Irish Female-led Startups Buck the Trend

3rd May 2023

Posted In: The Topic

Today TechIreland publishes the Startup Funding Review 2023 Edition on investments into Irish startups and scale-ups for 2022.

John O’Dea, TechIreland’s Chief Executive said: ”The Irish startup ecosystem is robust. For the first time, over 140 early stage startups fundraised, up from 96 in 2021.

It is encouraging to see that early stage supports by Enterprise Ireland, NDRC, HBAN and third level continue their strong support for early stage tech entrepreneurs, paving the way for a new generation of startups and Irish innovation.”

At €1.3 Billion, Irish startup funding in 2022 remained well above a billion for a third consecutive year but dropped from the €1.6 Billion raised in 2021. Last year was the second best year both in terms of the total raised and the number of companies funded.

It is however a gloomier picture with both the amount invested and the number of companies being funded declining by 19% and 5% respectively.

Again, the top 10 largest investments accounted for more than half of the overall funding. Wayflyer raised €226m, followed by Flipdish (€87.2m) and TransferMate Global Payments (€66m). For the first time, four companies from outside Dublin feature on the top 10 – Kilkenny’s TransferMate, Galway’s Carrick Therapeutics, Trinity BioTech from Wicklow and Keelvar from Cork. Funding into Dublin companies dropped by a third from €1.2 Billion in 2021 to €800m.

On the positive side, a record number of young startups (founded in the last three years) raised funding last year, thanks to Enterprise Ireland support, including the new Pre-Seed Start Fund.

Donnchadh Cullinan of Enterprise Ireland said: “In 2022 we successfully launched our new Pre Seed-Start Fund, which seeks to build upon the success of our previous CSF Scheme. The new fund aims to enhance and modernise the offer to more closely align with the ever-changing needs of the startup ecosystem. Initial demand was encouragingly high, and we look forward to fully rolling the fund out in 2023.”

Last year was the best ever for Angel Funding, 20% up on 2021. HBAN reported a record €33m, comprising 699 individual investments in 86 deals. Ireland continued to outperform with European Innovation Council funding. Nine Irish startups secured a total of €43m in 2022.

Sectorally, for the first time, HealthTech was not the top sector, dropping 44% to €350m, while FinTech was up 37% to €363m, driven by the large WayFlyer raise. As might be expected, Security and CleanTech also showed large increases (140% and almost 500% respectively). Tines dominated the Security figures, raising over 75% of the total. The big losers (apart from HealthTech) were Enterprise Solutions, e-commerce and especially Consumer products which fell by 80%.

In terms of regions, Galway had its best year ever with 25 companies raising a combined €182m while funding to Dublin dropped by over a third. Again, outliers distort the picture, notably Kilkenny-based TransferMate’s €66m. A total of fourteen regional startups/scale-ups each raised over €10m.

Last year was a disappointing one for tech startups and scaleups in Northern Ireland. Funding appears to have decreased substantially from €80m in 2021 to €50m. As in previous years, Belfast dominates with over 95% of the funding.

Funding dropped for some technology clusters including Artificial Intelligence, SaaS and medical devices while Blockchain and ImmersiveTech saw renewed activity.

Despite declines for global and European startup funding, Irish women entrepreneurs bucked the trend; 72 female-led startups raised a total €234m last year, a small increase on the record €230m raised in 2021.

Sarah Jane Larkin of the IVCA said: “Recent global events have threatened the liberal economic order and concerns about the wisdom of being so reliant on flows of overseas capital are emerging. But a significant positive in the figures is the increase in companies raising for the first time.”

Emerging trends include sustainability solutions, reward solutions tied to carbon offsetting, platforms for hybrid working, artificial intelligence-based content platforms, solutions to support mental health etc.

You can find out more by visiting TechIreland here>>