Dublin firms land 80% of venture capital funds

Dublin firms received more than four times more venture capital funding in the first quarter of the year than the rest of the country combined.

New figures from the Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA) show a major regional imbalance in the distribution of VC funding across the island with Dublin-based firms attracting more than 80% of all disclosed funding in the opening three months of the year.

In comparison, Galway was the next-best performing city with an 11.6% share thanks to a single investment in life sciences firm 4Tech of €25.9m.

Limerick’s Kneat Solutions attracted €5.5m (2.4%) in the city’s only first quarter deal while Cork garnered even less of the available funding with a 2.2% share of VC investment despite registering five deals.

Among the Cork companies to secure investment were sports media platform Pundit Arena (€650,000); data storage company MP Stor (€1.9m) and Vearsa — formerly known as ePub Direct — which secured €890,000.

Despite the lopsided nature of the Irish venture capital landscape in the opening months of 2016, IVCA director general Regina Breheny said she didn’t believe there was need for more VC companies to be based outside of Dublin.

Four of the five biggest deals in the quarter were secured by Dublin companies, including MedTech software company Oneview Healthcare which raised €40m through an IPO on the Australian stock market.

Life Sciences firm Iterum Therapeutics raised €36m in the second largest deal of the quarter, followed by the 4Tech deal in Galway.

Financial Technology (FinTech) company Future Finance secured the fourth biggest investment of €23.75m, followed by fellow Dublin company Novaerus (€13.4m) — another life sciences firm.

Ms Breheny said the life sciences sector is one that is maturing well in Europe and particularly in Ireland.

The presence of a number of large multinationals in Ireland has helped create an ecosystem that has seen smaller companies flourish too. She added that Limerick has significant potential for a similar cluster to emerge in FinTech.

Overall, 42 high-tech Irish SMEs raised €224m from venture capital firms in the opening quarter.

A further €13.35m was raised in undisclosed deals bringing the total to €237.35m — almost twice the amount raised over the same period last year.

Early stage companies raised seed capital of €24.7m in Q1 compared to €11.9m in the same period last year, although both figures represented 10% of the respective totals.


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