Cork start-up Keelvar Systems raises €750k in funding round

11 Oct 2012

Dr Alan Holland, CEO, Keelvar Systems, and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, TD

Keelvar Systems, a spin-out from University College Cork that has developed auction technology for governments and multinationals carrying out procurement for tenders, has secured €750,000 in a funding round led by ACT Venture Capital and with investment from Enterprise Equity and Enterprise Ireland.

The company, which is now based at the Rubicon Centre in Bishopstown, Cork, is planning to use the funding to increase its staff headcount to 18 and to expand its service.

The €750,000 investment was secured from lead investor ACT investing from its AIB Start-Up Accelerator Fund, seed funds supported by AIB and Enterprise Equity from the AIB Seed Capital Fund.  

Keelvar itself was spawned from research carried out at the 4C research laboratory in the Department of Computer Science at University College Cork (UCC).

Dr Alan Holland, a former research fellow based in the 4C laboratory, founded the software-as-a-service start-up.

“It helps purchasers establish a balanced and cost-effective outcome between large and small suppliers, which can be critical to indigenous industry. It is a price-gathering mechanism that supports communication of creative ways in which waste can be removed, helping government departments and multinational companies reduce costs,” explained Holland.

With governments around the globe centralising procurement, he went on to say the market opportunity is “huge” and timely, given that the technology can help “resolve the conflict within government budgets” to protect and grow employment while saving on costs and maintaining service levels.

Holland said that savings of between 4pc and 10pc would be achievable in most spend categories.

Greg Treston, Enterprise Ireland’s head of high-potential start-ups and scaling, today described Keelvar as a “promising academic spin-out”.

“The commercialisation of state-funded research is a key priority for the Government and for Enterprise Ireland, and Keelvar’s innovative system shows just how great ideas can be turned into commercial businesses. We look forward to continuing working with them as they grow the business,” he said.                     

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic