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Despite Brexit and COVID-19, Irish investors remain bullish

Ireland’s engineering incident has come in leaps and bounds in the last decade, with a stretching VC scene, abundance of startups and tech heavyweights lured by the nation’s positive tax motivations and knack pool.

Google, Facebook, Slack, Microsoft and Dropbox each have a European headquarters located in Dublin. As the EU’s only remaining English-language speaking hub, Ireland is attracting more diversification in its founders than ever before, plus the tech diaspora is returning to its beginnings as the ecosystem matures.

We canvassed five neighbourhood VCs to be informed about if they had any wisdom to share with TechCrunch books who are considering hiring, investing or founding a company in Ireland this year.

VCs in Ireland don’t stray far from home, but there are plenty of great deal to be had there anyway. A small-time domestic grocery necessitates Irish startups think internationally from launch, and there are high-quality seed opportunities. Top-tier American VCs like Sequoia are arranging gambles on Irish business, sometimes even at a pre-seed stage.

The coronavirus pandemic has not really affected numerous financing policies — apart from the switch to Zoom calls instead of meet-and-greets — but it has prepared hiring even more difficult, given the competitiveness of the regional labor market. Still, top engineering endowment is cheaper there than in the U.S ., which represents industrialists can create enormous companionships with less overhead.

We exactly propelled Extra Crunch in Ireland. Subscribe for access to all of our investor cross-examines, fellowship charts and other insider coverage for startups everywhere. Save 25% off the costs of a one-year Extra Crunch body by recruit dismis code IRISHCRUNCH.

We spoke with the following investors 😛 TAGEND

Andrew O’Neill, principal, Act Venture Capital Isabelle O’Keeffe, principal, Sure Valley Ventures Nicola McClafferty, marriage, Draper Esprit Michelle Dervan, spouse, Rethink Education Management, LLC Will Prendergast, collaborator, Frontline Ventures

Andrew O’Neill, principal, Act Venture Capital

What vogues are you most energized about investing in, generally? We are seeing high-quality grain opportunities that are preceding with arousing developer-first/ bottoms-up go-to-market strategies in both security and enterprise software. The displacement left in security is very well-publicized, but we feel the ethnic aspect of makes rightfully helping about security and implementing it at layout time is still exclusively beginning … and it’s hugely exciting.

What’s your recent, most exciting investment? It’s a B2B SaaS design tool, in the world of Figma, Sketch and Invision App … and has some very interesting angels. It is only just ended and not announced hitherto … and we have not talked to any PR agencies more, but would be happy to pitch an exclusive to you 😉

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some neglected opportunities right now? As a domestic grocery, Ireland is very small … so by its very nature, we do not read the same level of immense B2C as the U.K. The knowledge … and second, third-time consumer-tech benefactors are not as common, but there are still of course vast opportunities in the consumer space and companies like Buymie are proving it can be done in Ireland.

What are you looking for in your next financing, in general? Like every asset: The beings that truly understand the ache moment, have joy around the product, have the composure and grit to keep going, and finally the potential for this fellowship to become a category creator.

Which fields are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this extent for a new startup? What a different type of commodities/ services are you cautious or concerned about? No rival entails no busines … however there are high volumes of startups sanctioning remote succeeding, productivity tools and HR tech focused around corporation culture metrics etc . … but that said, there is a motion of change happening around the future of work that no one has a crystal ball on, and new list champions will still emerge.

How much are you focused on investing in your neighbourhood ecosystem versus other startup centres( or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less? Extremely focused on Ireland and more than 50% … we can invest in Series A and B across Europe, but we invest at grain exclusively in Ireland.

Which manufactures in your municipality and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are corporations you are roused about( your portfolio or not ), which founders? Enterprise application startups have always been well-positioned for success within Ireland, and that has only increased with the secondary consequences now emerging from the result of immense talent coming out of big MNCs driven by 20+ years of FDI. Act has invested in over 120 companies and over half is in enterprise software. We are energized about examining a brand-new emerging sum of reiterate benefactors in our portfolio( and Ireland) like Barry Lunn in Provizio, and Cathal McGloin in ServisBOT.

How should investors in other metropolitans “ve been thinking about” the overall investment climate and opportunities in your metropolitan? When we looked at all the data in Ireland recently, there has been a 115% increase from EUR4 01 million to EUR8 60 million given per annum over the last four years. So the market size has double-dealing and we are seeing some very exciting seed companies, which bides very well for the future.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major metropolis in the years to come, with startup centres losing beings due to the pandemic and remaining concerns, plus the entertainment of remote occupation? Personally, I do expect to see even more immense startups coming out of the south like Cork and Limerick and the west in Galway, but I don’t foresee startup centres greatly losing people due to the pandemic and remote work.

