Atlantic Bridge, one of Europe’s top performing growth technology funds, has today announced the launch of University Bridge Fund II, an €80m fund focused on scaling and commercialising extensively validated research from Ireland’s third level institutions into the next generation of deep tech companies with global potential.
The fund is a unique partnership between Atlantic Bridge and Irish universities Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and University College Cork to accelerate the commercialisation of world class science and to globally scale the companies formed. Its goal is to maximise the benefit from research that takes place in the higher education sector.
University Bridge Fund II 2021 follows on the path of the pioneering University Bridge Fund I from 2016 which has invested in over 30 deep tech companies that have raised over €220m in co-investment to date. Following this trajectory both Funds have the potential to attract up to half a billion euros of investment into high growth companies.
Fund I portfolio companies attracting significant international investment include Neurent Medical, Siren.io, CroiValve, Manna and Ireland’s first quantum computing company Equal1. As of result of achievements to date, the University Bridge Fund ranks fourth within the world’s Top 5 collaborative University Funds and is a part of a growing trend of successful university funds located at international research hubs including Cambridge, Oxford, Stanford and Harvard.
Reaffirming the huge potential of cutting-edge Irish research existing investors are re-committing to University Bridge Fund II. They are, the European Investment Fund, Enterprise Ireland and AIB, together with Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and the welcome addition of new investor and University partner University College Cork.
Enterprise Ireland’s €20m commitment to the fund reflects its key strategic aim of commercialising Irish third level research into globally scalable businesses which have the potential to create over 1,000 high quality jobs, stimulate exports and attract international investment.
This latest fund will invest in deep-tech companies with a keen focus on how technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, IOT, quantum computing and healthtech can make an impact to areas of global concern such as energy efficiency, sustainability, carbon reduction and healthcare.
This latest fund brings the total amount of capital under management by Atlantic Bridge to over €1 billion across eight funds. Through an established global platform, Atlantic Bridge continues to back companies from seed stage through to IPO applying a proven scaling model and focused commercial value-add, to give entrepreneurs the very best chance of success. With over 80 portfolio companies and global investment teams located in Europe, the US and Asia, Atlantic Bridge has a track record in scaling several of Ireland’s largest technology companies including Decawave, which was acquired by Qorvo in 2020 and Movidius which was acquired by Intel in 2016.
Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science said:
Ireland’s higher education institutes are delivering world class research. Translating this research and innovation into real-world impact and investment is a critical platform on which much of Ireland’s economic and social development is built. My Department is committed to joining the dots – we know that accessing the skills, expertise and technologies developed in the publicly funded research sector can enable businesses to develop faster and work smarter, set new standards, grow jobs and stay ahead of the competition.
Alain Godard, Chief Executive Officer at European Investment Fund said:
Atlantic Bridge has a unique track record of scaling technology transfer and turning Irish world-class research into commercial success and jobs. The European Investment Fund, alongside leading Irish financial partners, is pleased to back the University Bridge Fund II, to help deep tech spin-off companies expand and innovate to solve energy efficiency, sustainability and healthcare challenges. The EIF’s strengthened partnership with Atlantic Bridge demonstrated by today’s agreement builds on the EIB Group’s transformational investment support across all universities in Ireland.
Dr Helen McBreen, Partner at Atlantic Bridge said:
Atlantic Bridge is delighted to be launching University Bridge Fund II, following the success of our first University Fund which has is ranked in the Top 5 collaborative funds globally. At Atlantic Bridge we are committed to developing deep relationships and networks between our Universities and investment and corporate partners creating a vital investment Fund in the Irish ecosystem focused on commercializing our cutting edge deep-tech innovations.
Damien English TD, Minister for Business, Employment and Retail said:
Irish third-level institutions and universities are at the forefront of cutting-edge research and innovation and have a strong track record for creating spin-out companies with global potential. Ingenuity is more crucial than ever before to meet the global challenges we are facing. By prioritizing innovation today, this fund will help more researchers to get viable new businesses off the ground, stimulating the creation of high-quality jobs across the country and shaping the future economy.
Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive Officer at Enterprise Ireland said:
Enterprise Ireland is committed to developing and sustaining more entrepreneurs, companies and jobs from the research community. We are delighted to be an investment partner in the University Bridge Fund II which will accelerate the recognition of world-class research generated in all Irish third-level institutions and universities, and the scaling of dynamic Irish start-ups with high growth potential. Enterprise Ireland is investing €20 million in the Fund from its €175m Seed and Venture Capital Scheme (2019-2024), supporting its key strategic objective of commercialising Irish third-level research projects into globally scalable companies.
Colin Hunt, Chief Executive Officer at AIB said:
AIB is very proud to continue to back Atlantic Bridge and the deep tech companies it helps foster. University Fund I has been highly successful in growing and supporting the next generation of deep tech companies, creating high tech jobs and attracting significant international investment to Ireland. The launch of the second University Fund is strong validation of the Atlantic Bridge investment model and brings increased opportunities to early stage SMEs.
Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin, on behalf of the University Partners, said:
This fund demonstrates how Irish universities can collaborate to create real impact from research for Ireland. This fund, spearheaded by UCD, UCC and Trinity will provide an enhanced opportunity for all third level institutions to maximise the social and economic impact of their research It will result in our higher education sector creating a greater number of high quality spin-out companies than ever before and can play a tangible role in improving our economy as we recover from Covid.