Irish based technology firms raised a record €888m in 2016, up 70% from €522m the previous year according to the Irish Venture Capital Association Venture Pulse survey published today in association with William Fry.

“This performance is particularly significant as venture capital activity in the US (NVCA) declined by 13% in 2016 and in the UK (Pitchbook) by 4%,” commented Michael Murphy, chairman, Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA).

He added, “The figures demonstrate the continuing attraction of Irish tech firms by international investors. International syndicate investors, working with local venture capital firms, invested €548m in 2016 compared to €294m in 2015.”

“The life sciences sector was the star performer in 2016 with 52% of funds raised,” added Regina Breheny, director general, IVCA. “Eleven companies in particular raised over 38% of total funds. The life sciences sector in Ireland is showing signs of maturity and is benefiting from the State’s investment in R&D through Science Foundation Ireland.”

She added that as well as life sciences another area of growing significance in Ireland was FinTech. “FinTech is the new kid on the block. It is disrupting the traditional banking model and growing in response to a different regulatory environment that emerged after the recent financial crisis.”

Growth/expansion funding was 92% of total funds raised.

IVCA chairman Michael Murphy added that new seed funds are already having an impact with first round funding growing again. “The good news for start-ups is that at €70m for the year to end December, seed funds are now exceeding the peak levels of 2014.”

Mr Murphy said that since the onset of the credit crunch in 2008, in excess of 1,400 Irish SMEs raised venture capital of €3.5bn. 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 €1.7bn of capital into Ireland and geared up the State’s investment through the Seed & Venture Capital Programme by almost 16 times.

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