10 start-ups in Northern Ireland secure proof-of-concept funding

8 Jun 2021

Kavitha Kalavoor Gopalan and Patricia Kelpie, Star 3 Group; Eamonn McNutt, Moving More; and Jacqueline McCann, Catalyst. Image: Catalyst

The funding from Catalyst and the NI Department for the Economy will help early-stage start-ups turn an idea into a basic product.

Ten high-potential start-ups from Northern Ireland have won £10,000 in funding to develop proof-of-concept innovations.

The funding is from Catalyst, a not-for-profit organisation tasked with developing Northern Ireland’s tech ecosystem, and its Co-Founders programme. It is financially supported by Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy.

The 11-week programme supports first-time entrepreneurs and early-stage start-ups. Out of the latest cohort of start-ups, 10 were awarded funding after a pitch competition to develop early proof-of-concept products across five areas – health and wellbeing, medtech, consumer software, business software and engineered products.

The winners were:

  • Atlas Fitness, a fitness app that uses machine learning to create custom workouts
  • Path, a health-tracking app for people with endometriosis
  • Tootsie Feet, a technology-enabled shoe brand for children
  • Stable Pro, an online platform for managing horse wellbeing
  • Movetru, a wearable device that aims to reduce injury and enhance rehabilitation
  • Indie Communications, a cloud solution for measuring mobile phone signal
  • Belfast Lifestyle Medicine, an app for managing irritable bowel syndrome
  • Moving More, a device that tracks sedentary behaviour and helps people to get moving
  • Bioliberty, a robotic solution for people suffering weaknesses in their hands
  • Star 3 Group, an educational tool to encourage children to learn self-care

“The funding awarded today will provide an opportunity for the winning teams to pursue their ideas and contribute to the thriving innovation ecosystem in Northern Ireland, as previous participants in Co-Founders have done,” Jacqueline McCann, programme manager at Catalyst, said.

“We believe that increasing the number of innovative start-ups in Northern Ireland can play a major role in the recovery of the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Northern Ireland’s economy minister, Diane Dodds, added that “flourishing entrepreneurial, innovative culture is one of the ways Northern Ireland will rebuild and grow over the next 10 years”.

Co-Founders was launched in 2017 and has supported seven cohorts previously, with 24 teams securing proof-of-concept funding and nine moving on to its Propel pre-accelerator programme.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin