DCU start-up senses change in the air with €1m in new funding

2019 Ambisense SBP

1st September 2019

Internet of Things start-up Ambisense will create eight jobs this year in Ireland and Britain having secured €1.1 million in fresh funding from investors including Atlantic Bridge, Suir Valley Ventures and state agency Enterprise Ireland.  

The DCU spin-off makes next generation sensor technologies for the environmental monitoring sector, including smart solar-powered gas monitoring instruments and networks.  It released Gasflux, its first product in 2016 and closed a €1 million funding round the following year.  "That investment was primarily to scale up the business in Britain and commercialise that offering and also to look at how we could get value from the data we were generating," said Ambisence chief executive Stephen McNulty. "With most IoT companies, the value is not in the device itself, it's about the collection of data and what you can do with that data.  We used that cash to scale up commercially, build a small team in Britain and to work on building out our analytics and machine-learning platform."

"It takes the data from the device and combines it with other relevant contextual data sources to give our customers a very rich picture of what's happening in critical environmental processes."

McNulty established Ambisense in 2014 with co-founders Fiachra Collins and Dermot Diamond.  He said the company had become a "major player" in the gas and greenhouse assessment market in Britain.  "Our British team has just won a seven-figure deal assessing and managing risk on a major infrastructural project," he said.  "We focus a lot on major infrastructure projects because there is typically quite a lot of environmental risk attached to those projects.  We're pretty focused on solving environmental problems.  That's really what our technical stack allows us to do.  We see greenhouse gases as a global opportunity.  The plan would be to follow that market and look for territories where there are a lot of greenhouse gas-focused industries, such as onshore oil and gas." 

"We're also branching out into other areas of the market.  We see a fairly big opportunity in the water sector where we can manage risk around large water infrastructure projects."

A client of state agency Enterprise Ireland, Ambisense evolved from an Environmental Protection Agency-funded Strive project begun at  DCU in 2008. "Enterprise Ireland have been unreal," said McNulty. "We went down the HPSU (high potential start-up) route with them in 2014.  Their support was key to us bringing our earliest investors on board.  When we were doing the investment round earlier this year they also put more money in.  They have been a critical part of our success."

Source: Sunday Business Post  

Image: Maura Hickey