Decisions for Heroes gets €10k iQ start-up prize


9 Jul 2009

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Decisions for Heroes, a Web 2.0 company that provides useful software for emergency services, has been named the winner of the €10,000 iQ Prize for internet start-ups.

iQ Prize winner Decisions For Heroes was founded by young Irish entrepreneur Robin Blandford. Identifying a common set of problems found in emergency services, the software was created to capture the information surrounding their rescue operations and training exercises.

The system automatically performs analytical charting, draws heatmaps, and benchmarks reports to outline areas of strength, weakness, and expertise.

"The iQ Prize is a fantastic community-driven opportunity for an Irish start-up,” said Blandford, speaking at the awards ceremony.

“I intend to use the prize fund to travel to the US to launch trials with its emergency services.”

Once back home in Dublin, Blandford will “grow the company by taking on an operations expert to focus on data security and scalability.”

The iQ internet start-up competition was launched by Dublin internet consultancy iQ Content in March and received 249 entries.

Eight ambitious start-ups were shortlisted and took part in Dragons’ Den-style presentations to the panel of six judges. After their gruelling presentations, the shortlisted candidates had to do it all again, presenting their elevator pitches to 200 people in the audience at the iQ Prize Award Night in the Guinness Storehouse.

Not all of the seven runners-up left empty-handed, with Plink receiving the €1,000 People’s Choice Prize and an honourable mention from the judging panel.

Plink, described as “game-changing technology” by Facebook’s EMEA head of Online Operations and iQ Prize judge, Colm Long, is an image-driven search engine. Plink makes it possible to take a photo of a book cover on your phone and instantly receive a review of it, price comparisons from the web, or information about the author from Wikipedia.

iQ Content managing director Morgan McKeagney, who created the iQ Prize, was full of praise for the winner and shortlist.

“I’m delighted for Robin, he’s a worthy winner and a great model for young Irish entrepreneurs. His story, and the phenomenal response to the iQ Prize, shows that Ireland is a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent. Given the right support, we believe that many of these start-ups can go on to create world-class technology companies.”

McKeagney reaffirmed the quality of the entries and urged others to repeat the initiative of the iQ Prize, “If organisations such as Enterprise Ireland matched the €10,000 we gave to each of our shortlist, it would be the best investment they could make.”

By John Kennedy

Caption: iQ prize winner Robin Blandford from Decisions For Heroes holding his trophy with the judges. From L-R: Aodhan Cullen (Statcounter); Eamonn Fallon (Daft.ie); Gail Power (Google); Robin Blandford (Decisions For Heroes); Conor O’Neill (LouderVoice); Colm Long (Facebook); and Martha Rotter (Microsoft)