12 May 2021

Atlantic Bridge launches University Bridge Fund II to invest €80m in next generation of global companies built from world class Irish research and innovation

Atlantic Bridge launches University Bridge Fund II to invest €80m in next generation of global companies built from world class Irish research and innovation

L-R: Dr. Fiona Edwards Murphy, Co-Founder & CEO ApisProtect; Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland; Dr. Helen McBreen, Partner Atlantic Bridge; Elaine Coughlan, Managing Partner Atlantic Bridge; Dr. Lucy O'Keeffe, Co-Founder & CEO CroiValve; Dr. Elena Blokhina, CTO Equal1

  • Scaling cutting edge science and innovation via proven Atlantic Bridge global value creation model

  • Investment focus on deep-technology companies including sectors such AI, robotics, quantum, healthtech addressing areas of global concern such as energy efficiency, climate, carbon reduction and healthcare

  • Enterprise Ireland €20m investment to support creation of >1,000 jobs over the next 5 years through commercialisation of research into global businesses

12th May 2021: 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: “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.”

For further information, see www.abven.com/university-bridge-fund/ and www.abven.com

L-R: Dr. Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin; Simon Harris, Minister for Further & Higher Education; Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland; Helen McBreen, Partner Atlantic Bridge; Colin Hunt, CEO AIB

About Atlantic Bridge

Atlantic Bridge is a €1 Billion Pan European Technology Growth Firm founded in 2004 by successful technology entrepreneurs and executives. With offices in London, Dublin, Munich, Paris, Palo Alto, and Beijing, Atlantic Bridge invests in deep tech sustainable sectors such as Artificial Intelligence, Digital Health and Computer Vision. With 8 Funds under management now including two University Funds, the Firm leverages its deep operational experience and unrivalled networks to help build deep technology companies into global market leaders across Europe the US and Asia.


About AIB

AIB supports early and growth stage companies through investment in seed, venture and growth capital. As at October 2020, Equity Capital has committed over €260m into 21 funds, supporting 300+ companies and 4,500+ Irish jobs in technology, life sciences, fintech, real asset (renewable energy, social infrastructure) and growth equity into mid-market high growth Irish businesses through it’s investment.


About Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the Irish government agency responsible for the development and growth of Irish companies internationally in order to grow exports and jobs. Enterprise Ireland works with entrepreneurs and businesses to help them to start-up, develop innovative products and services, and scale internationally. Enterprise Ireland facilitates access to international markets through its international office network, supports business strategy & management capability training and provides finance, investment and research expertise.


About European Investment Fund

EIF is a leading financial institution in the European Private Equity market. Through its venture capital and private equity interventions, it plays a crucial role in the creation and development of high-growth and innovative SMEs by facilitating access to equity for these companies across the entire life cycle of corporate innovation. It does so by investing in venture and growth capital, from the very earliest stages of intellectual property development into technology transfer, to more mature phases of development. In supporting both well-known and first time teams, EIF has built a strong track record in the industry. Through this reputation, while maintaining a highly selective process, EIF takes significant minority stakes in funds which provide a catalytic effect on commitments from a wide range of investors, particularly in the private sector. The scale and scope of EIF’s investments, along with its added value on fundraising, allows EIF to promote best market practice and corporate governance for teams it chooses to support. EIF’s equity activity is principally backed by resources from its main shareholders, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Commission. The Partnership is supported by InnovFin Equity, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) set up under the Investment Plan for Europe. The purpose of EFSI is to help support financing and implementing productive investments in the European Union and to ensure increased access to financing.


About Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College Dublin, founded in 1592, is Ireland’s oldest university. Today it has a vibrant community of 19,000 students and is recognised internationally as Ireland’s premier university. Cutting edge research, technology and innovation places the university at the forefront of higher education in Ireland and globally. It encompasses all major academic disciplines, and is committed to world-class teaching and research across a range of disciplines in the arts, humanities, engineering, science, social and health sciences. Trinity is Europe’s leading university for graduate entrepreneurship and has placed innovation and entrepreneurship at the heart of its strategy – from the development of plans for a new innovation campus at Grand Canal Quay, to the establishment of the University Bridge I and University Bridge Fund II.


About University College Dublin

UCD is Ireland’s largest and most diverse university and one of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities. Since 1854 UCD has made a unique contribution to the creation of modern Ireland, based on successful engagement with Irish society on every level and across every sphere of activity. As Ireland’s leading university in innovation, knowledge transfer and commercialisation, UCD’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship recognises the importance of active participation and collaboration to exploit leading-edge research and development outputs. As set-out in Rising to the Future 2020-2024 UCD’s four strategic theme are; creating a sustainable global society, transforming through digital technology, building a healthy world, and empowering humanity.


About University College Cork

An award-winning institution with a history of independent thinking stretching back over 170 years, University College Cork is proud to be ranked in the top 2% of universities in the world. We opened our gates to just 115 students in 1849, but now have a student population of over 22,500. UCC is a research-intensive, student-centred, international top-tier university, five-time winner of Sunday Times Irish University of the Year, and is ranked eighth in the world on the Times Higher Education Rankings of over 1,100 universities.