New research has found that the lack of early stage funding in Ireland is the top barrier to growth for Irish start ups. The research, published by Amarach Research and commissioned by Startup Ireland, also found that only 16% of Irish start-ups currently feel well served by Government Policy, 54% feel the startup sector in Ireland is not represented effectively while 78% said that the Irish start up sector is not operating at full potential.

The research findings were presented at the recent Vision 2020 Forum in Dublin, an event organised by Startup Ireland, to bring together key players in the start up sector to debate and identify the actions needed to maximise Dublin’s, and Ireland’s, start up potential. Survey responses were received from over 280 start ups and 21 incubation/accelerator managers around the country.

Commenting, Eoin Costello, Co-Founder, Startup Ireland, said: “The large emerging cohort of Irish-founded high tech companies can bring the country an unprecedented level of sustainable high-value employment, innovation and domestic wealth generation. Attracting international start ups to locate in Ireland can also contribute to this. Ireland has, however, accumulated a number of unintentional obstacles to entrepreneurs and start ups that slow down their formation and growth.”

“This survey is highly representative of Ireland’s start up sector and, given the essential role of the sector in job creation, some of its findings on these obstacles are very thought provoking. The recent publication by Minister Bruton of Ireland’s first National Policy Statement in Ireland is a great step in the right direction. Our aim is to complement the Minister’s strategy through our Vision2020 plan with the goal of Ireland becoming a global star tup hub by 2020, a ‘Startup Island’.

While a key block to start-up growth was found to be securing early stage funding with 69% of survey respondents calling it out, 61% said scaling support is a problem and attracting staffing talent was listed as a growth barrier in 58% of cases. According to the research, 30% of startups in Ireland are in the ideation / pre-startup stage, 34% were started less than a year ago and 36% started less than 3 years ago.  80% of those involved in start-ups are male, with only 20% female. 43% are under 35 years of age, with 57% over 35. 46% have been involved in start-ups before but the majority are first-timers (54%). The most popular sector for startups is consumer / internet (46%), followed by business / enterprise (45%) and mobile / apps at 26%.

Eoin Costello continued, “Dublin has the potential to be the best place in the world to establish a high impact technology startup. Essential building blocks including the Activating Dublin report, the adoption by Government of the first Entrepreneurship Policy Statement and the new Commissioner for Startups for Dublin are now in place. However, a strategic plan urgently needs to be implemented which will bring together in a more coordinated way the commitment of a wide range of public, private and voluntary sector stakeholders needed to drive future growth and success in our start up sector”. 

National Startup Survey