Investors include European Investment Fund and Enterprise Ireland, along with AIB, Bank of Ireland and the two universities
Fund is significant boost for innovators seeking to develop third level research into successful businesses – says Minister
Atlantic Bridge, one of Europe’s top performing growth technology funds, has announced a new €60 million investment fund for early stage companies with global potential that are built from world class research from all Irish third-level institutions and universities.
Leveraging the Atlantic Bridge global investment platform and proven ‘Bridge Model’ for scaling technology companies, the Fund will accelerate the commercialisation of ground breaking research generated at Trinity College Dublin (Trinity), University College Dublin (UCD) and all third level research institutions.
The Fund, which will provide capital and expertise for scaling companies into the US and Chinese markets and elsewhere, was initiated in a joint leadership collaboration between UCD and Trinity.
The €60 million now in place will provide investment and expertise at the commercialisation stage for companies focusing on software, hardware, engineering, physical sciences, life sciences and agri-food.
This Fund brings together significant institutional investment from the European Investment Fund – its first cornerstone commitment in an Irish fund of this type having made similar investments in Europe - and Enterprise Ireland, as well AIB and Bank of Ireland, who are already strong supporters of UCD, Trinity and the Irish technology ecosystem. Trinity and UCD have also invested in the Fund.
Irish companies that have benefited from the ‘Bridge Model’ for scaling-up technology companies include Movidius, Swrve, Fieldaware, Glonav and PolarLake.
The Fund will enhance success at UCD and Trinity - both ranked in the Top 1% of higher education institutes world-wide - in creating spin-outs and start-ups. The universities are also ranked in the Top 5 of European Universities for producing graduate entrepreneurs. Over the last 10 years they have jointly spun-out over 60 companies, which have secured in excess of €200 million in investment, such as Equinome, Logentries and OxyMem from UCD and Genable, Opsona Therapeutics and Swrve from Trinity.
Enterprise Ireland is investing in the Fund from its Seed & Venture Capital Scheme (2013-2018), supporting its key strategic aim of commercialising Irish third level research into globally scalable businesses which will create high quality jobs, stimulate exports and attract international investment. This significant investment represents its continued commitment to increasing the availability of risk capital for SMEs and ensuring there is a vibrant ecosystem of funding available in the Irish market for all startups.
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD said, “Innovation is a key pillar of Enterprise 2025 and I am delighted that this new University Bridge Fund has been launched. This additional investment in the third level sector will provide the support for more researchers to develop viable new businesses and spin outs from the sector.”
Said General Partner at Atlantic Bridge, Gerry Maguire, “Irish third level institutions are generating cutting edge research, which we believe has great potential to be commercialised into global companies of scale. Atlantic Bridge will bring world class investment processes, scaling expertise and an international platform to generate strong commercial returns for investors.”
Said Head of Technology Transfer & IP Investments of European Investment Fund, Piyush Unalkat, “Ireland is privileged to have more top 100 innovative universities per capita than any other country in Europe, with both Trinity and UCD forming part of this elite pool. It is my strong belief that Irish research organisations have the potential to generate significant global impact with this fund acting as a catalyst for the commercialisation of their research.”
Said Provost of Trinity, Professor Patrick Prendergast, “Trinity and UCD are committed to achieving both economic and societal impact from our research excellence. This fund will be transformational in supporting our internationally leading research to become globally leading businesses – creating new jobs and enabling new innovative products.”
Said President of UCD, Professor Andrew Deeks, “The strong track record, scale and professional supports of UCD and Trinity prompted us to seek out the creation of this fund in the first place. We expect the pipeline of UCD and Trinity companies to account for at least 50% of the investment fund. We are both ambitious and confident that the University Bridge Fund will generate excellent commercial outcomes that will encourage more researchers to become entrepreneurs.”
Said Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, “A key role of Enterprise Ireland is to support innovation and the commercialisation of research into business. We are delighted to be an investor in the University Bridge Fund which is open to all third level institutions and will help develop more entrepreneurs, companies and jobs, from the research community.”
For further information about the University Bridge Fund visit www.universitybridgefund.ie.
Pictured (l-r) are Walter Hobbs, Executive Director Investment and Finance, Enterprise Ireland; Gerry Maguire, Partner, Atlantic Bridge; Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Professor Patrick Prendergast, Provost, Trinity; Professor Andrew Deeks, President, UCD and Mark Horgan, Partner, Atlantic Bridge. (Maxwell Photography).