The Irish startups and scaleups to watch in 2021

The Irish startup ecosystem is booming. But what are the startups you need to follow in 2021?

So far this year Irish startups have raised €1bn from VC funds. This is just shy of the €1.2bn raised all of 2020, putting the country on track for a record year.

But which are the most exciting startups and scaleups? Which are the ones to watch in 2021?

Our team of experts at Sifted have chosen a list of exciting companies we think you need to know about, with an added ‘Sifted take’ on some to provide an extra layer of insight.

It’s a mixture of the big and the small, the well known and the under the radar. But all are making waves. Keep reading below and stay informed about Europe’s new economy!

(P.S The data is from European Startups, with valuation estimates from Dealroom. If there is anyone missing from this list, or anything is wrong, please let us know by email at [email protected]).

Key

Year founded

Amount raised

Last funding round

Valuation

Employees

Manna Drone's logo

Manna Drone

Manna is a Drone Delivery Service ¨in a box¨ for online delivery platforms, dark kitchens, restaurant chains and forecourts

transportation / logistics & delivery

manna.aero

Dublin, Ireland

2018

€28m

Series A

€91-136m

10-50

Sifted Take

The idea for drone delivery startup Manna Aero came to Bobby Healy one night when he was sitting in his garden with a hankering for chips.

Chips, he says, are one of the items that don’t work well for conventional food deliveries as they tend to lose their crispness during transport — after half an hour on the back of a delivery bike they have gone limp and soggy.

Healy, a prominent figure in the Irish tech scene and the former CarTrawler chief technology officer, wondered if drones could be a way of speeding things up.

Today Manna is offering restaurants and dark kitchens drone delivery as a service, promising them a three-minute delivery within a two-mile radius, for less than the cost of road-based deliveries.

Manna is not alone. Aviation authorities around the world are starting to allow trials of drone deliveries and other companies, including Amazon, are making a play for the market. Wing, the drone delivery service owned by Alphabet, for example, has started offering commercial services in Virginia, Canberra and Helsinki.

Manna is preparing for “the big year” in 2023 though, when European regulations will allow its services to start scaling across the continent.

Manna has signed partnerships with major brands and retailers, including JustEat, Samsung, Ben & Jerry’s and Tesco to test out drone delivery.

It is also working with a number of small independent coffee shops and retailers, for whom the additional delivery option became crucial during the recent lockdowns.

Manna raises $25m to prepare for big scale-up for drones in 2023

In a small Irish town, people are ordering coffee and broccoli via drone

Intercom's logo

Intercom

Business messaging platform that drives growth at every stage of the customer lifecycle

enterprise software; SaaS; messaging / marketing; sales; support

intercom.com

Dublin, Ireland

2011

€219.00m

SERIES D

€1.2b

500-1000

Sifted Take

Intercom has long been the big success story of the Irish startup ecosystem. Founded in 2011, the developer of communication tools for businesses is the country's only "unicorn" worth more than $1bn. It has raised a hefty $241m with high-profile backers such as Index Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg

Based mainly in Dublin and San Francisco, the company has managed to prove wrong those critics who said back in 2018 that the chatbot was dead. Eoghan Mccabe, the chief executive, has long argued that when combined with the right kind of AI software, a chatbot on a webpage can build customer loyalty and help business. It says that customers using Intercom see conversion rates and sales increase by 82%.

The company now has more than 25k paying customers and many of the have been able to automate responses to the most common customer questions and cut response times down on others.

More broadly than chatbots, Intercom sells itself as a streamlined way to get to know and interact with customers. Intercom monitors customer behaviour and allows its customer to slice and dice data to target specific groups of customers with marketing emails and messages, tech support and more. In this way, Intercom competes with Zendesk, Salesforce.com and MailChimp.

