News and Views

UCC joins global fund to support next generation of Irish companies

12 May 2021
Dr Rich Ferrie, Director of Innovation at UCC, and Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy, CEO and Co Founder of ApisProtect

€80M investment fund for next generation of global companies emanating from Ireland’s Universities cornerstoned by research and innovation UCC, TCD and UCD 


University College Cork, UCC today confirmed its involvement in the Atlantic Bridge University Fund II, the second university focused venture fund managed by Atlantic Bridge with a remit to invest in new companies emanating from University research. The fund aims to drive scaling and commercialising of these companies to lead the next generation of Irish deep tech companies with global growth potential

Atlantic Bridge University Fund II - 2021 follows on the path of the pioneering Atlantic Bridge University Fund I - 2016 which has invested in over 30 deep tech companies which have raised over €200m in co-investment to date.  Following this trajectory, both funds have the potential to attract up €500m euros of investment into high growth companies. 

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

The Fund will invest in deep-tech companies with a keen focus on how technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, IOT, quantum computing and health-tech can make an impact to areas of global concern such as energy efficiency, sustainability, carbon reduction and healthcare. 

UCC has a rich heritage of Innovation with some 35 spin out companies, 110 start-up companies with over 600 high value jobs created.  There have been several high profile acquisitions of UCC companies. Most recent examples include PrecisonBiotics, InfiniLED, Luxcel and SensL.  Fiona Edwards Murphy, a graduate of UCC and founder of UCC start-up company Apisprotect, is already a portfolio company of University Fund I. 

Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy, CEO and Co Founder of ApisProtect, today commented;

"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. ”

Interim President UCC, Prof John O’Halloran today commented on the announcement of the new fund;

“UCC is at the forefront of cutting-edge research and innovation and has a strong track record for creating spinout companies with global potential and sustainable impact. By prioritizing innovation today, this fund will help more researchers to get viable new businesses off the ground ensuring strong investment in Cork and surrounding regions.’’

Prof John Cryan VP Research and Innovation UCC commented;

‘’ This fund will allow us to scale UCC’s advanced science and innovation programmes via the proven Atlantic Bridge global value creation model. I am delighted that UCC will be joining University Fund II as a partner.”

Dr Rich Ferrie, Director of Innovation at UCC commented;

“UCCs involvement in the Atlantic Bridge University Fund II confirms its commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation and places it in an elite group of universities who have chosen to partner in an early stage venture fund. It provides an opportunity for our new companies to systematically access investment, expertise and networks from Atlantic Bridge allowing management to focus on scaling and growing their businesses.”

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.”


University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF