It couldn’t last forever. Anyone with an inkling of how the markets work could have told us that. We are talking, of course, about the tech boom and the valuations that have stunned the industry as the seeming never-ending money train created unicorns, decacorns and even hectacorns.
Even as the rest of the world was hampered by Covid, the tech industry thrived.
And then things began to turn. But that’s life, as Sinatra once sang. The tech industry had to have its time to suffer as the rest of them already had. Globally, tech companies have been cutting staff, and once blazing industries – crypto, for example – have tumbled.
Despite the chill that has hit tech in recent months, it still came as a shock to some when the bad news landed closer to home.
Cork-based artificial intelligence company Altada appears to be the latest to feel the effect of ill winds. Founded by Allan Beechinor in 2017, the company looked set to be the next Irish unicorn, joining a growing number of tech businesses here that have reached a $1 billion (€980 million) valuation. Last September, the company raised $11.5 million (€11.2 million) and said it planned to create up to 100 jobs in addition to the more than 70 people it already employed. The news of its fundraising was barely out when its founder was already talking of the Series A that would see it raise up to $100 million (€98.1 million).
Fast forward to August and the Business Post reported that it has furloughed some staff and has financial issues.
The company has been feted in Ireland: the Cork Chamber of Commerce recently named it a winner of its large company category in its 2022 company of the year awards; it is a finalist in this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
It’s a reminder that even companies that are riding high in April can be shot down in May – or July and August, as the case may be.