Sonru and iON in stg£419k ‘cloud’ R&D venture

15 Nov 2010

Wexford firm Sonru and Belfast iON have received £146,000 funding towards a £419k North-South company-to-company research and development partnership through InterTradeIreland’s Innova programme.

Sonru and iON will work together over the next 18-24 months towards developing IP around secure mail delivery “in the cloud” and email client-independent video content delivery.

The partnership combines the core competencies of Sonru in terms of video interviewing and iON in terms of email delivery to develop innovative technology.

Innova is the only all-island R&D programme which supports companies across the island to accelerate new product, process or service developments through partnering with a company in the other jurisdiction.

As well as the financial support available, companies benefit from pooling their expertise and resources with another company anywhere on the island to bring their innovations to market faster than if they were working alone.

Through the programme, InterTradeIreland has already invested more than €5m to support collaborative R&D projects across the island.

Revitalising a killer app

“Email was always known as the killer app and online video is now in the mainstream, so any project that merges these two technologies is sure to bring commercial opportunity,” said Fergal O’Byrne, CEO with Sonru.

Gareth Dunlop, managing director with iON, added: “The InterTradeIreland support has allowed iON, along with our partner Sonru, to bring forward product development plans that our customers and hot prospects were demanding, by about 12-18 months.

“As well as increasing our revenues in the short term as a direct result, it will ensure we are more competitive internationally in the medium term,” Dunlop added.

Developing and exploiting new ideas is critical to business success, particularly in the current climate, says InterTradeIreland’s director of Programmes and Business Services, Margaret Hearty.

“Companies need to innovate to survive and grow but many lack the resources to make it happen. InterTradeIreland’s Innova programme offers an attractive support package for those companies serious about R&D and the unique opportunity to tap into the wealth of expertise that exists across the island,” Hegarty said.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years