Alan Costello

Alan Costello


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Early & Scaling Venture Investment, Climate & SustainabilityTech

Who is going to pay? – Alan Costello

“Think outcomes not features”


Alan is an Innovation, Strategy & Venture Investment professional.
Always driving at innovation solutions and business models to important challenges – Climatetech, Food/Agtech – all convergent tech.
Strong capability on building alliances, partnerships and bringing novel perspectives to C-Level teams.



Alan Costello

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Welcome to supporters fun ask an investor I’m your host Jeffery Potvin and let’s please welcome Alan Costello the director at resolve Partners in Ireland as our investor for today welcome Alan it’s a real pleasure having you join us today.

Alan: Thank you very much for having me I appreciate the opportunity looking forward to the chat.

Jeffery: I’m super excited I think I think it raises lots of Money’s been raised all the way along the channels and it gets exciting when you get to be in front of an investor who’s kind of seen it all been there done that now you’re raising your own fund so it gets pretty exciting to see that Journey so not only from a startup perspective that we get to be part of that Journey with startup but we’re getting to be part of that with an investor who’s going through that same Journey so really exciting today and the way we like to kind of kick things off is we want to learn a little bit more about yourself so maybe to start you could share a little bit about your background you can go back to the university days certainly you can share a little bit from your Novartis days and the pharmaceutical space uh what you did there and kind of work your way up and then share a little bit about what you’re doing today and then we’re going to dive into everything.

Alan: No problem uh thank you for that um so okay if we if we’re going to take it back uh I am a Scientist originally pharmaceutical science so that you’ve got a in a various connection there in my what I call my first career um so I did some pharmaceutical r d uh in college and in postgraduate and give you an example of where my mindset will go I’m working on a cemetery in protease Inhibitors in college and I went into the professor one day and I said uh you know we’re looking at blocking these things it’s something in the Alzheimer’s chain uh you know this is great he said yeah and maybe in about 20 years we’ll have a product and I said bye Prof um I’m off to join the commercial side of the industry I’m using a little bit of language in the rear view mirror but I I realize now that I just needed to be much much closer to the commercial uh cold face family background and Entrepreneurship and and all that kind of good stuff and uh so I joined the commercial side of the of the science pharmaceutical industry commercializing and marketing a bunch of different products for some companies on here in Europe and predominantly Ireland and that was great and then I did an MBA and I wanted to get involved in some startups I wanted to explore building kind of an entrepreneurial career so I did like all good uh Consultants with an MBA you should do I went out with no plan and no agenda I just said okay I’m gonna go ahead and knock on doors and I’m gonna just explore things I’m gonna find ways to make myself useful and I kind of I guess in hindsight I kind of backed myself to make myself useful to people so I got involved in in a bunch of companies to help them to grow and scale including getting involved in some of my own first startups and being a Founder in some energy tech companies so that kind of probably began a transition into the the second part of my career which was all around technology investing and and more so than maybe than life sciences but a lot of Technology investing and supporting companies to grow scale raise precede race seed rate it raise a rounds uh up to the the current day where yeah we’ve got a very heavy focus in the climate technology space and we’re building a fund a fund there so I essentially I guess I find myself at that intersection between I can talk science and technology and product and Innovation and I can talk go to market growth scale and then the missing piece for a lot of startups is that Finance so I I just started talking to investors and financers and finding out what made them tick and now if I can make those three sides of product innovator go to market and investment Finance talk the same language usually good things happen and that’s where I find myself today.

Jeffery: That’s awesome and one thing about you that nobody would know this was the mystery question so I got to throw that back in there so what’s one thing about you that no one would know.

Alan: okay uh well the cheese on that is that people over here will know it is that uh one of my hobbies for the last few years I I kind of go deep on Hobbies uh for three or four or five years at a time so to my left is a former whiskey Cask that’s been turned into an office light and to my right is uh the beginnings of a whiskey collection which I’m not going to show on camera because it’ll not put me in good credit but I’m a big fan of Irish whiskeys and and international whiskeys it’s a really interesting Market from a business point of view as well as some enjoyment and a collecting point of view.

