Enterprise Ireland doubles investment in start-ups

State agency invested more than €48m in early stage Irish companies last year

The amount of investment in start-ups by Enterprise Ireland doubled last year

The amount of investment in start-ups by Enterprise Ireland doubled last year

 

More than €48 million was invested in 125 start-ups by Enterprise Ireland last year, a record amount.

New figures from the State agency show while the number of start-ups supported was largely unchanged, the amount of funding doubled from the €24 million provided by Enterprise Ireland in 2019. This was due to the introduction of the Covid-19 Sustaining Enterprise Fund and an increase in follow-on investments to help so-called high-potential start-ups (HPSU’s) scale internationally.

A total of 80 companies received funding via the HPSU programme last year. This is a funding initiative that backs businesses with the potential to create 10 jobs and reach at least €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up.

A further 45 businesses secured investment via Enterprise Ireland’s competitive start fund, which provides a maximum €50,000 in funding for early-stage companies.

Nearly a third of all companies backed were led by women and a half of all the start-ups to secure investment were based outside Dublin.

Key sectors that Enterprise Ireland invested in last year included fintech, cybersecurity, digital health and agtech.

“Despite the impact of Covid-19, 2020 was another successful year for Irish start-ups, with growth noted in the life sciences and ICT sectors. We are also seeing new opportunities for ambitious entrepreneurs and start-ups in the green economy as well as doing business in a post-pandemic environment,” said Kevin Sherry, executive director of Enterprise Ireland.

The latest figures come ahead of the agency’s start-up showcase virtual event, which includes a keynote address from Des Traynor, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Irish tech unicorn Intercom.

Other speakers due to appear at the event include Nicky Deasy, managing partner of Yield Lab, Atlantic Bridge investment director Helen McBreen and Sweepr chief executive Alan Coleman.