Investment in Irish tech companies had its second greatest performance in more than a decade last year – as the presence of multi-national companies continues to transform the capital.
Google, Facebook & Twitter are just a few of the recognisable names with European headquarters’ in the Grand Canal Dock area of Dublin, normally known as Silicon Docks.
Ireland’s low corporate tax rate has long made things an appealing hub for them but the startup scene there is also flourishing.
Some EUR458m was invested in the Republic in 2017, baseding on figures by PitchBook.
Figures from The Irish Venture Capital Association showed that tech firms raised a record EUR1bn last year – that’s more than ₤ 870m.
There’s no shortage of investment and the tech giants have helped bring attention to the city, some start-ups and financial investors say their presence also presents challenges for young companies.
Girl Crew, a social network app for women, is one of the start-up success stories.
Founder Elva Carri told Sky News: “We have raised over ₤ 650,000 since launching in June this year.
“There are cons and pros to sharing the city with the big multi-nationals.
“Pros: we got to be a part of Google’s Adopt A Start-Up programme, and that has been very beneficial.
“But then there is the downside, like it drives rent up for people.”
Health tech business webdoctor.ie is another success story – it has raised just under ₤ 2m.
Its co-founder Oisin Kim also thinks the multi-nationals have a positive overall impact but said the increased demand for high quality labour is a challenge.
” Obviously having the big multi-nationals drives up salary costs but some of them make a real effort to engage with the community and to encourage them.”
Financial experts in Dublin said they have also noticed other trends, as VC investor Nicola McClafferty of Draper Esprit explained.
I believe it creates a virtuous circle, we see people coming out of these companies after a period of time, having worked in a large multi-national that fosters a culture of growth and scale and innovation.
And they come out of those and then into early stage start-ups so whilst it creates competition for labour, it creates a positive flowing labour market, “she said.
At Google, Paddy Flynn is in charge of helping to bridge the gap and support new companies within the community scale and grow on a global stage.
He told Sky News: “We have a bunch of programs that we have. We do a lot work at a community engagement level first off.”
” A good example of that would be, we run a support event at Dogpatch Labs – a co-working space at the center of the community in the Docklands.aa’
” We send mentors down there, any start-up can apply across the country, they have people dropping in so we do a lot of that kind of stuff and we run events here on a monthly basis.
” We support those kind of events at a ground level,” he said.
He also told Sky News about Google’s Adopt A Start-up programme where the firm takes in 30 new companies twice a year.
For start-ups in the city, Mr Flynn’s advice is: “You have to think internationally very quickly”, because scaling just for the Irish market has its challenges.
As a result, it is forcing entrepreneurs there to pitch and think to a global audience early on.