TfI strengthens links with NUI Galway


30 Apr 2008

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Irish technology commercialisation firm Technology from Ideas Limited (TfI) has signed a 10-year partnership agreement with NUI Galway that will see the firm working closely with the university’s technology transfer office as well as investing more in new technology coming from NUI Galway labs.

“This extended agreement is recognition of the benefits that TfI can bring to supporting TTOs (Technology Transfer Offices) in their commercialisation activities,” said Dan Richardson, TfI’s managing director.

“The projects we have invested in at NUI Galway are in the ICT and renewable energy sectors, and have great potential for the future.”

TfI also recently raised €1.05m in new investment from Enterprise Ireland, 4th Level Ventures and a syndicate of private investors from the Business Angel Partnership.

The company intends to use the investment to increase the number of commercialisation projects it will work on and expand in the UK market. It has recently relocated from Dublin to Waterford and intends to double in size from its current crop of six employees over the next 12-18 months, managing director, Dan Richardson, told siliconrepublic.com.

“The first phase of our growth was about proving that universities would work with us. That’s gone very well for us and we’ve built our pipeline in the first eighteen months. We’re now entering a different growth phase where we’re looking to both grow the number of university relationships we have and expand into the UK with some UK relationships very soon.

TfI sources ideas from Irish universities, as well as from some multinationals and inventors, with a view to commercialising them. It conducts analysis and subsequent development in its own laboratories with its own scientists and engineers. Over the past 18 months, it has signed deals with National University of Ireland Galway, Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork.

TfI invests its own money in developing the ideas and collects a return on investment through licensing deals at the end of projects, a model that is rare not just in Ireland but globally.

It primary area of interest is physical science and engineering. “We’re particularly interested in ICT, renewable energy and medical devices,” Richardson said.

A major project the company embarked on last year using wave technology is close to completion.

“Bringing research outputs to the marketplace is a critical step in the commercialisation process. Enterprise Ireland are dedicated to this process and welcome this investment in TfI, which will help accelerate their activities in this vital area,” commented Martin Lyes, research and innovation manager, Enterprise Ireland.

“We feel that TfI’s licensing business model holds great potential. In their first year, they have demonstrated that university Technology Transfer offices are keen to work with them and have identified some exciting opportunities,” remarked Ray Naughton, co-founder of 4th Level Ventures.

By Niall Byrne

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