Ireland's top universities are getting together for a €60m startup fund

Trinity and UCD are both investing in Atlantic Bridge’s new pool for college spin-out companies.

By Peter Bodkin Editor, Fora

IRELAND’S TOP UNIVERSITIES have got together to plan a €60 million investment fund for startups emerging from third-level research projects.

The ‘university bridge fund’ will be managed by Atlantic Bridge, a global technology fund with over $450 million in assets already under management.

The money will go into early stage companies with the scope to spin off research into major markets like the US and China.

The fund is the product of a “joint leadership collaboration” between UCD and Trinity, however it will be open to firms trying to commercialise research from all Ireland’s third-level institutions.

Atlantic Bridge, which is managed in Dublin by Elaine Coughlan and also has offices in London, Silicon Valley, Beijing and Hong Kong, said it would back companies in fields spanning software, hardware, engineering, physical and life sciences and agri-food.

17/1/2014 National Pensions Reserve Funds Elaine Coughlan, Atlantic Bridge's managing partner in Dublin
Source: Laura Hutton/

It has previously put money into fast-growing Irish companies such as Movidius and Swrve, among others.

Investors in the new pool include the European Investment Fund, Enterprise Ireland, AIB, Bank of Ireland and the two universities.

Atlantic Bridge’s general partner, Gerry Maguire, said Irish third-level institutions were generating cutting-edge research, which the fund believed “has great potential to be commercialised into global companies of scale”.

He said the fund would provide “world-class investment processes”, expertise and an international platform to “generate strong commercial returns for investors”.