11 start-ups hop onto latest LaunchPad incubator – get up to €20k in seed funding

16 Sep 2013

It’s a new start for 11 new digital ventures today … The LaunchPad start-up incubator in Dublin has taken under its wing 11 new start-ups after a rigorous selection process from 100 applicants. For the next 12 weeks, the chosen ventures will be nurturing and scaling their digital ideas, and they will each get up to €20,000 in micro-seed funding from the NDRC.

LaunchPad is just one of the many start-up incubators that have sprouted up around the island of Ireland over the past few years. This particular one is run by the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC).

The idea of such start-up accelerators is to fuse nascent entrepreneurs, or those who are migrating into the digital entrepreneurship space, with other self-starters, developers, legal and business heads, plus seasoned entrepreneurs so that they can take their start-up ideas to the next level – and get some mentoring and strategic business advice along the way.

Gary Leyden, who heads up the LaunchPad programme at the NDRC, said this is the first LaunchPad programme since the NDRC was announced as one of the world’s top IT start-up incubators for 2013 by the San Francisco, California-based UBI Index.

This is the eighth iteration of LaunchPad, which has seen companies spin-out and go on to make waves in the digital arena, such as music-discovery app Soundwave, which Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak loves; trending news service NewsWhip, which last week garnered a €1.1m investment; and Propertygate.

The latter just finished up on the last LaunchPad programme in June. Leyden said Propertygate, which connects portfolio stakeholders such as financiers, property managers, property owners and tenants, has already secured its first paying customers.

So what’s the scoop on this cycle of LaunchPad?

“We have chosen start-ups from a variety of sectors that we believe have huge potential. These range from start-ups which protect internet users’ privacy to those which replace doctor’s pagers, to one which is reinventing job seekers’ CVs,” said Leyden.

As with previous LaunchPad programmes, each of the 11 start-ups will undergo a 12-week programme in NDRC where they will get mentoring and support.

At the eclipse of the three months, they will then compete in the ‘Lift Off’ competition for follow-on investment, which will be sourced from venture capitalists and private investors.

LaunchPad gives up to €20,000 per start-up in pre-seed investment during the programme.

Leyden said this next intake of LaunchPad, which features ventures in the social entrepreneurial space, is part of what he termed the “next exciting step” in the evolution of the incubator.

LaunchPad 8 participants

So here’s a taste of the start-ups and what they are working on:

Digital Perception
Digital Perception wants to find and remove ‘unwanted’ photos of you from the internet. It uses a search algorithm.

Inforama is a document production and automation platform, which aims to allow businesses to generate personalised documents, policies, invoices, letters and emails in the cloud or on-site.

Reinvented Recruitment/CVisual is on a mission to reinvent the conventional, text-based CV into what it terms an “interactive, digital” CV.

Twiddle is pioneering an interface for those searching and navigating the internet. Instead of the usual list format that is provided through search engines like Google, Twiddle says it is aiming to make it easier for users to navigate the web using an “attractive” interface.

FoodCloud’s platform, which is accessed via a mobile app or a web browser, aims to allow businesses quickly upload details of their surplus food and send a text message notification to charities that are nearby.

Critical Connect powered by Medxnote is a communication platform for hospital healthcare professionals. The start-up aims to replace the ‘pager’ that health professionals use, and bring hospitals into the digital age.

CloudDock is a central hub for your email, calendar and file storage services.

Social Energy
Social Energy is a new online-education platform for not-for-profits. Social Energy says it will provide classes, interviews, case studies and white papers on topics such as ‘How to develop a social media strategy’.

Xpreso is an urban logistics platform. It is aiming to change information provided to users of courier companies, as well as the companies themselves, so that people can send things at a lower cost, and track progress in real-time.

Loylap is a mobile platform that is being built to incentivise and reward customer spending within a local community.

Media Planner
Media Planner is a cloud-based software system to streamline the advertising media-booking process. This can result in up to 40pc of time on administration associated with media planning, the start-up claims.

To date, more than 100 start-ups have been supported by the overall NDRC.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic