Web innovators get €100,000 research funding

14 Jul 2008

Four innovative start-up technology companies – HeyStaks, Locle, TouristR and Playza – have been unveiled as the winning recipients who will each share in the Eircom €100,000 Web Innovation Fund.

“This is a new departure for Eircom and one we are very proud to develop. Ireland has a huge pool of entrepreneurial talent and this was clearly demonstrated by the sheer quality of applications we received for the fund. Eircom is committed to fostering entrepreneurship in the online sector and this fund provides the ideal platform,” explained Mark Taylor, head of content and services strategy at Eircom.

“We are very much looking forward to working with these four companies in the coming months and we are hugely excited about their potential,” Taylor said.

HeyStaks is a new approach to web search that helps searchers to share their search experiences with friends, colleagues and other searchers. HeyStaks is a browser plug-in that works with Google and provides users with the ability to create so-called ‘search staks’ as a way to organise and share their Google searches. For example, a group of friends planning a holiday abroad might create a ‘Holiday 2008’ search stak.

Locle is a social mapping application for mobile phones that combines information from a user’s mobile handset address book with social networks such as Bebo, Facebook and MySpace to create mapping services showing them where their friends are. Locle is an enhanced mobile web experience that facilitates ‘here’s where I am, and here’s where my friends are’ for social networks and groups.

Playza is a new social gaming proposition for ‘digital natives’ – our 12 to 24 year olds who have grown up in a digital media environment where mobile phones, social networking, multi-player online gaming and music downloading have always been the norm. Playza is made up of a series of connected mini games in which players complete tasks and earn points.

TouristR is an integrated full-service, trip-planning advisor which cuts out the online information overload and minimises planning problems. It not only helps the traveller to plan a more complex travel itinerary – such as a trip with multiple destinations on a fixed budget and timeline – but it also draws on content submitted by a community of users which will help the traveller to decide on where to go by getting a sense of the type of experience available at their chosen destination.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years