Atlantic Bridge has launched the University Bridge Fund II, with University College Cork joining existing partners Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin.

Atlantic Bridge, the Ireland-based growth equity technology firm, launched its second University Bridge Fund today with €80m ($96.7m) from limited partners including Trinity College Dublin (TCD), University College Dublin (UCD) and University College Cork (UCC).

The EU-owned European Investment Fund, Irish state economic development agency Enterprise Ireland and financial services firm Allied Irish Banks (AIB) also committed capital.

Enterprise Ireland committed a quarter of the money, doubling down on its strategic aim of supporting the creation of spinouts in the country. The agency hopes its investment will generate more than 1,000 jobs over the next five years.

University Bridge Fund II will focus on deep tech spinouts in Ireland in sectors such as artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computing, the internet of things and health technologies, particularly in areas of global concern such as the climate crisis and sustainability.

Fund II further extends the partnership between Atlantic Bridge, TCD and UCD, which together initiated the first €60m University Bridge Fund in 2016.

The first fund has backed more than 30 companies, which have attracted more than €220m in co-investment to date. Among its portfolio is Ireland’s first quantum computing technology developer, Equal1.

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 five 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 commercialising our cutting edge deep tech innovations”

Global University Venturing previously spoke to McBreen and her colleague Kathy Kelly for an in-depth look at Atlantic Bridge and the fund in a feature article in April 2020.

Patrick Prendergast, provost of Trinity College Dublin, said: “This fund demonstrates how Irish universities can collaborate to create real impact from research for Ireland.

“This fund, spearheaded by UCD, UCC and Trinity will provide an enhanced opportunity for all third level institutions to maximise the social and economic impact of their research.

“It will result in our higher education sector creating a greater number of high-quality spinout companies than ever before and can play a tangible role in improving our economy as we recover from covid.”

Diarmuid O’Brien, the chief innovation and enterprise officer at Trinity College Dublin who played a crucial role in setting up the first fund, was announced as the new chief executive of Cambridge Enterprise earlier this month and will join University of Cambridge in September.