DCU’s Ryan Academy plans to create €3m early stage fund

22 Nov 2010

Dublin City University’s Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship has raised €1m in funding for early stage technology start-up companies. It plans to raise an additional €2m in the coming years.

The seed accelerator fund will be titled ‘Propeller and aims to fund and incubate up to 24 early stage technology companies over the next two years.

More than 20 start-up companies have already been in discussions with the academy since the fund and programme was announced in July.

To date, €1m has been raised and there are plans to raise an additional €2m in the coming years to further develop the programme.

The online application process will go live today at an event in DCU attended by the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. It is hoped the programme will be of interest to start-ups in other EU countries and beyond.

Connecting the corporate sector with the start-up sector

Another one of the aims of the Propeller programme is to link the corporate sector in Ireland to the start-up sector. A number of Ireland’s leading companies have been approached about providing senior executives as mentors.

“Early stage venture accelerators must be adapted to the city region they are based in. One of Dublin’s greatest magnets for start-ups is the fact that it is a location for leading technology giants, such as IBM, Intel, Google and Microsoft,” said Gordon McConnell, the deputy-CEO of the Ryan Academy.

“One of our objectives is to create a unique ecosystem where early stage companies, many of which have an business-to-business product model, will get access to and advice from these executives. The other half of the mentor equation will be serial entrepreneurs in the technology area.”

Powering the recovery

Another benefit of the programme will be a package of corporate and service support, including marketing, accounting, legal and intellectual property advice.

A number of companies have already signed up to support the programme, including Sage Ireland, Arthur Cox, Publicis D, Tomkins IP and Enterprise Ireland.

“At this particularly challenging time for all businesses, I welcome this initiative which should prove very beneficial to start-up enterprises,” said Liam Mullaney, managing director of business software solutions company Sage Ireland.

“These start-up companies will play a central role in Ireland’s economic recovery and the availability of key software tools, marketing, legal and intellectual property advice will be welcomed by our budding entrepreneurs,” said Mullaney who is also a mentor to the programme.

The new fund will be governed by a Technology Advisory Board, which will be chaired by Declan Ryan.

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