Strong showing for Irish VC funding in the first quarter of 2021

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Refinitiv tracked a notable uptick in larger venture capital funding deals in Ireland in the first three months of the year.

New figures show that venture capital funding for Irish companies got off to a strong start in 2021.

The research by Refinitiv Deals Intelligence focuses on larger deals and noted €158m was raised across seven rounds in the first quarter of the year.

This included Mainstay Medical’s €89m fundraise, which accounted for the majority of the funding in the first three months of the year and impacts the overall view of the numbers.

According to Refinitiv, the first quarter 2021 figures were much higher than the €18m it tracked in early 2020. But while the value was up a whopping 779pc, the volume of deals was down 13pc.

Other notable deals in the quarter included raises by Flipdish and Neurent Medical. SOSV, Atlantic Bridge and Frontline Ventures were the most active Irish investors.

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The quarter also marked an increase from the fourth-quarter numbers for 2020, which came in at €83.6m across six deals.

“Irish venture capital investment has had a stellar start to 2021, continuing to grow on last quarter’s strong performance. With a rebounding economy, confident investors in Ireland, and indeed across Europe, are ploughing capital into start-ups like there is no tomorrow,” Bernard Jackman, Ireland account manager for Refinitiv, said.

“The low interest rate environment and successful vaccine deployment will also help to fuel investment appetite and it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing any negative side effects.”

Refinitiv figures show a similar theme to those from the Irish Venture Capital Association, which tallied €249.4m in deals in the quarter. It highlighted a bounce back in funding for early-stage and seed-level companies after a difficult year in 2020 for fresh-faced start-ups when it came to raising their first rounds.

Despite the pandemic, European venture capital activity has continued at pace, according to Refinitiv. It tracked €11.7bn across 644 rounds in the first quarter of 2021, surpassing the €7.5bn in last quarter of 2020. The UK remains the most active country in Europe for VC funding.

Disclosure: SOSV is an investor in Silicon Republic