07 Oct 2016 | 08.19 am
Arralis Wins Innovation Of The Year Award
Limerick company triumphs in Irish Times Innovation Awards
07 Oct 2016 | 08.19 am
Arralis, a Limerick IT company that has developed a radar and communications system for commercial use, HAS won the overall ‘Innovation of the Year’ award in the Irish Times Innovation Awards 2016.
The company has designed a very high frequency radar chip set with a wide range of potential applications, among them aiding unmanned landings by spacecraft, facilitating driverless cars and 5G telecommunications.
Arralis is based in the University of Limerick and took first place in the ‘IT & Telecommunications’ category, going on to compete against six other category winners to claim the top award. The aim of the awards, which are now in their seventh year, is to showcase and reward excellence in innovation across a range of products and services.
As overall winner, Arralis will receive a communications and advertising package from The Irish Times worth more than €150,000, along with a UCD Smurfit Business School scholarship for an executive education programme commencing in 2017 and a high-end laptop.
According to Arralis chief executive Barry Lunn, his company’s chipset is particularly well suited to space travel, but has other terrestrial applications as well. “While it’s already used in two highly sophisticated missile guidance systems, what we are doing is bringing it to a commercial scale,” he explained.
“That’s what’s new and it means it can be used in commercial helicopters, bird detection systems around airports, drones and ultimately in autonomous or self-driving cars.”
Arralis was founded in 2013 and has its origins in an electronics company called Amideon Systems. In 2014, Amideon sold its 60% shareholding in Arralis to Michael Gleaves and Barry Lunn, who now own the business.
According to its 2014 filings, Arralis booked a year-end loss of €127,000, but had cash of €753,000 and a debtor book worth €296,000. The company had a net worth of €1.3m, with equity invested of €1.1m. Its Belfast-based subsidiary, Arralis Technologies Limited, booked a 2014 loss of €122,000.
Arralis’s backers include the Kernel Seed Fund and Enterprise Ireland, who invested €500,000 and €300,000 respectively in 2014. The AIB Start-Up Accelerator also invested €400,000 in Arralis in 2014. Last year, The European Commission HAS awarded funding of €1.1m to the company through the Horizon 2020 programme.
Other winners in the Irish Times Innovation Awards 2016 were Moocall, a Dublin-based business. It won the agri-food category for developing a device that is placed on a pregnant cow’s tail and which alerts the farmer to the onset of labour.
Architect David Craig’s Scriba – an ergonomic digital pen for use with tablets — was the Creative Industries winner, while Mastercard Labs ‘pay at table’ technology won the Fintech category. Coindrum won the New Frontiers category.
Derry-based Bloc Blinds won the Manufacturing category for its fabric-changing roller blind, while Bray venture Megazyme International won the Life Sciences & Healthcare category for the analytics kits it develops for food and drink manufacturers, enabling these companies to test their products.
Photo: Barry Lunn (centre), Eamon Boland, Marie Bourke, Valerie Somers and Denver Humphrey (right), Arralis, with Irish Times MD Liam Kavanagh (left)