Tech start-ups and SMEs secured a record €1.3 billion in investment from venture capital firms last year, according to the Irish Venture Capital Association.

It represents a 44% increase on the 2020 figure and comes after a bumper fourth quarter, when €458m in investment was agreed.

Some of the bigger deals last year included a €123m fundraising by home diagnosis firm Let's Get Checked and a €62m investment in fintech Wayflyer.

Both of those firms are also now valued at more than €1 billion – meaning they have reached 'unicorn’ status.

During the year medical device company Mainstay Medical also received investment worth €89m, while software firm Kitman Labs raised €52m.

There were 279 deals in total over the year, a 20% increase on the 2020 figure. Deals worth between €10m and €30m rose by 66% - and were worth a combined €356m in the year.

Meanwhile there was a significant increase in the earlier stages of funding, with seed and first round funding rising by 60% to €130.7m.

"The indigenous tech start-up and SME sector appears to be well positioned to benefit from and contribute to a strong post pandemic jobs recovery," said IVCA chairperson Nicola McClafferty.

"57% of funding in 2021 came from overseas investors, highlighting the continuing appeal of Irish tech firms and their ability to compete on a world stage."

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