November 21, 2023

Are these the next Irish unicorns?

Three startups joined the $1bn+ club in Ireland last year — who’s next?

Éanna Kelly

3 min read

Photo by Chris Spalton on Unsplash

Seeing Ireland beat South Africa in the Rugby World Cup recently prompted former player-turned-investor Jamie Heaslip to observe that the country’s “resilience is echoed in the corridors of our startups”. 

The country has seven homegrown unicorns, companies that are worth over $1bn: among them, payments company TransferMate, health-testing company LetsGetChecked and revenue-based financing company Wayflyer.

No Irish startup has hit this particular milestone this year — echoing a broader unicorn drought — but Sifted has identified at least four startups that are decent bets to get to $1bn+ valuations, according to data from data provider Dealroom (of course, such is the fashion this year in Europe, an Irish AI company could shoot out of nowhere and make us all wiser after the fact). 



What does it do? The investment company, which secures battery metals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel, raised $200m in equity in the summer. By its own reckoning, it’s “on track to exceed a billion-dollar valuation in the next few months”. Chairman and CEO Brian Menell is certainly bullish on the company’s future saying, in an interview with the FT last week, that “the world needs 50 TechMets, yesterday“.

Founded: 2017

HQ: Dublin

Valuation: $900m 

BNRG Renewables

What does it do? Commercial scale solar farm operator, with a presence in the UK and Australia, as well as a €250m portfolio of solar farms across the US.

Founded: 2007

HQ: Dublin

Valuation: $506—759m 


What does it do? To help understand what the startup does, cofounder Eoin Hinchy suggests imagining that you work in a company with 10k employees, but there’s just one small team who are Microsoft Excel experts. No one else in the company understands Excel. If you want a spreadsheet built, you give the Excel team your specifications and they come back to you six weeks later with the spreadsheet. “That seems bonkers,” Hinchy tells Sifted, “because everyone knows how to use Excel now, but that’s still how we’re running a lot of processes in companies.” No code is about developing similar platforms for other functions, so more people can build things without having to learn to code — and Tines is doing this for security analysts. The cybersecurity startup raised $55m in October 2022, an extended Series B round led by US-based VC Felicis, with investors Accel, Blossom Capital, Addition and Lux Capital also chipping in.

Founded: 2018

HQ: Dublin

Valuation: $300m


What does it do? Tax automation platform used by companies such as Uber and Zoom. Sale cycles are longer this year, but business is good, the company’s founder and CEO Davor Tremac tells Sifted. “Death and taxes: they never go away. Companies are looking for efficiencies; they’re looking to reduce spending. It’s all good news for us,” says Tremac. After raising $60m in a Series B round in July 2022 — the raise led by Coatue with participation from Dawn Capital, Index Ventures, OMERS Ventures, FJ Labs and Moving Capital — the company is growing and taking on more staff. 

Founded: 2019

HQ: Dublin

Valuation: $240-360m

Éanna Kelly

Éanna Kelly is a contributing editor at Sifted. Follow him on X and LinkedIn