20 Irish start-ups to watch out for in 2020

Ireland boasts a rich community of start-ups that are succeeding on the global stage. Here are 20 tipped to scale-up magnificently in 2020.


Dublin-based Ambisense has developed a system of intelligence that automates, analyses and accelerates environmental risk assessment. This translates into devices like low-cost instruments to monitor quality levels of gas and air. Founded in 2014 by Fiachra Collins and Stephen McNulty, the company earlier this year raised €1.1m in a funding round led by Atlantic Bridge.


Woman with blonde hair standing beside a bee hive.

Founded by Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy (above), the ApisProtect technology functions as a kind of early warning system so beekeepers can give at-risk hives immediate attention and improve bee health. The technology also gives beekeepers actionable insights and alerts to help prevent losses and increase colony productivity. The company last year announced 25 new jobs after raising an investment round led by international venture capital investors Finistere Ventures and Atlantic Bridge Capital along with Radicle Growth, the Yield Lab and Enterprise Ireland.

Bluedrop Medical

Man on scales in front of three men.

Pictured announcing HBAN-backed Bluedrop Medical’s €3.7M in funding are (L-R): Colin Henehan, HBAN MedTech Syndicate; and Bluedrop Medical founders Simon Kiersey and Chris Murphy

Bluedrop Medical is developing a potentially life-changing product for people suffering from diabetes. In Ireland, more than 540 amputations are carried out every year on patients suffering with diabetes as a result of foot ulcers caused by nerve damage. Bluedrop Medical’s AI-powered temperature monitoring device will enable clinics to monitor their high-risk patients. Bluedrop’s co-founders Chris Murphy and Simon Kiersey believe the device could save the Irish health system €40m per annum on treatments associated with diabetic foot ulcers.


Four men and one woman standing on top of a building.

Paddy Carey, Senior Staff Engineer at Cloudsmith; Alan Carson, CEO at Cloudsmith; Peter Lorimer, CCO at Cloudsmith; Lee Skillen, CTO at Cloudsmith; and Kimberly Neill, intern at Cloudsmith

Cloudsmith’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offers an advanced logistics platform for software developers, operators and vendors, who need to secure, manage and accelerate their product development and distribution. It distributes millions of artifacts on behalf of its global customer base. The company, founded in Belfast by Alan Carson, Lee Skillen and Peter Lorimer recently raised £2.1m in one of the largest seed funding rounds generated by a Northern Ireland start-up. The round was led by Frontline Ventures and co-investors MMC Ventures, and locally by Techstart Ventures through its Invest NI fund, Techstart.


Woman with red hair wearing a green jumper.

Coroflo CEO Rosanne Longmore

Coroflo plans to launch its ground-breaking breastfeeding device in late 2020. Coroflow recently raised €1m in funding as well as a €2.2m accelerator grant from the European Commission under its Horizon 2020 programme, bringing total investment in Coroflow to €4m. Coroflo was founded in 2016 by Rosanne Longmore, Helen Barry and James Travers.


Dublin-based Deciphex uses artificial intelligence to accelerate the delivery of pathology services, has raised €2.3 million in a new funding round. The company, founded in 2017 by Donal O’Shea, Mairin Rafferty and Mark Gregson, plans to revolutionise pathology through automation of visual examination of tissue. The company recently raised €2.3m in a funding round led by Irish investors Irrus Investments and ACT Venture Capital along with US-based Nextsteps Ventures, Inovata Personalised Health Accelerator and GI Partners.


Dublin start-up EdgeTier delivers high-quality analytics products and services to clients in the areas of customer service, customer simulation, and analytics services. Founded in 2015 by Bart Lehane, Ciaran Tobin and Shane Lynn, the company recently raised €1.5m in a funding round led by Episode 1, ACT Venture Capital and Enterprise Ireland. The company recently won Enterprise Ireland’s Digital Disruptor award.


Young man standing on a bridge over River Liffey in Dublin.

Shane Curran, Evervault. Picture: Conor McCabe Photography.

Founded by 19-year-old entrepreneur Shane Curran (above), Evervault is creating a data privacy toolkit that developers can “bake in” into new products. The company recently raised $3.2m in seed funding led by venerable Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital along with Kleiner Perkins, Frontline, and SV angel along with some unnamed tech innovators and investors.

Gecko Governance

Regtech player Gecko Governance has created software for the financial services sector based on blockchain that allows fund managers to meet regulatory and compliance requirements. Founded in 2015 by Shane Brett, the company has raised $2.4m to date, including $1.4m in a recent follow-on investment by Irish-US venture capital firm Cosimo.


