Posted on Wednesday 20 November 2013 by Ulster Business


Pictured at the Halo Business Angel of the Year awards are Lynsey Mallon from sponsors Arthur Cox, Stephen Houston of Sophia – winner of the 2013 UK Halo Business Angel of the Year award – and Alan Watts, Director of Halo.

Northern Ireland's Halo Business Angel of the Year 2013 was announced last night at a special Halo investment pitch event at Belfast City Hall sponsored by law firm Arthur Cox.

Stephen Houston, a non-executive director at Sophia, was presented with the award by the 2013 UK Halo Business Angel of the Year, Rajat Malhotra of Wren Capital.

The presentation coincided with the announcement of the third fund facilitated by Halo - the Halo Grow NI EIS Fund. This fund, which is initially £200k, uses Seed EIS and EIS, which are the most efficient angel tax regimes in the world.

Alan Watts, Director of Halo NI, said: "Stephen was an early investor in Sophia, one of our most exciting young home-grown IT companies. Without the drive, enthusiasm and commitment of people like Stephen, many exciting new ideas would never get off the ground.

"Importantly, we are also pleased to announce that the new Halo fund is open for business. It's designed to co-invest alongside angels in Halo companies and to make it easier for busy angels to see some of their money put to use in exciting NI companies.

"We've started with 14 angels aiming to invest in three new projects per year, but as an 'evergreen' fund, it will roll on and continue to grow. We would welcome more investment from more angels looking for some great tax breaks."

Accepting the award, Stephen said: "It's a fantastic honour and one which I think recognises the combination of commitment as well as funds injected into the daily business of start-ups. The angel theory is that as we have done it before, we can do it again more easily and yes, there are some dog day afternoons, but there are smiles most of the time."

The City Hall event saw six businesses pitch to around 50 angel investors. It was hosted by Belfast Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, whose mission during his year of office is to support the creation of jobs and the development of a flourishing economy.

Cllr O'Muilleoir said: "It's wonderful to see so many enthusiastic entrepreneurs pitching their ideas and ambitions to the Halo angels. It proves that Belfast is a fantastic city to work and invest in. Belfast is growing in stature as a central business hub competing with major cities around the world and long may this continue."




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