Belfast Telegraph

Dublin well ahead on funding for start-ups

By Adrian Weckler

For tech venture capitalists, Dublin seems to be the only place in Ireland with start-ups worth funding. That's the picture emerging from new investment figures released by the Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA), an industry umbrella body representing major investors operating in Ireland.

The statistics show that Dublin now attracts twice as much venture start-up funding as the rest of the island combined, including Northern Ireland.

In all, at least €227m (£165m) of the €307m (£224m) raised by start-ups in the first six months of this year went to companies based in Dublin, according to the IVCA figures.

A breakdown of the numbers also shows that 44 of the 68 disclosed individual VC investments here went to Dublin start-ups.

The country's hardening tech division comes amid 45% growth in VC funding compared to the same period last year and more than 90% growth compared to the first half of 2013.

However, the split between Dublin and the rest of the country suggests that efforts by organisations such as Enterprise Ireland to foster alternative tech hubs in cities such as Cork and Limerick may not be succeeding.

In all, Cork start-ups attracted just four VC investments in the first half of this year and Limerick start-ups saw no VC investment at all.

Galway firms landed seven VC deals, according to the IVCA, but some of these went to multinational companies that only maintain regional bases in the western city.

The five biggest venture funding deals of the first half of 2015 were split between Dublin (three) and Galway (two). However, three of these deals involved foreign companies located in Ireland.

Circle, the Boston-based Bitcoin money-transfer company with a European headquarters in Dublin, raised more than €45m (£33m) in funding from international investors. Similarly, UK medical device firm Veryan and US telecoms company Telecom, both with facilities in Galway received €19.2m (£14m) and €18.6m (£13.5m) respectively.

The largest VC funding deal involving an originating Irish company was Dublin-based Altan Pharmaceutical, a life sciences company, which got €41.3m (£30.1m) from healthcare investor, Malin. Another Dublin-based tech firm, semiconductor start-up Movidius, drew down €22.9m (£16.7m) of the €38m (£27.7m) VC funding round it announced in April. And Dublin-based Cubic Telecom received €18m (£13.1m) in venture investment.

The 68 announced venture investments also includes four Belfast deals, two Louth start-ups and one each for Kerry, Roscommon and Londonderry.

Galway attracted the highest average VC investment, while Dublin start-up deals averaged out at €5m (£3.6m).

However, the vast majority of VC investment in Irish tech start-ups remains under €3m (£2.2m) per deal, with 33% of all deals worth less than €1m (£730,000).

The investment report, which was partly funded by law firm William Fry, also shows that early-stage funds raised in the first half of 2015 amounted to €19.4m (£14.5m), the equivalent to 6% of the total funds raised.


Dublin well ahead on funding for start-ups

Belfast Telegraph