En­ter­tain­ment and sports tech sec­tors em­ploy nearly 2,000 in Ire­land

Al­most 50% of firms in the area have re­ceived fund­ing, ac­cod­ing to Tech Ire­land

The Irish Times - Business - - TECHNOLOGY - CHAR­LIE TAY­LOR

Nearly 2,000 peo­ple are work­ing at en­ter­tain­ment and sport-fo­cused tech firms in Ire­land, with Brown Bag Films the largest em­ployer at 325 staff.

New fig­ures sup­plied by Tech Ire­land also show that al­most 50 per cent of firms work­ing in the area have re­ceived fund­ing. This is the largest num­ber of funded com­pa­nies by sec­tor cov­ered by the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Col­lec­tively, the 148 com­pa­nies work­ing in the sec­tors, which in­clude those fo­cused on gam­ing, au­di­ence en­gage­ment, au­dio/video technology, tick­et­ing, event man­age­ment, fit­ness/health and con­tent, have raised €95 mil­lion.

Acive Mind Technology, a soft­ware de­vel­op­ment com­pany founded in Galway by John McGuire, has raised the largest amount of fund­ing at €9 mil­lion.

The firm, whose head­quar­ters are now in San Francisco, are be­hind Game Golf, a wear­able GPS and mo­tion-sens­ing track­ing sys­tem.

A fur­ther five com­pa­nies – Box­fish, Digit Game Stu­dios, Hit­man Labs, Clev­erBug and Youdio – have raised in ex­cess of €5 mil­lion each.

The av­er­age fund­ing amount re­ceived by firms in the sec­tor is €656,000.

In­dige­nous com­pa­nies

Com­ment­ing on Tech Ire­land’s lat­est snap­shot, Elaine Reynolds, game de­vel­oper, founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Simter­ac­tive, said the num­ber of in­dige­nous com­pa­nies work­ing in the en­ter­tain­ment space was im­pres­sive.

“The gam­ing sec­tor in par­tic­u­lar has grown sig­nif­i­cantly in re­cent years with ev­ery­thing from mid­dle­ware firms such as Ha­vok to a ris­ing num­ber of game de­vel­op­ment stu­dios and VR and AR also well rep­re­sented,” Ms Reynolds said.

Rob Hart­nett, founder of Sports for Busi­ness and an­other Tech Ire­land ad­vi­sor, said that, while there are only a small num­ber of sports tech firms in Ire­land, the im­pact that start-ups such as Kit­man Labs have had, is ex­cep­tional.

“Our sports tech firms are hav­ing a ma­jor im­pact glob­ally and are cre­at­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for Ire­land as be­ing a place where technology is a com­fort­able fit with sport,” he said.

The Oc­to­nauts from Brown Bag Films, the big­gest em­ployer in the sec­tor

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