Social web search company HeyStacks was the overall winner of SUSSED!, University College Dublin’s (UCD) €10,000 entrepreneurship competition, which is run by the university’s technology transfer centre, NovaUCD.
HeyStaks is currently developing a suite of online tools to make it easier for internet users to organise and share their internet search experiences, without having to leave their favourite search engine. The company’s co-founders are Dr Maurice Coyle and Dr Peter Briggs, early stage researchers in UCD’s School of Computer Science and Informatics.
In addition to receiving €5,000, the HeyStaks team will also receive free incubation space in NovaUCD for six months, as well as obtaining professional support in further developing their new venture.
HeyStaks will also go forward to represent UCD in the Europe-wide UNICA Entrepreneurship Competition for Students and Young Researchers, which will take place later this year.
While, to date, there has been no easy way for individuals to collaborate on shared internet searches, HeyStaks’ online tools aim to enable internet users to organise and share the pages they find while searching the web, without having to leave Google of their favourite search engines.
HeyStaks allows internet users to create a ‘folder’ called a ‘search stak’ for any search interest, which they can share directly with other users, or which can be made public so that anyone can subscribe to it. As stak members search, they contribute pages and associated query terms to the stak’s data store. When another stak member searches for a similar query in the future, the pages that are most relevant to their query, as decided by the collective actions of the stak community, can be promoted and recommended within Google’s standard result list.
The objective of the SUSSED! competition is to transform business ideas emerging from students and early stage researchers at UCD into business plans and commercial enterprises.
Two other shortlisted teams, XIT and OlympOzone, received runner-up prizes of €3,000 and €2,000 respectively, as well free incubation space in NovaUCD for six months.
XIT is developing a web-based travel planning application that allows users to more easily plan and share their travel experiences, while OlympOzone’s business idea is to provide a viable alternative for the use of chlorine in swimming pools in Ireland.
The other three shortlisted teams were Coast 2 Coast Coaching, FlyFit and SustainableMeter.
The members of the SUSSED! judging panel, who picked the winners following Dragons’ Den- style pitches by the six shortlisted finalists, were Eamonn Fallon, managing director and co-founder, Daft.ie; Dan Maher, founder, Nua Venture; Nicola Mitchell, managing director and founder, Life Scientific; Dr Brian Kelly, CEO and co-founder, Celtic Catalysts; and Dr Pat Frain, director, NovaUCD.
By Carmel Doyle
Pictured: Dr Maurice Coyle and Dr Peter Briggs, UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics and co-founders of HeyStaks, the overall winner of SUSSED, UCD’s €10,000 entrepreneurship competition, run by NovaUCD