NDRC receives €17.5m further State investment – 50 new jobs on the way this year

25 Sep 2013

NDRC CEO Ben Hurley

Ireland’s National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) is to receive a new investment of €17.5m from the Department of Communications. The research and start-up accelerator is credited with enabling start-ups to create 250 jobs in the last five years and at least another 50 jobs will be added by the end of this year.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte, TD, announced this latest investment this morning upon the publication of the NDRC’s annual report.

The report details that the market capital value of ventures emerging from NDRC increased by more than 100pc in 2012. It is projected to reach €91m by the end of this year. 

The report reveals cumulative follow-on investment for NDRC spin-outs trebled in just one year, from €5.7m in 2011 to a total of €16m by end of 2012.

Projecting to the end of 2013, cumulative follow-on investment is expected to at least double again to reach a total of €32m.

The market capital value of NDRC-enabled ventures increased from €14.9m in 2011 to €39m in 2012 and is scheduled to reach €91m by December 2013.

The NDRC was created following the demise of MIT’s Media Lab Europe in 2005.

A decision was made to create the NDRC, which, under the leadership of CEO Ben Hurley, was to have a more applied focus in terms of transforming research into vibrant start-ups.

Ripple effect for the broader economy

“NDRC’s status within Ireland’s innovation ecosystem has undergone a fundamental change. NDRC is now proven and recognised as that earliest stage investor that is capable of making high-impact ventures happen, and we continue to go from strength to strength with our innovative spin-outs receiving record levels of investment and creating jobs in the process,” Hurley said.

“By using the key metrics of follow-on investment, market capital value and jobs creation, NDRC’s benefit to Ireland and the digital economy can clearly be seen.

“A direct result of this investment in NDRC-backed ventures is the creation of high-value jobs, with 250 created in just five years,” Hurley said.

“These high-value jobs have a positive ripple effect on the economy. The immediate apparent impact on the economy might be counted at 250 jobs but when ripple impacts of digital jobs are considered, the true impact on the economy in terms of job numbers can be up to 4.3 times the net digital jobs created, or over 1,050 jobs.”

New ventures emerging from NDRC over the last year have met with a huge degree of success, with spin-outs, such as music app Soundwave receiving large amounts of investment, going live on iTunes and being downloaded more than 350,000 times in 182 countries.

Online health provider Silvercloud Health has already received more than €1.5m in inward investment. Data analytics company Boxever has attracted more than €800,000. Cloud software company LogEntries has received a seven-figure sum of investment. ClearSight Innovations recently closed a multi-million euro deal with a global ophthalmic company.

Rabbitte said the Irish Government remains staunchly committed to investing in Ireland’s knowledge economy.  

“It is essential for the country’s recovery that home-grown ideas are nurtured to such point that they can flourish in their native environment and contribute to sustainable growth. This is central to our Action Plan for Jobs. I am greatly encouraged that in the five years since its inception, NDRC has put down strong roots of its own to consolidate its position within Ireland’s innovation ecosystem.

“The results being announced here today demonstrate that, and I am pleased to announce the Government’s on-going support to the essential work of this organisation for the foreseeable future,” Rabbitte said.

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