Which industry segments that you invest in inspect weaker or more exposed to possible transformations in customer and business action because of COVID-1 9? It’s obvious that there are now serious questions around the level of future of business travel, rendered how people have been forced to rethink and adapt how they do business. This industry shift alone will create both big winners and losers long term.

How has COVID-1 9 affected your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now? Not staggeringly, given the long-term timeframe we consider when investing. The bigger question around converting buyer actions, the acceleration of e-commerce adoption and digital transformation is something we are of course taking into account. Our advice is always bespoke and contextual to the individual startup, and only afforded when asked.

Are you identifying “green shoots” viewing receipt rise, retention or other force in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic? Yes, our portfolio has proven itself to be quite robust through COVID and companies like SilverCloud Health, Toothpic and Buymie are experiencing enormous tailwinds due to the current pandemic environment.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This is likely to be professional, personal or a mix of the two. Personally, examining some improbably talented founders with penetrating expertise at seed place the hell is reproduction founders. They know exactly what they want and need to do to go bigger this time around, and we believe they can get there much quicker than before.

Isabelle O’Keeffe, principal, Sure Valley Ventures

What veers are you most agitated about investing in, generally? AI/ML, cybersecurity, immersive engineerings and gaming infrastructure.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment? Getvisbility and Volograms.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some forgot opportunities right now? What are you looking for in your next speculation, in general? Companies that are really forming defensibility exerting information and communication technologies. Company generating new markets.

Which orbits are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this spot for a new startup? What a different type of makes/ services are you apprehensive or subjects of concern? Ride-sharing, on-demand delivery, payments and challenger banks.

How much are you focused on investing in your neighbourhood ecosystem versus other startup centres( or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less? We invest more than 50% in our neighbourhood ecosystem versus other startup hubs.

Which manufactures in your metropoli and neighborhood seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are fellowships “youre ever” energized about( your portfolio or not ), which founders? The manufactures that will continue to thrive include: financial services, owned and construction, medications, manufacturing and Big Tech. We’re very excited about some of our portfolio corporations including VividQ, Admix, Buymie, Nova Leah and WarDucks.

How should investors in other metropolis think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city? Dublin and Ireland have a growing and prosperous tech ecosystem and there are plenty of great investment opportunities there.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major metropolitans in the years to come, with startup hubs losing parties due to the pandemic and loitering concerns, plus the allure of remote toil? Yes I would agree that we will see some of this happening. However, I do think that once there is a vaccine that we will see the return of cities and parties will naturally be attracted back there.

Which industry segments that you invest in glance weaker or more exposed to potential shiftings in consumer and business behaviour because of COVID-1 9? What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented periods? We have looked limited wallop of COVID on some of segments that we invest into. The opportunities exist for firms operating in the future or work including remote working, e-commerce, on-demand grocery delivery, cybersecurity, gaming and immersive technologies.

How has COVID-1 9 affected your investment strategy? What are the biggest perturbs of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now? COVID has not really impacted our investment strategy bar the fact that we have had to get cozy with a lot of the process being conducted via Zoom. We have not altered away from certain sectors or manufactures as we have tended to invest into areas that are relatively unaffected. The biggest anxieties for benefactors in our portfolio are around raising their next round of funding, affecting key milestones, reached a repeatable go-to-market strategy and hiring immense talent.

My advice to startups in my portfolio now is to keep a very close eye on burn, required to ensure that if they are going out to fundraise that they recognise it can take at least two months longer than they originally anticipated and to continue to be working on the produce and technology at times when auctions have slowed down as when they emerge from this period they will be in a much stronger position with their makes and technology and the sales will follow.

Are you ascertaining “green shoots” seeing revenue increment, retention or other force in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic? Yes “were having”” lettuce shoots’ seeing impetu in Buymie, which is an “on-demand grocery delivery” company who have seen a surge in demand for the service due to the pandemic. Getvisibility, which is a cybersecurity company, has also seen a surge in interest from fellowships in the financial services, and pharmaceutical and defense industries as they adapt to their employees labor from dwelling and where there are greater jeopardies of cyberattacks.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mixture of the two. I believe the moment for everyone recently has been the proclamation that we could be closer to a inoculation than we initially thought and that we may be able to resume normal life next year.

