Irish Female Founders Break €100m in Tech Funding

8th March 2021

Posted In: FYI

A new report by TechIreland has found that Irish Female Founders raised more than €100 million in funding during a twelve-month period (2020) for the first time. The findings are contained in a new report issued today to coincide with International Women’s Day.

The report shows that in 2020, fifty tech start-up and scale-up companies with a female founder or co-founder raised a total of €105 million in funding through Venture Capital, Grants, Equity Finance and Angel Investments.
Some highlights:

The €105 million figure is a significant increase in funding compared to 2019, which is in contrast to international trends as Global VC funding to female founders decreased dramatically during the pandemic last year.

The companies with female founders that attracted the most funding operated in HealthTech, Enterprise Solutions, AgriTech and EdTech. This profile contrasts with male founders, who also successfully secured significant funding in the FinTech and CleanTech sectors

•60% of the funding secured by female founders went to HealthTech companies.

•2% of the funding went to FinTech (it was 16% for all companies

•1% of the funding went to CleanTech (it was 16% for all companies)

•Female Founded businesses were stronger in EdTech (education), whereas male founders dominated in the security and telecoms space.

The increase in funding was particularly driven by later-stage companies, compared to early-stage investments of less than €1 million which were slightly above 2019 levels. However, the resilience of early-stage investments was due to the strong performance of Enterprise Ireland, which doubled its funding for tech start-ups last year. Without this increased funding from the state agency, funding to early-stage start-ups run by female founders would have been severely impacted.

The report also shows that Dublin based female-founded companies received more than 46% (€48 million) of the total funding. However, the report also shows that there were significant investments in female-founded companies across the country, with some large investments in companies located in Kildare, Tipperary, Waterford, Mayo and Cork. While smaller levels of investment were recorded in female-founded companies in several other counties.

The report also reveals that only 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 4% of the total funding raised on the island.

Responding to the report, the Chief Executive of TechIreland, John O’Dea said “the €105 million figure is an important milestone and a great tribute to the female founders of the fifty companies that raised this record figure. It also means that Ireland is on par with the UK and is performing better than most EU countries in terms of funding for female tech businesses.”

However, John O’Dea added

“The uncomfortable fact is that female-founded tech companies are still underrepresented with female founders accounting for just 10% of the total funding raised last year, while only 18% of the tech companies that raised funding had a female founder.

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.”

Responding to the Report findings, Elaine Coughlan, Managing Partner and Founder of Atlantic Bridge VC said, “40% of our senior investment team at Atlantic Bridge are women. So it’s perhaps no coincidence that 40% of our portfolio companies also have a female in a leadership position.

We recognise that diversity in the management team leads to better decision making, helps attract and retain talent and ultimately increases profitability.”

Jenny Melia, Manager of the High Potential Start-Ups Team in Enterprise Ireland said, “Enterprise Ireland’s strategy is to increase the diversity of founders as diverse management leads to better decision making, helps attract and retain talent and ultimately increases profitability.

While this is much broader than gender, we continue to work to deliver our target of 30% of HPSUs led by female founders by 2025.”

The Female Founder Funding Report is sponsored by AWS and is available on TechIreland’s website HERE