Brilliant women founders are making serious inroads into the Irish tech funding scene, but there is still some distance to go.
Irish start-ups with women founders secured €79.4m worth of investment out of a total of €580.2m raised in 2017, or just under 14pc of the total amount, according to the latest data tracked by TechIreland.
TechIreland is a not-for-profit data player led by former start-up commissioner for Ireland, Niamh Bushnell.
TechIreland’s data tracked 1,641 companies, 313 multinationals and 207 global investors active in Ireland. The data covered 13 innovation sectors including new deep tech domains such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), blockchain, internet of things (IoT) and software as a service (SaaS).
Out of €580.2m invested during 2017 that had been tracked by TechIreland, the largest funding rounds included: Arralis (€50m), Atlantic Therapeutics (€15m) and Blueface (€10m) in Q1; Iterum Therepeutics (€59.5m), Anord Control (€40m) and Plynk in Q2; Cubic Telecom (€40m), Swrve (€20.9m) and Jobbio (€9.7m) in Q3; and TransferMate (€30m), Nuritas (€16m) and GC Aesthetics (€4.2m) in Q4.
In terms of businesses led by women founders, the largest rounds in 2017 were: Global Shares (€4.5m), Axonista (€1.7m) and Soapbox Labs (€1.2m) in Q1; Madme (€1.3m), Popertee (€500,000) and Nova Leah (€422,000) in Q2; Tandem HR Solutions (€2m), WarDucks (€1.3m) and Homestay (€750,000) in Q3; and TransferMate (€30m), Nuritas (€16m) and GC Aesthetics (€4.2m) in Q4.
As for the top sectors funded during 2017, health and medtech dominated, capturing 31pc of the total funding pie, followed by fintech (13pc), industrial tech (12pc), telecoms (11pc), green/energy (9pc) and enterprise (9pc).
Emerging tech is making its mark
Out of emerging technologies and deep tech, 15 IoT companies secured €105.7m in funding, followed by 24 AI start-ups garnering €79.4m, and 34 companies in the SaaS realm securing €61m.
Four AR/VR companies secured €4.5m, and two blockchain start-ups secured €550,000 between them.
Out of a total of 183 companies that received funding in 2017, about 113 of them were founded in the last five years. Around 24 companies founded in 2015 captured €123m in investment, and 22 companies founded in 2013 secured €101.5m in investment.
The most active investors on the Irish scene include: Atlantic Bridge, ACT, AIB Seed Capital, Delta Partners, Elkstone, Growing Capital, Frontline and Suir Valley Ventures.
New arrivals on the scene include: Cylon, VenBio, Sands Capital, Breed Reply, Swiss Privee, True Ventures and Earlybird Venture Capital.
TechIreland’s data tracked €506m across 165 companies in 165 rounds compared with the Irish Venture Capital Association’s (IVCA) data, which tracked €817m across 149 companies in 161 rounds. Total funding where the IVCA data and the TechIreland data match up amounts to €468m.