By @SimonCockingNovaUCD NovaUCD, the centre for new ventures and , has been the hub of and activity @ucddublin since 2003.

Describe the company – the elevator pitch …

At NovaUCD, the hub for new ventures and entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, our mission is to nurture and support the growth and development of new high-tech and knowledge-intensive companies by providing purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facilities and associated services, alongside a comprehensive business support programme.

How are you different?

At NovaUCD we provide an environment, facilities, services and support programmes to enable our highly-networked community of entrepreneurs to develop and grow their start-up companies.

Our clients are either spin-out companies, commercialising UCD research outputs, or spin-in companies locating at NovaUCD to engage with the University’s world-class expertise, facilities and pool of talented students.

The concept for NovaUCD was to restore the original Merville House (see below) as the centrepiece of a complex of subsidiary buildings that surround it. The buildings are bright, airy and open with high-quality shared and circulation spaces that encourage the formal and informal interactions necessary for the development of a community of entrepreneurs.

Why will the company do well?

We provide a wide range of flexible occupancy options to our clients at NovaUCD, a premier facility with high-quality shared circulation spaces, meeting and seminar rooms and associated services.

We also provide our clients with a comprehensive business support programme which includes one-to-one advice, clinics, seminars and workshops, facilitated access to UCD’s world-class researchers, state-of-the art labs and equipment, and NovaUCD’s extensive network of business leaders, sponsors and investors.

In addition NovaUCD has designed and runs a number of annual programmes in support of UCD and NCAD researchers who are engaged in commercialising research outputs.

The 1-day UCD Innovation Sprint Programme (which runs 3 or 4 times a year) is an intensive and collaborative gathering of scientists, technologists, researchers, and business professionals to catalyse ideas and concepts and to commercially progress research-driven ideas.

The 5-week UCD Commercialisation Bootcamp (which runs twice a year) equips researchers, staff and postgraduate research students with the basic knowledge, skills and understanding of the commercialisation process.

The 3-month UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme is designed to support the creation and launch of sustainable and profitable new ventures based on university intellectual property.

NovaUCD has also designed and runs the UCD Startup Stars Programme, in collaboration with the UCD Innovation Academy and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, to provide a framework and support programme for undergraduate and postgraduate students, from across the university, who want to work together to build start-up companies.

Where are you based?

NovaUCD is situated at a prestigious location on University College Dublin’s main Belfield campus, with vehicular entrance off Fosters Avenue.

NovaUCD is a magnificently restored, renovated and extended house, formerly known as Merville House, built in mid-1700s for the Right Hon. Anthony Foster, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer. This country villa was later passed to his son, Sir John Foster and became one of many townhouses owned by him, the last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons.

In more recent history, Merville House was established as a riding school in 1938, which continued in operation until the 1950’s when the estate was acquired by UCD.

Merville House then became home to the university’s Departments of Biochemistry and Pharmacology until 2000 when these Departments were relocated to the state-of-the-art UCD Conway Institute, and the building was transformed into NovaUCD.

The conversion of Merville House, into a modern centre for new ventures and entrepreneurs, was funded through a public-private partnership involving AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx.

When was the company launched?

NovaUCD, the centre for new ventures and entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, was officially opened in 2003.

What have been your biggest wins to date?

Since 2003 NovaUCD has provided business development support to over 290 companies and early-stage projects through our incubation services and support programmes.

Over 150 of these companies, with an annual turnover of over €70 million, and which have raised in excess of €100 million in equity funding, have been based at NovaUCD and availed of desk space, bio-incubation units or business unit facilities.

NovaUCD-supported companies contribute over €40 million annually in combined Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Irish and international economy and support over 1,250 jobs (directly and indirectly) in Ireland and internationally.

NovaUCD has incubated and supported some of Ireland’s most successful start-up companies such as BiancaMed (acquired by ResMed in 2011), ChangingWorlds (acquired by Amdocs in 2008 for $65 million), Equinome (acquired by Plusvital in 2015), Logentries (acquired by Rapid7 in 2015 for $68 million), Neuromod Devices and OxyMem.

Who are you trying to attract ?

Founders of early-stage high-tech and knowledge-intensive companies.

Tell us about your team?

In addition to our Operations and Facilities team, who manage the physical facilities at NovaUCD, we have dedicated staff members who work directly with our client companies to support their growth and development and to assist them in additional areas such as PR and communications.

We also have a dedicated team who to manage our suite of client support programmes and our development programmes for UCD researchers who are commercialising research outputs.

UCD’s technology transfer team, which is responsible for the commercialisation of intellectual property arising from research and other knowledge-intensive activity at UCD, is also based at NovaUCD.

What are you long term plans for your company?

Looking to the future we aim to build on our proven track record of supporting entrepreneurs and start-up companies at NovaUCD from the early feasibility stage through to business development, growth, investment and to scale globally.

How do people get in touch ?

If you would like to find out more about NovaUCD please visit www.ucd.ie/novaucd or contact us via e: [email protected] or twitter:


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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