Why Ireland needs more investors

A lack of high-risk investors will hurt an economy that’s trying to recover. Here are seven new firms that beat the odds.

The seven firms described below are the exception rather than the norm. With so much investment money in the economy, why aren’t new Irish businesses getting better, and more frequent, funding? 

There is a lot of talk about VC funding and high-tech, high-risk new companies landing big deals in Ireland. However, the reality is, there are few courageous investors in the Irish market (compared to other EU capitals) and even fewer who are willing to take risks outside of the likes of property, carparks or hospitals. 

airbnb dublin office

If Ireland is to become a ‘hotbed’ for high-risk firms and investors, the solutions are straightforward. We must encourage those who have the money to invest it here. Here are four simple suggestions:

1: The government needs to change the tax system so it encourages investors to put their money behind higher-risk, new companies. (The EIIS scheme doesn’t seem to be working very well).

2: We need to bring more foreign VC funds to Dublin. We also need more corporate Irish funds to be incentivised (using tax breaks) to invest in new Irish businesses. 

3: We need to encourage highly successful, wealthy Irish business people, as individuals who live here, to invest in new firms. 

4: We should encourage the giants of the digital age, the likes of Google, Facebook, eBay, Airbnb (above), Apple and Twitter – who all enjoy fantastic tax reliefs and government supports because they are set up in Ireland – to launch large-scale investment funds for new Irish companies. 

READ: Do I get tax back if I sell my business?

startup investors ireland

Seven Irish firms that landed investments

Raising capital for your new business isn’t easy; investors need to be impressed and competition is stiff. Here are seven Irish firms who, in the last few years, scored well. 


Who: Started ten years ago in Dublin, Movidius develops innovative chip technology, such as a microchips that can map the dimensions of any room. 

How much: The company caught the eye of the likes of Google, and got an investment of €38 million from private investors in 2015. It was one of the largest investments ever in an Irish tech company. 


Who: Founded in Dublin in 2011, Boxever developed a software platform that allows airlines and travel companies to harvest customer data and target their services in a more efficient manner. Boxever landed some big name clients like Aer Lingus and Emirates. 

How much: It initially raised $6 million in 2014 and won a further $12 million in funding from venture capitalists Polaris Partners and Frontline Ventures in 2016. 


Who: Swrve is a Dublin-based mobile marketing company. Its mobile analytics software picks up customer’s mobile activity in real time and allows marketers to adjust their sales techniques accordingly. Its platform has been installed one billion times.  

How much: The company first raised $10m in 2014 and last year closed on an additional $30m round of funding. 

Cirdan Imaging

Who: This Lisburn, Northern Ireland firm was set up in 2010 and creates imaging and informatics technology for the purpose of enhanced medical diagnosis. 

How much: This year Cirdan raised a total of £3.5m in funding, with £2m coming from the Bank of Ireland Kernal Capital Growth Funds, a further £900k from Kainos and £600k from other sources. 

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Who: Another Irish tech firm founded in 2010, CurrencyFair facilities peer-to-peer currency exchange and international transfers at cheaper rates than most banks. 

How much: Their latest round of funding, led by Octopus Ventures earlier this year, added up to €8m and it is aiming for further investment. 


Who: NVMdurance was set-up in 2013, emerging from the NDRC accelerator programme. The firm’s software extends the life of flash memory chips used in devices like phones, laptops, USB drives etc.   

How much: The company completed a Series A round of financing worth €2.23m, with investments from existing partners ACT Venture Capital, Enterprise Ireland, New Venture Partners and NDRC, bringing total funding to €2.48m. 


Who: Zeto is a Cork based father and son operation, whose cloud-based software helps manage the temperatures of commercial refrigeration systems. It recently landed a big contract with Lidl Ireland. 

How much: Zeto recently closed on a funding round, led by Kernel Capital and with commitments from BVP and Enterprise Ireland, amounting to €1.7m. 

READ MORE: How the Irish government is hampering the growth of angel investors.

Article by Peter Flanagan. Images from Shutterstock and Airbnb.