Funding of Irish SMEs almost doubles in first quarter to €237m

Finance | Wed 11 May | Author – Business & Finance
Brian Caulfield
Brian Caulfield, chairman, Irish Venture Capital Association

Irish high-tech SMEs raised €237m in the first quarter of 2016, or nearly double the amount over the same period last year, according to a Irish Venture Capital Association survey published today.

One company (Oneview Healthcare) raised €40m through an IPO in Australia reflecting the increasing globalisation of Irish businesses.

Life sciences dominated the first quarter with 42% of funds raised by 15 companies in this sector. Two companies raised over 25% of total funds.

Growth/expansion funding represented 90% of total funds raised.

Since the onset of the credit crunch in 2008, in excess of 1,250 Irish SMEs raised venture capital of €2.8bn. These funds were raised almost exclusively by Irish venture capital fund managers who during this period supported the creation of up to 20,000 jobs; attracted over €1.25bn of capital into Ireland and geared up the State’s investment through the Seed and Venture Capital programme by almost 16 times.

First round seed funding at €24.7m had more than doubled from €11.9m in the same period last year.

“About half the funds came through international syndicates, which shows an encouraging and continuing strong global appetite for the Irish tech sector,” commented Brian Caulfield, chairman, Irish Venture Capital Association.

He continued: “The first quarter results continue the positive performance of last year overall when funding of Irish SMEs rose by 30% to €522m.”

Regina Breheny, director general, Irish Venture Capital Association, added: “The increase in this quarter to €237m from €119.8m last year is a positive result considering that the industry in Ireland is in fundraising mode.”

“The importance of close international relationships is once again emphasised by continued strong support from global players, who invested €116m or 49% of total funds raised in the first quarter,” said Breheny.

“Early stage companies have benefited from support from Irish VCs and private investors such as angels. While seed funds supported by Enterprise Ireland are being renewed, it will take some months yet to get these up and running.”