Entrepreneurs honing their business acumen and developing a host of bright ideas in Cork Institute of Technology’s Rubicon Centre enjoyed a bumper funding year in 2014.
Companies based at the incubation centre secured a total of €7.8m worth of investment from a range of sources during the year, including Enterprise Ireland; venture capital companies such as Rubicon-based Kernel Capital; and private angel investors.
Almost 80% of Rubicon clients secured funding in the past 12 months with the local enterprise offices launched last April also playing an important part in ensuring access to finance for client companies.
Rubicon Centre manager Paul Healy said: “For 2015, growth in angel investment and crowd funding as well as the emergence of more first time investors looking for better returns will undoubtedly increase, in my opinion.
“Investors with knowledge of the markets targeted by start-up companies and who bring both investment and expertise will be in demand in 2015, and although this is not a space for those who do not like risk there are without doubt dozens of start-ups who are worth the investment.”
A number of Rubicon-based entrepreneurs enjoyed recognition in the year with Paul Brugger of TIC won second place in a competition at the International Air Transport Association Global Passenger Innovation Awards for his software solution BizTweet, while centre companies Treemetrics, Technically Write IT, and Learnlode were winners at the it@Cork awards in November.
The centre’s Mr Healy also said that 2014 has seen an emergence of a number of firms in sectors such as information, communications and technology; and medical devices.
“Over 400 would-be entrepreneurs contacted the centre [in 2014] with a view to partaking in one of our programmes and almost 120 training sessions were provided by our internal start-up experts.
“We are seeing an emergence in some sectors however, with ICT and the medical device sectors continuing to grow with companies whose markets overseas are also holding firm.”
Since 2008, more than 780 jobs have been created by Rubicon graduate companies.