Award-winning Ambr Eyewear sets sights on new frontiers

25 Jan 2019

Image: Connor McKenna/Silicon Republic

Judging panel sees potential in early-stage start-up Ambr Eyewear at the annual New Frontiers showcase from TU Dublin and IADT.

Former Start-up of the Week Ambr Eyewear has seen off the competition for the latest Lead Entrepreneur Award sponsored by William Fry. The award was presented at the annual New Frontiers showcase from the Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) Hothouse and the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT).

New Frontiers is an entrepreneur development programme from Enterprise Ireland that supports early-stage start-ups through incubators in higher education institutes nationwide.

“It’s an important programme,” said Leo Moore, technology partner at William Fry, which marked its fourth year sponsoring the Lead Entrepreneur Award and hosting the showcase. “Since 2007, 400 companies have been supported, 1,700 jobs have been created. So we’re not talking about a fly-by-night programme. This is real and substantive, and very important to the Irish economy.”

Sight for sore eyes

Ambr Eyewear produces glasses with lenses that filter the blue light streaming out of digital devices, helping to alleviate common problems such as eye strain, irritation and tiredness. Unlike its competitors in this space, Ambr Eyewear’s product doesn’t involve tinted lenses so they look just like regular, clear eyeglasses.

The company was founded by Daniel Nugent and Sacha Cahill and has been trading for about a year. Post-award-winning, an “over the moon” Nugent said, “We’re exporting now to 60 countries and we’ve recently just begun a retail partnership with Brown Thomas in Dublin.”

Next for the young company is a new multinational website for targeted growth across Europe, as well as an expanded portfolio of styles to choose from.

Finn Murphy, investor at Frontline Ventures and judging panel chair, declared the New Frontiers class of 2018 to be “incredible” and commended both the quality of the companies and entrepreneurs participating in the programme.

For others in the early-stage start-up game, he strongly advised they consider the size of the market they are targeting. “That’s always the thing that’s going to trip you up as you go down the funding road,” he said.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.