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Irish tech firms with female founders raise €105m in funding

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Elaine Coughlan, Managing Partner and Founder of Atlantic Bridge. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Elaine Coughlan, Managing Partner and Founder of Atlantic Bridge. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Elaine Coughlan, Managing Partner and Founder of Atlantic Bridge. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Female Irish founders of technology companies raised more than €100m in funding during a 12-month period for the first time last year, according to a report from TechIreland published this morning to coincide with International Women’s Day.

Last year 50 tech start-up and scale-up companies with an Irish female founder or co-founder secured €105m via venture capital, grants, equity finance and angel investments.

The figure compares to €63m raised by 50 companies with an Irish female founder or co-founder in 2019. Among the firms that raised funding last year was Payslip, based in Westport, Co Mayo.

Founded in 2016 by Fidelma McGuirk, the former CEO of Taxback, the company helps firms manage their payroll across different countries.

It raised €2.7m last year in a Series A investment round. Backers include Frontline Ventures, Tribal VC, Enterprise Ireland and HBAN.

“We are now getting a lot of interest from international VCs and we see international investment adding to Payslip’s future growth,” said Ms McGuirk in the TechIreland report. “While the tech industry, particularly Fintech, is traditionally considered a male environment, things are improving.”

But Elaine Coughlan, a co-founder of Irish venture capital firm Atlantic Bridge, said there are still obstacles to be overcome.

“I still see huge challenges: 50pc of the population are women, so while €105m is to be celebrated, female founders account for only 10pc of the total raised – so we still have a way to go,” she said.

John O’Dea, the chief executive of TechIreland, said that Ireland is now on par with the UK and performing better than most EU countries in terms of funding for female tech businesses.

“The uncomfortable fact is that female-founded tech companies are still underrepresented,” he said.

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“There is an urgent need for greater support for female entrepreneurs to create tech businesses and also for the continued promotion of STEM subjects for girls in our educational system,” he added.

Just six female-founded companies in Northern Ireland were successful in securing funding last year.

The total raised by female-founded companies in Northern Ireland represents around 4pc of the total funding raised across the island.


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