This year, ten teams collectively representing seven Trinity schools were selected to partake in the LaunchBox programme, which is the oldest of its kind in Ireland, and which is currently seeking a new sponsor.
Hebe Adventures, a company building the "Airbnb of student travel", has won the 2023 LaunchBox competition, the annual student entrepreneurship contest at Trinity College Dublin.
The team emerged victorious from ten groups of student entrepreneurs (details below) who participated in the LaunchBox summer programme and sought capital investment from venture capitalists and angel investors on Demo Day.
The participating start-ups, many based on AI technologies, represent diverse sectors including travel, health care and food.
Sponsored by Trinity and managed by Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace, LaunchBox provides students with mentorship, funding, access to alumni and investors, and a collaborative environment to launch new ventures. This year, ten teams collectively representing seven Trinity schools were selected to partake in the LaunchBox programme, which is the oldest of its kind in Ireland, and which is currently seeking a new sponsor.
Above l to r Robert Davitt and Rohan Perea of Hebe Adventures
After pitching and answering questions from a panel of esteemed judges today, the winning team was announced as Hebe Adventures, a company headed by Robert Davitt and Rohan Perera, which links young students with host families. Cardiac health service NeuroSonic and Verify-a-Vendor were runners-up.
Pictured are Tangent's Gavan Drohan and Verify-a-Vendor's Maria Cairn
For more information on LaunchBox and all teams see here.
The winning teams will receive cash prizes (€3,000 for the winner plus 6 months coworking space at Dogpatch Labs, €1,500 for the runner up, €500 for 3rd and €300 for the public vote winner).
NeuroSonic founders (l to r) Matthew Campbell and Mike Ryan
Many LaunchBox alumni have developed viable businesses. Since 2013, the €1 million provided as grants to the students participating in the programme has led to over €100 million in follow-on investment and funding.
Past successes include:
Social enterprise Foodcloud, which helps businesses redistribute surplus food to those who need it
Touchtech Payments, a payment processing venture that was acquired by Stripe in 2019
Equine MediRecord, which digitises the medical records of the multi-billion-euro horse racing industry’s equine stars and
Field of Vision, winner of Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the year award in 2021.
Tangent CEO Ken Finnegan said: “At Tangent, we emphasise the importance of agility and innovation in all our courses and programmes, and it has never been more necessary and important than in the current climate. Both the LaunchBox programme and the LaunchBox startups have demonstrated unparalleled flexibility and innovation in the move to a fully online programme and are a testament to the culture of creativity and adaptability here in Trinity.”
Michelle Olmstead, Chief Executive Trinity Innovation, Research & Enterprise, said: “Trinity is known as a community of innovators, and this reputation is undoubtedly sustained thanks in no small part to LaunchBox. Trinity is delighted to champion Ireland’s 'next gen' entrepreneurs, and I look forward to seeing what’s next for the winning team”.
The ten participating teams were:
ConnectEDU - a managed service that connects wealth managers with their clients’ next generation in order to improve client retention.
Critisee - an AI based chrome extension that critiques biomedical research papers, highlighting bias in a standardised format.
Gea - a startup that develops solutions focused on the problems and needs of the female population. Its first product is a reusable alternative to traditional menstrual products.
Hebe Adventures - Building the AirBnb of student travel. We connect young people under the age of 18 with host families.
MicroDoc - a digital assistant for medical practices. We make it easy to process, manage and generate paperwork, saving practices time and money.
NeuroSonic - provides a personalised approach to help people take control of their cardiac health and understand their bodies better.
Souper Fresh - uses waste whey from cheese production to make delicious and nutritious soup.
Tenify - helps letting agents identify the best tenants by automating the processing of rental enquiries.
Valumetrics - a financial research platform that solves the problem of the over-abundance of financial data available on the market today by using machine-learning technology.
Verify-a-Vendor -Streamlining compliance management for streetfood vendors.