LaunchBox Demo Day

Stanley Quek Theatre, TBSI

30 August 2018

Good afternoon,

And welcome everyone. This is the fourth LaunchBox Demo Day, and it’s the sixth year of LaunchBox, our remarkable student accelerator programme, which is the embodiment of Trinity’s dedication to innovation and entrepreneurship.

LaunchBox empowers Trinity students to forge their own entrepreneurship path both during and after College. Thanks to programmes like LaunchBox, and the support of partners like Bank of Ireland, Trinity has been named Europe’s leading university when it comes to producing entrepreneurs.

We have received that accolade for three years running, from private equity and venture capital-focused research firm, PitchBook, based on the number of undergraduate alumni who go on to create companies that secure first-round venture capital funding.

We’re hugely proud of our college initiatives in innovation and entrepreneurship, both for the opportunities they provide for staff and students, and the discoveries they bring to the world.

Within a year of LaunchBox being rolled out in 2013, it was assessed by the international University Business Incubator Index as a ‘Top Challenger’ and placed just outside the world’s ‘Top 25’, from 800 student incubators assessed.

In its first four years, LaunchBox supported 38 student companies which went on to raise a total of €3.7 million in venture capital. These companies included, most famously, FoodCloud, which was written up in Time magazine and has impacted the food waste policy of Tesco.

Of last year’s cohort:

  • The winner, Equine MediRecords went on to win the “Number One Draft Pick Startup Competition” at the One Zero Conference (which is the largest sport technology conference in Europe) and was overall winner of Best Startup at the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association Expo this year.
  • And Ticketchain, which develops mobile-first ticketing software, has been revamped as Evopass and, in March, was chosen as one of ten new digital initiatives to receive funding from start-up incubator NDRC.

Founders from previous years’ LaunchBox companies have been involved this year, sharing their experiences in entrepreneurship. I thank Iseult Ward and Eric Risser from LaunchBox 2013; Sean Judge from LaunchBox 2014; and Pierce Dargan and Jack McGuire from last year for dedicating their time freely to this year’s competitors, providing important inspiration. Pierce Dargan who is CEO of Equine Medirecords is also acting as a judge.

This year over 50 start-ups vied for a place on the programme. The process is highly competitive - just 10 start-ups are through to this stage to present before the judging panel.

This year’s is one of the most diverse cohorts of start-ups in LaunchBox’s history, as you will see shortly when they begin their pitches. The teams represent a mix of disciplines and a mix between hardware, software, and physical products. Also a mix of age groups with some masters students and some teams only going into their second Fresh year.

LaunchBox is very much an accelerator for a technological age. At the same time, physical products remain important – perhaps paradoxically, they have an enhanced distinction in a virtual world – and I’m glad that every year they are also reflected in the pitches.

Many people and groups have helped to make LaunchBox the success that it is.

I’d like to thank in particular:

  • The overall sponsors of the programme, the Bank of Ireland;
  • The Trinity Angels, who initiated the whole thing five years ago and continue to act as mentors;
  • The judging panel – that’s David Tighe, Fionnuala Healy, Diarmuid O’Brien, Alison Crawford, Siofra Flood, and Pierce Dargan; and
  • Alison Treacy, the LaunchBox programme manager.

And this year, LaunchBox became a part of Tangent, Trinity’s new Ideas Workspace. We’re very excited about the potential of Tangent. I thank the whole Tangent team for their part in LaunchBox 2018.

And now, I won’t keep you any longer from what we’re waiting for. Thank you all for your attention, and let’s hear the pitches for 2018!

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