Five technology companies based in the Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) in Dublin have between them raised €7.3m in funding and tripled employment to 66 in 2006.
The firms graduated from the Dublin Business Innovation Centre (DBIC) entrepreneur programme. The DBIC manages the GEC.
The firms are Big River, Screenclick.com, Jam Media, Odyssey Internet Portals and Trapedza Financial Systems. Combined, they recorded revenues of €3.3m in 2006 and aim to grow this by 50pc to €5m in 2007.
Big River specialises in converting a range of documents types for delivery over the web; Screenclick.com is an online movie rental company; Jam Media is a digital animation firm that has won recognition for its preschool animated series PICME; Odyssey Internet Portals is a website company specialising in developing portal communities; and Trapedza Financial Systems provides retail banking systems to financial institutions.
Graduating from the DBIC entrepreneur programme takes two and a half years, explained John McInerney, project manager with DBIC. During that time a company must grow to employ at least 10 employees. Companies are given business development advice, incubation space in the GEC and access to funding from the Seed Capital Fund and the Business Angels programme during this period.
McInerney said the investment climate for technology firms at the moment was good. “I’d say out of the €7.3m, there would have been about €3m venture capitalist (VC) investment: two of those companies would have attracted VC investment,” he said.
Hugh Governey, chairman of DBIC, said that the movement of companies through the centre made more space available for new start-ups. “Entrepreneurs should know that support systems, including seed capital, exist in Ireland to get good ideas up and running.”
DBIC is currently supporting 67 early-stage companies employing 386 people, mostly in fields such as ICT, digital media, animation, software development and e-learning.
DBIC anticipates between four to seven start-up companies will graduate next year. “It’s been running at around five a year for the past five years,” commented McInerney.
By Niall Byrne