This week in our MHC Life series, we speak to Corporate partner Conall Geraghty. Conall talks technology, life after lockdown and the future of artificial intelligence.
Remind us, who are you?
Hi, I’m corporate partner Conall Geraghty. You may remember me from such articles as MHC Life (September 2020).
I help companies – particularly in the technology and life sciences sectors – to go from incorporation, through the funding and investment process and ultimately on to sale. Of course, the journey is rarely that smooth for most businesses.
I also work with investors interested in getting involved in fund management to set up investment partnerships. Surprisingly, these partnerships can be viable even with commitments of less than a million Euro.
Tell us about your journey since your last MHC Life
When I last spoke about my MHC Life in September 2020, I was a just newly-promoted partner, living in a pandemic world, not taking a one-way train to anywhere because of lockdowns.
I am thankful that normality has now largely returned to the working world. That said, I think the Conall of 2019 would not believe the working world of 2023. While I work in the office most of the time, as this works best for me, most of my team take advantage of hybrid working arrangements.
Perhaps the most surprising change to persist from 2020 and 2021 has been the move away from wearing a suit and tie on a daily basis. While appropriate attire must still be worn, wearing a suit has become the exception rather than the norm. The wearing of ties has become an even rarer sight!
Favourite thing about your role?
Even though tech start-ups are only a part of my overall practice, I like to think of myself as the “tech start-up guy”. I continue to love working with founders and entrepreneurs, particularly as they take their first steps into the world of business and begin their fundraising journey.
When we last spoke about my MHC Life in 2020, I was concerned about the potential negative, long-term economic impact of Covid. Oh, how wrong I was.
2021 turned out to be the busiest year ever for venture capital and private equity. The reported numbers were astonishing. The combination of available cash and high valuations made conversations about investment often positive ones for start-ups.
But what goes up, must come down. As 2022 progressed, the funding and investment environment became more challenging and advice to start-up clients focused more on options for continued survival or for a sale to a competitor or other buyer, on a non-cash basis.
Technology prediction for 2023?
AI, specifically anything involving ChatGPT.
ChatGPT is a (currently) free-to-use and publicly available AI. It has been designed to interact in a conversational way, to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes and challenge incorrect premises.
If you do nothing else today, I recommend trying out this extraordinary tool.
This is a frivolous request, but to demonstrate ChatGPT’s capacity for some creativity, I asked it to generate a limerick about venture capital investment in Ireland:
In Ireland, a tech start-up sought dough
To build out their product, you know
With VC’s they did meet
Their funding secure, complete
Now their future is as bright as a rainbow.
Favourite social media platform?
I will admit to becoming a LinkedIn fiend over the past year. It is a useful source of news and information about the technology sector in Ireland. I will also admit that I appreciate the likes, comments and engagement.
Tell us one unusual/interesting thing about yourself?
I became a big fan of Wordle during the pandemic. My starting word is ARISE and my proudest achievement is solving Wordle in just two words on five occasions!
I am also a fan of Nerdle, Quordle and Redactle. I would appreciate any recommendations for anything similar.
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