Ocula Technologies establishes headquarters in Northern Ireland with £11m investment in R&D
Pictured (L-R) are Dr. Gregory Fletcher, Chief Technology Officer, Ocula Technologies; Anne Beggs, Director of Trade and Investment, Invest Northern Ireland; Thomas McKenna, CEO, Ocula Technologies; Fustina Donaghy, VP Engineering, Ocula Technologies.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) company Ocula Technologies has chosen Northern Ireland to headquarter its Software Development Centre which includes an £11m investment in Research & Development (R&D).
Supported by Invest Northern Ireland, the investment in R&D has enabled Ocula to develop its advanced insight platform to deliver its vision of “creating the online winners of tomorrow, through actionable AI today.” To date, this means helping major global brands such as this year’s Super Bowl winner, Kansas City Chiefs, AO and Boots to optimise their e-commerce experience and compete scientifically on pricing.
Announcing the investment in Northern Ireland, Thomas McKenna, CEO and Co-Founder of Ocula Technologies said: “Our vision is to level the AI playing field for our clients so they can compete with the most advanced players in their fields. The effortless, impactful AI software that Ocula provides is now more important than ever due to the explosion of generative AI and all the benefits it can deliver.
We chose Northern Ireland to help us build this capability and tap into the rich tech talent pool and we certainly made the right decision; our Northern Ireland team has developed our new software platform which is at the cutting edge of AI and already benefiting some of the largest brands in the world.
Thomas McKenna, CEO and Co-Founder, Ocula Technologies
“With its rich talent pool, we certainly made the right decision in choosing Northern Ireland to help us build this capability; our Northern Ireland team has developed our new software platform which is at the cutting edge of AI and is already benefiting some of the largest brands in the world – for example, we have helped the Kansas City Chiefs deliver significant revenue uplifts of 15 percent.
“We want to continue pushing the limits of innovation and building on our success in markets such as North America, where we are aiming to achieve significant sales by the end of 2024.”
Having secured £5m in investment from UK-based Lloyds Banking Group and the Castelnau Group, Ocula Technologies has strong growth ambitions and has identified its Northern Ireland base as a driver of this growth. Based in River House, Belfast, Ocula Technologies currently employs 10 highly technical staff with plans to grow to over 50 staff over the next three years.
The benefits of investing in R&D are rich, and Ocula is testament to how R&D can enable the development of game changing products which can drive competitiveness in the global marketplace.
Anne Beggs, Director of Trade & Investment, Invest Northern Ireland
Welcoming Ocula Technologies to Northern Ireland, Anne Beggs, Invest NI’s Director of Trade & Investment, said: “An ambitious company like Ocula Technologies had many options to establish its headquarters. Choosing Northern Ireland is an important vote of confidence in our talent, infrastructure and R&D capabilities and the company is a great addition to our thriving software development sector.
“R&D is a key component of the Department for the Economy’s 10X Vision, which will drive Northern Ireland’s future economic success. The benefits of investing in R&D are rich, and Ocula is testament to how R&D can enable the development of game changing products which can drive competitiveness in the global marketplace. To support the commercialisation of Ocula’s R&D in both GB and the US, the company is also working with our Trade division, which is supporting Ocula’s presence at two upcoming key e-commerce events in GB and the USA. In addition, our team in the US has provided advice and guidance on growing sales in the market, including supporting the company during a trade mission to Atlanta.”
Invest NI’s R&D support is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland (2014–2020) Programme.