NovaUCD to increase start-ups through €6.7m expansion

NovaUCD is to increase its capacity to house high-tech start-ups with global ambitions by over 50pc.

NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin (UCD), has revealed a €6.7m expansion that will boost the number of founders and teams it can support.

The project involved the renovation and expansion of NovaUCD’s East Courtyard and has resulted in 800 square metres of additional licensable space enabling NovaUCD to increase its capacity to house high-tech start-ups with global ambitions by over 50pc.

“UCD is committed to Ireland’s development as an innovation leader through its role as an engine of economic, cultural, and social growth”

Its new facility includes more than 20 business units and laboratories and a new co-working space. NovaUCD can now support over 450 founders and their teams.

Boosting Ireland’s start-up ecosystem

“Since opening in 2003 NovaUCD has become one of the leading hubs in Ireland’s start-up ecosystem supporting ambitious entrepreneurs and innovative high-tech companies,” said Taoiseach Micheál Martin, TD.

“With NovaUCD’s strong track record, and now with its significant increase in capacity, I am sure it will continue to flourish in the future as it continues to assist entrepreneurs who want to locate at NovaUCD and leverage its excellent facilities, accelerator programmes, expertise and network to help them to grow and scale their start-ups on the global stage.”

During a tour of the facility the Taoiseach received technology demonstrations from a number of start-ups already located in the new wing including, Equal1 Laboratories, Manna, Output Sports and PlasmaBound.

Equal1, Ireland’s first quantum computing company, has secured over €10m in initial funding to accelerate the introduction of the world’s most compact and cost-effective quantum computers.

Manna which has already secured over $35m in funding from international venture capitalist firms is now planning on raising a further $50m to $100m in additional funding in 2022 to expand its drone manufacturing capability and scale its drone delivery service across Ireland.

Output Sports has to date secured clients in 18+ countries around the world across 30+ sports, at professional and sub-elite levels, for its technology to test multiple components of athletic performance and track training programmes, using a single matchbox sized wearable sensor.

PlasmaBound has developed a novel surface bonding pre-treatment technology to enable global manufacturing industries, including the aerospace/space industry, to reduce product weight and meet fuel efficiency and carbon emissions requirements.

“UCD is committed to Ireland’s development as an innovation leader through its role as an engine of economic, cultural, and social growth,” said Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact.

“Since 2003 NovaUCD has supported over 400 companies and early-stage ventures and by investing in the expansion of NovaUCD’s East Courtyard we are substantially increasing our capacity to support the development and scaling of high-tech start-ups in line with Shaping the Future, UCD’s Strategy for Research, Innovation and Impact.”

Since opening in 2003 NovaUCD has developed an excellent infrastructure, a range of comprehensive business support programmes, including accelerator programmes, and a peer-support ecosystem of experienced mentors, founders, alumni, investors and sponsors, that nurtures an enthusiastic and dynamic community of talented entrepreneurs at NovaUCD and across the UCD campus.

NovaUCD has to date supported over 400 companies and early-stage ventures including companies such as, BiancaMed, Carrick Therapeutics, Corlytics, Equinome, Life Scientific, Logentries, MagGrow, NovoGrid, OncoMark, OxyMem, Supernode, Terra Solar and Vivid Edge. NovaUCD supported companies have to date raised over €775 million in equity funding and employ thousands of people directly and indirectly between them.

NovaUCD was originally funded through a unique public-private partnership involving; AIB, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx. NovaUCD is also supported by Enterprise Ireland through the Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative, managed by Knowledge Transfer Ireland.

“Over the last few years we have doubled the number of start-ups that we are creating from UCD research and we have supported them to more than triple the seed investment they attract,” explained Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation.

“We have also increased the number of accelerator programmes we run with partners such as the European Space Agency, Ericsson, Vodafone, Enterprise Ireland and IADT Media Cube, so the timing is right for this expansion.” 

“We have a growing and vibrant community of very successful entrepreneurs at NovaUCD and we look forward to welcoming and supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs in the years ahead.”

Main image at top: Associate Professor Elena Blokhina, CTO, Equal1 Laboratories, Michael Cunningham, head of Commercial Partnerships, Manna, Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD and Dr Martin O’Reilly, CEO and co-founder, Output Sports

John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.