Venture-capital investors see potential in Irish software sector

18 Feb 2010

The head of the Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA) has said that despite the economic challenges facing the country, his members believe Irish software companies still make solid, worthwhile investments.

“Despite the challenges facing our economy, our members recognise the great potential in this sector,” said John Tracey, chairman of the IVCA.

“Investing in software and other technology-focused companies encourages the employment of graduates and encourages greater exports and growth thus leading to improved returns for all,” Tracey said.

Tracey was speaking at the launch of The Software Investment Forum, organised by the Irish Software Association’s Growth and Scale Working Group and the IVCA.

The Irish software industry employs more than 10,000 people in more than 500 companies, with a combined sales of €1.4 billion, of which more than 70pc is exported, largely to the UK and US.

Between 2008 and 2009, the ICT sector was one of few to grow employment numbers, seeing an increase of 3.4pc.

Members of the IVCA have some €700 million to invest over the next few years, and have already invested €1.5 billion in Ireland during the last 10 years.

With credit markets and finance for growth challenging to secure, this is a strategically important event for the Irish software industry,” said Howard Beggs, chairman of the ISA working group.

The Software Investment Forum is open to all SME and start-up software and technology companies.

“The software industry has, and will continue to make, a significant contribution to our economy and people’s lives if given the correct supports it needs. We need to strengthen and sustain our software industry if it is to reach its full potential. Investment in knowledge-based jobs is more important now than ever before,” said Paul Sweetman, director of the Irish Software Association.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years