Insights into European (and Irish) Private Cybersecurity Investment

By Francisco Andrade e Silva, Market and Regional Policies Junior Manager, ECSO

The European cybersecurity market has been increasing steadily over the past decades, having reached a total of €52.4B in 2023 with a 10.81% CAGR until 2029 (Mordor Intelligence, 2024). One factor plays a crucial role in ensuring a steady market growth: investment. A strong private investment sector is the backbone to any meaningful growth. Investment drives innovation, which brings cybersecurity technologies from the lab into the market. However, to understand the investment landscape, we need to track funding rounds and mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in cybersecurity. This is exactly what the European Cybersecurity Organisation (ECSO) and its members have endeavoured to achieve. 

ECSO Cybersecurity Investment and M&A Report 2023

In report, ECSO observed a total of €1.35 billion of private investment across 209 funding rounds in cybersecurity in Europe, a 38% decrease from the €2.16 billion observed in 2022 (Axeleo capital, 2023). Tikehau Capital (2024), another ECSO member, indicates a similar decrease of 42% from 2022 to 2023.  

Additionally, the report indicates a low market maturity, with an overwhelming majority of the funding rounds and half the volume of investment coming from series A or lower rounds. If compared to the US (Tikehau, 2024), the European market observes a lower presence of larger rounds, demonstrating Europe’s difficulty in offering competitive funding opportunities to its larger companies. 

Lastly, ECSO observed 178 M&As amounting to €6.6 billion in 2023. Of these, 23% had non-European companies as the buyers, suggesting a “company drain” to markets such as the US. Sequentially, US-based companies were the second most active buyers in the European cybersecurity market, only surpassed by the UK, having concluded 31 M&As in 2023. 

How does Ireland feature in this report?

Well, Ireland is the sixth country in terms of the number of funding rounds, with nine, but only 12th in the volume of investment, representing €13.85 million. This can either be attributed to undisclosed round values, or to its comparatively low average round size of €1.54 million, the 16th lowest in Europe.

In terms of M&As, Ireland is one of the most active M&A markets with 7 M&As within its borders, and with Irish companies as the fourth biggest buyers, responsible for 16 M&As, just after France. Furthermore, ten of these M&As were outside of Ireland, demonstrating a big push for internationalisation. It is worth noting that Accenture is registered as an Irish company, as it is headquartered in Dublin. If we exclude Accenture, Ireland comes in fifth place, still demonstrating one of the strongest M&A ecosystems in Europe in 2023.

What can we conclude from this data?

Europe needs to invest more in cybersecurity if it aims to ensure the markets long-term growth and Strategic Autonomy. Today, we are faced with a worsening investment market gap, the European Investment Bank (EIB, 2022) identified it at around €1.75 billion per year in the European Cybersecurity Investment Platform (ECIP) study, and investment shrank 38% from 2022 to 2023. Furthermore, the European investment ecosystem struggles to meet larger companies funding needs, leading them to move to more attractive markets (Noventiq listing in Nasdaq). Lastly, there is a relevant activity of non-European, US-based, investors and corporates in Europe. 

How can Europe solve this?

Firstly, the public sector needs to increase its support to the investment ecosystem. This can be done at the EU level, by implementing the ECIP (EIB, 2022), which would function as a “fund of funds”, or at the national/regional levels, by having governments participate as limited partners (LPs) to the existing cybersecurity funds. Secondly, there needs to be more cooperation between European investors to facilitate co-investing and the provision of larger tickets for companies. Finaly, the public sector needs to support European businesses through more comprehensive public procurement that allows European Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to participate. 

ECSO has been working to address these obstacles.  

  1. We started with the letter of intent which culminated in the EIB’s ECIP Report of 2022, and continues to advocate for the ECIP implementation.  
  1. ECSO is building the Invest4Cyber community, which gathers several types of investors, such as venture capital, private equity, fund-of-funds, investment banks, and others in a community to facilitate cooperation. 
  1. ECSO hosts matchmaking events between startups and investors in Europe, Cyber Investor Days and ECSO Startup Awards, to facilitate investment in cybersecurity.  
  1. ECSO supports European companies by increasing their visibility through the CYBERSECURITY MADE IN EUROPE Label, and hosting CYBERHIVE EUROPE, a digital marketplace where European cybersecurity companies can list their solutions, be reviewed by CISOs and find investors and funds in cybersecurity. 

We are all too aware of the implications of dependency in a sector critical to European security… Hence, it is critical to ensure we address the identified market gap by fostering public support to existing funds, increasing cooperation among investors, and facilitating access to procurement for SMEs. Remember, investment is the key to achieve European Strategic Autonomy and Digital Resilience. 

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European Cybersecurity Organisation (ECSO). (February 2024). ECSO’s 2023 European Cybersecurity Investment and M&A Report. 

European Cybersecurity Organisation (ECSO). (February 2024). ECSO’s 2023 European Cybersecurity Investment and M&A Dataset. 

Tikehau Capital. (March 2024). Tikehau Capital Barometer of European Investment in Cybersecurity – 5th edition 2024”. Retrieved March 15, 2024, from tikehau-capital-barometre-en-2024 (  

Axeleo Capital. (October 2023). Axeleo Capital’s 5th Edition of the Cybersecurity Index. Retrieved March 15, 2024, from  

European Investment Bank. (2022). European Cybersecurity Investment Platform. Retrieved March 15, 2024, from  

Mordor Intelligence Research & Advisory. (February 2024). Europe Cyber Security Market Size & Share Analysis – Growth Trends & Forecasts (2024 – 2029). Mordor Intelligence. Retrieved March 15, 2024, from 
Noventiq. (May 2023). Noventiq to List on NASDAQ Through Business Combination with Coner Growth Acquisition Corp. Retrieved March 15, 2024, from: