DCU spin-out eyes up global localisation industry following EI win

1 Oct 2013

Seán Sherlock, TD, Minister for Research and Innovation; and Gearoid Mooney, Enterprise Ireland, (far right); present the Enterprise Ireland ICT Commercialisation Award to Tony O'Dowd, CEO of Xcelerator Machine Translations. Image via Gary O'Neill

Xcelerator Machine Translations, the recent winner of the commercialisation award at Enterprise Ireland’s (EI) ‘Big Ideas’ showcase, is aiming to disrupt the global localisation industry with its technology – a cloud-based machine translation service.

In all, 21 projects, dubbed ‘Big Ideas’ from Irish research, pitched their technology offers to more than 350 potential investors at the EI showcase at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin recently.

The aim of the event, EI said, is to give inventors a public platform, the majority of whom have started out as academic researchers, to communicate what their technologies are all about.

This showcase takes place annually as a means of hooking up the Irish venture capital and investment sector with the research that is spinning out of universities and institutes, especially such research that is linking up with industry to shape new products and services.

From research to commercialisation

Tony O’Dowd is the brain behind Xcelerator Machine Translations, which won the ‘Information Communication Technologies Commercialisation Award. The start-up spun out from the CNGL Centre for Global Intelligent Content at Dublin City University (DCU).

“Tony is receiving this award in recognition for the exemplary way in which he has succeeded in bringing his publicly funded research idea from the CNGL Centre for Global Intelligent Content at DCU into business reality,” said Seán Sherlock, TD, Minister of State for Research and Innovation.

O’Dowd’s research idea was originally spawned at the CNGL centre. This particular centre is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

Xcelerator Machine Translations is now based at Invent DCU. It also raised a ‘substantial’ investment last December.

O’Dowd, now CEO, employs 14 full-time employees.

With help from the DCU Technology Transfer office, O’Dowd set up Xcelerator Machine Translations and licensed the technology from CNGL.

He then got help from the EI Commercialisation fund and staff to shape his technology and his business plan.

“Tony was an Enterprise Ireland business partner and a member of the CNGL industry board when he spotted a commercial application for research conduced by the SFI-funded centre,” said Gearóid Mooney, manager of research and innovation (R&I) at Enterprise Ireland.

Mooney said the start-up has a fast-growing client base as a result of the “innovative” service it has developed in order to disrupt the location industry.

Xcelerator Machine Translations’ main product is marketed as ‘KantanMT’.

O’Dowd said that, with this technology one can launch their browser, log-on, customise their “Machine Translation engine” and start translating.

“In many cases, you can be up and running within a few hours,” he explained.

Other winners

At the ‘Big Ideas’ event, Sherlock also presented awards to Prof Louise Kenny and Dr Mark Southern.

Along with his team at University of Limerick, Southern is aiming to help companies match their technical issues and challenges with solutions in manufacturing measurement, simulation, software and statistical know-how.

Southern received the Enterprise Ireland Manufacturing, Engineering & Energy Commercialisation award.

Kenny, meanwhile, won the Enterprise Ireland Life Sciences & Food Commercialisation Award in recognition of her work to develop and commercialise a predictive diagnosis for pre-eclampsia in early pregnancy.

Her technology is now at the core of a new EI-supported start-up called Metabolomics Diagnostics and is set to create up to 40 jobs.

As well as this, Kenny is professor of obstetrics at University College Cork and a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Cork University Maternity Hospital.

She is also the director of the Irish Centre for Foetal and Neonatal Translational Research.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic