NovaUCD has announced the proposed creation of 300 new jobs over the next twenty-four months. Thirty-seven companies based at or strongly linked to the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at UCD will be looking to increase their work force after individually securing substantial equity investment, totalling €40 million collectively.
UCD’s Vice President for Innovation, Professor Peter Clinch, hopes that “many of the new jobs to be created over the coming two years will be filled by UCD graduates,” and states that “UCD Innovation, through NovaUCD, is providing facilities and supports to assist high-tech start-ups to thrive and create quality jobs, which is having a direct impact on helping Ireland’s economic recovery. We see it as part of UCD’s mission to support this activity.”
These latest projections are the result of an annual employment survey and present a major increase in job creation after Nova companies established eighty new jobs last year. Clinch believes that this news “demonstrates the growth prospects for these companies in their target markets and reflects their stage of development.”
The thirty companies secured their investments from a mixture of “private or angel investors, venture capitalists or Enterprise Ireland,” according to Clinch, and all are “high-tech and knowledge-intensive start-ups … [in industry sectors] ranging from ICT to biotech, to medical devices to wireless, to renewable energy to energy management to social web-search. The jobs being created over the next two-years will be in these types of sectors and will therefore be predominantly high-quality, high-skill, degree level, including postgraduate level, jobs.”
One such company is HeyStaks, a UCD spin-out company established by UCD researchers to commercialise the intellectual property outputs of their research activities at the University, which has developed a social web search service and secured €1 million of equity funding in 2010 from the Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund, which is managed by NCB Ventures.
HeyStaks’ Head of Product, Dr Maurice Coyle, says their plan is to “ramp up to about forty employees in the next two years. We currently employ twelve,” going on to say that “We plan to stay based within Nova for the foreseeable future. We’re a client company, and definitely plan on maintaining our links with the University.”
Head of Marketing at another Nova spin-out company, Tethras, Lee Kelly, says his company will be looking to employ “about fifteen or sixteen” more people, and have no plans as of yet to relocate from Nova. “We haven’t discussed it as of yet, but we’re happy with where we are. If we get much bigger, we may have to move.”
UCD holds a small equity in Nova’s spin-out companies, and the University would expect a financial return as they develop and expand both nationally and internationally.