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Record €1.3bn in venture capital as more Irish tech firms become unicorns

As Ireland’s number of tech ‘unicorns’ rises from four to six, the amount of money being poured into startups here is soaring, according to new figures from the Irish Venture Capital Association.

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Chairperson of the IVCA, Nicola McClafferty. Photo: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Chairperson of the IVCA, Nicola McClafferty. Photo: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Chairperson of the IVCA, Nicola McClafferty. Photo: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

A brace of new ‘unicorns’ helped Ireland to a record €1.3bn haul in tech funding over the last year, new figures show.

Funding for Let’s Get Checked (€123m), medical devices firm Mainstay Medical (€89m), fintech company Wayflyer (€62m) and software analytics company Kitman Labs (€52m) saw indigenous tech industry funding blow past previous annual totals, according to data compiled by the Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA).

The 44pc year-on-year rise included a high point of €458m recorded in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The news comes after the number of Irish tech unicorns – private firms valued at over €1bn – rose from four to six in January. Wayflyer (€134m) and delivery tech firm Flipdish (€87m) both signed big follow-on funding deals as the world’s financiers continue to ramp up investments in tech and biotech firms as an alternative to low-yield financial portfolios dogged by low interest rates.

The overall volume of deals in 2021 increased by 20pc to 279 from 233 in 2020.

Seed funding grew by 60pc in 2021 to €131m from €82m the previous year.

“The largest category increase was in deals between €10m and €30m,” said Sarah-Jane Larkin, director general of the IVCA.

“This category rose by 66pc to €356m in 2021, compared to €214m the previous year.”

The only decline recorded in the fourth quarter of 2021 was in deals valued at under €1m, down 35pc year-on-year.

This was due to overall deal sizes getting bigger, according to the IVCA.

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Deals in the €1m to €5m valuation segment were up by 151pc, growing to €68m from €27m in 2020.

There were also increases in all other deal sizes, with those over €30m growing in value by more than 400pc to €220m from €42m previously.

“We have never witnessed such a wide range of sectors raising venture capital or private equity, reflecting the fact that Irish high growth SMEs are now more broadly spread and diversified than in the past,” said the chairperson of the IVCA, Nicola McClafferty.

The IVCA’s VenturePulse survey was published in association with William Fry.


 


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