Innovation Ireland Forum: NDRC’s Ben Hurley on deep science ventures

20 Oct 2014

Ben Hurley, chief executive of the NDRC

In a vibrant start-ups scene, interest is growing in the sci-tech area, says Ben Hurley, chief executive of the NDRC, speaking ahead of Friday’s Innovation Ireland Forum in Dublin.

What is happening in the areas of science and technology is now becoming a key priority for VCs internationally, according to Hurley.

“They are looking for ventures of real and deep substance,” says Hurley. “We’ve been involved in these since the outset at NDRC. We’ve probably invested in the order of 20 or 30 deep science ventures at this stage.

“Where they are coming from is interesting,” adds Hurley. “(Such as) Logentries, which originally came from research and actually had corporate research behind them, in terms of IBM, but then transformed that into a new venture, to drive the thing forward. And it needed to go that way to really succeed long term.”

He also points to the likes of Clearsight, which originally came from the clinician environment.

“So there again there is a deep knowledge of the ophthalmic physician domain and what they need to do there,” says Hurley, who also points to other examples out of Ireland, such as Havok, which “has brought strong physics engine technology from the science base and successfully commercialised that in the gaming industry.”

Says Hurley, the really exciting thing is that late-stage VCs are really beginning to see the value here, and see this as an area they want to come back to again, having been a little ‘burnt’ in years gone by.

Technology transfer vs new venturing? Watch the full interview with Ben Hurley below:

Innovation Ireland Forum – interview with Ben Hurley

Ben Hurley will be a panelist at the Innovation Ireland Forum on 24 October at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin