Primer: 20 Irish Venture Capitalists

Venture Capitalists

Pitches at the ready: these are the people you need to impress…

Some of the best-known Irish VCs and investors aren’t actually to be found in Ireland, but scattered all over the world. For those starting out, we’ve rounded them up in one place with this handy list of Irish VCs you should know.

Brian Long

Founder and general partner at Atlantic Bridge, Long is currently based in Silicon Valley. His over thirty years of experience in tech includes founding Parthus Technologies in 1993 (leading them to an IPO in 2000), and founding GloNav in 2006, which was sold to NXP two years later. Long was a co-founder of Atlantic Bridge in 2006: their current portfolio includes investments in 36 startups including Irish success stories Swrve and Movidius, the image-processing company which just announced $40 million in funding in April of this year, placing their evaluation at over $100 million. @atlanticbridgev


Dylan Collins

An Irish startup veteran currently working with his own SuperAwesome ad network for children as well as sitting on the board of Potato, a UK marketing agency, and Dublin-based animation company Brown Bag Films, Collins also somehow finds the time to act as Partner in London early stage VC Hoxton Ventures. They announced a €6m fund for Irish startups last December, and have just helped Irish delivery service Deliveroo close a €22 million funding round. Read our interview with him HERE@MrDylanCollins


Will Prendergast

Previously a partner at NBC Venture Capital and a member of the Society of Kauffman Fellows, Prendergast is a Founding Partner at Frontline Ventures, the Irish VC with 30+ investments across Europe and the US. An early investor in Dublin-based P2P currency trading platform CurrencyFair, they recently contributed (along with Octopus Investments) to an eighth funding round of €10 million announced this month. @wilp


Bill McCabe

Before founding Oyster Capital, McCabe lead CBT/Smartforce to the position of the world’s No. 1 e-learning company and Ireland’s most successful indigenous technology company. Oyster is a business creation company which established Fleetmatics, which went public on NASDAQ in 2012 and is currently valued at around $1b. Other companies in their portfolio include Novaerus, DataHug, Dedsert and WebTitan.


John O’Farrell

Appointed the third general partner at Andreessen Horowitz in 2010, O’Farrell was previously vice president at Silver Spring Networks and Executive Vice President at Opsware Inc. He studied at UCD, Dublin before an MBA degree at Stanford and is now based in Silicon Valley (read his interview with Tom Lyons at Dublin Globe). He is a board member of Slack, ItsOn, Solum, Granular and the IFTTT. @johnofa


Gareth Keane

Working in the Bay Area, Keane is investment manager at Qualcomm Ventures, a San Diego-based VC with 164 investments made since 2000, including Fitbit, BlinkBox, Waze and Paypal, and regional funds in Korea, Japan, China and in Europe. His background is in electrical engineering at Queen’s University, Belfast and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and he sits on the board of Pelican Imaging. @garethekeane


Elaine Coughlan

Co-Founder and General Partner at Atlantic Bridge as well as a team member at Summit Bridge Capital, Coughlan was previously co-founder of GloNav Inc., which sold to NXP for $110 million. Based in Dublin, she has led companies through three IPOs as CFO or VP of Finance, and currently serves as non-executive director and investor at Fieldaware, Swrve and Sophia. @coughlanelaine


Paul Morrissey

A Vice President at Silicon Valley fund Battery Ventures, Morrissey worked previously in Goldman Sachs’ investment banking division and earned a BS in Economics from Stanford. Battery’s investments number an impressive 299, with Marketo and Sprinklr, the social media management software currently valued at $1 billion. @BatteryVentures


Rory O’Driscoll

A founding member and Partner at Scale Venture Partners, the California VC which invests in early-in-revenue tech companies, O’Driscoll has been an active investor for over twenty years and sits on the board of eleven companies. Scale VP’s investments number 119 including Box, DocuSign and HubSpot with nine IPOs and thirteen acquisitions. @rodriscoll



Sean O’Sullivan

An entrepreneur and venture capitalist, O’Sullivan currently serves as Director of Cork’s SOS Ventures, which he founded in 1993. SOS fund an average of 150 companies per year, with previous investments including Harmonix (developers of Guitar Hero), Netflix and Leap Motion. They also run five seed accelerator programmes worldwide, and support the Khan Academy as well as CoderDojo. @sosventures

Ciaran O’Leary

Based in Berlin, O’Leary is a Partner at Earlybird VC, one of the largest European VCs outside the UK, and blogs at Earlybird has invested in 84 companies and raised over $900 million since it was founded in 1997, with a specialisation in health tech and disruptive ‘non-linear’ companies. @ciaranoleary


John Kenny

Kenny is an investor at Delta Partners in London since joining in 2008, one of Europe’s most active early-stage investors with investments in Irish companies like Digit Games, Swrve and HomeStays.comHe previously worked with Great Hill Partners in Boston, and earned an MBA from Wharton Business School after studying at UCD and Trinity College in Dublin. He also sits on the board at Stitcher Ads and @DeltaVC


Brian Caulfield

A veteran entrepreneur before becoming a VC and angel investor, Caulfield acts as General Partner at DFJ Esprit, London. He sits on the board of numerous Irish startups including Datahug, Movidius, MTT and our national newspaper, the Irish Times, and has personally invested in companies including Cicero Networks and GridStore. DFJ Espirit’s assets under management (funds raised) since foundation is about €850m. Their Fund III alone is €100m and they’ve raised about €250m since 2008, making at least 90 investments in that period. There are 33 exits listed on their website here: last year alone, they had 3 IPOs (one Nasdaq, one AIM, one Euronext in France) and several other exits.  Between 2010-2013, they were the clear leader in European VC backed M&A exits, and had 17% market share of all European VC backed exits, which was 17 M&A exit transactions, representing almost $2.8B in enterprise value. @BrianCVC

Fergal Mullen

Based in Geneva, Mullen is a Partner at Highland Capital Partners, a growth-stage technology fund with investments including WeTransfer, Matches Fashion and MalwareBytes. Mullen previously acted as director of Eleven Technologies, M7 and Betaprint, and was a founding Partner of RSA Ventures, where he led their European and Boston deal coverage. @fergalmullen


John Flynn

Flynn acts as Managing Partner at ACT Venture Capital, the Dublin-based tech VC known for investing on Storyful, SkillPages, Trustev and Swrve among others. Previous to ACT, Flynn was director of Massana, Straatum, Cape Clear Software, Allfinanz and AEP Networks, all of which were acquired, and spent six years in general management and consultancy positions. He also sits on the boards of Corvil, Eblana Photonics, e-Net, PrismTech and Lime Microsystems. @ACTVC


Noel Ruane

Ruane opened Polaris Partners  Dublin office in 2011 as Venture Partner, where he focuses on European teams looking to disrupt large markets. Since then he has helped establish Polaris’s Dogpatch Labs in CHQ, home to CoderDojo, FluidUI and Trustev among others, as well as leading big investment rounds in Logentries, Boxever and Profitero among others. @NoelRuane


Mark Gallagher

Heading up Silicon Valley Bank’s Technology division in Boston, Gallagher works with local high-growth innovation companies. Before joining SVB fourteen years ago (he has worked there in multiple roles) he spent three years as ABM AMRO Bank in Dublin and in France. He also serves on the board of the Mass Technology Leadership Council in Boston, as well as the Center for Innovation and Change Leadership at Suffolk University. @markpagallagher


Conor Stanley

The founder of, an early-stage venture fund and co-working space in Dublin, Stanley has invested in Irish and US startups including Intercom, Boxever, NewsWhip and Barricade among others. He was also lead investor in Jolt Online Gaming, which was acquired by GameStop in 2009, and founded digital agency Clearscape in 2000. @conorstan



We probably don’t need to introduce the famously visored U2 frontman, but Paul Hewson is also a founder and managing director of Silicon Valley-based Elevation Partners. The private equity firm has invested in fourteen companies so far, with Facebook and Yelp perhaps their most famous and profitable investments. @u2


Dan Crowley

A VP at ARCH Venture Partners in Dublin and a former director of the National Digital Research Centre, Crowley has worked with over fifty technology ventures over the years in Europe, the US and Australia. He holds an MBA from Cornell and is a Kauffman Fellow. @crowley_dan


John O’Farrell portrait by Kevin Abosch


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