Sunday 21 January 2018

Dublin startups 80 times more likely to get cash funding than Cork firms

Regina Breheny
Regina Breheny
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

A surge in venture capital funding for tech startups is being focused almost exclusive on Dublin-based companies, new figures show.

The numbers, contained in the Irish Venture Capital Association's (IVCA) latest VenturePulse report, reveal that Dublin received at least €227m of the €307m raised by startups in the first six months of this year.

By contrast, the figures also show that startups in Limerick got nothing while startups in Cork only attracted a tiny €2.9m.

The statistics may cause concern in organisations such as Enterprise Ireland, which try to foster tech startup environments outside the capital.

A breakdown of the numbers also shows that 44 of the 68 disclosed individual VC investments here went to Dublin startups.

The IVCA figures show a 45pc growth in VC funding compared to the same period last year and over 90pc growth compared to the first half of 2013.

The vast majority (72pc) of VC investment in Irish tech startups remains under €3m per deal, with 33pc of all deals worth less than €1m. Only one in eight of the VC investments outlined in the IVCA figures is for an amount over €10m, shrinking to one in 14 when narrowed down to 'native' Irish startups.

Business software remains the biggest sector to see funding, with 38pc of all VC funding deals here. Medical devices (15pc) come next, with financial software (7pc), biotech (7pc) and environmental tech (7pc) the next most funded categories.

"The Irish venture capital community continues to be the main source of funding for Irish innovative SMEs both through direct investment and as the local lead investor for international syndicates," said Brian Caulfield, chairman of the IVCA. "These syndicates invested €79m in the second quarter and a total of €142m in the first half of 2015."

The report shows that the seed funds supported by the banking sector and Enterprise Ireland are close to being fully invested, with just €7.6m invested in the second three months of this year, the lowest quarterly activity since the creation of the funds.

"The Government has recognised that these funds need to be renewed if entrepreneurs are to be supported as actively as in the last five years," said Regina Breheny, director of the IVCA.

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