The winning team at the National Digital Research Centre’s (NDRC) LaunchPad ‘Lift Off’ competition was Canada’s Adjuno, which has secured an investment prize of €50,000 from SOSventures and NDRC.
Social commerce platform Adjuno, which provides users with enhanced social and geographic context across e-commerce applications, was chosen by an investor panel that included Bill Liao, SOSventures; Shay Garvey, Delta Partners; Alexis Murphy, IIU; Conor Stanley, Bloom Equity and Ben Hurley, CEO of the NDRC.
The second prize went to Newswhip, and third prize went to iCabbi, while the Irish Internet Association (IIA) awarded a special prize to Redeem&Get, giving it IIA membership and a place on the diploma in digital marketing.
In total, 15 start-ups took part in the event at NDRC.
“Adjuno is a fantastic fit for SOSventures’ investment strategy – we invest in entrepreneurs not technologies,” said Liao, judge and headline investor in the prize fund.
“I am delighted to have worked with NDRC today as they are providing investors with access to de-risked investable propositions.”
NDRC’s investment programmes are tailored to enable innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers and academics, and established companies to translate ideas into income-generating products and high-growth businesses.
NDRC’s LaunchPad is Ireland’s first tech accelerator and was this year rated as the best accelerator in Ireland in a Europe-wide survey. The three-month programme is targeted at digital start-up ideas with a particular focus on those emerging from the research base.
The programme culminates in the Lift Off competition, where private investors entrust an investment prize fund to an NDRC-convened panel of VC and angel investors to pick a genuinely investable start-up.
“As part of NDRC’s mission to create viable new businesses from research-inspired innovation, in three short months, Adjuno have delivered a new digital business to market, and have today attracted commercial follow-on investment in order to compete effectively in the market,” Hurley explained.
“To date, at NDRC LaunchPad, we have worked with 45 companies in this investment programme, with over 80 individual participants so far working in what is the most vibrant and growing sector of the economy."