Irish tech firms raise record €888m led by life sciences

Good news for start-ups as seed funding exceeds peak levels of 2014

Funds raised from international investors  have increased eightfold from €65 million in 2011 to €548 million in 2016.

Funds raised from international investors have increased eightfold from €65 million in 2011 to €548 million in 2016.

 

Irish-based technology firms raised a record €888m last year, up 70 per cent on the €522 million reported in 2015.

Annual fundraising by Irish start-ups has more than trebled since 2012 when companies raised €268.9 million with institutional venture capital continuing to be the main provider of funding.

Fundraising has steadily increased in Ireland in recent years, rising from €284.9 million in 2013, to €400.7 million in 2014, and to more than €500 million in 2015.

Since the onset of the credit crunch in 2008, in excess of 1,400 Irish SMEs have raised venture capital totalling €3.5 billion.

The latest Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA) Venture Pulse survey, published in association with William Fry, shows the life sciences sector continued to be the star performer in 2016. It accounted for 52 per cent of all VC funding raised during the year, with just 11 companies raising more than 38 per cent of total recorded funds.

In 2011, the life sciences sector accounted for just 15 per cent of funds raised in Ireland.

Funds raised from international investors meanwhile have increased eightfold from €6 5million in 2011 to €548 million in 2016, the data shows.

Michael Murphy, IVCA’s chairman, said last year’s figures were particularly impressive given that venture capital activity in the US and the UK declined by 13 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

The number of companies raising growth/expansion funds has doubled over the six years with number of firms raising €25 million or more, trebling.

In 2016, early stage companies raised seed capital of €70.2 million, equivalent to 8 per cent of all funds, and up from €43.7 million a year earlier.

Mr Murphy said first-round funding was growing again and was now exceeding the peak levels recorded in 2014.