Blog Article 3 Nov 2015

 Source;,  July 2015.

In July 2015, Techcrunch researched 84 US based companies from the Unicorn Club.  The Unicorn club as defined by Fortune are companies that have soared to a $1 billion valuation or higher, based on fundraising. The billion-dollar tech startup was once the stories of myth, but now they seem to be everywhere, backed by a bull market and a new generation of disruptive technology. The #Techcrunch article can be found here. Techcrunch found that on average it takes 7 years before a liquidity event, for the 39% that have exited. Private companies are now 61% of their list, worth $188 billion in total and $3.7 billion on average. It took 6.7 years on average for 33 companies on their list to go public or be acquired. 19 companies have gone public (23%). The average public market valuation is $8.9 billion. These companies went public after six private rounds of funding, and $329 million in private capital 14 have been acquired (17%).

Here in IDA Ireland, we have observed that 17 companies (20%) on this list have  announced their presence in Ireland. There are still some companies that have yet to announce.

Using our own internal research we noted on average it took the public companies 5.7 years from inception to selecting Ireland as a location. For those companies that went public, Ireland was typically their first stop in Europe and  within 1.5 yrs of establishing in Ireland they IPO'd.

 Is Ireland the secret ingredient for companies looking to go public?

Let’s look at more detail....

Etsy: In January 2013, Etsy established their EMEA headquarters in Dublin. Activities include customer support, seller outreach, engineering, IT, and human resources. Etsy was funded by a number of high-profile venture capital companies, including Union Square Ventures, Accel Partners and Index Ventures, amongst others.  In April 2015 the company went public.

Hubspot: In September 2012, the marketing software provider announced that it was opening a European Headquarters in Dublin, to support their international business segment. The Dublin office was HubSpot’s first-ever branch office – which announced it would create 150 new jobs. Previous investors of the company included; Sequoia Capital, Scale Ventures Partners and Google Ventures. In October 2014, the company went public.

Zendesk: In July 2014, Zendesk the cloud based customer service software company announced it was opening their Dublin office with 150 new jobs. The Dublin office is mostly a software development centre. Investors in the company included; Silicon Valley Bank, Matrix Partners, Index Ventures and Goldman Sachs. In May 2014, the company went public.

New Relic: In Febuary 2014, New Relic, the software analytics company announced the opening of its first international office. Roles were mostly in sales, technology and customer positions. Investors in the company included; Benchmark, Trinity Ventures and Allen & Company. In November 2014 the company went public.

Why did these companies select Ireland?             

Track Record

  • Ireland is home to 1,200 overseas companies in ICT, Life science, Financial Services, Engineering and Business Services.
  • 9 out of the top 10 Software companies selected Ireland.
  • 9 out of the top 10 pharma companies selected Ireland.
  • 15 of the top 25 financial services companies has selected Ireland.


  • Ireland has the youngest population in the European Union, 40% of the population is under 30 years of age. (Eurostat 2015)
  • Ireland has been voted in the top 10 countries in the world for the availability of skilled labour (IMD World Competitiveness Report 2015).
  • Ireland has one of the highest proportions of graduates in Science, Maths & Computing in the EU. (Eurostat 2015)


  • Ireland has been a member of the EU since 1973 and Eurozone member.
  • Ireland is the only English speaking Eurozone member.
  • Ireland provides access to the European market of 500 million consumers.


#WhyIreland Follow us on Twitter for more updates @IDAemergebiz 

Kathleen Bohan

IDA's Emerging Business Team


If you want to learn more about establishing a business in Ireland, our Emerging Business Team are here to help. 


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