Latest Bill McKiernan News
Apr 1, 2020
Lily Devices founder Aaron Hannon, with Bill McKiernan, creator of the BPC. Image: NDRC Due to measures taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the 12 successful start-ups will participate remotely in a four-week programme of pre-acceleration workshops, receiving mentorship and guidance online. Despite the unusual circumstances caused by the spread of Covid-19 this year, it’s business as usual for NDRC (which is hosting its Dublin accelerator remotely this year) and the Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition (BPC). The competition, which is a partnership between The Ireland Funds, NDRC and St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS) has announced its final shortlist for this year, with 12 teams competing for a share of the €27,000 prizes on offer. For the last three years, the competition has been providing cash to start-ups to help kick-start four new technology ideas. Start-ups funded by the BPC have gone on to raise €5.66m in follow-on funding, according to NDRC. This year’s finalists The competition attracts entrepreneurs from research centres and universities around the country. This year there are six start-ups from Trinity College Dublin, which include Carbon Capture, InjurySense, MyClinic365 (which we spoke to earlier this week about their solution), Neurofit, Sensibin and KeepAppy. The finalists from Queen’s University Belfast are Align and Signal Optimiser. Signal Optimiser, founded by Lewis Loane , who was the first undergraduate winner to win the top prize at the Catalyst Invent Awards last year. Other finalists include Dublin City University start-up OpinionX, National University of Galway business Project Grace, Dublin Business School start-up SafetyFreelancer and Preserve, a start-up based at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. The shortlisted teams will now participate in a four-week programme of pre-acceleration workshops, bringing their ideas from concept to pitch, as well as receiving vital mentoring and feedback throughout the process. Ben Hurley, CEO of NDRC, said: “I’m delighted to welcome these 12 teams onto the latest BPC. A combination of these great teams coming in from Ireland’s top universities and research institutions, alongside NDRC’s commitment to remotely deliver a world-class competition, will see some truly innovative ideas rewarded in June. “With the Covid-19 outbreak, this is a hugely challenging time for businesses to proceed. It will be interesting to see how these ideas, through our remote delivery of BPC, develop.” The prizes There will be a final pitching event in June where the top three prizes will be awarded. First place receives a €15,000 cash prize, while second place receives a €7,000 cash prize. Third place receives €2,000. The competition has also partnered with SPMHS to award a prize of €3,000 for a technology idea focusing on mental health. Caitriona Fottrell, director of The Ireland Funds, said: “The BPC has a long history of encouraging ambition and creativity among Ireland’s young entrepreneurs. In this time of great change, we are fortunate to be able to adapt and continue to deliver a fantastic programme in 2020, remotely. “We are inspired by the exciting shortlist of finalists and look forward to working with our partners NDRC and SPMHS to see innovative ideas come to fruition.” Orla Gogarty, director of digital health at SPMHS, said: “This competition is particularly important at this challenging time when entrepreneurs and start-ups need our support perhaps more than ever. “We are witnessing a quiet revolution in how the innovative use of technology can play a critical role in helping us all stay connected with our work, health services and social support networks, even when we cannot be together in person.” Lily Devices was the winner at last year’s BPC, winning the top prize of €15,000 for the product developed by founder Aaron Hannon, which aims to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy using a unique headband.