Report reveals Irish start-ups take four years to get Series A funding

NDRC survey shows firms with funding find it hard to compete with tech giants for staff

NDRC chief executive Ben Hurley: “The findings show that a strong work ethic is a pre-requisite when building a business from the ground up.”

Most Irish entrepreneurs spend less than a year developing their idea before starting their firm, according to a new study which also shows few of them have a formal education in either business or technology.

New research undertaken by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of the early stage tech investor NDRC, also shows it takes two years on average for Irish start-ups to obtain seed funding and double that time before they receive Series A financing.

The report reveals most entrepreneurs fly by their seat of their pants when establishing a business with only a handful spending a year or more researching their business idea before setting up shop.

More than 70 per cent of entrepreneurs said they were moved to start their business by believing there was a gap in the market and many described themselves as “risk takers”. Unsurprisingly, half of all survey respondents cited working for themselves as a core reason to go into business.



While almost all entrepreneurs have some sort of a college qualification, one-third have no formal education in the areas of business or technology, and just two-in-five have a background in computing.

Other findings from the research include a concern among Series A-funded companies that competing with the likes of Facebook and Google for staff is difficult.

While the threat of Brexit looms, one-in-three start-ups are looking to expand into the UK over the next five years. Australia and New Zealand were also cited as markets of interest for Irish start-ups.

"The findings show that a strong work ethic is a pre-requisite when building a business from the ground up. Meanwhile, Ireland's education system helps, too, by providing a plethora of university graduates, something we're seeing in the start-up space to great effect," said Ben Hurley, chief executive of NDRC.

NDRC, formerly the National Digital Research Centre, was established in 2007 by a consortium of Irish third-level institutions. It has invested in more than 250 start-ups to date with alumni including Boxever, Silver Cloud, Nuritas and Soundwave.

The organisation invests primarily using an accelerator model through its Launchpad, Catalyser and VentureLab investment programmes which provide modest amounts of capital and high amounts of hands-on support to early stage companies.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist