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Over 550 companies and start-ups supported as NovaUCD celebrates 20 years doing business

Posted 19 October, 2023

With over 550 companies and early-stage ventures supported and more than €1.3 billion in equity raised, NovaUCD has much to celebrate as it marks its 20th anniversary.

Having first opened its doors in 2003, the hub of innovation and start-up activities at University College Dublin, and the base for its knowledge transfer team, has seen 70 new UCD spin-out companies incorporated; over 1,165 inventions disclosed; some 370 priority patent applications filed, and hundreds of licensing deals between a range of national international businesses. 

In addition, ConsultUCD, UCD’s managed consultancy service, also based at NovaUCD, has undertaken more than 220 consultancy projects since it was established in 2017.

“Innovation opens the door to future growth, future prosperity and future jobs and I am delighted to be here to see first-hand the impact NovaUCD has had on start-ups, both today and over the last 20 years,” said Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Neale Richmond TD, at the launch of a new report highlighting the economic and societal impact of NovaUCD over the last 20 years.

“Start-ups are the life blood of the Irish economy and the report clearly demonstrates UCD’s leadership role in supporting entrepreneurs and their contribution to economic and social development.”

Adding: “Over the past twenty years, NovaUCD has supported over 550 companies, raising over €1.3 billion in funding and I look forward to seeing what the future holds. Government will continue to support NovaUCD through a range of funding initiatives to ensure that the pipeline of disruptive and innovative companies continues to expand from this excellent facility.”

NovaUCD is currently supporting more than 70 start-ups and established companies to grow and scale on the national and global stage. 

These companies collectively are planning on creating over 1,100 jobs and raise over €290m in funding during the next two years.

Manna Drone Delivery, the world’s first aviation-grade drone delivery start-up and a NovaUCD graduate company headquartered at NexusUCD, is one of these companies with significant expansion plans. 

It currently employs 100 people and has already concluded over 100,000 drone deliveries in locations across Ireland and plans to launch in multiple new locations in Ireland and in other European countries, in 2024. 

Other current and graduate companies of the NovaUCD ecosystem include Aer Therapeutics, BiancaMed (acquired by ResMed), Biosimulytics, Conjura, Corlytics, CropBiome; DOCOsoft, EpiCapture and Equinome, which was boughty by Plusvital, and Zipp Mobility, acquired by ZEUS Scooters.

Pictured at NovaUCD, Professor Helen Roche, interim UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact; Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation; Dr Fiona McGillicuddy, UCD School of Medicine, project lead on MetHealth, an emerging UCD spin-out; Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Neale Richmond TD, Professor Orla Feely, UCD President, Dr Martin O’Reilly, CEO and co-founder, Output Sports and Dr Imelda Lambkin, Disruptive Technologies, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer Manger, Enterprise Ireland Credit: Conor McCabe Photography

“UCD is committed to playing a strategic role in Ireland’s innovation and knowledge exchange ecosystem as an enabler of economic growth and talent development,” said Professor Orla Feely, UCD President.

“One way we support this commitment is through NovaUCD which is focused on the commercialisation of our research outputs, creating new ventures, nurturing and scaling start-ups and established companies with global reach, and creating jobs.”

Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation added “In 2003 UCD created a world-class, purpose-built facility based around one of its historic Georgian buildings, now known as NovaUCD. Twenty years on, NovaUCD, an example of sustainability in action, is still creating and supporting great UCD spin-out and spin-in companies, such as Aer Therapeutics, Go Eve, Equal1 and Manna, which have the potential to deliver significant societal and economic impact.

“Looking to the future there will be many opportunities for NovaUCD to build on its successes to date, in areas such as agrifood, space, cybersecurity, AI, edge computing, manufacturing, advanced diagnostics, novel therapeutics and sustainability, as we continue to make a real difference in the innovation landscape and ecosystem in Ireland and further afield.” 

NovaUCD is currently working with CeADAR, Ireland’s National Centre for Applied AI, to launch a new AI accelerator programme, with funding from the European Digital Innovation Hubs, and is developing a new 5G Edge accelerator programme in partnership with Dell, Ericsson and Vodafone.

The full report 'NovaUCD Ideas to Impact Since 2003', highlighting the economic and societal impact of NovaUCD, is available here.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations (with materials from Micéal Whelan, UCD Research and Innovation)

To contact the UCD News & Content Team, email: newsdesk@ucd.ie