Innovation
Irish-based firms raised €120m in VC funding in Q1 2015; Some top recipients Irish for tax purposes
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Jun 11, 2015 - 8:30 AM

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Enda Kenny, taoiseach, with Sean Mitchell and David Moloney — who founded Movidius in Dublin in 2005 — and on the right, Richard Bruton, jobs minister and Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Dublin, April 14, 2015.

Irish-based technology firms raised €120m in the first quarter of 2015, according to the Irish Venture Capital Association VenturePulse survey which is published in association with William Fry. However some of  the biggest recipients of funding did not originate in Ireland but are headquartered in Ireland for tax purposes.

Veryan which raised €19.2m was a spinout from Imperial College London.

Perseus which raised €18.6m in funding from Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank, has its main operational center in New York while the company's Network Operations Center (NOC) is based in Galway, a major part of their presence in Ireland. This year, Perseus Telecom Holding Company Limited, a single member company limited by shares, was incorporated in Ireland.

Movidius, the mobile vision sensor company, which was founded in Ireland, raised €22.9m in the first quarter and it received an investment from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund — the new state investment company — and the China Investment Corporation. It says it moved its headquarters to California in 2013 but it may have retained its tax residency in Ireland.

There are other companies on the first quarter list that may give a misleading picture of the funding environment for Irish tech startups.

We estimated last year that the Irish Government indirectly provides about 40% of the VC funding in Ireland.

John Flynn, chairman, Irish Venture Capital Association, said Wednesday that the level of activity continues the positive momentum experienced in 2014 where 41% growth to €401m was achieved for the full year.

“It’s a strong performance at a time when the venture capital industry in Ireland is in the middle of fund raising.”

He added that the Irish venture capital community continues to be the main source of funding for Irish innovative SMEs both through direct investment and as the local lead investor for international syndicate investors who invested €63m in this period.

Regina Breheny, director general, IVCA, said that first round seed funding at 10% of funds raised is below the 17% achieved last year.

“The seed funds supported by the banking sector and Enterprise Ireland’s Seed & Venture Capital Programme of 2006-2012 are close to being fully invested,” she said.

The IVCA says that since 2008 in excess of 1,000 Irish SMEs raised venture capital of €2bn. These funds were raised almost exclusively by Irish VC fund managers.

The IVCA estimates that this has supported the creation of up to 20,000 jobs; attracted over €825m of capital into Ireland and geared up the State’s investment through the Seed & Venture Capital programme by almost seven times.

Another published estimate put employment in the indigenous tech sector at about 10,000 and about 40% of 800 firms employ an average of less than 10 people.

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