UCC spin-out Keelvar raises €750,000 for expansion Pictured: Minister Richard Bruton and Alan Holland

UCC spin-out Keelvar raises €750,000 for expansion
Pictured: Minister Richard Bruton and Alan Holland

Cork-based Keelvar Systems has secured €750,000 in a funding round led by ACT Venture Capital and with investment from Enterprise Equity and Enterprise Ireland.

The UCC spin-out said the funding would be used to increase staff numbers to 18 and expand the company’s innovative procurement optimization service for large-scale government tenders and multinational companies.

The investment was made from seed funds supported by AIB, with lead investor ACT sourcing its share from its AIB Start-Up Accelerator Fund and Enterprise Equity investing from the AIB Seed Capital Fund.

“Keelvar is a company which has spun out of Government-supported university research, has now obtained funding from the markets, will shortly have created 18 jobs and undoubtedly has a bright future,” said Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton. “I am determined to ensure that we see more companies like this emerge from our research to help create the jobs and growth we need.”

According to Keelvar CEO, Alan Holland, the company’s software-as-a-service helps purchasers establish a balanced and cost-effective outcome between large and small suppliers. “It is a price gathering mechanism that supports communication of creative ways in which waste can be removed, helping Government departments and multinational companies reduce costs,” he said.

“The market opportunity is huge, global and timely due to the technology’s ability to help resolve the conflict within government budgets to protect and grow employment while saving significant costs and maintaining service levels. Savings of between 4pc and 10pc are achievable in most spend categories.”

Keelvar emerged from the 4C research laboratory in the Dept of Computer Science, UCC. “We are very excited by the potential that exists to radically improve cost efficiencies in public procurement,” said Prof Barry O’Sullivan, director of 4C. “Keelvar is an example of how technology transfer from research in UCC can provide a transformational solution for a sector in which reform is a high priority.”

“The commercialization of state-funded research is a key priority for the Government and for Enterprise Ireland, and Keelvar’s innovative system shows just how great ideas can be turned into commercial businesses,” said Greg Treston, Enterprise Ireland head of high potential start-ups and scaling.  “We look forward to continuing working with them as they grow the business.”