Tumble in VC funding for Irish companies in first half of 2018

Alex Hobbs and Sarah-Jane Larkin, Irish Venture Capital Association

20 September 2018

Venture capital funding into Irish tech firms for the first half of 2018 fell by 9% to €453 million according to the Irish Venture Capital Association VenturePulse survey published in association with William Fry. This is the first time that venture capital funding has fallen since the 4th quarter 2011.

“The downturn was triggered by a significant decline in the second quarter when funding dropped by over 50% to €121m compared to €252m in the same period last year,” said Alex Hobbs, chairman, Irish Venture Capital Association.

Half of the total figure for the second quarter was accounted for by one deal – the €64 million funding round secured by Sublimity Therapeutics.

“This was the only deal over €10 million in the second quarter. We can’t say for sure whether this is a temporary blip relating to timing of scaling companies funding demand but we did signal in the first quarter of this year that a number of large deals may have disguised a softening in the market. These figures bear that out,” said Hobbs.

The number of companies receiving funding in the first half of 2018 was 89 down over 30% from 141 in the same period last year.

“At an uncertain economic time and high mobility of Foreign Direct Investment, it is more important than ever to support jobs in an indigenous tech sector, so these figures represent an alarm call,” said Sarah-Jane Larkin, director general, IVCA.

“There is a tightening in the supply of capital. Working in co-operation with Government we need to put new structures in place that can attract more private funding.”

Life sciences accounted for 35% of total funding for the period, followed by software (31%).

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