Irish technology firms raised €332m in the first quarter of 2018, according to the Irish Venture Capital Association VenturePulse survey published today in association with William Fry. This is an increase of 34% on the same period last year when €246.7m was raised.
The survey is recognised as the definitive source of fundraising activity in Ireland by the VC industry and by government and international bodies including the OECD. The data covers equity funds raised by Irish SMEs and other SMEs headquartered on the island of Ireland from a wide variety of investors.
Since the onset of the credit crunch in 2008, in excess of 1,400 Irish SMEs have raised venture capital of €4.8bn. These funds were raised almost exclusively by Irish VC fund managers who during this period: supported the creation of up to 20,000 jobs, attracted over €2bn of capital into Ireland and geared up the State’s investment through the Seed& Venture Capital Programme by almost 16 times.
Despite the headline figures, Irish Venture Capital Association chairman Peter Sandys warned that a number of large deals may have disguised a softening in the market. He said that the first quarter suggested no room for complacency and that international uncertainties made it more important than ever to continue to build a strong indigenous technology sector.
According to Sandys, the significant jump in funding raised year on year is primarily due to two €100m funding rounds at Limerick based AMCS and Dublin based Intercom. He believes the second quarter will give a better picture as to whether Ireland is witnessing an underlying softness in 2018.
Commenting on the figures, Director general at IVCA, Sarah-Jane Larkin said, "The Irish venture capital community continues to be the main source of funding for Irish innovative SMEs both through direct investment and as the local lead investor for international syndicate investors who invested €195m or 58% of total funds raised in the first quarter 2018. It is significant that much overseas investment has come across the Atlantic from the US rather than from Europe and has funded larger deal rounds."
She added, "This lack of capital in the European market was highlighted recently when the European Commission announced a pan-European venture capital fund of finds programme called Venture EU, aimed at triggering increased availability of capital and doubling the amount of venture capital currently available across Europe."