techstartNI is dedicated to working with ambitious entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland through the provision of finance and advice.

techstartNI is managed by Pentech Ventures, one of Europe’s leading venture capital fund management groups.

The techstartNI team has strong operational and fund management experience that can help you build your scalable technology businesses faster.

Equity Funding

We seek to be the seed investment partner for the best and most ambitious entrepreneurial founding teams in Northern Ireland.

As a team, we work tirelessly to help our companies win customers, make key hires, and develop strategies and tactics to achieve the fastest possible growth in the value of the company.

We seek to be trusted peers and partners to help entrepreneurs realise their vision with experienced and timely support. With our backing, Founders can focus on customer development and validating their business model.

If your team is trying to raise a first round of up to £250,000 (which can be greater with syndication) to fund your Company for up to 18 months to a series A funding event and beyond, then please do talk with us.

Among the many partners we have co-invested with – Funds such as Schroders and KKR; VCs such as NEA, Balderton, DN Capital, SEP, Octopus. DFJ/DFJ Esprit, Paladin, Partech and Corporate Ventures such as NTT DoCoMo, Intel, Qualcomm and Google – we have access to networks of capital to help fuel the most ambitious of global plans.

Contact us and let us see if we can help you make your Company a success.

Contact Us


Each member of the techstartNI team has operational experience that could be of use to you. We are confident that working together with you, we can help you achieve greater success quicker.

Hal is the Partner in Pentech Ventures with specific responsibility for the techstartNI initiative. Successful investments that Hal has led include Avalon Instruments Limited (sold to Perkin Elmer Inc), Audio Processing Technology Limited (sold to Audemat Group), APT Licensing Limited (sold to CSR plc) and Lagan Technologies Limited (sold to Kana Software Inc).   A Chartered Accountant, prior to becoming a VC in 1996, Hal spent 8 years working in the corporate finance advisory market with PWC.

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Hal Wilson

Hal Wilson

Jamie has significant operational and commercial experience within VC-backed businesses, having helped raise over $50m for early stage companies. A qualified CA, he was previously Financial Controller of BSkyB New Media. Following the £1.5 billion acquisition of Interactive TV by BSkyB in 2001, he joined Lagan Technologies as CFO, where he helped the company grow from £0.5m to over £15m in revenues. He then moved to San Franscisco to join RainStor, a VC-backed big data Company as COO, taking it to a trade sale in late 2014 before joining the techstartNI team.

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Jamie Andrews

Jamie Andrews

Sandy is a Partner at Pentech Venture and techstartNI - with responsibility for the NI University Seed Funds. He is experienced in and enjoys working with early-stage companies from start-up/spin-out, through growth, to exit. Sandy has been active for the last 16 years in 'full life-cycle' investing; fundraising and exits of a number of successful companies. He has been helping commercialise technology from Universities for the majority of his adult life.

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Sandy McKinnon

Sandy McKinnon
Audrey works with the Investment team seeking to promote and develop innovative products in Northern Ireland.  Prior to joining techstartNI she was a founding member of a technology startup company in Belfast, where her focus was on product development.  Before moving to Northern Ireland, Audrey worked in marketing and advertising for 7 years.  Her passions include technology, business development and user experience.

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Audrey Osborne

Audrey Osborne
Kathleen manages techstartNI's Proof of Concept Grant Fund. Prior to joining Pentech, Kathleen worked for a London-based VC & Fund Manager. She is passionate about connecting people, ideas and technology, and leads many of our Investor Awareness sessions; she is also the NI Facilitator for 9others - a global network of round table problem-solving dinners for entrepreneurs.

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Kathleen Garrett

Kathleen Garrett
Jennifer serves as Fund Administrator working with early stage start-ups through the Proof of Concept fund as well as engaging entrepreneurs across the province in the Investment Awareness Programme. Jennifer has worked with a range of both local and international funding bodies across a variety of programmes.

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Jennifer McCullough

Jennifer McCullough


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The Open Banking Challenge

Open Banking is the UK Banking Industry’s means of providing a secure way for financial institutions to share customers’ account information to regulated third party providers. This access will be through the use of a secure Application Programming Interface (API) and will provide the opportunity for third party providers to build new products and services around the financial institution. This EU Legislation will be effective from January 2018.

In partnership with Danske Bank, we are excited to offer you the opportunity to collaborate with us in the field of Open Banking. We are inviting innovative thinkers who are keen to enter this new era of banking, the opportunity to compete for £60k of funding, plus access to an environment to develop a concept that will meet the Bank’s customers changing needs. Further, the winner will benefit from a package of support from Danske Bank including 12 months office space, mentoring, and access to international banking networks.

Open Banking inspires a lot of creativity and discussion on wide ranging topics, which will allow for the creation of new types of smart banking services. So, if you are an innovator, designer, creator, technologist, technician, inventor, engineer, scientist, or entrepreneur apply now with your innovative idea!

Areas of innovation that applications may touch on, could include the following –

• Money Management
• Simpler, Cost-Effective Borrowing
• Making Traveling easier
• Better Budgeting
• Loyalty & Offers
• Improved Customer Experience

Novel innovations that deliver commercial benefit to both Danske Bank and its customers will have most chance of success.

The Application Process for this unique opportunity will include the following steps –

• Online Application Form
• Presentation to a Panel of Experts (eligible applicants only) – Monday 5th / Tuesday 6th March 2018
• Sessions with Panel of Experts (shortlist of applicants only) -Tuesday 13th / Wednesday 14th March 2018
• Final Pitch (shortlist of applicants only) – Tuesday 20th March 2018
• Final Selection & Award made

The award is scheduled to be announced by 31st March 2018 and the project is anticipated to run for 12 months.

Applications for this Competition close at 5pm on Tuesday 20th February 2018.

Proof of Concept

We manage the techstartNI Proof of Concept Grant Fund.

On a competitive basis this fund seeks to support entrepreneurs with grants directed towards exploring the viability and commercial potential of an innovative concept.

The funding comes in the form of a “Concept” Grant (of up to £10k) and a “Concept Plus” Grant (of up to £25k).

Next Concept Grant Closing Date – 5pm Wednesday 9th May 2018

All eligible applicants will be invited to a Pitch Session. The Pitch Sessions will take place in May 2018 – final dates TBC. Decisions on your application will be made by June 2018. 

Next Concept Plus Grant Closing Date – 5pm Tuesday 10th April 2018

All eligible applicants will be invited to a Pitch Session. The Pitch Sessions will take place in April 2018 (final date TBC).  A shortlist of applicants will then be selected to present to the Fund’s Assessment Panel and Decisions will then be made.

For more information on the PoC Fund please click on the “Hints & Tips” button below and to view the application forms click on “Get Started”.

Get in touch

If you think your business is a good fit for us, or simply have a question for us please get in touch.

3rd Floor
21 Talbot Street

028 90 325 506