TechIreland Female Founder Funding Review 2024

8th March 2024

Posted In: FYI

Last year (2023),  saw a significant drop in Tech funding, but Ireland still outperforms other European regions in support for women-led startups.

Data from TechIreland’s recent report shows that a record number of 77 Irish women-founded startups fundraised last year, up from 72 in 2022.

However, the total amount raised dropped to €93 million, down from a record €234 million raised the previous year. 2023’s total was also the lowest in the last four years.

This can be attributable to the global slowdown in startup funding, and headwinds Irish tech companies are facing. Overall funding for Irish startups dropped last year, with average deal size falling 50%, similar to the drop in average seen among women-founded startups.

Chief Executive of TechIreland, John O’Dea said, “This year for the first time, TechIreland’s report includes European benchmarking. While it’s encouraging to see Ireland rank among the top European countries, there is a sharp drop in total funding.

Global startup funding slowed last year and we are not immune to such macroeconomic headwinds, but that said, there is clearly more work to be done to support our female founders.’’


There is a reason to be optimistic about female founded startups. The numbers for early stage rounds including pre-seed, seed and Series A have held up well and the average deal sizes in these early rounds has increased. Early stage support by Enterprise Ireland, LEOs and other programmes including NDRC’s Accelerator and Pre-Accelerators deserve credit for nurturing a strong pipeline of new startups.

Sinead Lonergan of Enterprise Ireland said, ‘‘We are continuing to strive for a 50% equal split of investments in male and female lead teams. The New Frontiers program continues to attract a high number of females on their Phase 2 programme. In 2022, 38% of the participants were women. This number is increasing year on year.”

This year’s report also compares female founders’ funding in Ireland with other European countries. In per capita terms, Ireland gets the top spot for the number of rounds reported by women-founded startups.

Helen McBreen of Atlantic Bridge said; ‘‘45% of the companies in Atlantic Bridge’s early-stage fund portfolio are female founded and/or have at least one female executive in the leadership team. This is up from 30% of the portfolio in 2002 and is almost three times the European benchmark.”

Furthermore, even in absolute terms, we rank among the top 10 European countries for total investments raised as well as the number of deals. However, total investments that went into our women-founded startups seriously lags behind countries like the UK, Germany and France.

A deep-dive into the numbers shows that the overall drop in funding among women-founded startups came from a drop in the number of large rounds above €10 million. In previous years, such large outliers had inflated total funding numbers whereas in 2023 there were only two such large outliers. Tipperary based Shorla Oncology raised €31 million and Dublin’s ProVerum Medical raised €15 million. As in most previous years, nearly half of all the funding raised in 2023 were made by the top two outliers. In 2022, the outliers made up 66% of the total, so 2023 totals were less skewed in that sense.

Aine Mulloy of Amazon Web Services said, ‘‘We’ve seen a near 50% drop in overall startup investment figures this year, that percentage being even higher for those companies with female founders. However, there are reasons to be optimistic.

The increase from a mere two companies, with a female founder, raising €100-€300K in 2018, versus 35 companies last year, is exciting.’’

In terms of sectors, HealthTech continues to top the table with 37 companies raising a total €77 million, although the total raised dropped from €166 million in 2022. Consistent with startup funding overall, Enterprise Solutions startups saw a sharp fall in funding with 9 startups raised just €2.9 million, down from €43 million by 16 the previous year. With no large outliers, FinTech also saw a drop in funding from €72 million (2022) to €3.9 million (2023). In 2022, TransferMate Global Payments had raised €66 million. Most other sectors held up but from an already low baseline.

Faye Walsh Drouillard of WakeUp Capital said, “Despite the recent market reset, we believe female founders in Ireland are prepared and able to take advantage of climate and AI research, funding and market opportunities in global markets and aid the transitions to an equitable AI future and a net zero economy.’’

In terms of the regions, about 50% of the total funding went into the regions outside Dublin, but a large share of the regions funding is made by one outlier as Tipperary’s Shorla Oncology raised €31.8 million.

Of the 77 women-founded companies that fundraised, 35 were based in the regions outside Dublin.

Again, the seeding of new startups in the regions is promising, and it is encouraging that the pipeline of young startups founded by women entrepreneurs is strong and growing in the regions. Northern Ireland based startups raised less than a million, however of the 4 to 5 rounds reported, most did not disclose the amounts raised.

You can find out more by visiting TechIreland here>>