Intune raises €22m venture investment from investors including Dermot Desmond

1 Oct 2009

A Dublin technology firm that develops tuneable lasers to make fibre networks more efficient has secured €22m worth of venture capital investment from investors that include Kernel Capital and Irish financier Dermot Desmond.

Desmond, through an investment vehicle ‘Dermot Desmond’, and venture-capital firm Kernel Capital, led the investment with additional funding provided by existing investors Balderton Capital, Amadeus Capital and Spark Capital, as well as long-term private investors.

Enterprise Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland also participated in this round of financing, to support Intune’s growth in Dublin and Belfast, where more than 100 people are employed by the company.

The funding round, which was facilitated by Bowen Advisors, is the largest private-equity investment in the global telecoms optical equipment sector in 2009. It is also the largest private equity investment round in the European telecoms equipment sector and the third largest in the European IT sector this year.

“We received an extremely positive response to our recent fundraising road show and are delighted to have brought new investors, Dermot Desmond and Kernel Capital on board, as well as securing additional support from our existing investors and both governments, north and south of the border,” Tim Fritzley, CEO, Intune Networks explained.

“The funding will be used for the full commercial product launch in mid 2010, as well as for expanding market coverage beyond the European carriers on into North America and Asia.”

During the summer, Intune Networks were appointed by the Irish Government to make Ireland a testbed for the Exemplar Network, a futuristic fibre network that could host multiple telcos on a single strand of fibre. The appointment has paved the way for Intune to create an additional 300 new jobs.

“There are tremendous global opportunities for Intune Networks to roll out its innovative technology to help revolutionise how next-generation networks and web services are developed and delivered. We are now fully resourced and sufficiently funded to take advantage of these opportunities, to grow the company in new geographies and to cement our leadership in markets where we are already established,” Fritzley said.

Desmond said he gave his support to Intune because he believes the company has developed a disruptive technology that will change the way telecommunications services are delivered.

“I’m also delighted to have the opportunity to invest in an Irish company that has developed such a ground-breaking technology. More innovation of this kind will help to reinvigorate the North and South economies,” Desmond said.

Niall Olden of Kernel Capital noted: “It’s a testament to the strength and potential of Intune Network’s technology that it has successfully raised funding in the current economic climate. I look forward to watching Tim Fritzley and his team further grow and develop the company as it rolls out its highly innovative telecommunications technology following 10 years of research and development.”

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