Poll: Do you think Ireland's startup scene is over-hyped?

‘Half-baked’ business ideas led Pat Phelan to shutter a €25m investment fund.

By Conor McMahon Deputy editor, Fora

“AWFUL PITCH DECKS” and “half-baked business plans”.

That’s how the team behind the Nohovation angel investment fund summed up the Irish startup scene when it announced its closure this week after failing to make a single investment.

The €25 million pool was officially shuttered yesterday, with co-founder Pat Phelan – who previously sold his anti-fraud firm Trustev – telling the Sunday Business Post he couldn’t find a scaleable, early stage company in Ireland worth backing.

However the Corkman is far from the first entrepreneur to express disappointment in the country’s startup sector.

In a recent interview with Fora, ex-Entrepreneurs Anonymous head Silviu Preoteasa said he was underwhelmed by the applications he received for a €100,000 scheme to help young firms get access to Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Startup Fund (CSF).

“In the end we only funded two … I couldn’t understand why some of the applications we received had been elected as CSF winners because I couldn’t see myself putting €5,000 in them,” he said at the time.

But other investors seem to be having less trouble finding funding-worthy young firms in the country.

Venture capital funding for Ireland-based companies hit an all-time high last year, while the investment flow continued apace in the first three months of 2017. Several VC outfits also launched new funds earlier this year.

Meanwhile, a study by property investment firm Catella said Dublin has the highest concentration of startups in Europe. The Irish capital was ranked the 8th best city in Europe for startups by the European Digital Forum think-tank late last year.

With that in mind, we’re asking Fora readers this week: Do you think Ireland’s startup scene is over-hyped?