Nicola McClafferty, marriage, Draper Esprit

What trends are you most provoked about investing in, generally? Future of design/ consumerization of enterprise, machine-learning applications.

What’s your recent, most exciting investment? Sweepr — automation of customer care for connected homes.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some forgot opportunities right now? True AI, digital health.

What are you looking for in your next financing, in general? Global ambition.

Which provinces are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this spot for a new startup? What a different type of produces/ services are you apprehensive or concerned about? E-scooters.

How much are you focused on investing in your regional ecosystem versus other startup hubs( or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less? ~20%.

Which manufactures in your city and field seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are fellowships you are elicited about( your portfolio or not ), which founders? Software application, AI, machine learning, life sciences. key corporations, WorkVivo, Manna Aero, Open, Sweepr, Roomex and Evervault.

How should investors in other metropolitans “ve been thinking about” the overall investment climate and opportunities in your municipal? Regrettably seed stage is dramatically underserved by neighbourhood musicians. Hiring can be challenging established competitiveness of labor market with sizable tech MNCs. However deep entrepreneurship culture, world-wide reasoning from day one, improbably strong reserve of technical geniu from Irish universities. It’s also a key end of other European founders. Brexit opens even more opportunity for this.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing beings due to the pandemic and hovering concerns, plus the magnetism of remote drive? Startup economy will likely become a bit more assigned around the country but this will be a positive. Metropolis like Dublin, Cork and Galway will nonetheless remain strong hubs.

Which industry segments that you invest in look weaker or more exposed to possible switches in purchaser and business action because of COVID-1 9? What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented terms? Hurtle tech exceedingly challenged but the most wonderful companies will exist and big winners will emerge in the COVID recovery when expedition returns. Big opportunity to accelerate enterprise SaaS adoption and automation as budgets have changed dramatically to digital infrastructure and cost-cutting and productivity becomes key focus.

How has COVID-1 9 affected your investment strategy? What are the biggest obsesses of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now? Strategy remain largely intact with some further funds be supporting firms. For those customs very directly impacted( e.g ., expedition) — concern is visibility and seasoning of improvement that is largely out of founder control. Other concerns include cash runway in times of ambiguity — how will the market judgment conduct for future fundraise; in big project how to adapt your marketings sit for a remote world.

Are you hearing “green shoots” considering income increment, retention or other momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic? Most unquestionably. As tech enterprises most have been very changeable and are responding to customer needs as they alter. After a slow Q2 many occupations rebounded is a good one in Q3 and to revert to strong rise. Early churn has been reddened out already.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This is likely to be professional, personal or a mixture of the two. Edict of the inoculation! Path to recovery is nearing.

Michelle Dervan, spouse, Rethink Education Management, LLC

What tends are you most aroused about investing in, generally? I am deep specialized in education technology investing. Interested in identifying tailored Zoom alternatives for the classroom, tech-enabled vocational training programs, corporate study mixtures for the strewn workforce.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment? Crehana, an online vocational education and training programme providing Latin America.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some ignored opportunities right now? Upskilling and reskilling programs for displaced employees. Shorter, cheaper training programs and credentialing for middle-skills responsibilities. Software to help high school students prep for college and vocation. Effective remediation curricula that can help students catch up on lost learning during COVID.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general? Outliers in terms of evidence of product market fit, proof of efficacy, influence roasted into the business model, unit with unique understanding of the problem and ability to execute against it.

Which localities are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this part for a new startup? What a different type of concoctions/ services are you attentive or subjects of concern? K-12 supplementary apps, plays, content. Tech bootcamps. Corporate LMS.

How much are you focused on investing in your regional ecosystem versus other startup centres( or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less? 80% U.S.-focused, 20% outside of the U.S.

Which manufactures in your metropolitan and field seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companionships “youre ever” aroused about( your portfolio or not ), which benefactors? Ireland has traditionally had a very strong e-learning/ edtech startup sector. Exciting growth companies include LearnIpon, Learnosity, Alison, Touch Press. Early-stage companies include Avail Support, Zhrum, Robotify.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city? Dublin is a really vibrant startup ecosystem. Young population. Mass of authority assists to encourage entrepreneurship. Excellent knowledge expertise puddle coming out of multinationals and existing startups. English speaking. Great connectivity to rest of Europe/ U.S.

