Ireland enjoying strong technology investment

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Investment in Irish technology companies had its second strongest 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 some of the recognisable names with European headquarters’ in the Grand Canal Dock area of Dublin, otherwise known as Silicon Docks.

Ireland’s low corporate tax rate has long made it an attractive hub for them but the start-up scene there is also thriving.

Some €458m was invested in the Republic in 2017, according to figures by PitchBook.

Figures from The Irish Venture Capital Association showed that tech firms raised a record €1bn last year – that’s more than £870m.

Although 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 pros and cons 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 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 observed 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 programmes 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 centre of the community in the Docklands.

“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.