David Coallier – ‘If you don’t have passion, don’t bother’

If you want to know how to raise money and speak the language of investors, David Coallier is the guy to listen to.

Coallier, a self-made tech entrepreneur, is from Canada but now lives in Cork. He was the guest speaker at Startup Grind in Dublin on July 21, hosted by Google. 

At the event, Coallier spoke openly and honestly about his entrepreneurial career to date, his many failures and his few significant successes. He also spoke frankly about how he talks to investors and why he is never afraid to turn an investor down if he doesn’t feel they are the right fit.

Speak the language of investors

As an angel investor himself (he invested in two successful Irish tech startups, Intercom and Trustev) he knows how to “speak the language of investors”.

He launched his latest company, Barricade.io, in October 2014 and within a few weeks had managed to raise €1.2 million from angels and venture capital funds. 

Barricade.io, based in Cork where Coallier lives with his wife and daughter, is an early warning system that can tell businesses their platforms are about to be hacked. The product is aimed at SMEs around the globe. “The goal is to allow SMEs have online security at an affordable price. Barricade.io detects attacks and then tells users how to defend themselves.”

The company has the potential to become a significant global player as we move into the age of the Internet of Things.

‘Without passion you will fail’

The most important thing a founder should have is passion. “Without passion, you will struggle and ultimately fail,” says Coallier. “If I don’t see the passion in the founder and the team, I won’t invest,” he says. 

Coallier also spoke openly about the mental strains founders and entrepreneurs experience when they launch new products and companies. “Sports stars have psychologists and mental strength coaches on hand; the same should apply for founders. No one ever talks about the emotional rollercoaster startups go through. It is hard. So hard. No one can tell you how difficult it will be, the strains you will experience. I think we, as business people, need to talk about this more often.” 

VIDEO: Coallier’s views on the investor landscape in Ireland.

Article by Stephen Conmy. Pictured above are David Coallier (left) and David Scanlon, director of StartupGrind Dublin. Main image and video from Richard Donelan, IrishStartUp.TV