Irish companies raise over $68 million in VC funding in Q1 2019, with healthcare driving activity.
KPMG has published its Venture Pulse Q1 2019 report, tracking venture capital (VC) activity around the globe. Findings show that globally overall VC investment dropped from record heights of US$71 billion in Q4 2018 to $53 billion in Q1 2019, due to a decline in Chinese investment, among other factors. In Europe, VC investment saw mixed results, potentially influenced by ongoing geopolitical uncertainty and associated challenges with Brexit. In Ireland, investment in Q1 2019 is also down significantly on a very strong Q4 2018.
Commenting on the Irish findings, Anna Scally, Partner, Head of Technology and Media & Fintech Lead at KPMG in Ireland said:
“The pattern of venture investing in Ireland can be quite volatile quarter to quarter and can be heavily influenced by one or two large fundraisings. Expectations are that the numbers will rebound significantly in Q2 2019.”
Speaking about the 11 deals that closed in Ireland in Q1 2019, Anna continued saying that “Both the healthcare and the technology sectors were the key drivers of activity so far this year, accounting for just over $67 million of the $68.8 million total. Regionally, Galway based companies featured significantly with Atlantic Therapeutics, Perfuze and Enterasense all closing significant deals in the first quarter this year.”
Galway-based medtech company Atlantic Therapeutics closed a $32 million Series B round, which was led by a number of international funds with local fund Atlantic Bridge Ventures, through its China-Ireland Growth Tech Fund, participating. Existing investors Seroba Life Sciences and Earlybird Venture Capital also followed their earlier investments in the company.
Galway-based medtechs Perfuze and Enterasense raised $3.4 million and $1.16 million respectively, with Enterasense also securing secure a further €2.5 million in Horizon 2020 grants.
Dublin and Boston based HealthBeacon also secured $12 million in their Series A round.
Other companies that raised funds in Q1 2019 included CroíValve, a spinout from Trinity Centre for Bioengineering, which raised $3.7 million in a record angel round and in the technology sector, ChannelSight raised $10 million to further develop its software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform and to allow it to expand into more markets.
In Europe, VC investment saw mixed results this quarter, perhaps influenced by ongoing geopolitical uncertainty and associated challenges with Brexit. Despite the heightening level of uncertainty, many countries within Europe saw significant interest from VC investors. Overall VC capital investment reached $6.5 billion during Q1 2019, just shy of the record high established in Q4 2018. However, deal volume plummeted, falling from 882 in Q4 2018 to only 487 this quarter – representing the lowest quarterly total since late 2010.
The 10 largest deals in Europe this quarter were spread among 6 different countries including 3 from Germany (N26: $300 million, BioNTech: $211.5 million and Wefox: $125 million). There were also two large French deals (Doctolib: $174.8 million and Ynsect: $128.2 million) and 2 big deals in the UK (Ovo Energy: $281.6 million and Iwoca: $195.6 million). Other countries represented in the top 10 deals included Finland, Switzerland, and Israel.
VC investment in the Americas dropped from a record high of $46.2 billion in Q4 2018 to $33.3 billion. The US accounted for a large majority of this funding, with $32.6 billion raised in Q1. The $5 billion raise by shared workspace company WeWork was by far the largest VC deal in the US this quarter, dwarfing the next biggest round. Other big deals this quarter included Nuro ($940 million), Rivian ($700 million), Aurora ($530 million), Clover Health ($500 million) and SpaceX ($500 million).
Funding in Ireland is set for a further boost this year with the recent announcement by Enterprise Ireland of its new €175 million Seed & Venture Capital Scheme (2019-24). The Scheme is aimed at providing substantial additional funding for high-growth Irish companies with the potential to start and scale their businesses from Ireland. Commenting on the scheme, Anna Scally concluded saying “This scheme will offer fantastic support for young innovative Irish companies and we expect to see these funds featuring in our Venture Pulse report in future quarters.”
*All figures quoted are in USD (with the exception of the reference to the Horizon 2020 grants / Enterprise Ireland Seed & Venture Capital Scheme)
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