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Northern Ireland tech investment surpassed a record £100m in 2021

Northern Ireland tech investment 2021

Tech companies based in Northern Ireland attracted a record £100.7m in investment in 2021, according to data compiled by Catalyst.

That investment is a 127% increase on the £44.3m raised by Northern Ireland tech startups in 2020.

Overall, £100.7m was spread across 66 deals, up from 39 in the year prior. That averages out to £1.53m per deal.

While there were record levels of investment across companies of all sizes, the bulk of Northern Ireland tech investments were made at the seed level at around £100,000 to £499,000.

Among the Northern Ireland tech firms to secure investment in 2021 was Cloudsmith, a software supply chain management company that raised £11m.

“The funding we have received in 2021 will be absolutely invaluable to our software supply chain company,” said Alan Carson, CEO of Cloudsmith. “We plan to use the funding to hire 60 additional employees and expand our US sales and engineering team.”

Meanwhile, Belfast-based startup SideQuest raised £2.2m for its platform for virtual reality games and apps.

The data, published in Catalyst’s NI Deal Tracker, showed there was an increase in the number of female-founded companies – but that the majority of funding still went to male-founded startups.

Some 23% of investments were made into female-led or female-founded companies, up from 15% in 2020.

The bulk of the funding, 75%, came from outside of Northern Ireland.

Kieran Dalton, head of scaling at Catalyst, said: “2020 was a year of consolidation for investment across the UK – battening down the hatches as the impact of Covid forced investors to back their existing portfolio at the expense of doing new deals.”

Dalton added: “However, as we all became more resilient to this new way of working, investment very quickly recovered and surpassed what we in NI have ever seen.”

Northern Ireland tech firms have picked up where they left off in 2022, with Belfast-based virtual reality startup Retinize recently picking up £2m in a seed round led by Sure Valley Ventures.

The record levels of Northern Ireland tech investment came amid a record year for the UK overall – with tech firms collectively securing £26bn in VC investment in 2021.