Alpaca wins Learnovate and Amazon Web Services accelerator programme

Posted on: 21 February 2024

The EdTech Accelerator Programme for learning technology start-ups ran from December 5, 2023 to February 20, 2024 with ten companies involved.

Game-based tool Alpaca has been named the overall winner of the new EdTech Accelerator Programme from The Learnovate Centre in Trinity College Dublin and Amazon Web Services.

Two men and a woman with an award

Above are Stephen Bonney, AWS; Joe Fernandez, founder of Alpaca; and Linda Waters, Learnovate.

Ten companies were involved in the EdTech Accelerator Programme for learning technology start-ups, which ran from December 5, 2023 to February 20, 2024. Its aim was to provide start-ups with mentoring by leading experts in business and product development as well as significant AWS cloud computing credits. Companies selected had to have identified a learning problem or need and were working on a digital solution.

All participants presented their solutions at the final ‘Demo Day’ showcase, which was held yesterday (Tuesday) in the AWS offices in Dublin and where the winner Alpaca — chosen by Learnovate, AWS and industry judges — was announced.

Alpaca will receive $100,000 USD of AWS credits as overall winner. Alpaca creates evidence-based games that help teachers and parents identify children who may struggle to read, before they can read print.

All participants received credits worth $2,000 for AWS cloud computing services across a range of areas, including compute power, database storage, content delivery and other functionality.

They also received eight full-day workshops led by experts in learning, business, and technology at AWS offices in Dublin as well as free access to certified AWS training.

The EdTech Accelerator Programme is a collaboration between Learnovate, a leading global future of work and learning research hub in Trinity College Dublin, and AWS. Learnovate is part of the Technology Centre programme supported by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.

AWS is a Patron Member of Learnovate joining a global community of leaders in learning and technology driving innovation in learning and education.

The Accelerator Programme was open to early-stage start-ups who are developing digital solutions to problems related to learning and want to accelerate growth and scale operations.

The programme aims to provide business mentoring, technical guidance on building and scaling in the cloud, as well as regulatory, data privacy and cybersecurity considerations. Specialist expertise will also be available on topics such as pilot studies, trials, pathways to market, public procurement, and investor readiness.

Judge Piero Tintori of Terminalfour and BetterExaminations said:

“Because ALPACA is based on extensive scientific evidence, the judges felt this tool will have a significant positive impact on principals, teachers, parents, and children throughout Ireland. The tool helps schools assess children earlier and identify the support needed with fewer school resources. Teacher training includes no specific training in neurodiversity – that makes ALPACA a game changer. Identifying early literacy needs changes childrens’ lives.”

Joe Fernandez of ALPACA said:

“We are grateful for the support of hundreds of primary schools who have trusted ALPACA to screen over 8,000 infants’ early literacy skills this school year. It shows the power of early identification and timely intervention by teachers. Winning the EdTech Accelerator validates that the AI solutions we are building resonated with the EdTech experts on the judging panel.”

Stephen Bonney of AWS said:

"Every EdTech founder starts out with a problem to solve – the EdTech Accelerator has been designed to help ten of the brightest in Ireland to develop their solutions. AWS has a history of innovation and bringing disruptive solutions to the market. If we can share our culture of innovation and help these founders solve the problems they identified, I really believe we can have an impact on the Irish EdTech community.”

Learnovate Director Nessa McEniff said:

"We are thrilled to announce Alpaca as the winner of our first ever EdTech Accelerator programme organised in partnership with AWS. All the companies accepted onto the programme were stellar start-ups with innovative and impactful ideas in learning. With this accelerator, Learnovate continues to provide expertise and support to the growing and vibrant community of EdTech start-ups in Ireland.”

Learnovate Head of Business Development Linda Waters said:

"The global EdTech market continues to rapidly expand, and Irish start-ups are key players worldwide, providing learning solutions that are used in companies, schools, universities and at home. Big congratulations to Alpaca as the winner and to all the start-ups who were successfully accepted onto the accelerator to enjoy the benefits of expert business and technology mentoring during the programme.”



Media Contact:

Catherine O’Mahony | Media Relations |