Tech billionaire Benioff backs Irish firm Nuritas
Marc Benioff, the US internet billionaire who's chief executive of software giant Salesforce, has invested in Irish biotech firm Nuritas as part of a fresh €2m fundraising by the firm, the Irish Independent has learned.
Mr Benioff made his investment via his California-based Efficient Capacity vehicle.
It brings to about €5m the amount raised by Nuritas since last autumn, with investors from all over the world flocking to the firm, which uses artificial intelligence to extract molecules in food that can be used by the life sciences sector in new drugs.
Founded by mathematician Nora Khaldi in 2013, it was later spun out of NovaUCD's Venture Launch Accelerator Programme. A former regional president of drugs giant Pfizer, Emmet Browne, was appointed chief executive of Nuritas last year. Mr Benioff's investment in Nuritas - although it amounts to under €100,000 - further validates Nuritas and is certain to draw even more international interest to the company.
Existing investors include Ali Partovi, the Californian angel investor who was one of the early backers of Facebook and Dropbox.
Singapore's New Protein Capital has again stumped up money for Nuritas, having lead the $3.2m (€2.8m) funding round for the company last year. It put €750,000 in this time around. Enterprise Ireland has invested €300,000.
Dublin company Acdeng Property, owned by Anthony and Majella Delaney, has also invested €750,000, having invested €443,000 in the previous round. Earlier this year, Nuritas appointed George Gunn as its chairman. He joined Novartis, where he was head of the company's animal health division.