Dublin multi-touch firm RAPT Touch raises €4m to disrupt the display industry

8 Apr 2013

Derek Crawley, partner in NCB Ventures, and Owen Drumm, co-founder and CTO of Rapt

A Dublin-based technology company called RAPT has raised €4m in an investment round that will enable it to rollout affordable multi-touch technologies to global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

The investment came in a funding round led by the Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund, which is managed by NCB ventures.

As part of its expansion, RAPT Touch currently plans to recruit a number of highly skilled engineers and software developers, aimed at accommodating the growing demands of the company on a global scale.

Established in 2004 by Owen Drumm and Gerry Giblin and headquartered in Dublin, RAPT Touch has offices in Silicon Valley, Switzerland and Taiwan.  

Disruptive technology could change the display industry

RAPT has developed an innovative patent protected technology delivering disruptive savings for flush finish multi-touch screens of all sizes and surfaces. RAPT’s technology offers the first true multi-touch alternative for OEMs to projected capacitive systems.

The key differentiator for RAPT is its disruptive cost advantage over projected capacitive systems. Among other key features are Windows 8-enabled technology for multiple screen surfaces and sizes, stylus and glove input and increased LCD clarity above competitive systems. RAPT’s initial product targets are personal computers, media tablets and interactive displays.

“Excessive material costs and technological limitations have to date largely limited touchscreen technology deployment into multi-touch screen sizes larger than 11,” Gerry Giblin, Group CEO of RAPT, explained.

“Our patented multi-touch solution is experiencing very strong demand from OEMs and the overwhelming demand for multi-touch points to the future of user interfaces. RAPT is well positioned to capture a significant share of this emerging trend and our technology will enable an incredible experience on multi-touch screens of all shapes and sizes,” Giblin added.

The Touch-screen sector is currently valued at US$14bn worldwide and estimates suggest that in 2012 alone, 500m products and 3bn inches of multi-touch enabled screens were sold, further highlighting the shift among interactive technologies toward multi-touch technologies. Furthermore, market analysts believe that by 2017, the sector will be worth about US$24bn.

Following the investment, Derek Crawley of NCB Ventures will take a seat on the board of RAPT.

“The use of multi-touch screen technology will grow substantially in coming years and given the strength and uniqueness of RAPT’s product offering we are very excited to partner with them and look forward to supporting them as they enter a new phase of partnership and growth,” Crawley said.

“The company combines many of the critical attributes we look for when investing in a business, including significant international potential, a strong product offering, a highly professional leadership team, and a proven business model demonstrating a clear strategy to grow the business.”

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