Ireland sees ‘record’ quarter for VC investment: KPMG report

29 Jul 2021

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Ireland attracted €540.5m of VC investment in the second quarter of the year, as Europe and the Americas also set records.

Ireland attracted more VC investment in Q2 of 2021 than any previous quarter, according to KPMG’s latest quarterly Venture Pulse report.

During the three months to 30 June, it said that 33 venture capital deals involving Irish start-ups closed, representing a total value of €540.5m ($641.5m).

By comparison, the first quarter of the year saw 24 Irish deals totalling €105.6m ($125.4m). Previous record quarters for Ireland were Q2 of 2018 at €435.5m ($517m) and Q2 of 2019 at €434.2m ($515.5m).

‘The record investment levels in Q2 2021 demonstrates how well Irish companies have reacted and adapted to the Covid-19 crisis’

The most valuable VC deal in the period was LetsGetChecked’s $150m Series D round. The health testing kit start-up is now valued at more than $1bn and has attracted repeated investment from pro golfer Rory McIlroy.

Next was biopharma outlet GH Research’s $125m Series B raise and mining investor TechMet’s $120m round. Wayflyer, an e-commerce growth platform, raised $76m in Series A funding in May, and green cement start-up Ecocem came fifth with a $27m fundraising deal.

“The record investment levels in Q2 2021 demonstrates how well Irish companies have reacted and adapted to the Covid-19 crisis,” said Anna Scally, partner and fintech lead at KPMG Ireland. “Irish businesses are providing solutions to issues we couldn’t have imagined two years ago and unsurprisingly, health, biotech and tech solution companies attracted keen investment.

“We’re seeing support for companies which are developing life-enhancing products and services for our ‘new normal’ and I expect that trend to continue through the remainder of the year.”

While there was a sharp decline in funding for early-stage start-ups in Ireland last year, the KPMG report noted that several earlier-stage tech companies secured funding in the most recent quarter. This includes gifting platform &Open, which raised $7.2m in May, and Dublin-based Kastus, which recently raised €5.65m for its anti-viral coating tech.

“Similar to last quarter, investment was spread across a number of sectors and I’m especially encouraged to see innovative green solutions and family businesses featuring in this quarter’s list, along with health and tech companies,” Scally added.

“As the green agenda continues to be a dominant boardroom issue, we will likely see even more innovative solutions emerge in this space from Irish companies in the future.”

Q2 was a record period for VC investment globally, according to the KPMG report, with $157.1bn invested across more than 7,600 individual deals.

Europe and the Americas saw regional record quarters, as did the US, India, the UK, Canada, Brazil, the Netherlands, Australia and many other countries. Europe saw 1,848 VC deals worth a combined $34bn.

Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin