Student entrepreneurs pitch for backing at first ever online Launchbox 2020 Demo Day 

Posted on: 04 September 2020

Ten teams of student entrepreneurs at Trinity College Dublin today sought capital backing from angel investors and early stage venture capitalists to take their startups – which are developing innovations across a variety of sectors – to the next stage. 

The teams pitched their company plans at Trinity’s LaunchBox 2020 Demo Day, the programme’s final event of the summer and one that was conducted online for the first time in its eight-year history.  

While digital health, music and legal tech also featured, sustainability was a dominant theme at this year’s Demo Day, as the young entrepreneurs presented businesses focused on eco-friendly packaging, recycling and sustainable travel. 

LaunchBox, in partnership with Bank of Ireland, and managed by experts in Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace, provides mentorship, funding, access to alumni and investors, and a collaborative environment to launch new startup ventures. 

The programme has evolved into one of global – not just national – impact, with a host of entrepreneurs having used it as a springboard to create viable businesses across a wide range of sectors. 

Since 2013, the student ventures involved have created approximately 185 jobs and raised over €69 million in investment and funding. 

Their alumni companies 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, Artomatix, which develops tools for automating digital media creation and was also acquired last year, and Equine MediRecord, which digitises the medical records of the multi-billion-euro horse racing industry’s equine stars. 

Speaking at Demo Day, Tangent CEO Ken Finnegan said:

 “At Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace, we emphasise the importance of agility and innovation in all of 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.”  

After pitching and answering questions from judges including Stuart Coulson, Adjunct Professor at Stanford’s d.School & Trinity alumnus, and Lizzy Hayashida, CEO and founder of Change Donations, this year’s winning team was announced as ProMotion, a bicycle-based branding and advertising company (more details below), while MedTech startup Volymi and electric vehicle startup EVE finished as joint runners-up. The winning teams will receive cash prizes, as well as coworking space to further their progress.  

LaunchBox 2020 – the 10 teams 

FiltraCycle turns cigarette butts into high-quality plastic products. Cigarette butts are the most common item of litter on the planet. By collecting, cleaning and recycling cigarette butts, FiltraCycle provides them with a destination other than landfill and the ocean. 

While flood prediction models are improving rapidly, our communication of this critical information has not changed in over 70 years. The use of paper is both inefficient and allows for error. 

CFlood is a product that can be used by both engineers and members of the public – CFlood allows flooding data to be easily and accurately visualised by everyone. 

Divorshe is a legal tech start up, building an online platform for people going through an amicable divorce, to make the process quicker, less costly and easier to understand. Divorshe aims to be a “one stop shop”, providing its customers with powerful tools and the knowledge to complete their divorce by themselves, without the need to hire an expensive family lawyer. 

EVE – the Electric Vehicle Ecosystem – makes charging stations for electric vehicles as accessible as petrol stations by creating an ecosystem that drastically increases coverage of charging options for electric car owners. Through the user-friendly app, electric car drivers will always find an available and accessible charging station. 

Frosted is a revenue-generating media platform for modern-day Irish music and culture. Through engaging video content, articles, events and more, they promote upcoming creatives to enable the discovery of talent from across the country. 

Oak Digital Health is a digital platform for delivering group-based programmes to optimise the health of patients undergoing surgery. The platform is a tool for clinicians that allows the delivery of group care in a remote and cost-effective manner. This helps to reduce patient complications and save costs to the health system. 

ProMotion is a platform that connects brands with bicycle owners. They provide the opportunity for advertisers to use private bicycles as a medium for advertising, whilst simultaneously associating their brand with positive health and wellbeing, and rewarding people for their eco-friendly, health-positive choices. 

Rezero is an environmental initiative that replaces single use takeaway packaging with reusable solutions. This national deposit-return network and shared pool of resources prevents disposables from going to landfill.   Place your order, pay a deposit on the container, enjoy and return to the network for a refill or deposit refund. Rezero won the Provost’s Innovation Challenge @ Tangent in 2020. 

The mission of Solar Flare is to produce natural gas, a commonly used fossil fuel, by using sunlight. Solar Flare mimics natural photosynthesis to transform carbon dioxide fom the atmosphere into completely clean, carbon-neutral and recycled fossil fuels. 

Volymi is a system that gives independence back to paralysed wheelchair users. The Volymi system measures the volume of the users’ catheter bag and sends valuable information to the user such as hydration levels and the current capacity of the bag. This reduces the anxiety of the user and the level of external care they need. 


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