Top 10 tech startups bustling in Belfast Ireland
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The capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, birthplace of the RMS Titanic, and high-tech companies all help startups prosper

Belfast’s first settlers started building things about 5,000 years ago. Established as a real town in the 1600s, Belfast bloomed in the 1700s through 1800s and in 1922 became the capital of Northern Ireland. Now the high tech jewel of Northern Ireland, the Harland and Wolff shipyard became the largest in the world in the early 20th century and built the RMS Titanic.

Around 1.4 million people live in and around Belfast today, a little over half in the urban area. Trade and manufacturing have long been staples in the economy. Two universities, Queen’s University Belfast started in 1845 and Ulster University started in 1984. Being the capital, the area includes plenty of politicians, lawyers, and other professional workers.

Not far away, the popular Game of Thrones TV show has multiple filming locations, including sites for Winterfell, the Dark Hedges, RiverRun, DragonStone, and the Dothraki grasslands. Fantasy lives in the countryside, and startups live in Belfast.


Photo courtesy: Sisaf

Patients need drugs but they also need them to reach the right trouble spots in and on the body. Sisaf and its ProSilic product line uses Elemental Silicon in a wide variety of medical and cosmetic applications.

Founded in 2006, Sisaf researched in low-profile mode until October 2013 when the company received 500k pounds in seed money. September 2016 saw a Series A placement of $3.5 million from Vickers Venture Partners. So far, a soothing balm of over $4.3 million.


Photo courtesy: SaltDNA

Privacy matters, and SaltDNA enables secure communications from any device, whether desktop, smartphone, or tablets. They also provide secure file transfers and collaboration.

Kevin Donaghy started the company in 2013. In January 2015 the investment group Accomplice slyly plopped down $3 million in seed money.


Photo courtesy: QuizFortune

Those trivia games that hold you entranced? Branded. Thanks to QuizFortune, companies can use their real-time trivia platform to engage customers and fans to mobile and social gaming. Engagement tracking make the apps even stickier.

Founded in the fall of 2011, a bit over a year later the first VC money anted up with $1.29 million in seed bucks. In February 2015 another $965k in angel funds arrived. The investment game score now is $2.25 million and counting.

MOF Technologies

Photo courtesy: MOF Technologies

Tech startups don’t get much more geeky than this: “We are pioneers in the synthesis of metal organic frameworks, nano-technology designed to make the world safer and more efficient.” That’s where MOF Technologies gets the MOF acronym for the crystalline, sponge-like materials that have broad industrial applications. “A family of miracle materials,” says the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Founded by Tom Robinson in the summer of 2012 with an undisclosed amount of seed money, the first venture placement came in September 2015 for 1.2 million euros. Excelsa Ventures mixed in another 1.5 million euros in January 2017. Total so far? Over $3.2 million.


Photo courtesy: Sensum

Market research is fine, but you have to trust people to answer questions truthfully. Using wearables and other tools from Sensum, researchers can monitor all manner of vitals such as heart rate and sweat response. Sweat glands and heartbeats don’t lie or even fudge a little, they just tell the truth. Eye tracking guarantees you know what a subject found interesting.

The company opened in 2011, not too long after wearables started getting useful. In October 2013 they netted 600k pounds in seed money, followed by another 600k pounds in September 2016. All that adds up to a heart-pounding $1.75 million so far.


Photo courtesy: Datactics

Companies with big data issues need to match and “clean up” data for better quality. Few industries have bigger data needs and more “cleaning” needs than banks and other financial institutions. Enter Datactics and their software to quickly profile, cleanse, score, and match the information hidden in big piles of big data.

Starting back before big data was a problem, in 1999, Datactics kept moving forward. The company scoured over $1.6 million dollars from Clarendon Fund Managers and Thule Investments in late 2008.

DisplayNote Technologies

Photo courtesy: DisplayNote Technologies

As your grandmother tried to drill into your head, sharing is caring. It’s also good for business when we call it collaboration. DisplayNote Technologies has a mission to improve how people share ideas and turn those ideas into action. So share already.

Started by Paul Brown in 2012, after a large number of other companies failed to solve the problem completely, DisplayNote refined until it got noticed. In October 2014 Kernel Capital dropped 1.25 million euros on the table, which is just under $1.6 million dollars.

Analytics Engines

Photo courtesy: Analytics Engines

Companies gather and gather data, and only a few can really parse and analyze that mountain of data to good effect. Call in Analytics Engines, however, and the company will provide the data analytics and managements tools needed to coerce data to tell all.

2008 was near the first push from big data, and that’s when Analytics was started by Scott Fischaber. Development took a while, but early customers and projects kept things cooking until March 2014 when 1 million pound in venture funding came from Crescent Capital. The big data big pile of dough is currently at over $1.5 million.

Titan IC Systems

Photo courtesy: Titan-IC

Spun out of Queen’s University Belfast research, Titan IC Systems supplies hardware that accelerates regular expression processing for the cybersecurity industry. The company helps fast computers go even faster to improve security for customers.

Separating from the Center for Secure Information Technologies in 2007, Titan IC developed hardware and software products. In May 2015, the work paid off with a venture round it 850k pounds, or about $1.3 million dollars.


Photo courtesy: AirPOS

Millions of small businesses all need cash registers for physical sales. But ready or not, they also need ecommerce support. AirPOS gives them both in a mobile-friendly system using tablets and phones. They also keep track of inventory for a pretty complete small biz solution.

Organized in 2009 by Kieran Graham and Martin Neill, AirPOS got $30k in seed money just a few months later. In January 2011 they received 220k pounds in another seed round. A year later Series A funding amounted to 150k pounds. So far, the net investment is over $610k.

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James Gaskin

About James Gaskin

James writes books, articles, and jokes about technology, and consults for those who don’t read his books and articles.

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