Female-founded Irish tech companies raised €105m in 2020
Female Irish tech companies raised more than €100 million in funding in a twelve month period for the first time last year. This comes from a new report from TechIreland, launched to coincide with International Women’s Day.
The report showed that in 2020, 50 tech start-up and scale-up companies with a female founder or co-founder raised a total of €105 million in funding through venture capital, grants, equity finance and angel investments. This is in contrast to international trends as Global VC funding to female founders decreased during the pandemic last year.
It added that the female-founded companies that attracted the most funding operated in healthtech, enterprise IT, agtech and edtech, which contrasts with male founders, who also successfully secured significant funding in the fintech and cleantech sectors
A total of 60% of the funding secured by female founders went to HealthTech companies, and just 2% went to fintech (it was 16% for all companies). However, female founded businesses were stronger in edtech (education), whereas male founders dominated in the security and telecoms space, it noted.
The increase in funding was particularly driven by later-stage companies, compared to early-stage investments of less than €1 million which were slightly above 2019 levels. However, the resilience of early-stage investments was due to the strong performance of Enterprise Ireland, which doubled its funding for tech start-ups last year. Without this increased funding from the state agency, funding to early-stage start-ups run by female founders would have been severely impacted.
The report also shows that Dublin based female-founded companies received more than 46% (€48 million) of the total funding. However, the report also shows that there were significant investments in female-founded companies across the country, with some large investments in companies located in Kildare, Tipperary, Waterford, Mayo and Cork. While smaller levels of investment were recorded in female-founded companies in several other counties.
Only six female-founded companies in Northern Ireland were successful in securing funding last year. The total raised by female-founded companies in Northern Ireland represents around 4% of the total funding raised on the island.
“The €105 million figure is an important milestone and a great tribute to the female founders of the fifty companies that raised this record figure,” said John O’Dea, chief executive of TechIreland. “It also means that Ireland is on par with the UK and is performing better than most EU countries in terms of funding for female tech businesses.”
O’Dea added that “the uncomfortable fact is that female-founded tech companies are still underrepresented with female founders accounting for just 10% of the total funding raised last year, while only 18% of the tech companies that raised funding had a female founder. There is an urgent need for greater support for female entrepreneurs to create tech businesses and also for the continued promotion of STEM subjects for girls in our educational system.”
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