iQ Eight prepare for Dragon’s Den


11 Jun 2009

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Open the papers, switch over to the news and listen to the Government; we are being told that we can ‘innovate our way out of the recession’, but how exactly? With the lure of a cash prize and fear of the ‘Dragon’s Den’, iQ Content appears to have the answer.

A concrete example of larger companies leveraging their assets to help budding entrepreneurs is Dublin-based iQ Content, a web consultancy and training firm with €10,000 for the brightest sparks in the Irish technology space and a Dragon’s Den-style battle to the final.

IQ Content’s idea was simple: take a €10,000 cash prize, add a five-page business plan for your internet start-up, sprinkle liberally with enthusiasm and 249 entries, and take a line-up of industry-experienced judges including Martha Rotter, software evangelist for Microsoft Ireland, Colm Long, head of online operations (EMEA) for Facebook, and Conor O’Neill, editor of Web2Ireland and founder of LouderVoice.

The result culminated in the iQ Eight – young, Irish start-ups with novel business ideas.

The eight finalists for the iQ Prize are: Decisions for Heroes, GetitKeepit.com, MyHotel.ie, Neurosynergy Games, Octopied, Our Writers’ Bloc?, Pendle House and Plink.

Yesterday’s announcement of the iQ Prize shortlist at the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel will be followed by the 8 July final, where the candidates will make their business case to the judges Dragon’s Den-style, followed by a public session where the audience will get the elevator pitch.

The winner gets the €10,000 cash prize with no strings attached, while a People’s Choice Award of €1,000 goes to the favourite elevator pitch.

One of the finalists, Octopied, is a web application for freelancers, which aims to help with project management, sales and invoicing via one easy-to-use tool.

”We are delighted to have been selected for the final presentation stage, particularly given that the reported quality of the submissions was so high,” said David Behan, technical manager at Web Together, the company behind Octopied, which has previously won two Eircom Golden Spider Awards.

“We have always been very confident that our idea was highly commercial, but it’s very satisfying to receive this external endorsement from such a high-calibre judging panel. We are now very keen to put everything into the next stage in order to give ourselves every chance of winning the top prize.”

Finalists Neurosynergy Games, recent winners of the SEEPP Enterprise Awards 2009 and recipient of one of only three places on Microsoft’s Irish Innovation

Accelerator Programme, has developed an innovative brain-training application that works on both intellectual (IQ) and emotional (EQ) performance.

David Delany, co-founder of Neurosynergy Games, commented on the iQ Prize: “Beyond the potential prize money and publicity, doing well in highly competitive events like this certainly has a powerfully energising and motivating effect on any start-up.

“It gives a much-needed boost because going out on a limb, and setting up a new business, with all the risk and uncertainty that entails, can sometimes be a fraught and discouraging process,” he added.

By Marie Boran