35% of Northern Ireland's funding deals went to women-led startups last year

Northern Irish tech saw record spending of £143.2M in 2023 with gender parity still far off.
35% of Northern Ireland's funding deals went to women-led startups last year

65 per cent of Northern Ireland's 72 funding deals last year went to startups with all-male executive teams, according to Catalyst’s Deal Tracker. Of all companies who received funding, 35 per cent had at least one female executive whilst zero had all-female teams.

Investment in the Northern Irish tech reached its highest ever level last year with £143.2M poured into the sector. The tracker draws attention to an increased number of rounds by multiple investors, as well as rounds up to £5M comprised only of private investors and angels. 7 teams raised over £5M and the last quarter of the year saw the most deals closed.

Funds investing in Northern Ireland include SV Health Investors, Maven Capital Partners and Guinness Ventures as well as UK Future Fund, which is ‘playing a key role in underpinning innovation success in Northern Ireland’, Catalyst notes. 

The formation of the Awaken Angels fund could contribute towards a more balanced allocation of capital in future. Awaken Angels is a community of 3000 founders and investors in Ireland that offers investment and corporate training with an aim to decrease the gender and diversity gap in early-stage funding.

The report also highlights £11M raised by Cumulus Neuroscience, which will use the funding to address key problems of neurodegeneration through their integrated physiological and digital biomarker platform.

The growth in investment in Northern Irish companies was achieved despite a challenging economic backdrop, which saw over a decade of historically low interest rates came to a sudden end and costs, budgets and valuations recalculated across the domestic and business spheres.

Steve Orr, Chief Executive of Catalyst, said:

“Less than ten years ago Northern Ireland registered only £5M of venture capital investment into local companies in a year. Last year there were seven deals where companies raised more than that amount on their own. This is a testament to the quality of our startup founders, but also demonstrates the increased understanding amongst investors of what Northern Ireland’s ecosystem has to offer."

Lead image: Unsplash

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