Nanotech firm raises €3m

16 Jun 2003

Dublin-based nanotechnology firm NTera has raised close to €3m in further funding, bringing total investment in the firm to €20m to date.The UCD campus company raised the €2.85m from existing investors Evolution Beeson Gregory in London and Cross Atlantic Capital Partners, Crucible and the Co-Investment Fund.

NTera, formerly known as Nanomat, employs 45 people in Ireland and Switzerland and is headquartered in Stillorgan. In 2001, the company acquired Swiss battery technology firm Xoliox in 2001 for around €4m in cash and shares. The company was established on UCD campus in 1997 to develop and commercialise nanomaterials; tiny computers that are up to 100,000 times thinner than the average human hair and which can be used in a variety of industrial and medical applications.

NTera is focusing on developing the next generation of computer displays, and is working on a new screen technology called nano-chromics which it is envisaged will replace existing LCD screens. The company’s particular forte will be in “smart windows” that can darken or lighten electronically and on long-life battery technology.

Regarded as the technology of the future, investments in nanotechnology are gathering at a pace throughout the world, although NTera is Ireland’s only example of a nanotechnology firm.

An example of the importance being attached to the new technology can be seen by the recent decision by the US House of Congress to invest heavily in it by passing the Nanotechnology Research and Development Act. The Act budgets $2.36bn over three years, an average of $787m annually, for nanotechnology research and grants to universities and private corporations.

By John Kennedy