TechIreland data shows female-founded companies are on the rise

26 Oct 2017

Female-led firms are doing well, according to TechIreland data. Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Start-ups founded by women in Ireland are a force to be reckoned with, according to new data from TechIreland.

TechIreland began gathering data in 2016, while still under the umbrella of the Dublin Commissioner for Start-ups office. It’s a comprehensive database of innovative Irish companies, and is an invaluable resource.

Speaking to last year, founder and CEO Niamh Bushnell said: “Until now, start-ups have been existing incognito for some time with no database to present them or map their progress. It’s not only about finding customers for these start-ups, but showing them off to investors.”

A snapshot of female-founded companies

Today (26 October), TechIreland released a snapshot of how female-founded companies are faring in the country’s growing digital landscape. At present, there are 224 Irish female-founded start-ups, employing 2,761 people.

Impressively, the companies have collectively raised €263m in total funding, and 26 of the firms have landed significant funding deals. These range from CogniKids, a company that designs products for natural baby development, founded by Ollwyn Moran; to telemedicine firm VideoDoc; and Axonista, a video software company.

43pc of female-founded companies are funded, with the average fund size at €1.1m. 69pc of the firms are under five years old.

Enterprise solutions on top

Looking at the top sectors for female-founded companies, it’s enterprise solutions that is the most popular, followed closely by health/medical, consumer/e-commerce and entertainment/sports rounding out the top four.

There have been numerous female-founded start-ups established this year, including Khonsu Therapeutics, Piprate and Zendfast.

In terms of what can be done to support female founders, Bushnell said: “Many more Irish angel and VC investors need to invest in our female founders and talk publicly about that experience and that support. It’ll be a major breakthrough when female founders become as likely to secure private funding as their male peers.

“We’re nowhere near that breakthrough point today but the ecosystem in Ireland is evolving quickly and maybe we can lead the way.”

Why the focus on founders?

She also explained why TechIreland decided to focus on founders as opposed to women in C-level positions: “Because, as they say, in the beginning there were founders.

“Founders are the people who took the first – and often the biggest – risks, leaving the safe job, evangelising the new idea, demanding attention in a very noisy market, attracting the early funding, talent, or both. Without founders, there’s no C-suite to support, or congratulate as the company scales.”

Bushnell also cited the general importance of bodies such as Enterprise Ireland, NDRC and DCU Ryan Academy in fostering Ireland’s start-up ecosystem.

Check out this handy infographic with even more stats below.

Infographic: TechIreland

Updated, 8.12am, 27 October 2017: This article was updated to amend an inaccurate figure relating to the number of female-led start-ups founded in 2017.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects