Ireland’s Startup and Scale-up Funding Review for 2019 to date


By John O Dea, CEO TechIreland

Welcome to TechIreland’s H1 Funding Review 2019 which covers the investments that we have tracked during the first half of 2019 [i.e. Q1 and Q2]. You can access these insights on our website by downloading the PDF and the podcast. The report has lots of graphs and tables that slice and dice the data in interesting ways.

Ireland’s Startup and Scale-up Funding Review

  •     The headline figure of €437million invested into Irish start-up and scaleup businesses is a very good result – a sign of the maturing of the Irish tech sector.  It is great to see the number of investments increase by 10% over the same period last year.
  •     It is particularly heartening to see the doubling of the number of companies raising between €5million and €50million [19 companies versus 9 during the same period last year].  This may reflect the growing internationalisation of the tech funding environment. Ireland is now on the radar of international investors as a place to find good Series A and B rounds.
  •     Despite the fact that the investment this year has been more balanced between the different stages of growth, 40% of the investment, €175million, went to the top six companies [including Fenergo, Poppulo, Atlantic Therapeutics and LetsGetChecked]. This is probably typical of the tech investment picture internationally.
  •   It is encouraging to see the sheer breadth of sectors getting funded – a strong spread of Health/Medical, Fintech, Enterprise Solutions.  There was a time not so long ago when the Irish start-up sector was all software and IT, whereas now we have a healthy mix with strength in depth across most tech sectors.
  •    It is interesting to see just how long it takes to grow a tech business of scale. Only 10% of the investment went into businesses less than 4 years old.  For some deep tech sectors like fabless semiconductors and medical devices, they need patient founders and investors who are prepared to stay in for the long haul and a financial regime that supports that.
  •   One particularly encouraging development is the balanced regional spread this year, with significant investments going to Galway, Cork, Limerick, Belfast.  Nevertheless, Dublin based firms still garner 70% of the total investment in Ireland – indicating that we still have work to do to build up the regional tech ecosystem.
  •    The picture for female-led tech start-ups is still one of “more work needed”.  The good news is that the funding going into female-led start-ups is double that of the same period last year [€43million versus €20million], but it is still only 10% of the total funding.  Despite the admirable efforts of Enterprise Ireland in supporting female entrepreneurship, this is an area that needs continued support. And the funding going into female-led tech business in Northern Ireland seems particularly disappointing at only €5% of the funding.
  •    This report is analysed further in a podcast discussion with Brian Caulfield, the investor and serial entrepreneur.
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John O’Dea, CEO TechIreland

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