NDRC’s ambition to make Ireland the place to start a company (video)

27 Sep 2013

NDRC CEO Ben Hurley (left) with Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD (centre), and NDRC chairman Sean Baker

Earlier this week, Ireland’s National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) proved a number of valuable points; the foremost being that it has struck upon a sure-fire methodology for turning research projects into start-ups. Now it has a new mission: to make Ireland simply the best place to start a new company.

The NDRC this week received a new investment of €17.5m from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to support its efforts for the next five years. This is on top of a previous €25m invested over five years.

The investment coincided with the launch of the accelerator’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.

One of the most interesting insights to come out of the report was that out of 250 new jobs created by the accelerator, the ripple effect for the economy in terms of job numbers can be up to 4.3 times the net digital jobs created, or more than 1,050 jobs, according to CEO Ben Hurley.

Hurley said it is this kind of track record and holistic approach that has led to NDRC being recognised in Silicon Valley as the leading ICT incubator in the world.

NDRC chairman Sean Baker, one of the original co-founders of Iona Technologies, gave an insight into the methodology at play at NDRC.

“We are constantly learning, we experiment and what doesn’t work we drop and what does work we accelerate. We take ideas and produce enterprises that grow. We work with third level early to identify early research, we work with them to determine viability.

“It’s not easy to codify, but we’ve learned to be flexible and built it to be easy to repeat.”

Baker said the latest investment by the State will ensure the NDRC continues for the next five years, “helping the NDRC in its way make Ireland the best place to start a company.”

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