When it comes to its Irish Research Council funding, it’s all about excellence in people, says Prof Alan Smeaton. He was speaking to us ahead of the Innovation Ireland Forum on Friday.
Dublin: 22.10.2014 05.47AM
The Dublin office of the international law firm Maples and Calder (Maples), with the Dublin Web Summit, have launched the second Maples and Calder Spark of Genius contest for innovative web and web-related technology companies.
"We had a great response to the previous Spark of Genius competition and interest from entrants this time round is high,” said Colm Rafferty, partner and head of the Growth Companies Group at Maples.
“Our inaugural winner, GetitKeepit.com, certainly made a big impression in the Irish web and wider technology investment community and we are looking forward to finding another star in the next round of the competition."
The competition is designed to identify early stage ventures with compelling potential.
It offers start-up web and web-related technology companies the chance to profile their businesses to leading Irish and international investors and web entrepreneurs at the Dublin Web Summit.
Three chosen finalists will pitch their business plans to more than 350 people at the summit on 29 October in order to compete for the prize.
Web giants such as Niklas Zennstrom of Skype, Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Michael Birch of Bebo will be attending.
The winner will receive a prize made up of a range of professional services from providers including Maples and KPMG, among others.
"Winning the Spark of Genius competition has opened new opportunities for our company,” said previous prize winner Alan Coleman, CEO of GetitKeepit.com, who have developed next-generation electronic bill presentation and payment solutions.
“We have already put some of the prize to good use updating our partner contracts and establishing a share option scheme.
“The market exposure that winning gave our company was equally important – it has been a great calling card for potential investors," said Coleman.
Maples feels that fostering innovation and developing an environment which nurtures young technology start-ups is particularly important in the current challenging economic climate.
"We want to connect with entrepreneurs early in their journey and be there for the significant events such as institutional funding rounds and ultimate exit,” said Rafferty.
“The Spark of Genius companies are the type we believe will scale and drive M&A activity in the sector over the coming years."