Eight teams of budding entrepreneurs are set to graduate from Trinity College Dublin’s student incubator, LaunchBox, following a three-month start-up accelerator programme. The teams of Trinity students (undergraduate and postgraduate) took up residence in the incubator – based in Regent’s House above Trinity’s front arch – back in June, equipped with early-stage business ideas.
Before they graduated, each team made a business pitch to potential investors and took part in a Q&A session at a special even in Regent’s House.
The incubator has supported the entrepreneurs through the provision of coaching, expert advice, seed funding and access to the space and facilities needed to test out and launch the new ventures. LaunchBox offers an innovative combination of practice and education, under the guidance of the Trinity ‘Angels’, a network of entrepreneurs and business experts made up of alumni and friends of Trinity.
One team (TouchTech Payments, formerly called Wave), has already signed a €50,000 investment agreement with an investor to help develop its business idea further. TouchTech Payments is an ‘m-commerce’ payment processor for mobile shopping applications that will enable merchants to make Card Present transactions online for the very first time; consumers using these mobile applications will be able to pay for merchandise using their NFC-enabled debit/credit card, by simply tapping the back of their phone with the card and entering their PIN when prompted.
Team member Joseph Kuye said: “The team and I are really excited about landing our first round of investment, which not only gives us validation for our concept, but also allows us to progress further with our business, both here in Ireland and abroad!”
This year’s other teams have sought to deliver investor-ready ventures focused on using mobile phones to gain fashion insights from the immediate environment, to produce a growing online repository for quality teaching resources, to develop a software management system for cataloguing laboratory chemicals, to provide an intelligent system for homes that ‘knows’ when you need the lights on, to make an industry-leading drink for athletes, to deliver a crowdsourcing social media platform for indie video game developers, and to provide children with a greater flexibility in personalising glasses frames at a significantly reduced price to current retail prices.
Professor Vinny Cahill, Dean of Research at Trinity, said: “The recent successes of our 2013 teams have underlined the benefits of the LaunchBox programme and served to reaffirm Trinity's commitment to producing graduates that can create jobs through innovation and entrepreneurship. LaunchBox gives students the opportunity to nurture their start-ups in an environment that offers guidance and support while encouraging creativity to create real impact for Ireland.”
Despite only being in existence for a year, Trinity’s LaunchBox was assessed by the University Business Incubator (UBI) Index as a ‘Top Challenger’, placing it just outside the world’s ‘Top 25’ from 800 incubators assessed objectively by the Index.
LaunchBox has already produced a number of successes, with the majority of teams from the 2013 programme securing funding to take their startups to the next stage of development. Social enterprise Foodcloud raised €70k from professional investors and has secured a major deal with Tesco (all of the Irish superstores’ surplus food will now be donated to charity via the Foodcloud app).
Additionally, the Group/Event Management system Hive raised €50k seed funding from Enterprise Ireland and €100k from RTE’s Dragon’s Den, while Artomatix, which develops tools for automating digital media creation, secured €100k in venture funding.
The Irish Times Business, Thursday August 21, 2014
This Year’s Graduating Teams:
SELFiT’s mobile application will allow users to gain fashion inspiration in a fun and convenient way. The app will enable users to experience fashion in a competitive and gamified atmosphere, while connecting fashion designers and retailers to their customer base. This will be done via a public platform that facilitates two-way interaction between the public and the fashion industry.
- Nathaniel Ogden, Geology graduate, June 2014
- Thomas Guinness, BESS graduate, 2014
- Jack Costigan, Law graduate, 2014
- Edward Majekodunmi, Mechanical Engineering, 2015
“We are currently in the design phase of our app, working closely with a designer to create the look and feel of the app. We've recently launched our website (www.selfit.ie) and will be actively updating the blog on this to give viewers a feel of what we're about. We are also actively seeking seed funding in order to continue developing our product.”
Lesson Prep aims to be the go-to online place for quality teaching resources (downloadables and video). Online learning platforms for students have proliferated in recent years, but teachers have yet to benefit from advances in online education resources. We want to fix this by creating an online library of video resources to help teachers and improve the quality of teaching worldwide. We want to be the ‘Jamie Oliver’ of teaching, with content that is concise, inspiring and easily implemented. Our goal is to help and inspire teachers and to make sure great teaching techniques travel.
- Lydia Flynn, B.A. Neuroscience 2014
- Justin Murphy, M.Phil Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship 2014
- Anna Penalva, B.A. Liberal Arts 2014
- Benedist Kuester, MSc Computational Statistics & Machine Learning 2011
- Raaj Zutshi, LL.B Law 2014
- Heber Hanley, B.A. Photography 2013
“Currently we are prototyping a website, testing online mechanisms for teacher-to-teacher collaboration, interviewing teachers and principals (our customer and user base), and producing a series of videos, in association with Irish Autism Action, about the sensory differences sometimes experienced by students with autism.”
