New figures from the Halo Business Angel Network show that over €8.3m in angel funding was invested in start-ups here in the first half of the year, up 13.5% on the first half of 2019.

The number of start-ups that received funding also increased from 29 to 37.

The network is a joint initiative from Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland and Invest Northern Ireland.

It said that additional funds leveraged as a result of HBAN investments reached €37.9m in the first six months of the year - a jump of more than 128% on the first half of 2019 in pre-pandemic times.

At €324,500 the average investment made by angel groups in each funding round is also 29% higher than the €251,000 average in 2019.

HBAN noted that individual angels invested an average of €44,000 each, with many participating at the €25,000 range, which is more accessible for those considering their first angel investments.

John Phelan, all-island director of HBAN, said that angel investment was growing on the island of Ireland, despite the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to bring to businesses and investors.

"We have seen previously that times of crisis inspire a spirit of entrepreneurism and the first half of this year is testament to the quality of start-ups that are pitching to our angel investors.

"To maximise potential returns for our angels, each company is assessed and mentored by our team to ensure that they are investor-ready before pitching," Mr Phelan said.

John Phelan said that apart from the funding, the increase in angel activity is a good sign for start-ups in Ireland, as angel investors also offer industry-specific guidance and contacts that are so vital for businesses in their early years.

"Angel investment is also important in helping start-ups to leverage funding from additional sources that they wouldn't otherwise have access to. We are very excited to pass the €400m milestone and look forward to reaching half-a-billion in the near future," he added.