Two Irish startups buck venture capital funding crunch

Bluedrop Medical to create 25 jobs as part of €10.5m funding round, while Horizon Quantum Computing has raised $18.1m

Simon Kiersey and Chris Murphy of Bluedrop Medical

Adrian Weckler

Over €25m in new funding has been announced for Irish tech firms and founders.

A Galway-based medical device startup has raised €10.5m in a funding round for further development of its foot-scanning device.

The company, Bluedrop Medical, says that it plans to create 25 jobs as part of the process.

The funding round was co-led by Atlantic Bridge and Elkstone, with other investors including the European Innovation Council Fund, Furthr VC, the Western Development Commission, Ascentifi and some HBAN syndicates.

Bluedrop is developing a remote patient monitoring solution that can detect early signs of diabetic foot ulcers. The company hopes that its technology can reduce the rate of preventable amputations on people with diabetes

Meanwhile, Irishman Dr Joe Fitzsimons’s Horizon Quantum Computing has raised $18.1m (€16.6m) in a Series A round for his Singapore-based company. The cash, raised from tech giants such as Sequoia and Tencent, will be used to establish a new engineering centre in Europe, as well as to develop its quantum computing technology.

The funding rounds come amid turbulent times for the tech sector, with layoffs and funding crunches across sections of the global industry.

Currently employing 17 people, Bluedrop Medical will more than double its staff base to 42 this year, with a mixture of roles covering engineering, product development and manufacturing. The engineering and development roles will be based in Ireland while the commercial roles will be in the US.

“This new funding is a testament to the huge amount of work our team has put in to developing a world class product that addresses a serious and growing medical need,” said the CEO of Bluedrop Medical, Chris Murphy.

“The patients we target have lost feeling in their feet and have a 40pc annual risk of developing a diabetic foot ulcer, with many leading to amputation. Almost all of these amputations are preventable.”

Mr Murphy co-founded the company with Simon Kiersey in 2015. The latest funding brings Bluedrop Medical’s total investment received to-date to €16m. Bluedrop Medical won the Irish Medtech Award for Digital Health Innovation of the Year in December,

Dr Fitzsimons’s Horizon Quantum Computing recently announced that it is opening its first European offices in Ireland where it is building out its new engineering centre.

“Quantum computing has the potential to completely change how we think about computing,” he said.

“While getting to large scale quantum computing is a daunting challenge, it is undeniable that progress towards that goal is being made. At Horizon, we focus on unlocking the power of future quantum computers, and have made significant headway towards our goal of enabling conventional software developers to take advantage of the technology through abstraction and automated algorithm synthesis. The new investment will support our effort to break through the barriers to useful quantum computation.”