€1m Accelerator Fund for tech start-ups

12 Jul 2010

DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship has created a seed venture fund of €1m for 20 early stage tech start-ups over the next two and a half years.

The new venture fund is an accelerator fund, which will help jump start high-tech start-ups in Ireland with an emphasis on software and biotechnology hardware ideas, such as medical devices and diagnostics.

The financial support for the venture fund is being provided by the One Foundation, with any profits generated being returned to the fund for further investment.

The first round of investment will open for applicants in October 2010, with the first four successful entrepreneurs being announced before the end of the year.

A further eight entrepreneurs will be funded in 2011 and again in 2012.

The successful companies will get circa 50,000 in direct funding, as well as a three-month programme of support from the Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship.

This support will include office space, mentorship and specially-designed networking and educational programmes.

Each of these entrepreneurial groups will then work with the Ryan Academy to develop and sustain their companies.

“Raising the money to get through the first year is often difficult for entrepreneurs and our objective is to support 20 early-stage entrepreneurial teams over the next two and half years,” said Gordon McConnell, deputy CEO of the Ryan Academy and venture manager for the new fund.

“We will work with other later-stage angel investors, other funds and the venture capital community to help ensure further funding for these new companies. We want to help nurture innovative technology ideas and act as a launchpad for new entrepreneurs.”

Prof Brian MacCraith

Prof Brian MacCraith, president-designate of DCU

“This initiative is not only another clear manifestation of DCU’s commitment to be the University of Enterprise but also addresses an obvious deficit in the pathway from concept to successful product”, said Prof Brian MacCraith, president-designate of DCU, who will have his inauguration tomorrow.

The fund stands out as it is both a university-related venture fund for start-ups across Ireland, as well as offering a programme of support for these start-ups through the Ryan Academy and its network.

The new fund will be governed by a Technology Advisory Board, which will be announced later in the summer. Further and regular updates on the new fund will be posted on the Ryan Academy Tech Entrepreneurship Blog.

The Ryan Academy also aspires to work with other seed funds and individual investors, and will be seeking to increase the fund size over time.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic