- New Irish manufacturing facility will be the world’s first ‘Medicine Accelerator’ and have annual full-scale capacity for hundreds of millions of vaccine and other therapeutic doses
- Enterprise Ireland supported APC’s continued growth – strengthening Ireland’s position in the global value chain of vaccine development and manufacturing
- 50% of APC clients are based in the US and the company has an office in Boston
APC Ltd, the award-winning Irish pharmaceutical research and development company, is investing €25M and creating 120 jobs through the formation of a ‘Global Centre of Excellence for Vaccine and Advanced Therapeutic Research and Manufacturing’.
With an office in Boston and strong market penetration right across the US, APC’s expanded facility in Dublin will enable the rapid research and manufacture of vaccines, including Covid 19 vaccines, and other advanced therapeutics for rare diseases. It will provide supply chains nationally and across the US and Europe with these vital medicines, positioning Ireland as a significant contributor on the international stage to the manufacture of Covid vaccines and other critical Advanced Therapeutics.
Enterprise Ireland supports APC’s ‘Global Centre of Excellence for Advanced Therapeutic and Vaccine Research and Manufacture’. through their Covid-19 Products Scheme. Enterprise Ireland will further support APC’s new research facility for the accelerated process development of vaccine candidates and new medicines. Enterprise Ireland will also provide strategic funding for APC’s sister company VLE to manufacture advanced therapeutics and vaccines, including Covid-19 vaccines.
€8m of this investment involves the construction of an additional 12,000 sq. ft of laboratory space and associated research infrastructure at APC’s existing 60,000 sq. ft headquarters in Dublin. The expansion, which will be fully operational by the end of June 2021, will add new highly skilled jobs with roles in chemistry, biology, chemical engineering, analytical sciences coming on stream immediately, along with other various professional pharmaceutical positions. The expansion will support the research acceleration of Covid-19 vaccines and other Advanced Therapeutics.
At the same time, APC is also announcing a €17m investment in the creation of VLE Therapeutics Ltd. to focus on the manufacture of Vaccines and Advanced Therapeutics, including Cell and Gene Therapies. This will be the first Irish-owned facility expressly designed to provide Ireland and Europe with a local supply chain for these critical medicines. Stage 1 of VLE will have a new manufacturing facility in place by the end of 2021, with an annual full-scale capacity of up to 50 million vaccine doses. Up to 70 new jobs are planned as part of this investment across manufacturing operations, supply chain, engineering, QA / QC, and regulatory.
Stage 2 of VLE’s manufacturing capability will deliver a new bespoke 80,000 sq. ft manufacturing facility by the end of 2023. This facility will provide a world-class platform for the Drug Substance and Drug Product clinical and commercial manufacture of a wide range of Vaccines and Advanced Therapeutics with dose capacity in the hundreds of millions.
Established in 2011 by Dr. Mark Barrett (CEO) and Professor Brian Glennon (CTO), APC combines its platform technology, ACHIEVE®, BioACHIEVE®, and iACHIEVE©, and its globally recognized research team, to accelerate how drug and vaccine manufacturing processes are researched and developed. APC works with pharmaceutical and biotech companies globally on this medicine acceleration mission, with 80% of its activities export-focused. The business is the largest employer in Ireland of Ph.D. qualified chemical engineers and one of the country’s largest employers of PhD-level scientists.
In 2020 APC, through the combination of IP and customers, spun out VLE Therapeutics to drive scientific and digital-led manufacture of Vaccines and Advanced Therapeutics. In addition to Covid-19 vaccine research and manufacture, APC is currently working on 20+ medicines for a variety of cancers, respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and HIV at its HQ in Dublin.
An Taoiseach Michael Martin says: “APC’s new Global Centre of Excellence positions Ireland as a key contributor to the research and manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines and other critical Advanced Therapeutics. Today’s investment will make APC the world’s first ‘Medicine Accelerator’, a place where molecules get to market at record speed through science-led expertise combined with digital innovation. This is set to revolutionize how medicines are developed and delivered to patients.
The fact that this is all happening in Ireland, thanks to the work of a 100% Irish-owned company, is a testament to the wealth of talent and vision we have here in this country in the biotech and pharmaceutical space. It is remarkable to think that, thanks to APC and VLE, Ireland will shortly have the capacity to manufacture hundreds of millions of vaccine doses a year, a move that is set to be totally transformative not just for patients, but for the entire sector, at both a domestic and international level.”
An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says: “Ireland is already internationally recognized as a global hub for biopharmaceutical companies but this announcement will put us on the map as a significant producer of vaccines, including the lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine. Congratulations to the APC team on this expansion and €25m investment, which will create 120 new jobs in Cherrywood. Today’s announcement is a testament to the success of the Government’s Covid-19 Products Scheme, which is having a transformative impact on how Irish companies are delivering solutions to the pandemic.”