Buymie's logo

Buymie

Buymie is the leading same-day grocery e-commerce platform and delivery provider in Ireland and launched its first UK city, Bristol, in May 2020.

b2c / food

buymie.eu

Dublin, Ireland

2015

10.7m

EARLY VC

€15m

1-10

Evervault's logo

Evervault

Building the internet infrastructure for data privacy

big data /

evervault.com

Dublin, Ireland

2018

17.5m

SERIES A

€58-87m

10-50

Boundless's logo

Boundless

A cloud-based platform that allows small and medium-sized innovative businesses to quickly and easily manage multi-country payroll and HR compliance

b2b / legal

boundlesshq.com

Dublin, Ireland

2019

2.5m

SEED

€10-15m

10-50

Sweepr's logo

Sweepr

Provides simple care for the connected home

iot internet of things / home living

sweepr.com

Dublin, Ireland

2017

SERIES A

€33-€49m

10-50

Change Donations's logo

Change Donations

Roundup your spare change to support the causes you care about most

Ireland

2018

n/a

n/a

1-10

KeepAppy's logo

KeepAppy

KeepAppy is the wellness app and social enterprise that acts as a gym for your mental health and wellbeing

b2c / saas

keepappy.com

Dublin, Ireland

2019

n/am

n/a

n/a

1-10

Tines's logo

Tines

An automation platform designed to allow anyone to automate any manual task, regardless of complexity

b2b / security

tines.com

Dublin, Ireland

2018

37.4m

SERIES B

€273m

10-50

ApisProtect's logo

ApisProtect

Agricultural technology designed for the management and care of bees

food;enterprise software / agritech

apisprotect.com

Cork, Ireland

2017

€1.80m

SEED

€7-11m

10-50

Sifted Take

ApisProtect may not be the biggest Irish startups, but it's in an exciting field (much beloved by Sifted) of bee-tech.

Founded in 2017, ApisProtect develops internet-connected beehive sensors and has raised more money than any bee-tech business in the world.

It's hive sensors monitor temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, sound and movement; data which can be analysed by machine learning to provide alerts for issues like disease, pests or unusual behaviour.

“Our machine learning turns data into useful information,” Fiona Murphy told Sifted last year. “We can show beekeepers which colonies are alive or dead, which are performing well or not, so they can decide if they need to feed them, apply insecticide or slap some extra insulation on the hives.”

ApisProtect has been training its AI with 20 beekeeper partners, 200 sensor units and 10m honey bees monitored across the US, Ireland, the UK and South Africa. “We don’t want to train an algorithm on Irish beehives and expect that to land in California and work,” says Murphy.

The startup has some rivals in the form of BeeHero (Israel), Pollenity (Bulgaria) and Arnia (Italy) and so this is a hot field which ApisProtect hopes to dominate.

Accelerated Payments's logo

Accelerated Payments

Invoice Finance - Control Cash Flow with Accelerated Payments

Ireland

2017

20m

DEBT

n/a

10-50

Utmost's logo

Utmost

The first Extended Workforce System, offers solutions for the enterprise and its extended workforce - from temporary workers to consultants, vendors, freelancers, contractors and more - to seamlessly and efficiently work together

Dublin, Ireland

2018

29.3m

SERIES B

€76-115m

50-100

Altada's logo

Altada

Transforms data rich clients into data driven companies using a powerful AI platform to cleanse and organise data environments

b2b / enterprise software

altada.com

Dublin, Ireland

2017

1.3m

SEED

€5-8m

10-50

Provizio's logo

Provizio

Perceiving, predicting, and preventing automotive accidents in real-time using proprietary long range imaging sensors and AI on-the-edge

b2b / transportation

provizio.ai

Limerick, Ireland

2019

€8.10m

SEED

€23-34m

10-50

Web Summit's logo

Web Summit

Where the tech world meets

music;event tech /

websummit.com

Dublin, Ireland

2009

n/a

n/a

100-500

CurrencyFair's logo

CurrencyFair

CurrencyFair is an online peer-to-peer currency exchange marketplace

fintech / investing

currencyfair.com

Ireland

2009

€29.60m

DEBT

€32-48m

50-100

Enbio's logo

Enbio

Sunscreen for satellites

spacetech / hardware

enbio.eu

Dublin, Ireland

2011

1.5m

GRANT

Kinzen's logo

Kinzen

We’re building the daily news experience that you control

media / publishing

kinzen.com

Dublin, Ireland

2017

€2.30m

SEED

€7-11m

10-50

WarDucks's logo

WarDucks

Augmented and virtual reality game development

gaming / media

warducks.com

Dublin, Ireland

2013

5.1m

SERIES A

€13-20m

10-50

Teamwork's logo

Teamwork

Teamwork is a work and project management tool that helps teams improve collaboration, visibility, accountability and ultimately results

marketing / enterprise software

teamwork.com

Cork, Ireland

2007

€63.60m

GROWTH EQUITY

100-500

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