This island of green hills, rocky coasts, friendly people, sheep, and pubs, has also become Europe’s headquarters and tax haven for tech giants like Apple, Google, and Microsoft – driving rents up in the country’s capital. The existence of these giants, coupled with a high cost of living may be making it harder for emerging tech startups to attract talent in Dublin, perhaps accounting for the relatively low number of tech startups in this very rural nation of less than 5 million people. Unlike in many other countries, venture capital actually fell in the country in 2018; according to Pitchbook data there was €553 million invested in Irish startups in 2016, down from a peak of €632 million in 2016. Yet, with Brexit on the horizon, we may see more startups relocating to Ireland in the coming years.
No matter what 2019 brings, here are 10 recently founded, promising Irish startups we think you should look out for:
Fleet extends the AirBnb model to vehicle rental. Unlike other car-sharing services, the Fleet app is designed to repurpose and efficiently share existing cars. Beyond convenience, Fleet is promoting its green objective of helping to remove cars from the road and encourage sustainable transport. Over a million Irish people drive to work, adding to the climate and congestion burden plaguing Dublin, and Fleet CEO Maurice Sheehy is “very excited about the potential of working with county councils and businesses” to promote car-sharing as well as ride-sharing. Fleet was founded in Wicklow in 2016, and launched its iOS and Android app in April 2017. In September 2018, Fleet successfully closed its opening crowdfunding campaign on Spark Crowdfunding, surging past its initial target of €275,000 and reaching €384,000 in investment.
Founded in 2015, Dublin-based startup Noa (which stands for News Over Audio) has become a leading app for audio journalism. In our busy lives, we often don’t find time to read the news beyond the headline – and so Noa was started based on the premise that we need an easier way to consume high quality journalism. Its app provides human-narrated versions of news articles from The New York Times, Bloomberg, Financial Times, The Economist and more. Noa recently raised an undisclosed seed round in June 2018.
Inflazome develops targeted therapies for inflammatory diseases. Inflammasomes generate signals that cause immune cells to fight infections. Usually this is beneficial, but unwanted inflammation can happen when immune cells become activated without control. Inflazome develops small-molecule drugs that that can be taken by mouth and which block inflammasomes very precisely. By carefully targeting specific inflammasomes, Inflazome therapies have the potential to stop harmful inflammation while allowing beneficial inflammation and minimising side effects. Founded in 2016 in Dublin, the startup’s research team coalesced around the co-founders’ medical research teams at Cambridge University and Trinity College Dublin. The company has raised $62.8 million to date, with a Series B round raised from Forbion Capital Partners in November 2018.
Abodoo bills itself as the world’s first free-to-access smart career-matching SaaS platform. Abodoo is optimised for people in fields open to flexible working models, such tech support, web development, fintech, and legal services, and partners with coworking hubs in locations across Ireland including Carlow Cork, Kilkenny, Leixlip Newry, Wexford, and of course, Dublin. The Abodoo dashboard automatically and continuously matches a registrant’s employee profile against job openings, while Abodoo’s business model charges no commissions or fees to employers beyond a subscription fee (€299/mo or €269/mo on an annual contract). Pricing for an enterprise-level service is available upon request. Abodoo was launched in 2016 in Wexford. Now based in Dublin, Abodoo raised €750k in 2018 in a round led by Enterprise Ireland.
Founded in 2015, Smartfrog has developed a universal IoT platform to build solutions across product areas. Its first solution is for home security and monitoring, allowing useres to keep an eye on their home and business at any time and from anywhere for a low monthly fee. The system comes with an app, from which users can manage and monitor up to ten cameras, with a Smartfrog Cam and video storage. With customers in over 185 countries, the Dublin-based startup has raised €28 million to date and recently partnered with the NYC-based company Canary.
In danger of extinction, agtech startup ApisProtect is taking action to help bees survive and flourish using IoT sensors to monitor honey bee colonies. The company now monitors the health of over six million honey bees in hives across Europe and North America, using the power of advanced sensors and machine learning to deliver a 24/7 early warning system, so beekeepers can give at-risk hives immediate attention and improve bee health. With ApisProtect, beekeepers don’t need to rely on periodic, manual hive checks, which can let disease, pests and other issues deteriorate hive health beyond rescue. Based in Cork and founded in 2017, the company recently raised a €1.5 million seed round.
Perfuze – Stroke is the second leading cause of death globally, and a leading cause of disability, according to the WHO. When a blood vessel in the brain is blocked by a clot, preventing blood flow, an ischemic stroke occurs. Founded in 2018, Galway-based Perfuze is a medical device company developing next-generation catheter-based technology to treat acute ischemic stroke by providing safe, cost-effective therapy. Perfuze has just closed a €3 million seed investment round, which it will use to further develop its Millipede platform technology.
Based in Dublin and founded in 2016, Lightly Technologies is a hardware startup re-engineering LED technology by creating innovative, ultra-thin LED light source modules. The units are essentially tiles, producing a surface of white light to be built into modern lighting fixtures and luminaires. Its patent-pending technology addresses the limitations of OLED (organic light-emitting diode) lighting by providing improved performance in terms of light output, energy efficiency, and lifetime while maintaining an ultra-thin surface, enabling lighting designers to create exceptional experiences. The product is particularly suitable for decorative lighting in retail, hospitality, and high-end office environments. Lightly has raised €908k to date.
Founded in 2016, Dublin startup AID:Tech offers enterprise-level solutions for international NGOs, governments, charities and corporates that are tackling difficult global issues in their respective fields. In particular, the startup helps address some of the largest obstacles in global development, including legal identity, financial inclusion, and corruption. AID:Tech’s platform uses blockchain technology and digital identity to give its clients an unprecedented level of insight into their KPIs and provide them with reporting tools. The platform has been tested in some of the world’s most challenging regions and has proven to be able to alleviate many problems, for example fraud. In June 2018, AID:Tech raised €1 million in funding.
Nova Leah develops expert cybersecurity risk-management systems specifically for medical devices and healthcare providers. The Dundalk-based company’s product, SelectEvidence, was developed at the Dundalk Institute of Technology and guides manufacturers through the processes of identifying applicable threats to their devices, and implementing the right security controls to mitigate those threats. The startup was awarded the Grand Prix at the Irish National Startup Awards 2018, and has raised €4.3 million to date.
By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!