An academic research laboratory can use and store 50 – 5,000 different, hazardous research chemicals. Labcup is a cloud-based chemical management software platform, which aids academic researchers and safety officers with inventory management of chemicals. The platform allows for streamlining risk assessment in the lab and ensures safety protocols are complied with in an easy manner. This would allow researchers using our software to comply with legislation alongside making the lab they work in more efficient.
- Rosa Langhammer, BA Hons. Business and Economics, graduating 2014
- Eoin Mulvey, LL.B(Business), graduated 2013
- Gabor Radics, Researcher, TCD School of Pharmacy
Light-house is an intelligent, automatic lighting system for your home that knows when you need the lights on. A bedside lamp with a difference: it can be used as normal, but can also control the lights in your room; it knows when it’s dark and will switch itself off so as not to consume energy during the day. Originally developed for assisting the elderly, Light-house aims to create a safer environment to prevent falling at night. By using sensors to turn on the lights immediately when getting out of bed we remove the need to find light switches in the dark. Light-house uses a strip of LEDs to illuminate the path. These LEDs consume 60% less energy compared to normal incandescent bulbs.
According to the CSO (Central Statistics Office in Ireland) 13,360 new care homes will need to be built by 2020 to support an ageing population. We hope to install our system in these. As well as safety and security, Light-house is at the cutting edge of Lighting Leisure. Our product can be installed in new or existing hotels.
“Currently, we are working on a third-generation prototype with discrete technology, with the view to carrying out pilot testing schemes in multiple aging research centres. Such testing will help refine our product, while using thematic content analysis on user experience interviews will enable us to determine our marketing strategy.”
- Paul Mahony, Mechanical Engineering, Graduating 2015/16
- Paul Mannix, Mechanical Engineering, Graduating 2015/16
- Patrick Lynch, Mechanical Engineering, Graduating 2015/16
Aquachia is a combination of fortified water and new-age ingredients resulting in a truly original beverage. The drink will be aimed at athletes – particularly runners – as it will be fortified not only with whole Chia but also ingredients that enhance endurance and help prolong hydration. Aquachia is a modern take on an ancient Aztec drink famous for its high content of fibre, protein and in particular Omega 3 ALA and Omega 6. On top of the nutritional benefits the drink itself provides the end user with a unique “mouth-feel” unlike anything else they will have experienced. We will be the first beverage company to release a Chia-based beverage onto the European market.
- Luke Coffey B.B.S - 2014
- Paul Ianus B.B.S - 2014
InDieVelopment is a crowdsourcing social platform for indie video games that provides developers with a unique opportunity for raising funds, sharing resources, networking with peers and creating a loyal base of gamers who support the project through to completion. We bring indie teams together with gamers and other developers, creating a community of gamers for gamers, with one clear goal: keeping the indie video game world vibrant and innovative.
- Alberto del Moral, MSc Computer Science (Networks and Distributed Systems), 2014
- Sohrab Farzaneh, MSc Management of Information Systems, 2015
“During the past months, we have been working with industry professionals on identifying the customers and their specific needs, and are currently working on a prototype to realise further testing and requirement elicitation with customers.”
7: TouchTech Payments (formerly Wave)
TouchTech Payments is an ‘m-commerce’ payment processor for mobile shopping applications that will enable merchants to make Card Present transactions online for the very first time. Through the use of NFC technology, consumers will be able to pay for merchandise using their NFC-enabled debit/credit card, by simply tapping the back of their phone with the card and entering their PIN when prompted.
- Joseph Kuye, Management Science and Information Systems (MSISS), 2017
- Ayokunle Adeosun, Computer Science, 2015
- Shekinah Adewumi, Mechatronic Engineering, DCU, 2017
- Phil Caffrey, Engineering, DIT, 2015
8: PerfectPear (formerly) SPECTEC
SpecTec is a start-up social enterprise which aims to utilise cutting-edge, injection moulding technology to produce children’s glasses frames at a significantly reduced price to current retail prices. The ultimate aim of the company is to build a strong market position through the provision of a product that is innovative, customisable and trendy; one which is attractive to both user and buyer. The business idea is predicated on addressing the stigma children experience in wearing glasses through the creation of readily customisable spectacle frames that hands ownership of the product design to the user.
Crucial also to the market position and brand image is the company’s inherent social mission; to reduce the carbon footprint stemming directly from the distribution of glasses, and to promote entrepreneurial learning in second and third level education.
- Jill Pierse, BESS, 2014
- Ross Keating, BESS, 2014
- Fiona Keating, BESS, 2014
- Arthur McKey, BESS, 2014