Former Parthus executives invest in Cork-based firm


A new venture capital fund run by former Parthus executives Brian Long and Elaine Coughlan has invested in a Cork-based firm NanoComms.

NanoComms is a spin-off company from the National Microelectronics Research Centre (NMRC), which develops plastics for various uses, including the manufacture of "on the spot" medical test kits.

The firm was founded about two years ago by NMRC director Gabriel Crean and researcher Gareth Redmond.

Seed capital has been put up by Atlantic Bridge Ventures, a venture capital fund set up by the Parthus duo; Kevin Dillon, a former vice-president of Microsoft; and Paul Harvey, former head of technology investment banking at Goldman Sachs.

The four founding partners have also teamed up with other prominent Irish technology figures such as Peter McManamon, co-founder of Parthus, and Larry Quinn, the former chief executive of Aldiscon, who will take up roles as "venture partners" to identify firms with potential to grow.

The fund confirmed yesterday that it has raised $50 million (€39.5 million) from private and institutional investors to pinpoint potential firms in the semiconductor, software and mobile phone sectors.

The fund has raised cash from a number of prominent Irish individuals including telecoms entrepreneur Denis O'Brien and former SmartForce executive Bill McCabe, who also runs his own venture capital firm, Oyster.

Mr Long said that Atlantic Bridge Ventures would have offices in London and Dublin and would target firms that had the capacity to target the US market for growth. The fund would target mergers and acquisitions and potential flotations on the Nasdaq exchange to get a financial return, he added.

Meanwhile, a survey by Ernst & Young shows that venture capital investment in the Republic increased 35 per cent in the first quarter to €42.11 million.