new company? Then you could be due a tax refund under SURE: Start-up Refunds for Entrepreneurs.

SURE is a tax refund scheme, and is a joint initiative of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Revenue.

If you’re starting your own business, you may be entitled to an income tax refund of up to 41% of the capital funding that you invest in your company under SURE. Depending on the size of your investment, you may be entitled to a refund of PAYE income tax that you previously paid over six years prior to the year in which you invest.

General conditions for SURE; you must:

  • Establish a new company and engage in qualifying trading activity(ies)
  • Invest money in the new company by way of purchasing new shares
  • Have had mainly PAYE income in the previous four years
    • This would include a person currently in PAYE-type employment, an unemployed person, a person recently made redundant or a retired person
  • Take up full-time employment in the new company either as a director or an employee

You can also estimate your potential SURE refund using their Online Calculator*. Make best use of the online calculator by following the information outlined below:

  1. Details of the likely investment amount
  2. Details of your income and PAYE tax paid
    • This information is on your P60 or P21. If you’re investing an amount greater than one year of income, you’ll need your P60 / P21 for more than one year

*Terms and conditions will prompt upon click

Revenue: Irish Tax and Customs has more information on SURE

The STAR Team

Bill Payne on Fundable Start-ups

Bill Payne with Damian Scattergood on fundable start-ups

Bill Payne, Angel Investor with Damian at a HotHouse event on fundable start-ups.

Thursday 19th of April 2012 was a fantastic day here at the Docklands Innovation Park when we had the chance to meet Bill Payne, America’s 2009 Angel Investor of the year. Bill has invested in over 50 companies including DoubleClick. His successful track record makes amazing reading.

Bill was visiting the HotHouse entrepreneurship program based in the Docklands Innovation Park where STAR has its Dublin office. It was great to be able to meet and discuss this topic with him. The title of his presentation was “Fundable Companies” which caught my eye straight away. At the end of the day, the real question for any investor or managing director is “the project or company actually fundable?” All too often business plans have great ideas and lots of out-of-the-air sales figures and projections, but what investors look for is the core of the business.

Management Team is Key

One of the key factors that Bill highlighted was the strength of the management team. You may have a great product and a million-dollar market, but can you actually manage the company when it gets to that size? As companies grow, you have to evaluate your management skills (across the company) and ascertain who is the right person to manage it and what skills they require.

The skills to manage a 5-person start-up are not the same as those required to manage a 100-person company. Sometimes a CEO has to decide and plan when they need to be replaced. If you are looking to have an exit sale of your company, perhaps it is better to put in a CEO that has done it before, so they can manage up and out for that trade sale.

But I’m only a Start-up

You might not be the million-dollar company looking to be bought out if you are just a start-up. Again Bill offered some excellent advice on how to manage the early-start investment (or whatever cash you had) and how to focus on building your company. Start-up companies should first consider…

  1. where to focus?
  2. how to spend and manage cash?
  3. and where to build the correct value in your organization?

Angels are people too

Young entrepreneurs often forget that angels are people too. They have the same concerns and worries about any business as you do. They may have the money you need to build a company, but have to be careful where they put it. Bill told us that 50pc of his investments go nowhere. That’s a lot of money to lose; he looks for companies that might deliver back 20 times a return. If you were looking to have an angel invest between 500K and 1 million in your company, they would be looking at getting 20 million in a trade sale in perhaps 5 years. So think before you leap.

Top 7 tips given to us by Bill…

  1. your management team is important
  2. scalability: your business needs to be able to scale fast (i.e. production, people and management skills)
  3. Angel Investors tend to invest in local companies, so do your homework on who is in your area
  4. potential fundable companies should be customer-ready
    • you should have some customers and a little traction in the market
    • Angel money gives you the funding you need to scale, it is not research money
  5. competitive advantage: you need to have some form of competitive advantage
    • if someone can copy you tomorrow and take the market away forget it. It doesn’t mean you need IP rights etc, this can come later, just an edge to get the first 10 million in sales!
  6. niche markets helps
    • if you are in a market the big companies aren’t looking at, you can take market share quickly
  7. sales and marketing plan: make sure you have a proper sales plan
    • not that we’ll get 1pc of the market by 2012; how are you actually going to sell your product?

If you’re interested in learning more about Bill Paynes’s system for ensuring you’re ready for investment, then check out his website.

The STAR Team

Other resources: Are you investable?

International CES Show, Las Vegas

Internation CES Show, WorldDesk  software localization
Computers / iStockphoto

International CES Show, Las Vegas

The International CES Show took place in Las Vegas from 10th to 13th of January 2012. It is the largest technology event in the world and gathers manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, and technology delivery systems every year.

On the Irish front, one exhibitor in particular who caught our eye is WorldDesk Ltd. This Northern-Irish start-up specializes in the cloud computing and virtualisation software space. So impressive is their technology that they have reached an acquisition agreement with DeskStream Inc. a leading Californian and Indian company providing desktop virtualization software.

The acquisition of WorldDesk Ltd was announced on 12th of January. Employees of WorldDesk including co-founders Jonathan Chesney and Claire Moore will join DeskStream. The 2-year-old Irish company will still be located in Belfast. We wish them all the best.

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The STAR Team