Jeffery: That’s awesome that’s pretty cool.

Alan: I was looking at someone the other day this is neither coffee nor a Baby Guinness nor any other uh comments that you’re going to make about uh uh but I’ll introduced around alcohol and Ireland.

Jeffery: Oh that’s wicked I saw someone the other day that was um taking old skateboards and making them into Furniture cables and chairs and things like that so I love the fact that you’re being Innovative and finding different ways to use old products to make things look cool and of course enjoying yourself while doing it and there’s nothing wrong with that it’s a good hobby.

Alan: you know what we call it the circular economy now uh upcycling waste and they’re designing out waste and dealing with waste ones you’re available it’s a circular economy I can tell myself that on Friday night when I’m having a having having a whiskey by by my whiskey light.

Jeffery: I love it that’s great uh and that’s a that’s a great Passion so it’s good to see that uh we all got little different things that we can do to keep us busy so now taking back to the the kind of the background that you have it’s um even going back to your Pharma days and and kind of where you started to make that Trend into uh early stage companies what was the interest level like what got you triggered and what kind of made you think I kind of like this space because you were operating uh more on the Pharma side which really there’s probably not a lot of Entrepreneurship side there it’s all internal and big big money and building out uh businesses within businesses would have that interest level or what triggers you to start looking at early stage companies.

Alan: It’s a good question so there’s probably two two big uh chapters uh that happened so when I left uh farmer as I said I could I could talk farmer and Med device science um and uh but I had worked in the commercial side of the industry where launching products and moving products into uh the clinical setting uh in in Ireland and a little bit wider field around Europe and I understood the business principles behind that and without being unfair if you’re talking to a lot of early stage technologists or scientists or innovators in med tech they’re not necessarily having the bridge to the commercialization skills so in in that sector yeah you’ve got a very long regulatory pathway which you got to deal with um and that that’s fair but I would go in I always remember talking to one angel investor in the space who was uh came out of the Diagnostics industry and he said you know I could make monoclonal antibodies that can react to the glasses that you wear in JP but if it doesn’t change a decision at the bedside if it doesn’t change practice at the clinical side so what uh just because I can build something from the science point of view doesn’t mean it’s ever going to get used so I always have that kind of perspective so you talk to a lot of scientists in maybe University or research institutes and they were looking to try and commercialize the Technologies raise half a million or a million and you knew that they were actually looking at a 20 or 50 million fundraise through the regulatory pathway and you knew you needed to think about where you’re where were the payers where was the pharmacoeconomics what was uh what were the insurers going to be doing about this product what was the market size uh all of these Tech all of these commercial questions um or maybe investment worthy questions that were coming to the past that was somewhat incidental to the some of the science or some of the the most important things that they were working on in the clinical bench uh I was asking different questions so being able to bridge that experience and Britney able to uh challenge that I think was kind of useful and kind of challenging in a good way and then you know one of the big transitions for me was I read an article in a business press where a professor in a completely different sector and it was my first Safari into well sort of my first Ferrari Into Climate although we might come back to that he just published a piece around um this is probably in the early 2000s he’d probably published something about Transportation links between China and Europe you know it’s produced in the East it’s consumed in the west so he treated it as a logistics problem he treated us physics straight line ended up describing a train uh proposition cost about 200 billion dollars um and that that was fine he just put it out there to the world and I went up and then I I looked back and I I kind of think it is one of the advantages um of naivety of Youth I knocked on the door of the head of physics in an Irish University and I said I read this article I don’t know what you’re working on but whatever you’re working on next I’d like to be involved in it I’d like to see if I can be useful and he said okay cool here’s this other project that I’m doing in renewable energy um and we worked on that for a couple of years and tried to get that uh off the gr