Global VC investment near record high as Irish activity jumps

Flurry of deals seen in Ireland involving the likes of Fire1 and Future Finance in Q1

Dublin-based medtech firm Foundry Innovation & Research 1 (Fire1) and Future Finance were among the companies to secure funding in the first quarter

Dublin-based medtech firm Foundry Innovation & Research 1 (Fire1) and Future Finance were among the companies to secure funding in the first quarter


Global venture capital (VC) investment was just shy of a record in the first three months of the year with activity in Ireland particularly strong, according to new figures.

Overall, $49.3 billion (€39.8 billion) in investment was raised across 2,661 deals worldwide during the first quarter, according to KPMG’s Venture Pulse report, with five $1 billion plus deals recorded.

A record-breaking $29.4 billion of investment in the Americas, of which $28.2 billion was in the US alone, combined with strong activity across Asia helped fuel the strong VC market.

Europe recorded $5.2 billion in VC investment in the first quarter. While this was down versus the previous three months it was still the fourth highest amount on record.

Strong activity outside Britain kept European VC investment high with Ireland recording robust quarter-over-quarter growth to $162 million.

Dublin-based medtech firm Foundry Innovation & Research 1 (Fire1) was among those to secure financing during the quarter. It raised €40 million in funding in January to develop its remote heart monitoring product. Student loan lender Future Finance also raised the same amount in March.

“The VC market in Ireland is maturing quickly. Founders that have achieved successful exits with early tech companies are now re-investing in new businesses,” said Anna Scally, head of KPMG’s Irish technology practice.

Sharp decline

The number of European VC deals continued its sharp decline, falling to 548, less than half of the number of deals seen during the same quarter last year.

Germany saw its second highest quarter of VC investment, just shy of $1.5 billion raised and led by a $560 million raise by Auto1 Group. France, meanwhile, achieved a new high of $767 million of VC investment, further cementing its growing prominence as an innovation leader in Europe. Spain also saw a strong quarter, boosted primarily by a $160 million raise by Cabify.

Globally, venture capital deal volume continued to decline in the first three months of the year. However, the median deal size globally is still rising across all deal stages, reaching $1.3 million for angel and seed stage rounds, $7.7 million for early stage rounds, and $15 million for later stage rounds.

Corporate participation in global VC deals set a record for the second straight quarter, rising from 18.5 per cent in the final three months of 2017 to 21 per cent.

The ride-hailing industry attracted massive VC investment, accounting for four of the quarter’s five largest deal in the first quarter. These deals included $2.5 billion raised by Singapore-based Grab, $1.7 billion raised by US-based Lyft, $1.5 billion raised by Indonesia-based GO-JEK, and $1.25 billion raised by US-based Uber. Electric car manufacturer Faraday Future rounded out the top five, raising $1.5 billion.

Asia continued to see large deals in the quarter, as two $1 billion plus megadeals were struck outside China with Singapore-based Grab raising $2.5 billion of Series G financing, and GO-JEK in Indonesia closing on $1.5 billion of Series E funds.

VC activity globally is expected to remain strong in the second quarter, with KPMG forecasting an increasing focus on artificial intelligence (AI) auto tech, and health tech. With exit and IPO activity also expected to increase over the Year. The consulting firm also predicted a renewal of activity in early stage deals.