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Small tech firms drive Irish venture capital to €820m

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IVCA chairman Neil McGowan, who is head of investments at MML Growth Capital Partners

IVCA chairman Neil McGowan, who is head of investments at MML Growth Capital Partners

Colm Mahady / Fennells

IVCA chairman Neil McGowan, who is head of investments at MML Growth Capital Partners

A surge in funding to Irish startups and tech companies saw the total value of venture capital investment in Ireland rise to €820m last year, according to new figures from the Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA).

The funding - a jump from the €740m committed in 2018 - was driven by a doubling of VC cash in the last quarter to €253m and a spike in 'seed' or early stage funding to startups. About €76m was invested last year compared to €49m the year before. Software companies attracted 39pc of funds in 2019 and life sciences firms 20pc.

"While 2019 was below the peak of €994m in 2017, a small number of large deals can have a significant impact," said IVCA chairman Neil McGowan, who is head of investments at MML Growth Capital Partners.

"The impact of Enterprise Ireland's new €175m seed and venture capital scheme is starting to be felt in the Irish marketplace."

The figures emerged from the IVCA's VenturePulse survey, published with William Fry. They show that deals valued at €5m to €10m rose by 175pc to €102m in 2019.

"This is important, as these amounts are typically raised by scaling companies that are at a critical stage in terms of expansion in employment and revenues," said IVCA director-general Sarah-Jane Larkin.

The IVCA figures cover equity funds raised by Irish SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and other SMEs headquartered on the island of Ireland.

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