Group Chief Executive Officer to APC and VLE, Dr. Mark Barrett says: “In development since July 2020, this €25M investment is a culmination of our ambition for an Irish company to stand tall and contribute, on both the national and global stage, to the development and manufacture of Covid Vaccines and other critical Advanced Therapeutics. Ireland is a global powerhouse for pharma manufacturing and we believe our technological advancements can work hand-in-hand with this track record to accelerate the development and manufacture of these critical vaccines and advanced therapeutics for people in Ireland, Europe, and around the world. We’re also delighted to have a strong longstanding partnership with Enterprise Ireland and their investment was integral to this entire project.”
Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy says: “From the start, Enterprise Ireland has supported APC’s R&D and scaling agenda to become a global leader and a unique disruptor in the global pharma industry. APC has an exceptional track record, delivering game-changing disruptive technology to the largest global pharma and biopharma companies in the world to optimize and accelerate the development and production of medicines, including vaccines. Today’s announcement is hugely significant to deliver the next frontier of biopharma manufacturing, and further strengthens Ireland’s position in the global value chain of vaccine development and manufacturing.”
- Following its recent $76m all equity Series A raise, rapidly growing Irish start-up Wayflyer expands into fintech hub Georgia with Atlanta office opening
- Investment into Georgia bolstered by appointment of Jay Puentes as new U.S. Director of Sales, and co-founder Jack Pierse’s relocation to Georgia
- With 70% of electronic payments in the country processed in Georgia, Atlanta office opens extensive fintech networking and growth opportunities for Wayflyer
- Wayflyer’s investment into Georgia set to create 50+ new sales jobs by year-end
Wayflyer, the revenue-based financing and growth platform to eCommerce merchants, today announces its expansion into fintech hub Georgia. This is marked by an investment into office space in the capital Atlanta, as well as the appointment of Jay Puentes as U.S. Director of Sales. Additionally, co-founder Jack Pierse will relocate to Atlanta to oversee the expansion.
Puentes joins from fintech start-ups ChargeAfter, headquartered in NYC, and GreenSky, headquartered in Atlanta, where he primarily focused on the eCommerce space. He will be responsible for leveraging his existing local network to grow a team that will ramp up U.S. operations, focused on acquiring new eCommerce customers and helping to propel these businesses’ growth.
Puentes is also set to drive the Atlanta office headcount up from 7 to 50 employees in the coming months. The Atlanta office is set to open near Atlanta’s BeltLine, and will also be hiring for customer support, marketing and underwriting roles alongside positions in Business Development.
Wayflyer’s expansion into the U.S. comes off the back of its recent $76m all equity Series A raise and partnership with Adobe Commerce. Currently 75% of Wayflyer’s customer base operate in the U.S. and funds from the Series A round will be used for on-the-ground U.S. expansion.
Jay Puentes, Wayflyer US Director of Sales comments:
“With over 2 billion people globally making purchases online, the eCommerce industry continues to see double-digit growth year over year. Yet, despite exponential growth, eCommerce companies continue to have inherently difficult working capital challenges, limiting their opportunities for growth. Wayflyer is uniquely positioned to solve these issues and help eCommerce entrepreneurs unlock their potential. In the past three weeks alone, the Wayflyer U.S. team has doubled from 7 to 15, and I look forward to leveraging the extensive local network I’ve built over the last decade to oversee expansion in the area.”
Pat Wilson, Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner comments:
“Wayflyer is an exciting addition to Georgia’s global fintech ecosystem. Georgia has an incredibly strong tech talent pool and our e-commerce portfolio is thriving. I’m confident these factors will help Wayflyer continue to grow their U.S. operations.”
Katie Kirkpatrick, Metro Atlanta Chamber President and CEO comments:
“Wayflyer is a welcome addition to metro Atlanta’s robust fintech sector, as well as our diverse international business community. Working with FinTech Atlanta and our network of economic development partners, we look forward to supporting Wayflyer’s growth in our region.”
Dr. Eloisa Klementich, Invest Atlanta President and CEO Comments:
“With leading universities, a diverse technology talent base and the most-traveled airport in the Western hemisphere, Atlanta continues to attract international companies looking to expand their U.S. presence. We look forward to supporting Wayflyer as they grow their workforce and footprint here in one of the largest and fastest-growing fintech centers in the country.”
From June 22-24 over 2,000+ fintech leaders from around the world will come together virtually at Fintech South for 3 days of content and experiences designed to help businesses succeed and thrive in the next normal. Over 250 speakers from the top companies in fintech globally will be delivering 40+ hours of interactive content. In a virtual expo hall over 50 exhibitors will use the opportunity to demonstrate new products and network with new partners. With a full week of AI-powered networking, attendees can expect to leave with new connections from throughout the world.
Fintech in Atlanta
The Fintech sector in Atlanta is thriving as a global financial technology hub that is home to more than 170 fintech companies. The state of Georgia itself hosts the top 15 public fintech companies in Georgia which generate more than $100 billion in revenues. With the thriving Fintech scene in Atlanta, it’s no coincidence that many Irish fintech companies have chosen the city as their home.
This year Enterprise Ireland is proud to be a World Stage Partner of Fintech South supporting the continued collaboration between US and Irish fintech firms. The Irish presence at Fintech South this year will be significant with seven Enterprise Ireland-supported companies attending.
Daon is an innovator in developing and deploying biometric authentication and identity assurance solutions worldwide. Daon has pioneered methods for securely and conveniently combining biometric and identity capabilities across multiple channels with large-scale deployments that span payments verification, digital banking, wealth, insurance, telcos, and securing borders and seamless travel. Daon’s IdentityX® platform provides an inclusive, trusted digital security experience, enabling the creation, authentication, and recovery of a user’s identity and allowing businesses to conduct transactions with any consumer through any medium with total confidence.
Global Shares is a leading global provider of equity compensation management solutions, providing Share Plan Administration, Global Custody, Share-Dealing, and Financial Reporting Services to companies and their employees in over 100 countries worldwide. They develop highly specialized cloud-based software solutions for companies to manage their equity plans. The technology is developed and managed 100% in-house, whilst a highly skilled team of equity professionals delivers the highest levels of service with a personal touch.
Keeper Solutions is the partner of choice for fast-scaling Fintech and Medtech firms. Since 2011, Keeper Solutions has been providing scalable, expert outsourcing solutions for international customers through its network of secure, remote software delivery centers. Keeper helps clients scale up their development capabilities with cost-effective access to vastly experienced, remote software development teams.
Prommt is an innovative and SaaS platform for secure, personalized payment experiences. At its core, Prommt takes pay-by-link to the next level; blending messaging and payments technology to create seamless and secure payment journeys that help you get paid faster, safer and smarter. Its unrivaled payment success solution is used by leading organizations across a range of industries to bring greater speed, efficiency, and convenience to their payment processes.
Pulsate enables financial institutions to maintain and strengthen the relationship with their banking customers across the US. By leveraging behavioral and location data, it delivers personalized offers and time-sensitive information. Pulsate helps community banks and credit unions to engage their most at-risk members and ensure they have access to financial support and digital services when they need it. Founded in 2014, Pulsate is driving the transformation of marketing in retail banking to support the continued growth of community banking institutions in an increasingly digital world.
Wayflyer helps eCommerce businesses worldwide reach their growth potential by providing a range of financing and analytics solutions that help them access working capital, improve cash flow and drive sales. Through its offering of affordable, non-dilutive, unsecured capital, eligible businesses are given the flexibility to secure advertising space and inventory, paving the way for growth and profitability. Wayflyer’s unique free analytics platform also analyzes marketing performance on a daily basis, equipping eCommerce businesses with world-class data and tangible, tangible insights designed to improve performance. Wayflyer acts as a growth platform for eCommerce businesses, providing them with a one-stop-shop for the working capital needed to thrive, as well as the data-driven knowledge and insight to spend their capital in an optimum way.
Worldnet develops frictionless payment solutions for independent software vendors. The company’s omnichannel platform is used to deliver expert solutions in industries such as unattended retail, transportation, and services. Worldnet’s flexible approach enables businesses to deliver a customized payment experience to their customers, including tailored workflows, branding, and centralized reporting and analytics. The highly scalable cloud platform provides an advanced range of EMV-enabled products and services across channels including eCommerce, Mobile, PoS, and iPoS.
Enterprise Ireland recently hosted a virtual event, Food Evolution: A Forum on the Future of Food
This timely and relevant event brought together global thought leaders, international food development agencies, and speakers from food and beverage multinationals. They highlighted the growing importance of consumer-centric innovation, food security, the regulatory landscape, and the need for a commitment to sustainability across the sector. Speakers included representatives from The Kraft Heinz Company, Kellogg’s, Danone, Kerry, Mintel, Dairygold, and the EU Commission. The event was officially opened by Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment.
The forum provided a global platform for the food and beverage sector to engage and interact with industry peers and discuss the benefits that Ireland and Europe have to offer companies looking to evolve and scale their global footprint.
The global food and beverage industry is highly consumer-driven and has witnessed phenomenal growth due to factors like increasing population, technological advancements, streamlined manufacturing processes, and improved cold chain facilities.
However, the events of 2020 have caused a fundamental reset in human behavior resulting in a significant shift in consumer purchases and attitudes across this industry. This shift has increased the need for food and beverage companies to constantly innovate and transform how they do business to attain a competitive edge.
In Europe, Ireland has been at the heart of this transformative sector employing over 60,000 people, generating international sales in excess of $50bn, and playing host to some of the largest players in the industry such as Abbott, Danone, Pernod Ricard, and Diageo.
Ireland has evolved steadily from exporting live animals and freshly harvested crops to adding more and more value to the food chain. Commenting on Ireland’s international role in food and beverage innovation, Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Ireland, said “Ireland is developing advanced products and ingredients for global markets, with the use of world-leading, sustainable food systems. Ireland has built an innovation-driven culture and is now firmly on the global map in terms of excellence in food research.”
A new survey of EU Member states has found that Ireland has the highest share of enterprises in Europe using artificial intelligence.
The report, which was published by Eurostat in April 2021, is just the latest indicator of the strength of Ireland’s thriving deep-tech sector, of which artificial intelligence is just one strand.
A number of elements are driving this success.
“We have a number of the world’s largest technology companies here, many of which have been progressing machine learning and artificial intelligence through their R&D activities. These have built up a lot of expertise in these areas, both bringing experts in from abroad and upskilling people in Ireland,” explains John Durcan, senior technologist at Enterprise Ireland.
“Very often people gain a significant amount of deep-tech experience working within the MNC sector before leaving to go out on their own to develop very specific niches arising from that.”
A strong focus on deep-tech at the third and fourth level supports them, including universities and institutes of technology plus government-backed research centers. These include Neuroscience Ireland and CeADAR, Ireland’s one-stop-shop for innovation and applied R&D in AI, machine learning, and data analytics. Research centers such as CeADAR (founded 2012) are set up when an emerging technology looks like it will impact the industry.
“All of these centers are very proactive in encouraging businesses to engage with machine learning and AI,” he says.
It was exactly this deep-tech focus that helped Ireland develop its world-class fintech sector, he points out.
“In a way, it started in Ireland with fintech. Deep-tech fits very well into fintech, and fintech as a sector is one which is very good at adapting innovative technologies quickly. Now we are also seeing deep-tech extending rapidly into other areas such as healthcare and life sciences, agriculture and manufacturing,” says Durcan.
New initiatives are driving Ireland’s deep-tech agenda forward. Trinity College Dublin has launched Alsessor, an artificial intelligence accelerator program to support start-ups in the growth and commercialization of businesses in areas such as digital health, fintech, insuretech, and regtech, as well as retail.
Radical new undergraduate and master’s programs are also emerging.
The University of Limerick is pioneering a new kind of computer science education with the launch of its integrated undergraduate and master’s degree, in partnership with more than a dozen technology companies including Stripe, Zalando, Soapbox Labs, and Fenergo.
The Immersive Software Engineering program has five paid residencies built-in, each between three and six months long, giving students multiple opportunities to work with real-world tech teams.
All this activity is adding to Enterprise Ireland’s strong pipeline of High Potential Start-Ups in the deep-tech space.
“We are seeing a good number come through with strong artificial intelligence capabilities. Whereas three years ago AI was being pitched very broadly, we are now seeing companies emerge with AI for very specific business niches, and that’s good because that’s where we get the real value out of it,” he says.
Irish company Shopbox.ai uses AI to convert ‘anonymous’ traffic into committed customers.
“It’s a really clever solution that gives clothing retailers the kind of recommendation features that we see in Amazon or Netflix,” he explains.
It’s also part of a trend emerging whereby niche AI solutions are offered as a service. “It’s almost plug and play now, giving you the benefits of the deep-tech without having to hire data scientists and software developers yourself.”
Irish company Altada focuses on ethical AI, ensuring accountability and transparency of AI decision-making.
Accountable AI is an area of growing concern in the EU and one which, like GDPR, is likely to see regulation rolled out worldwide. It’s also an area Ireland is building up significant expertise in, says Durcan.
Funding for the future
Enterprise Ireland is funding deep-tech, both through its deep-tech Competitive Start Fund and its Euro 500m Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund.
“The DTIF, in particular, has a really big focus on next level, future R&D,” says Durcan.
“It encourages companies to go beyond their normal service, looking three or four years ahead, to encourage companies to work together in a collaborative way with MNCs, third level, and other SMEs.”
It is that cross-sharing of knowledge that is really driving the adoption of AI in Ireland, he says.
“We are increasingly seeing not just a cross-sector of companies involved in DTIF projects, but a cross-sector of sectors, such as satellite data technology companies working with agriculture companies, so that solutions devised for space could be used to help with weed control,” he explains.
DTIF helped fund the new Quantum Computing in Ireland (QCoIr) initiative which has catapulted Ireland into the European forefront of quantum computing research.
Meanwhile, a growing number of Irish companies are successfully commercializing deep-tech innovation in all sorts of ways.
VRAI for example provides virtual reality simulation training, using data insights to deliver not just authentic, immersive experiences but ones that are personalized to the participant, doing away with traditional one size fits all training.
With so much going on, at so many levels, it’s no surprise that Ireland has topped the Eurostat poll. As Durcan puts it, “We have a nice deep-tech eco-system here.”
Ireland is set to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever, thanks to the development of pioneering technologies supported by its Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF).
This major €500 million Government-backed funding initiative, which is run by Enterprise Ireland, is designed to drive collaboration between Ireland’s world-class research base and industry.
It enables enterprises to compete directly for large-scale funding, worth millions of Euros, to support the development and adoption of the ground-breaking technologies of the future.
The purpose of DTIF is to drive collaboration between Ireland’s world-class research base and industry, facilitating enterprises to compete directly for funding in support of the development and deployment of disruptive and innovative technologies on a commercial basis.
Because the funding is matched by the private sector, the DTIF both provides – and unlocks – large-scale, multi-million Euro investments in the development and deployment of commercially viable disruptive technologies. It does this year after year.
Annual call for creative disruption
DTIF funding calls are made annually. This year, in April, the Irish government announced the latest tranche of ground-breaking projects to be supported by the DTIF, spanning areas such as life sciences, medical devices, ICT, artificial intelligence, manufacturing, and environmental sustainability.
In all, 29 major new projects secured funding worth €95 million. These include new technologies for sub-sea robotic drilling, for smart factory safety, and radically more energy-efficient industrial heating and cooling systems.
It’s a broad-church funding approach that spans everything from a new platform to improve productivity on construction sites, to new monitoring tools to improve outcomes for newborn babies.
This year’s round of investment brings the total Government funding awarded under three DTIF calls to date to €235m, across 72 projects and 270 project partners.
Post pandemic resilience
The high level of DTIF funding demonstrates the Irish Government’s commitment to investing in a stronger and more resilient post-pandemic economy.
All DTIF-funded projects involve collaborations of between three and eight partners including SMEs, multinational corporations, and research organizations. Of 111 collaboration partners involved in the current call, 62 are SMEs. In 22 cases SMEs are project leads.
Funding successes to date include an adhesive to help knit broken bones together following fracture; the use of artificially intelligent drones to detect drug smuggling; and the development of a robotic drilling system suitable for offshore wind plant construction.
All projects selected for DTIF funding have game-changing potential, whether they use nanotechnology to reduce carbon emissions by 40% in industrial heating or AI to help identify early-stage cancer patients.
They also fall under the Irish government’s research priorities. These include robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, health and wellbeing, as well as smart and sustainable food production and processing, and smart manufacturing.
Priorities also include innovations which help decarbonize the energy system and promote sustainable living.
Rigorous independent evaluation
Securing DTIF funding is a competitive process. Applications go through an intensive evaluation process involving remote screening and interviews by panels of international experts.
These are charged with seeking out only those projects with a strong enterprise agenda that can demonstrate commercial impacts within three to seven years of project completion, and which are seeking minimum DTIF-matched funding of €1.5 million.
“This is large-scale funding for the kind of ground-breaking technologies that will enable us to come out of the pandemic stronger than before,” says Imelda Lambkin, manager Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund at Enterprise Ireland.
The DTIF opened in 2018 and is due to run for 10 years as part of Ireland’s National Development Plan. Because the initiative is 50% co-funded by the project partners, it leverages substantial private sector investment.
Among the largest awards to date is €7m to a consortium including Relevium Medical, HiTech Health, and the National University of Ireland Galway for a regenerative treatment for knee osteoarthritis using a hydrogen-based therapeutic.
“We fund collaborative research which includes SMEs working with other SMEs, or with multinational companies, as well as academic researchers, all coming together to develop disruptive technologies,” she explains.
“These are technologies we define as having the potential to either alter the market or the way we live. By coming together like this they can create something bigger and better.”
A seal of approval
The competitive DTIF process forces applicants to make their case not just for the work they are doing, but demonstrate “why they are doing it, why this team, and why now?” says Lambkin.
“They must also demonstrate the strength of the disruptive technology; the excellence of their approach; the potential for market impact; the quality of the collaboration and the impact of the project on sustainability too.”
Each year’s applications are whittled down to only the most disruptive, with the most potential and the greatest prospects for commercial success.
The whole competitive process helps to foster innovation and collaboration across Ireland’s research landscape, from small innovative start-ups to large multinationals and academic researchers, deepening the links connecting Ireland’s innovation eco-system.
Successful project teams often go on to success at the European level. “Securing DTIF funding is like a seal of approval,” explains Lambkin.
Global virtual robotics education company Robotify has partnered with Steve Wozniak’s Woz ED to provide over 3,500 schools, coding clubs, and school districts across the globe with cost-effective access to the world’s most premium robotics technology.
In a cutting-edge deal, Irish-based Robotify is providing their proprietary software to Woz ED which allows the company to virtualize its physical STEM pathways, providing students with a virtual robotics experience in addition to existing physical experiences. The deal will see both companies collaborate to reach tens of thousands of students around the world to give them equitable access to coding and robotics educational content.
“I’m impressed with the way Robotify makes coding engaging and accessible. By virtualizing the technology, more young people will have the opportunity to learn and explore,” said Steve Wozniak, Apple Co-Founder & Founder of Woz ED. “Both Woz ED and Robotify focus on ensuring young learners are job-ready for the most in-demand tech sector openings. We provide learners with the opportunity to engage in authentic projects to help them understand what work they love and excel at.”
Woz ED, founded and inspired by Wozniak, is a leader of K-12 STEM education around the world, providing students with access to high-quality technology training. However, during COVID-19, student access to physical robotics hardware has been severely impacted and the cost of physical hardware has made it a challenge to continue to provide robotics programming to students.
“Due to the pandemic and the shift to remote learning, components of STEM education have been greatly affected,” said Hannah Dobson, VP Entertainment & Media, Enterprise Ireland, Ireland’s trade and innovation agency. “Recognizing the importance of continuing access to STEM education, Robotify’s solutions have been able to provide students with the opportunity to continue exploring their interest in coding and advancing their skills in robotics virtually. The team at Enterprise Ireland is excited to support Robotify with this new partnership with Woz ED and to see them continue to grow and expand further into global markets.”
The deal is part of Robotify’s commitment to enable students across the globe access to the world’s most premium robotics technology in a cost-effective, accessible, and equitable way as part of their Robotify Enabled program. Robotify has set an ambitious goal of making their cutting-edge simulation software, CMS platform, and virtual robotics competition software accessible to millions of students globally.
“I am delighted to partner with such a fantastic team at Woz ED. I have always admired Steve Wozniak, so to be able to work with his team and share the same vision of nurturing the makers of the future by making STEM education more accessible to all students across the globe, is really exciting for me and the whole team at Robotify,” said Adam Dalton, Chief Executive Officer, Robotify.
The partnership will also include participation from Steve Wozniak at the upcoming virtual Robotify Expo on September 23, 2021. The Robotify Expo will celebrate new advancements in STEM education, allow attendees to learn from key industry experts, and showcase new and exciting products from Robotify.
More information about the Robotify Expo, including other high-profile keynote speakers, will be announced in the coming weeks.
To view a video of Steve Wozniak announcing the partnership with Robotify, please click here.
By Stephen Keogh, Enterprise Ireland Trade Development Executive of Energy and Aerospace
The situation at hand
The Covid 19 pandemic has cost the aerospace industry dearly with losses of $47.7 billion predicted this year by the IATA. Facing this scenario, it is natural for the producers of aircraft to reassess everything from financial yield to production capacity. For airlines, management of cash takes precedent, and predictions when air travel will return to pre-pandemic levels remain ambiguous. In the United States, non-essential travel is picking up domestically, meaning international travel has yet to see the same increase. In fact, Oliver Wyman’s baseline prediction is that we will see global passenger level recovery in mid-2023. In the U.S., airline leaders have announced significant restorations of schedules for the summer of 2021. This may be good news from a glass-half-full perspective.
New aircraft orders are being reduced or postponed by airlines due to current low travel numbers. The decrease in overall flights has led to a lower number of aircraft requiring maintenance as airlines have resorted to cannibalizing existing fleets for parts or swapping out grounded aircraft. There is a growing emphasis on narrow-body aircraft as technical developments in the narrow body’s engines have enhanced their fuel efficiency and flight range. Lessors are growing their fleets in this direction and many airlines are retiring entire fleets of widebody planes in Europe and North America.
The speed of industry recovery is dependent on the production, procurement, and distribution of vaccines on a global scale. The White House is predicting the United States will be a lot closer to “normal” by July 4th. This should lead to a stronger appetite for travel in the last quarter of the year but COVID’s knock-on effects will be evident for a few years to come. This all being said, there are still opportunities to do business in the United States aerospace sector for companies that are flexible, innovative, or simply leading edge.
Ireland’s aerospace industry is ready to help U.S. partners get back to full strength
Supply chains of airframers and Tier One companies have tightened up as they are still burning down excess inventory, causing the demand for new orders to the industry to be delayed or at low levels in 2021. Two pieces of good news are that this should ease in 2022 and that this represents an opportunity for competitive Irish companies to displace higher-priced and/or underperforming incumbents, especially in the U.S. market although it will be a matter of timing, having the right certifications and making the relevant connections within procurement teams. Aerospace manufacturers have become wary of tying themselves into long-term fixed contracts with suppliers and are looking for their suppliers to become partners that are willing to share the risk. Quality, short production times, and speed of delivery will be required to beat out the competition.
The Emerald Aerospace Group (“EAG”) has a distinct advantage in this scenario. EAG is having success with this displacement strategy and is looking to press hard this year for big gains next year. The Irish group consists of ten companies with distinct capabilities in fabrication, composites, plastics, and component manufacturing. Through their diverse yet complementary range of skills, expertise, and capabilities the Group has combined their considerable resources to achieve sometimes impossible solutions for clients. Furthermore, the Group has vast experience in supplying components into the aerospace industry. With the ability to offer industry-leading production times and a competitive price structure, the Group is ready to help U.S. aerospace manufacturers on the road to recovery.
Innovation centers are another opportunity for companies looking at US aerospace. Traditionally the spend on innovation is quite low, but we have seen an increased demand for low-risk digital innovations that are more likely to provide an ROI and help reduce costs. It’s no secret that COVID has sped up digital adoption. Areas such as staff training, component tracking, and repair and maintenance can be greatly assisted by the adoption of Irish digital technologies that are changing the way major United States organizations do business. Irish digital companies such as ASD (Aerospace Software Developments), VRAI, and Antikytera are leading the way on this front.
ASD offers RFID tracking solutions to the world’s major airlines, turning the traditionally slow and cumbersome process of manually tracking items, such as life jackets on a plane, into a task that can be done in a matter of seconds. ASD’s solution also provides an automated, historical record of each manufactured item. They provide consultancy services to Airlines, MROs, and inventory component suppliers in the aviation market sector who require design expertise or specialist software applications.
VRAI is a Dublin-based company that has carved out a niche with its unique virtual reality training solutions. Training in a virtual world reduces the risk for employees, enhances operations, and saves time whilst reducing the budget needed for traveling and planning. This type of solution is especially relevant now as many staff can’t travel on-site to complete training. Their solutions are fully customizable and their latest project with the Royal Air Force is a testament to the value they can bring to the aerospace sector.
Antikytera is alleviating the inability to travel as easily as we once did pre-COVID. Helping the experts and technicians that would traditionally be on-site but can no longer do so. Antikytera Ermes solutions offer field technicians, now stuck at home or in the office, the opportunity to have calls with experts and allows for the live importation of annotations and 3D models, meaning that offsite experts can walk a layman through a process saving time and money on travel. While the technology is being adopted across industries, there is a huge opportunity for MRO technicians to capitalize on this unique low effort digital solution.
Necessity is the mother of invention and competition increases efficiency. For the aerospace sector if any positives are to come out of Covid it will be that there is an accelerated adoption of digital solutions and a more flexible and resilient supply chain. Those companies that chose to partner with Irish firms are gaining a distinct competitive advantage and setting themselves up to get back flying on all fronts, pun intended.
FINEOS Corporation, the Enterprise Ireland-supported global market leader in core systems for life, accident, and health insurance, has entered into an agreement to acquire Spraoi, a leading provider of machine learning capabilities for the Group Life and Employee Benefits industry. The union will enhance FINEOS Engage and FINEOS Insight with additional digital smart-portal options, industry-specific operational and analytical models, and machine learning capabilities across the FINEOS Platform.
Michael Kelly, CEO of FINEOS, said: “We’re very happy to welcome the Spraoi team and their clients to FINEOS, and look forward to adding their advanced digital and machine learning capabilities to the FINEOS Platform for the benefit of all of our clients. This acquisition will greatly enhance the Digital and Data capabilities of FINEOS Engage and FINEOS Insight, to complement the power of our FINEOS AdminSuite, making the FINEOS Platform the only purpose-built Employee Benefits platform, from quote to claim with advanced machine learning capabilities.”
“The North American employee benefits industry is undergoing tremendous change, which is continually accelerating due to the competitive and regulatory environment, as well as the constant advancement of technology capabilities,” adds Kelly. “Spraoi is an innovative InsurTech in the Employee Benefits space whose leaders have a strong background in the Life, Accident, and Health industry, as well as deep expertise in core systems and machine learning. That combination makes Spraoi a natural addition to the FINEOS team as we continually improve the FINEOS Platform to meet the needs of our clients.”
Nancy Casbarro, Vice President Research & Consulting, Novarica said, “Applying machine learning in the insurance industry can unlock the power of data for carriers to enhance the customer experience, as well as improve business outcomes across the entire lifecycle from case set-up to claims.”
Karan Mishra, co-founder of Spraoi said, “Spraoi’s technology offering, and services have allowed our clients to successfully optimize outcomes and see measurable ROI. Our deep machine learning, data, and customer experience capabilities coupled with the robust FINEOS Platform enables clients to have a one-of-a-kind, pre-integrated platform to get the most out of their technology investments.”
Spraoi is an insurance technology solutions provider combining ‘Big 4’ insurance consulting experience with Silicon Valley technology acumen and offshore capability and scale in India. Its focus is on assisting carrier clients with the two most pressing needs confronting them today: how to leverage their data to optimize outcomes using the patent-pending Spraoi platform and; how to better engage customers throughout the lifecycle using their customer engagement infrastructure. Spraoi has also created an innovation framework that provides accountability from concept through execution, eliminating technology as the impediment to progress.
This acquisition will enable FINEOS to make the best use of machine learning across the three pillars of the FINEOS Platform: Core, Digital, and Data. Spraoi’s machine learning capabilities and service framework will increase digital service reach, reduce customer service friction, and provide much greater insight into the carrier/customer dynamic across the entire customer lifecycle, making the FINEOS Platform an even more attractive offering to the Employee Benefits and Life assurance industry.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to complete quickly. As FINEOS and Spraoi integrate the business over the coming months, the priority will be to continue to operate on a business as usual basis in order to meet customer needs.
To learn more about Irish InsurTech innovators contact Claire Verville
Spearline is delighted to announce its recent partnership with Irish-American healthcare communications firm RelateCare. RelateCare provides the very best in patient access, telehealth, contact center, and outsourcing solutions to healthcare organizations around the world. During a time when healthcare is seen as more important than ever before, RelateCare has seen exceptional growth as they continue to help guide customers through these unprecedented times. The company provides essential services to healthcare organizations throughout the US and Ireland.
RelateCare will now use Spearline Voice Assure In-Country across a number of their business processes to provide an elevated patient experience, ensuring the highest quality communications channels are available to support patient conversations 24/7.
Spearline believes that the voice quality and telecommunications service up-time are essential and works with companies to ensure that their numbers are operating efficiently and providing the highest audio quality. RelateCare’s belief in providing excellent customer experience especially during challenging times is directly aligned with Spearline’s vision.
Speaking about the partnership, Spearline CEO, Kevin Buckley said, “RelateCare has a strong, established record of providing their customers with high-quality communications services. We are delighted to be a part of their toolset and to help the enhancement of their services.”
RelateCare CEO, Conor O’Byrne detailed how testing with Spearline will help RelateCare to proactively monitor its internal and external communications. “We help patients access the care that they need when they need it and Spearline’s capabilities are instrumental and ensuring we can do this through our centralized support and telehealth centers.”
