Ten student-led start-up teams will today seek capital backing from investors as they pitch their company plans at LaunchBox 2017’s Demo Day in Trinity College Dublin.
Some of this year’s teams -- which address unmet market needs across a variety of sectors, including online ticket re-sales, language education, online dating and bespoke tourism -- have already been accepted onto next-stage entrepreneur development programmes, and kick-started operations with paying customers.
The hugely successful incubator programme – LaunchBox (http://www.launchbox.ie/) -- 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 their new ventures.
Trinity Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, will open Demo Day, at which Chief Innovation Officer at Trinity, Dr Diarmuid O'Brien, Investment Director at Atlantic Bridge, Helen McBreen, start-up veteran and advisor, Síofra Flood, Fintech Business Developer at Bank of Ireland, Daniel Heaslip, Trinity Angel and D School (Stanford) lecturer, Stuart Coulson, and entrepreneur and LaunchBox alum, Finn Murphy, will all be panel judges.
Dr Diarmuid O’Brien, said: “Trinity is committed to empowering our students to achieve impact with their talent and ideas. LaunchBox is our flagship programme that supports our most entrepreneurial students establish businesses that can both disrupt and transform; creating new jobs and delivering innovation for societal and economic impact.”
This year, Ticketchain and Ekho, are among the start-ups to have already progressed to latter-stage entrepreneur development programmes.
Ticketchain (https://ticketchain.ie/) is a white label B2B ticketing platform that allows events, venues and stadiums to control their own primary and secondary ticket markets.
The team has been accepted into phase one of New Frontiers – Enterprise Ireland’s (EI’s) national entrepreneur development programme, and NDRC’s pre Accelerator programme; Pilot programmes have been agreed with Nu. Headon Boxing Academy, and various Trinity societies and clubs. The team is also currently working on partnering with a financial transaction service for the tourism industry.
Ekho (http://www.ekho.ie/) provides integrated solutions that decrease costs and increase visitor engagement for established cultural sites.
The team has been accepted into phase one of EI’s New Frontiers programme, and has signed its first pilot program with Science Gallery Dublin and Trinity. The team has signed subsequent programs with paying customers, the Douglas Hyde Gallery, and the LCGA, and is currently working on an Ekho solution for one of Ireland's top distillery tours.
This year’s other teams have sought to deliver investor-ready ventures focused on learning a language; connecting people via online dating; recording thoroughbred medical data; increasing audience engagement; offering bespoke tourism experiences; tackling size-and-fit issues in e-commerce; offering gluten and dairy-free confectionery; producing a fashion magazine.
LaunchBox Programme Manager, Alison Treacy, said: “LaunchBox and the work of the Innovation & Enterprise Hub centres around empowering students to forge their own paths through entrepreneurship."
"Our students are hard-working, resilient, creative and intelligent, and that is reflected in their success today. This cohort of start-ups is one of the best we have had and I'm confident they will go on to achieve incredible things.”
Meet the 2017 teams
Ekho aims to deliver a platform that provides integrated solutions for decreasing costs and increasing visitor engagement for established cultural sites through the use of our iBeacon-enabled application that uses Bluetooth technology to transfer information.
Equine Medirecord aims to develop, sell and maintain a mobile application and website to allow proper recording of medicines administered to racehorses and other bloodstock.
Franc, a magazine founded in 2015, provides a view of fashion that is both intelligent and accessible.
Lexi aims to change how we learn with the goal of creating a more immersive environment for children to learn a language in a new and more natural way.
Marsh Sisters will create high-end, hand-crafted luxe marshmallows that are gluten and dairy-free and come in a variety of constantly updated flavours.
Syze, a tech start-up, seeks to solve the size-and-fit issue apparent in the fashion ecommerce industry.
SpeakUpp aims to replace the standard wireless microphone, by building a platform that utilises the average smartphone to enable both textual and verbal communication between a speaker and audience member.
Tourtoise aims to create a cross-platform application to revolutionise the tourism industry by allowing people to create their own custom tours.
Ticketchain aims to develop white label B2B ticketing platform which allows events, venues and stadiums to control their own primary and secondary ticket markets. By leveraging Blockchain technology, the team hopes to eliminate fraud and reduce touting.
Wynk aims to produce a mobile dating app that stands out from the rest by finding users things to do and people to do them with.
Now in its fifth year, LaunchBox’s tale has quickly evolved into one of tremendous success, with a host of student entrepreneurs having used the programme as a springboard to create viable businesses across a wide range of sectors.
Since 2013, the students involved have created 40 startups and raised €6.1m in investment and funding. Their companies, which include social enterprise Foodcloud, which helps businesses redistribute surplus food to those who need it, Touchtech, a payment processing venture, and Artomatix, which develops tools for automating digital media creation, have created approximately 35 jobs.
LaunchBox has this year become part of the I&E Hub -- a new unit that will address all schools and departments in Trinity, promoting awareness and providing guidance, training and support in innovation to all students and staff, and to external partners and stakeholders. It will also establish a strong network of connections between Trinity and the wider innovation ecosystems across Dublin, Ireland and abroad.
About entrepreneurship at Trinity College Dublin
LaunchBox is just one avenue down which students at Trinity can nurture their entrepreneurial skills.
Graduates from Trinity founded more venture-backed companies than graduates from any other European university in the last decade, according to independent research by PitchBook. Since 2006, Trinity has produced 192 graduate entrepreneurs, and produced and supported 180 companies that have collectively raised capital of approximately €1.9bn.