15 new start-ups enter digital accelerator at NDRC

4 Apr 2012

Bill Liao, SOSventures, with NDRC CEO Ben Hurley and Terence Hong, CEO of Adjuno, a Canadian social commerce platform that won the 'Lift Off' competition at the NDRC last December. Adjuno won a €50,000 investment prize from SOSventures and NDRC

New Irish digital start-ups, ranging from a music analytics service to a mobile app for people with eating disorders, have just started the Launchpad accelerator programme at the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) in Dublin City.

In all, 70 Irish and international applicants applied for the programme, but the NDRC whittled down the entries to 15 new digital ventures.

The projects have started a three-month intensive mentoring and advisory programme alongside other start-ups, innovators, engineers and investors. Launchpad will culminate in May with a competition for a follow-on investment sourced from venture capitalists and angels.

NDRC is investing up to €20,000 in each start-up to support the founders during the programme.

The start-ups include cloud-based customer service applications and systems for learning management, car sharing, urban planning and restaurant management. Other concepts include a social media strategy tool, a children’s travel review site, education management tools and pharmacy management software.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, today voiced his support for the programme.

“If we are to create an economy that can sustain the number of jobs we need, we must not only seek to attract the next Google or Microsoft to Ireland, but also to create the next Google or Microsoft here in Ireland,” he said.

The 15 start-ups

True Pivot
Padraig O’Leary is behind True Pivot, a structural analysis software for the engineering domain that simulates stresses and deflections on a design. His objective is to commercialise research conducted at Dublin Institute of Technology as part of his master’s research project.

Ex Ray Lab
Damien Comiskey and the team are proposing a medical training simulator for X-ray guided procedures. Comiskey is a lecturer with a PhD in biomedical engineering. Keith Synnott, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Mater Hospital, is an external team member. 

Richard Whelan is one of the brains behind StudyBuddy, a web-based application that’s aiming to block internet distractions and to monitor and analyse time spent online by students. The app is aimed at parents of teenagers and third-level students. The founders developed the idea and business model at the Quinn School of Business at University College Dublin (UCD).

Sound Wave
Brendan O’Driscoll is developing a music analytics service to allow users discover and track what songs are being listened to and where, in real time, combining location and ID3 music-tagging technology. His aim is for record labels to be able to identify what artists are popular in what locations. Musicians will also be able to track the diffusion of their songs via the service, according to O’Driscoll.

Instant Opinion  
Aidan Kenny is developing a new communication channel using mobile and cloud technology between service providers and their customers. The aim is for service providers to gather real-time feedback from customers so that they can resolve issues as they occur.

Hot Dot Games
Shane Whelan is behind this project, which is an educational game for use on the iPad, plus Android tablets, desktop and interactive whiteboard. A lecturer in game design at Ballyfermot College of Further Education and a part-time lecturer at the master’s in game design at DIT, Whelan is developing the game to teach the skills necessary to draw freehand in 3D.

Drop Car
Peter Soutter is developing Drop Car, a booking software for the car share industry. He said Drop Car would introduce scheduled one-way bookings. Soutter approached TCD with the idea for Drop Car in 2009. He began working with Prof Vinny Cahill through Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers. The technical team is made up of PhD students from Trinity College Dublin (TCD).

LearnUpon is an SaaS learning management system targeted at content developers and professional training companies, associations, societies and professional bodies. The team is comprised of graduates from TCD, UCD, and Dublin City University.

The team behind Mypp.ie are using open-source planning data from local authorities to present planning information in a clear format on one map. The team has engaged with the local authorities. They are also aiming to engage with other local authorities in other countries.

Pioneered by a team who work with Institute of Technology Tralee’s catering department, Bizimply is a virtual manager solution for bars and restaurants. One of the team members is Gerard Forde, who founded Nude Restaurants in 1999.

Social Media Man
Conor Lynch, who set up SocialMedia.ie, connector.TV and Share-O-Meter.com, is behind Social Media Man, a web app to help businesses create and manage multiple customised social media strategies.

My Power Back
Emma Murphy is leading My Power Back, a software service delivered via a mobile app to provide crisis intervention to adults with eating disorders. Via Launchpad, the team plans to develop a minimal viable product ‘freemium’ version of the product.

This is a travel application and kids forum to explore the world, share travel tips and a personalised space to post reviews and photos. It has been pioneered by Oda O’Carroll, a travel writer and TV producer, and Sue Patterson, a digital media designer. They have had discussions with IADT regarding research development.

Slate State
The team behind Slate State have created a system for the real-time monitoring and data collection of student interactions with educational iPad apps. The team is made up of self-employed developers who are hoping to connect with IADT on research.

Rebecca Patterson is developing a web-based platform for the pharmacy profession to help pharmacists deliver structured clinical services and share knowledge amongst their peers. The site collates data at a national level.

Last year, NDRC Launchpad was identified in the top 6 best accelerators in Europe following a study by the US Kaufman Fellows Programme. NDRC has supported the acceleration of more than 60 new start-ups through its investment programmes since it was established in 2008.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic