University Bridge Fund

University Bridge Fund First Year Impact

Since launching in May 2016, the University Bridge Fund is making a significant impact on the commercialisation of Irish research through direct investment and a host of value-added activities. The Fund invests in disruptive technologies emerging from third level institutions, across a broad range of sectors. It is the first institutional Fund of its kind in Ireland and aims to attract ambitious entrepreneurs chasing large, disruptive global opportunities.  

In its first year, the University Bridge Fund has engaged with hundreds of companies and we have announced investments in eight companies. These companies have strategic research links with UCD, Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway, DCU and DIT and all are commercialising technologies across a spectrum of highly innovative sectors such as IOT, robotics, medtech, big data and AI.

The University Bridge Fund is one of six Funds raised by Atlantic Bridge to date and each portfolio company benefits from our unique ‘Bridge Model’, offering companies a vital expert bridge to new markets using our extensive relationships and network of management talent, sales and marketing professionals, co-investors and corporate strategic investors.

The Bridge Model accelerates the pace companies scale their business and we work alongside founders to build relationships with customers, strategic investors, partners and potential acquirers. It offers them the flexibility to respond quickly to rapidly changing markets, in which access and agility are paramount to success. Applying this proven model to new portfolio companies in the University Bridge Fund allows us to add value at an earlier stage in company creation to accelerate the growth of high-tech, high-potential startups.  

Atlantic Bridge has been very active in the startup ecosystem during our first year – attending over 300 events, presenting at key conferences and visiting more than 40 research institutions. In partnership with fund investors UCD, Trinity, Enterprise Ireland, AIB, Bank of Ireland and the European Investment Fund, the team has reached the academic community through events, conferences and one to one mentoring sessions, providing feedback and advice to guide commercial development of early stage technologies and bring them closer to an investor ready position. The Atlantic Bridge team have met with leaders of numerous research projects, companies and academic teams across research centres, the Institutes of Technology and Universities and we have been greatly impressed by the strength and calibre of the research across this ecosystem.  The pace at which the University Bridge Fund pipeline has grown underscores that need for institutional funding for early stage innovative research and the critical role that the Fund is playing in the commercialisation of world class Irish research.  We were delighted to win the ‘Best New Initiative’ Award at the KTI Awards in March 2017 and see Kastus, one of our portfolio companies take home the award for ‘Spin-Out of the Year’.

As we look forward, we will continue growing our network of technology innovators and will welcome the next wave of world class disruptors to our portfolio, playing an integral part in creating the next generation of Irish high-technology businesses.

Kathy Kelly, Investment Associate