AIB seed fund invests €1m in Dublin wireless firm

16 Sep 2010

Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) has invested €1m in a wireless design and test company. The investment in Benetel will lead to the creation of eight new jobs and will support major drive into the US and UK markets.

The investment was led by the AIB Seed Capital Fund, managed by the Dublin Business Innovation Centre (Dublin BIC), with additional investment from private investors and with grant support from Enterprise Ireland.

The €53m AIB Seed Capital Fund was launched in 2007 and invests in start-up and early stage Irish companies or enterprises with high international growth potential.

Benetel has been specialising in wireless technology since 2001.  From its headquarters in the GEC in Dublin, it supplies wireless test services, as well as in-house radio frequency (RF) and wireless design expertise, to clients in Ireland, the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, China, France, Germany, the Czech Republic and the US.

Initially a design consultancy, Benetel expanded its portfolio by productising its service and selling wireless test systems.

Benetel is the only National Instruments Certified Alliance partner in Ireland with several LabView Certified Engineers.

Global market opportunity

The funding will primarily be used to finance the expansion of Benetel’s wireless and RF test solutions business. The company has already built a sizeable customer base for systems within the automotive, cellular, consumer electronics and medical electronics industries.

Founded by ex-Lucent engineers, Benetel follows emerging wireless standards and teams up with technology innovators in order to supply test expertise for all stages of the product life cycle, from R&D to mass production.

To accelerate its research and development activities, the company has launched a recruitment drive in Ireland to fill eight test software and RF engineering positions.

“In nine years, we’ve developed the company from a specialist consultancy to being a comprehensive provider of wireless products and services,” explained John Doyle, CEO, Benetel.

“Having secured some enviable reference clients and an international reputation as wireless innovators, we decided to take outside investment onboard to facilitate the next step in our growth.”

The Guinness Enterprise Centre established in 2000 is managed by Dublin Business Innovation Centre (Dublin BIC). “It’s great to see Irish businesses like Benetel thriving on an international stage,” said Joe Morley of the GEC.

“In a relatively short period of time, they’ve built a global network of customers and a highly innovative product suite. This investment gives them the financial resources to really capitalise on current sales opportunities. Importantly, the company is creating Irish jobs and we look forward to welcoming Benetel’s new recruits into the GEC.”

Desmond Fahey of Dublin BIC said Benetel is primed for success. “All the groundwork has been laid in terms of securing its intellectual property, forming strategic alliances and generating interest from the wireless market.

“With funding behind them and supported by Dublin BIC and Enterprise Ireland, Benetel can grow its footprint in the global wireless market.”

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