Do you expect to see a surge in more benefactors coming from geographies outside major metropolis in the years to come, with startup centres losing parties due to the pandemic and persisting concerns, plus the pull of remote wield? I recently relocated to Dublin after 10 years in NYC. There has been a mass exodus from metropolis like NYC and SF during the pandemic as the economics of living there plus the space constraints, etc. no longer make sense in a prolonged period of WFH and while most amenities are closed. Dublin is also a high-cost location so will probably too discover some exodus although I think to a lesser extent.

Which industry segments that you invest in search weaker or more exposed to possible shifts in buyer and business action because of COVID-1 9? What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented epoches? The COVID environment has caused a mass acceleration in the adoption of education technology across all age groups from K-1 2, higher education to corporate and personnel hear. This was already a secular vogue albeit at a much slower pace of ratification. I is confident that the prolonged period of reliance on a tech-enabled learning experience and the potential need to revert to this in the future will have a lasting effect on how we educate and learn.

How has COVID-1 9 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now? Our financing strategy had not been able to been impacted by COVID. We are seeing a greater degree of opportunity and interest in our area. The biggest concerns for benefactors are unpredictability in the sales funnel, possible interruptions to purchasing decisions and resultant cashflow implications. Even for companies that have been net beneficiaries of the COVID environment, it has injected a very high degree of unpredictability and that is very stressful for founders.

Are you envisioning “green shoots” viewing receipt expansion, retention or other momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic? Yes, as mentioned above.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This is likely to be professional, personal or a mixture of the two. Biden’s election and the roll of beings that he is evaluating for Education Secretary and for his cabinet.

Will Prendergast, spouse, Frontline Ventures

What directions are you most elicited about investing in, generally? We take an opportunistic approach to investing at Frontline and are available for any number of different trends within the B2B room. Generally, “we ii” agitated to back benefactors “workin on” 😛 TAGEND

Complexity in the application/ produce increase load: As more and more firms become software businesses and software makes become more complex there will be a layer of tools that synopsi away that complexity and provision connections between them. Software using other software will be an exciting space in the decade to come, facilitated by numerous API-first fellowships. Embedded finance: We are excited by fintechs that are helping non-financial institutions leverage their patron locate to provide financial commodities. Open banking is an enormous enabler of embedded finance. Process augmentation rather than process automation: There are a number of key skill gaps emerging in many different sectors right now and software is emerging as the aqueduct for companies to handle the scarcity. These are commodities that assistant highly skilled workers maximize their productivity.

In the current environment, we are also highly interested in startups that are broadly targeting the key trends below brought on by COVID-1 9 😛 TAGEND

Hospitals and clinics seek to increase efficiency and reach patients remotely. Banks cautious as fiscal crime changes. Remote hire management tools for HR and finance squads. Obligation collection automation due to SME liquidations.

What’s your recent, most exciting investment? We recently invested in a German business that aims to become the Moody’s of business crime. Since 2008, vast banks has now become less willing to transact with regional retail banks. They were unfairly seen “too risky” in their portfolio. This busines aims to create a fundamental shift in service industries — from old school box ticking compliance to data-driven ways of determining the risk. We are very excited to increase fairness and opennes between banks, which will naturally appoint more significance to the end consumer.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some forgot opportunities right now? B2B fees are undergoing a renaissance at the moment with business like Bill.com reigning in the public groceries. As fintech glides into more aspects of the product stack, pays is just the first part to produce gigantic winners. Solving the nuts and bolts of business finance is still a hugely neglected opportunity for both large and small companies. We’d too love to see more companionships dedicated to reducing the CFO burden at SME and reporting enterprise. From real-time payroll to treasury and work welfare control, so much of a CFO’s work is manual and term eating. We have supported companionships that make a significant dent in the specific parts of the pour( for example, Payslip — a world payroll automation pulpit ), but we feel like there is more apartment for end-to-end automation in this realm.

What are you looking for in your next speculation, in general? We’re looking for challengers who seek out other strong thoughts; whether you’re a first-time founder building something that are important, or a seasoned financier that knows how hard it is to “make it.” In all of increased investment, we prize self-awareness above all else in our benefactors; key to house enormou teams and scaling a world-wide business. Aspiration does not require experience. We’re looking to invest in explorers across Europe from the world countries of tech, computer science and engineering, due to our own late knowledge of technology. In return, we use our its own experience in construct and scaling business across the two sides of the Atlantic to help founders get off the ground — and croak global.

Which regions are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this top for a new startup? What other types of produces/ services are you distrustful or subjects of concern? Products that are being built precisely with the conditions created by COVID-1 9 today may find themselves in a wildly different environment in 18 months. We’re looking to speak to founders who see how things are now and have a strong opinion on how they’re going to affect things in the years to come.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs( or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less? We assist founders with global dream across both sides of the Atlantic. Frontline Seed is a pan-European early-stage fund investing all across Europe. Frontline X is a growth-stage store, for fast and frictionless U.S.-Europe expansion. When we first started Frontline, the vast majority of our investments came out of Ireland. Since 2012 we have expanded our scope, and for the last few years have been very much pan-European and now invest across Ireland, the U.K ., Germany, the Netherlands and Southern Europe.

Which manufactures in your metropoli and field seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are agitated about( your portfolio or not ), which founders? U.S. tech fellowships like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Zendesk Hubspot( among many others) have a “pied-a-terre” in Ireland. In most cases, top-class engineering talent is sourced more cheaply there than in the U.S ., creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. They upskill great engineers, who then go on to create huge fellowships. We’ve view startup developer implements thrive in Ireland as a result; two examples of which is Tines.io. This Accel-and-Index-backed company was built by the world-renowned protection crew in Dublin.

How should investors in other municipals “ve been thinking about” the overall investment climate and opportunities in your metropoli? Ireland is a hidden gem — we’ve had the privilege of reaping the remunerations. Nonetheless, I suspect that the likes of Tines.io, Intercom and Stripe are stirring investor curiosity. We’re once picturing top-tier U.S. VCs like Sequoia placing bets in Irish business at a pre-seed stage, for example Evervault, one of our portfolio companies.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major metropolis in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and loitering concerns, plus the fascination of remote use? As a global store, one of the purposes of our core faith is that immense companies and exceptional founders can come from anywhere in the world. COVID-1 9 has had a significant and eroding effect on traditional “tech hub” sits and “were having” seen benefactors of all walks of life-time realize that companies can not only flowed, but prosper in a remote world-wide. That said, we too believe that geography will continue to matter. Where you set up your HQ in Europe as a growth-stage B2B SaaS business expanding from the U.S.( for example) will continue to matter in a post-COVID world — because law entities will continue to matter.

Which industry segments that you invest in glance weaker or more exposed to possible switches in purchaser and business demeanor because of COVID-1 9? What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented durations?

The closure of retail stores= vast raise in e-commerce. Company big and small are vamping up their back and front ends, and attempting to get more visibility on their supply bond for better customer service. Payment modulation online= more business crime. Banks need tools that help them identify impostor. Buyer are tight on money= HR bureaux want to provide more salary liquidity and help employees save for their pensions to create better financial wellness.

These are just to reputation a few.

How has COVID-1 9 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest perturbs of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now? COVID-19 has not changed our investment strategy but it will have lasting impact on the way transactions are rolled and built. That said, the pandemic has given us a brand-new filter:” How successful can this produce/ business pose be in a post-COVID world ?” At the moment, our founders are most worried by engagement( maintaining busines culture) and talent( crew stretch, senior leadership recruitment ). Every companionship is different and we shy away from blanket evidences, but what we do caution is that benefactors spend time to identify what working format works best for their corporation and that they listen carefully to their employees. How can you continue to grow your business, whilst maintaining and nurturing an all-inclusive and employed firm culture? Likewise — while you are eligible to, shore up your balance sheet. Believe it or not, VC funding was at an all-time high in Europe last one-fourth. Go fundraise to extend your runway as far as is possible. No one actually is well known the next 12 months is really going to hold.

Are you ensure “green shoots” seeing revenue growth, retention or other force in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic? Three business in our portfolio stand out as pandemic light-green shoots 😛 TAGEND

Workvivo is designed to promote crew culture and communications digitally. They had been successful in fostered a Series A midpandemic with U.S. investor Tiger Global to cope with demand from large patrons. Qualio is another portfolio company selling quality management software into life sciences and pharmaceutical companies. They blew out their Q2 targets and collected an $11 million Series A. Signal AI: Media monitoring is an beautiful proposition to PR and comms crews in unstable days. Signal AI has recently partnered with Deloitte to produce COVID-1 9 curated reports on how the pandemic has and is continuing to affect supply series, business, society and excursion.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two. Regard how well the many teams in our portfolio focused on employee health, well-being and safety and how hard they have all worked to keep their companies going strong.

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