Man in blue shirt on white coach gesturing with hands while answering a question.

Image: John Kennedy

Bobby Healy (pictured), one of the brilliant minds behind the success of CarTrawler, is back with Manna.Aero, a fascinating new venture focused on using drones to deliver goods, starting with food. If he is successful Healy could be the author of a breakthrough in transport platform that could make much of the road transport of goods by road a thing of the past. Manna has already attracted backing from venture capital firms Elkstone Capital and Frontline Ventures.


MeetingsBooker.com lets organisations easily book from 137,000 meeting rooms in 134 countries. The company is expecting the number of reservations it processes to triple to more than 30m by 2020. Founded by Ciaran Delaney, the Dun Laoghaire-based company boasts clients that include Dyson, Sky, Slack and Amazon.


Founded by IT Tralee graduate Gearoid Kearney (pictured), myAccessHub helps businesses and employees learn to be more inclusive of colleagues with autism and other neurodiversities. The company’s technology uses e-learning and virtual reality to immerse employees in scenarios that educate them in how small things within their workplace can have a huge impact on employees who have autism and other neurodiversities.

Pure Wellbeing

Bearded man in light blue shirt beside women in pale green blue dress.

Pure Wellbeing is a new start-up founded by Conor Dolan and Alison Flynn (above) that aims to help SME employers to boost productivity and engagement in their workforce by improving employees’ overall wellbeing. The Pure Wellbeing Health Programme assesses, monitors and targets 12 health risks, including lifestyle risks such as alcohol and physical inactivity, perceptual risks such as stress and low, life satisfaction, and biometric risks such as high cholesterol and high BMI.


Wexford-based Scurri has created a simple, effective and adaptable API (application programmable interface) and dashboard built to help e-commerce merchants to optimise their ordering, shipping and delivery. Founded by Josephine O’Connor, Rory O’Connor and Eugene Crehan, the company has raised 7m in funding to date.

Soapbox Labs

Woman in black dress talking on a stage at a TED talk.

Dr Patricia Scanlon, CEO and founder of Soapbox Labs.

Unlike the speech recognition technology found in mainstream voice assistants, SoapBox Labs’ speech recognition technology was built specifically for kids and their early literacy needs. Founded by Dr Patricia Scanlon in 2013, the company has raised $5.5m to date and was recently chosen for a $30m educational programme at the University of Florida backed by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to boost literacy among children.


Founded by accomplished tech entrepreneur Alan Coleman, Sweepr specialises in providing simple care for the connected home by reshaping the way technical support is provided to make it intuitive for non-tech homeowners. In October Sweepr raised 8.2m in a funding round led by Draper Espirit and Frontline Ventures to support its expansion into the US and Europe.


Three men smiling in front of a grey background.

Pictured (left to right): Utmost COO Dan Beck, CEO Annrai O’Toole and CTO Paddy Benson.

Utmost is building solutions for the enterprise and its extended workforce – from temporary workers to consultants, vendors, freelancers, contractors and more – to seamlessly and efficiently work together. Co-founded by Iona and Cape Clear co-founder Annrai O’Toole – Utmost recently raised €11.2m in a Series A round led by Greylock Partners.


Irish game development studio WarDucks is on a mission to build immersive games and has built six best-selling games so far including Sneaky Bears, RollerCoaster Legends and My Smooshy Mushy. Founded in 2013 by Nikki Lannen, WarDucks recently raised €3.3m in funding in a round led by EQT Ventures. The funding will drive the development of WarDucks’ new location-based augmented reality (AR) game.


Group of men standing with a robot cut-out on a street in Dublin.

Webio founders Paul Sweeney, Graham Brierton, Mark Oppermann and Cormac O’Neill.

Dublin and Limerick-based Webio provides conversational middleware for very large companies in retail, financial services, and utilities. Founded by Paul Sweeney, Graham Brierton, Mark Oppermann and Cormac O’Neill Webio raised €1.75m in a seed round to build a platform to pursue this vision and now employ ten people spread between Dublin, Cork, Belfast and the UK.


Man in blue t-shirt beside man in vest.

Workvivo co-founder John Goulding with Zoom co-founder Eric Yuang.

Cork-based Workvivo has designed an internal communications platform based on the way people are familiar with interacting outside of the workplace, and brought that into a business context. Co-founded by John Goulding and Joe Lennon in 2017, Workvivo recently raised €500,000 in a funding round led by Zoom founder Eric Yuan.

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Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 20 November , 2019