RelateCare has seen demand for ‘healthcare at a distance’ grow rapidly during recent months. Conor O’Byrne continued to detail how their infrastructure provides the latest feature-sets for callers, “We utilize the latest unified communications and contact center solutions to ensure that our customers are able to contact the correct agent or nurse at all times through their preferred communication method.”
Many organizations view their contact centers as a cost center, however RelateCare takes a different view. They offer consultancy services for healthcare organizations which are instrumental in transforming contact centers into value-added revenue generators. Both companies offer a 24/7 service to ensure that they provide around-the-clock support and advice for all customers or interested parties.
RelateCare and Spearline are uniquely positioned to ensure that customers across the US and Ireland are provided with the very best in patient care and communications. Both companies are supported by Enterprise Ireland and are eager to continue to provide unique and innovative solutions to address future challenges as and when they arise.
Innovative Irish companies are delivering solutions for every facet of the Internet of Things. Deep expertise in 4G and 5G networks means that Irish companies enable some of the world’s most advanced IoT applications. In fact, many of the world’s most impactful IoT companies are Irish: Cubic Telecom connects many of the world’s leading car marques, Health Beacon is a leader in connected health and in-home IoT technology, and Davra Networks has developed the industry-standard application enablement platform.
Consumers have been hearing about connected homes, connected cars, and all sorts of next-level capabilities for some time now. The battle for the home and the hub of our connected lives is evident. Google, Amazon, and Apple want to be the nexus of our lives.
We recently caught up with Rob George, the Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy for Hamilton Beach Brands Inc. George and the Hamilton Beach team have worked closely with Enterprise Ireland-supported firms on IoT and consumer technology product development. Here’s what he had to say about Irish innovation.
Please tell us about your role at Hamilton Beach Brands
I work closely with our CEO to position and enable Hamilton Beach Brands to achieve long-term, profitable growth through strategic acquisitions and partnerships. I always keep a watchful eye out for opportunities with the right fit for our consumers and shareholders.
How has your career evolved due to the impact of IoT and technology?
Everything is “smart” these days, and home appliances are no different. In many ways, IoT is still in its infancy in the small kitchen appliance industry, so there is plenty of untapped potential for strategic acquisitions and partnerships. Our classic product development models do not easily transition into bringing these technologies into fruition, so it is important to seek these opportunities elsewhere through collaboration.
What do you see as coming next within the industry?
IoT innovation is always coming up with new ways to make our consumer experiences better. Imagine an air purifier that gets automatic updates on daily air quality and then adjust its settings accordingly. This provides a much healthier, cleaner home environment. Connected health and telemedicine and how those systems are brought into the home are areas of great potential for us right now.
What is your experience with Irish companies?
I have had some lovely experiences with Irish companies. What sets the Irish IoT players apart is the end-to-end capabilities. From antennas to devices to back-end systems, the whole ecosystem has impressed me, and I love how these companies work well together.
How can Irish firms continue to innovate and work with U.S. companies?
Enterprise Ireland provides an excellent opportunity for Irish innovators to work with companies like Hamilton Beach. In my experience, this is a unique level of support giving Irish tech companies a distinct advantage in working with U.S. companies. These connections provide access to the U.S. market, as well as to unparalleled, nationwide distribution and logistics networks that can catapult value creation for both partners.
Award-winning cosmetics brand Carter Beauty, founded by Irish celebrity, beauty expert, and TV personality Marissa Carter has launched across 1,500 Walmart stores in 47 states in the United States.
Founded in Dublin, Ireland, Carter Beauty has become the first Irish cosmetics brand to secure an in-store listing in Walmart. Worn by celebrities such as Kourtney Kardashian, Cardi B, and Ariana Grande, Carter Beauty Cosmetics has made its mark in the US cosmetic industry and aims to become a market leader.
The Carter Beauty Cosmetics brand is perfect for customers seeking beauty products that are both high-quality, affordable yet humane. The company is a Peta-Approved member of Beauty Without Bunnies, an online resource for compassionate shoppers to find humane products and brands. Carter Beauty produces vegan cosmetics products that are 100% cruelty-free and never tested on animals. The brand also develops products that are age-inclusive and easy to use.
“The US is a massive market for the beauty industry with every cosmetics brand fighting for shelf space, I’ve been working to build my network in the US since the beginning of my career, and it’s such an honor for a retailer like Walmart to list Carter Beauty so early on in our journey. Our customers can expect to see a lot more from Carter Beauty in the years to come,” said Marissa Carter, Founder, and CEO of Carter Beauty Cosmetics.
To support Carter Beauty’s expansion and growth in the US market, the company works with Enterprise Ireland.
“The US cosmetics industry is booming with so many hard-working, talented creators. It’s exciting to see an Irish-based brand with such a passionate and determined female leader start to make a name in the industry so early on with one of America’s largest retailers. This is such a huge accomplishment for the brand, and we expect to see Marissa continue to grow her brand – this is just the beginning,” said Anderson Pearce, Vice President of Customer Retail, Enterprise Ireland.