Record €1.3bn in venture capital as more Irish tech companies become unicorns

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A pair of new ‘unicorns’ have helped Ireland reach a record €1.3 billion in tech funding over the past year, according to new figures.

Funding from Let’s Get Checked (€123 million), medical device company Mainstay Medical (€89 million), fintech company Wayflyer (€62 million) and software analytics firm Kitman Labs (52 million euros) saw funding for the indigenous tech industry exceed previous annual totals, according to data compiled by the Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA).

The 44% year-on-year rise included a high of 458 million euros recorded in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The news comes after the number of Irish tech unicorns – private companies valued at over €1 billion – rose from four to six in January. Wayflyer (€134m) and delivery technology company Flipdish (€87m) have both signed major follow-on funding deals as the world’s financiers continue to ramp up business investment of technology and biotechnology as an alternative to low-yielding financial portfolios plagued by low interest rates.

Overall transaction volume in 2021 increased by 20% to 279 from 233 in 2020.

Seed funding increased by 60% in 2021 to €131 million from €82 million the previous year.

“The largest category increase is for transactions between 10 and 30 million euros,” said Sarah-Jane Larkin, chief executive of the IVCA.

“This category increased by 66% to reach 356 million euros in 2021, compared to 214 million euros the previous year.”

The only decline recorded in the fourth quarter of 2021 was in transactions worth less than €1 million, down 35% year-on-year.

This was due to the overall increase in transaction sizes, according to the IVCA.

Transactions in the €1-5 million value segment increased by 151% from €27 million to €68 million in 2020.

There were also increases in all other deal sizes, with those over €30m rising in value by more than 400% to €220m from €42m previously.

“We have never seen such a wide range of sectors raising venture capital or private equity, which reflects the fact that Irish high growth SMEs are now more widely spread and diversified than in the past,” he said. said IVCA President Nicola McClafferty.

The IVCA’s VenturePulse survey was published in association with William Fry.

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