Atlantic Bridge – University Bridge Fund II

13th May 2021

Posted In: At the Cutting Edge

Atlantic Bridge, one of Europe’s top performing growth technology funds, has announced the launch of University Bridge Fund II, an €80m fund focused on scaling and commercialising extensively validated research from Ireland’s third level institutions into the next generation of deep tech companies with global potential.  

Dr Helen McBreen, Partner at Atlantic Bridge said: “Atlantic Bridge is delighted to be launching University Bridge Fund II, following the success of our first University Fund which has is ranked in the Top 5 collaborative funds globally.  At Atlantic Bridge we are committed to developing deep relationships and networks between our Universities and investment and corporate partners creating a vital investment Fund in the Irish ecosystem focused on commercializing our cutting edge deep-tech innovations”

The fund is a unique partnership between Atlantic Bridge and Irish universities Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and University College Cork to accelerate the commercialisation of world class science and to globally scale the companies formed. Its goal is to maximise the benefit from research that takes place in the higher education sector.

University Bridge Fund II 2021 follows on the path of the pioneering University Bridge Fund I from 2016 which has invested in over 30 deep tech companies that have raised over €220m in co-investment to date.  Following this trajectory, both Funds have the potential to attract up to half a billion euros of investment into high growth companies.

As of result of achievements to date, the University Bridge Fund ranks fourth within the world’s Top 5 collaborative University Funds and is a part of a growing trend of successful university funds located at international research hubs including Cambridge, Oxford, Stanford and Harvard.

Reaffirming the huge potential of cutting-edge Irish research, existing investors are re-committing to University Bridge Fund II.  They are, the European Investment Fund, Enterprise Ireland and AIB, together with Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and the welcome addition of new investor and University partner University College Cork.

Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy is CEO and Co Founder of Cork based, ApisProtect. A recipient of the Atlantic Bridge University Fund four years ago, Fiona said:

“At ApisProtect, we have developed innovative bee monitoring technology to help beekeepers grow the strength and number of their honey bee colonies. Atlantic Bridge co led our seed round as part of the Atlantic Bridge University Fund in 2017. This funding has enabled us to build our award-winning team, develop our innovative technology, run global validation trials and bring two products to market. I welcome the news that UCC is now part of University Fund II and think this will be a great support for new spin-out companies arising from UCC’s research.”

Enterprise Ireland’s €20m commitment to the fund reflects its key strategic aim of commercialising Irish third level research into globally scalable businesses which have the potential to create over 1,000 high quality jobs, stimulate exports and attract international investment.

Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive Officer at Enterprise Ireland said: “We are delighted to be an investment partner in the University Bridge Fund II which will accelerate the recognition of world-class research generated in all Irish third-level institutions and universities, and the scaling of dynamic Irish start-ups with high growth potential. Enterprise Ireland is investing €20 million in the Fund from its €175m Seed and Venture Capital Scheme (2019-2024), supporting its key strategic objective of commercialising Irish third-level research projects into globally scalable companies.”

This latest fund will invest in deep-tech companies with a keen focus on how technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, IOT, quantum computing and healthtech can make an impact to areas of global concern such as energy efficiency, sustainability, carbon reduction and healthcare.  This fund brings the total amount of capital under management by Atlantic Bridge to over €1 billion across eight funds.  Through an established global platform, Atlantic Bridge continues to back companies from seed stage through to IPO applying a proven scaling model and focused commercial value-add, to give entrepreneurs the very best chance of success.

Pictured (L-R): Provost of Trinity College Dublin Dr Patrick Prendergast, on behalf of the University partners; Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris; CEO of Enterprise Ireland Julie Sinnamon; Partner at Atlantic Bridge Dr Helen McBreen; and CEO of AIB Colin Hunt; at the launch of the Atlantic Bridge managed €80m University Bridge Fund. (image: Naoise Culhane).