Limerick firm Cauwill Technologies and Belfast firm SOPHIA Search Ltd were last night awarded €100,000 in private investment as part of InterTradeIreland’s all-island Seedcorn Business Competition, which was held last night in Dublin.
Seedcorn, the largest business competition on the island of Ireland with a €360,000 prize fund, aims to stimulate new start-up activity, accelerate commercial development and create more opportunities for private-equity investment.
A total of 225 entries to the competition were received this year, representing a 30pc increase on last year’s total and the largest number of entries received since the competition began.
Eight companies made it through to the finals based on the quality of their business plan and an investment pitch to an independent panel of Seedcorn judges, including leading entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and private investors. All regional winners are guaranteed to walk away from the competition with a minimum prize of €25,000 each.
Cauwill Technologies, which was crowned Best Emerging Company, has developed PinPoints – an application that helps users locate their hotel using their mobile phone. Since the launch of the product in July 2009, the company has secured subscribers in more than 66 countries worldwide.
Co-Managing director Dr Ronan Skehill said: “Being recognised as overall emerging winner will help us gain more international recognition of our product and new access to the investment community.”
Meanwhile, the title for Best High Growth Company and prize fund of €100,000 were presented to SOPHIA Search, which was founded in 2007 by Dr David Patterson and Dr Vladimir Dobrynin.
Based at the NI Science Park in Belfast and in St Petersburg, Russia, SOPHIA Search has developed ground-breaking semantic search technology which enables companies and organisations to intelligently search their ever-increasing volumes of documents and unstructured information, whether it resides internally or external to the organisation.
“Winning the competition is a tremendous boost for our business. Being selected as overall high growth winner will bring excellent validation and credibility to our business plan and put us on a new platform with investors,” said SOPHIA Search chief executive Dr David Patterson.
All-island entrepreneurial spirit
“Cauwill Technologies and SOPHIA Search Ltd are to be congratulated on their tremendous achievement here tonight,” said the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Mary Coughlan TD who attended the event.
“Both companies typify the island’s entrepreneurial spirit, using their ideas and vision to develop a product or service with innovative and commercially viable technology to break new ground in a growing market.
“InterTradeIreland’s flagship Seedcorn competition recognises and nurtures entrepreneurship, innovation and new ventures – something which is central to the island’s recovery and growth in the current economic climate. After all – today’s budding entrepreneurs are tomorrow’s big employers.”
“Once again, the quality of the business plans we received is a testament to the level of innovation and entrepreneurial excellence on the island,” said InterTradeIreland chief executive Liam Nellis.
“The Seedcorn competition is now in its seventh year and has grown to become the biggest business competition on the island, covering all regions. Previous winners have to date leveraged over €103 million in new equity funding since their success in the competition – we have great hopes for our 2009 winners and are proud to support them at this critical stage of their development,” he added.
A special award of €10,000 was also presented to Limerick company coClarity Ltd, for Best University Spin out or Platform. The company is based in the Limerick Institute of Technology and its product, Goshido, is a cloud platform. While its first sales have been in Ireland, coClarity is about to start trials with companies in the UK, the US and the Netherlands.
Photo: Cauwill Technologies, winner of the Best Emerging Company in the final of InterTradeIreland’s all-island Seedcorn Business Competition. From left: Ronan Skehill, Cauwill Technologies; Liam Nellis, InterTradeIreland chief executive and Ian Rice, Cauwill Technologies.
Article courtesy of businessandleadership.com