Ireland’s first ever Venture Capitalist in Residence initiative

Talent Garden Dublin welcomes Brian Caulfield as he takes his seat as Ireland’s first ‘VC in Residence’

Our community of tech startups and digital innovators are at the very core of what makes Talent Garden so special. We strive to be the platform that encourages and assists them in reaching their goals and achieving professional mastery, by actively adding value to their everyday work environment.

This is why we are delighted to be launching Talent Garden’s, and Ireland’s, first ever Venture Capitalist in Residence Programme in our Dublin campus on January 24th. This programme is designed for entrepreneurs and gives them access to the advice and support of experienced VCs to help them grow and succeed.

We will be kicking things off with Entrepreneur, Angel Investor and VC, Brian Caulfield, who will host a fireside chat with our members and Ireland’s wider tech community, sharing his global insights and expertise on what makes a good VC investment and the unique relationship of a VC and their investor companies.

When asked why it is important to support these kinds of initiatives, Brian Caulfield said: “Most entrepreneurs have very limited insight into the way VCs make decisions and how the relationship between investors and entrepreneurs operates after an investment is made. The venture capital industry hasn’t traditionally done a very good job of educating the startup community on these issues and that’s why this initiative from Talent Garden, designed to support its members, is so important and innovative. This role is the first of its kind in Ireland and I really look forward to sharing insights with entrepreneurs and helping them to build winning funding plans for their companies.”

The fireside chat on January 24th launches the Venture Capitalist in Residence Programme, which will host a panel of VCs in the coming months. Their contributions will include mentoring our members, sharing their connections and insights into what VCs are looking for when investing in businesses, and offering their professional expertise that will be extremely valuable in helping our community scale.

Commenting on the upcoming activities, Mark Bennett, Country Manager at Talent Garden Ireland said: “We host a dynamic ecosystem of digital innovation where members meet, work, learn and collaborate together. This is cultivated, in part, through events such as workshops, fireside chats with global tech leaders, expert advisory sessions, fundraising talks and panel debates. The VC in Residence Programme is a great example of how we use our network for the benefit of our members. We will grow the panel of VCs to cover different industries and different levels of investing in order to give the most value to our members, as we feel it is necessary to have a diverse panel of VC’s with different perspectives.”


The Fireside Chat with Brian Caulfield | Venture Capitalist in Residence on January 24th is free to attend and open to the public – those interested should register here.


Talent Garden VC in Residence Panel

Brian Caulfield
Brian is an Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist and Angel Investor. He is a Venture Partner and former Managing Partner at Draper Esprit. Brian’s recent investments include Datahug, Movidius, MTT, Clavis Insight and Graphcore. He sits on the board of the Irish Times and is also a personal investor in a number of early-stage technology companies, including HyperGrid and Teamer.


Isabelle O’Keeffe
Isabelle is a Principal at Suir Valley Ventures, where she focuses on identifying and evaluating investment opportunities in areas including AR/VR, IoT and Fintech. Her previous experience has been working across the telco, technology and media sectors in London, Madrid and the Nordics.

Isabelle started her career at Telefonica on the Corporate Development & M&A team, focused on acquiring and investing in companies in the following areas; SaaS, M2M, FinTech, Security, IoT and AdTech. Isabelle also supported Telefonica’s venture capital arm based in Silicon Valley with investments such as and Blueliv (Cyber Security) and also worked closely with the Wayra Academy (Telefonica’s Accelerator Programme) in London. She then went on to Norwegian Media Group Schibsted, sourcing and managing Seed, Series A and upwards investments into marketplaces, prop-tech, fintech and deep tech companies.

Immediately before joining Suir Valley, Isabelle worked at the Barclays Fintech Accelerator Programme powered by Techstars, working closely with start-ups and helping them to build and grow their businesses.


Kevin Neary
Kevin Neary is the co-founder and former Managing Director of the GameStop Group in Ireland and UK. Kevin led GameStop Ireland and UK from startup in 1994 to its market-leading position as the largest video game retailer within Ireland in 2011, with a peak market valuation of €100m and its sale to GameStop Corp, a NYSE quoted and Fortune 300 company.

Kevin has mentored and invested in several companies including Demonware (sold to Activision, the largest video games publisher in the world) and Jolt Online Gomes (sold to GameStop Corp.)  


Bill Liao
Bill Liao is an entrepreneur, leader and investor. He is a general partner at, an investment management and venture capital firm providing funding in the technology sector. He has established companies and led growth into the billions. He has also established multiple non-profit organisations devoted to addressing climate change, poverty and supporting the education of the youth.


Luca Ascani
Luca Ascani is the Founder and CEO of Lambda Alpha, an investment company focused on seed investment. Its portfolio includes, among others, Bear, the Apple Design Award winner notes app,, a leading mobile retargeting company, GreenJinn, the supermarket cash back app, BnBSitter and, the leading French BnB management and luggage mobility companies respectively. Recent investment also includes Gideon Brothers, Emma App and WeRoad. Recently Luca Co-founded Talent Garden in Dublin, with the aim to create the most important hub for startups in Ireland.


Register for The Fireside Chat with Brian Caulfield here. 

18 January 2019

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