Which of these 31 start-ups has what it takes to impress Google?

3 Mar 2017

Out of 31 start-ups, only one will be named the star of Google Adopt a Startup 2017. Image: Aleksandar Mijatovic/Shutterstock

Spoiled for choice, Google has selected 31 start-ups to compete in this year’s Adopt a Startup accelerator – but who are they?

In January, Google announced the 31 start-ups selected for its annual Adopt a Startup accelerator.

Each of the chosen start-ups will receive 12 weeks of hands-on mentoring, and access to exclusive lectures and workshops. Google Ireland director Paddy Flynn said: “Since we launched our Adopt a Startup programme in 2014, we have worked with almost 100 high-potential Irish start-ups, and many have gone on to raise significant capital funding and greatly increase their employee numbers.”

Now that we are just over halfway through the 2017 Adopt a Startup programme, we take a closer look at the competitors and size them up for success.

Connect the Dots

Set up in 2014, Connect the Dots creates bespoke, personalised events for its clients. Unlike other event companies, Connect the Dots uses a co-creation process where it consults with attendees of the event and tailors it to their needs. Involving the attendees at the creation stage also increases event attendance.


Founded two years ago as a Dublin City University (DCU) spin-out and led by Stephen McNulty, Ambisense designs and manufacturers smart, field-deployable, gas-monitoring instruments and networks. Working within the fast-growing internet of things (IoT) sector, Ambisense was one of the winners of the DCU President’s Awards for Innovation back in 2015.

Trezeo Limited

Founded in Dublin in 2016, Trezeo Limited aims to provide financial stability for freelancers, ensuring a regular income for those working in the gig economy. Paying a fixed monthly subscription, users are offered a cash advance service when needed. The start-up is currently run by CEO and co-founder, Garrett Cassidy, and CTO Flavien Charlon.

Think Biosolution

Using innovative technology, Think Biosolution wants to make exercising smarter to improve health and wellbeing. Its three technologies – QuasaR, PulseR and NeutronstaR – are non-invasive medical devices to measure heart and respiratory rates, and manage heart disease and chronic obesity, transforming the smartphone into a personal trainer.


Co-founded less than a year ago by Dean Tobin, Dean Douglas-Evans and John Douglas, GolfBirdie gives golf holiday enthusiasts a whole new way to check out a course before they visit. Through its mobile app, a golfer can watch 4K videos of various courses around the world taken by drones.


Waterford start-up Tucr.io was founded in 2016 by Justin Kearns. It offers an online system to make partial payments easier for shoppers and retailers. At Tucr locations, deposit payments can be made on an item to ‘tuc it away’. Upon receiving a digital receipt, customers can pay the remainder online.

Fluid UI

Fluid UI is all about making web and mobile app prototyping easier. With 500,000 users across 196 countries, Fluid UI is an easy-to-use platform for anyone to create a prototype of an app on any device using customisable drag-and-drop functions. Users can design, save, preview and share their projects.

IoT Living Lab

The Cahersiveen IoT living lab is an independent, state-of-the-art test bed located in the south-west region of Ireland on the Atlantic coast. It has been specifically designed to cater for every stage of IoT product development and is accessible to all academic institutions and company types.

LivingLab.ie – Part of the Google Adopt a Startup programme 2017

Screenshot of IoT Living Lab website


One of the more self-explanatory start-ups, Bookapitch.com allows users to book football pitches through a cloud-based software service. The idea is that the plethora of astro pitches throughout Ireland can register and, through a simple search function, customers can search for, and pre-book, the one that suits them best.


Headquartered in Dublin’s Silicon Docks, EnergyElephant was founded in 2014 by CEO Joe Borza and CTO Eoin Ó Fearghail. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) start-up uses analytics to provide energy data management solutions for businesses to reduce costs, energy consumption and CO2 emissions. EnergyElephant previously featured as Start-up of the Week on Siliconrepublic.com.


For accurate information about audience engagement, Engager has created a new broadcast ratings system and data analytics service. Engager gives users real-time analysis of their audiences, insights into how their audience feels about certain shows, and how they fare against their competitors.

One Touch Telecare

Founded in Galway in 2014 and led by Dermot Clancy, One Touch Telecare designs and delivers connected healthcare solutions to support care management companies, from scheduling carer appointments to managing client care plans. Last December, Clancy was awarded €15,000 as part of the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition.

Reflex Gaming

Currently in beta, Reflex Gaming is developing a platform that allows gamers to play competitively with other serious gamers to win prizes. Working with the likes of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, Reflex Gaming’s software lets users create games, find opponents of the same level and compete for ‘RX’ credits, which can also be purchased.

Buddy Bench Ireland

Founded in 2015 by psychotherapists Judith Ashton and Sam Synnott from the organisation LifeMatters, Buddy Bench Ireland is a non-profit organisation that aims to greatly improve children’s mental health in Ireland. The simple idea is that, when a child is feeling sad or lonely, they can sit on one of these colourful benches to talk with another student.


TechIreland.org aims to generate a comprehensive, public database of Ireland’s tech ecosystem. Its purpose is to track Irish innovation in real time, providing a bridge between companies and investors and acting as a business development tool. The start-up is a project initiated by the Office of the Dublin Commissioner for Start-ups.

EIDA Solutions

Founded in 2010, EIDA solutions is a Dublin-based SaaS company that has developed a platform to accelerate and simplify the delivery of complex construction projects. Among its recent developments is a new tool that allows contractors to quickly record project progress and relevant information, such as onsite delays, using its mobile app.


Parkpnp is a pretty novel approach to monetising car park spaces through a simple software mechanism. People not using their space can advertise it on Parkpnp, securing money from customers, much like Airbnb works for accommodation. The ability to pre-purchase spaces means that heading to events, for example, can prove a much easier process.

Ex Ordo

Founded and led by Paul Killoran in 2011, Galway-based Ex Ordo is a web and mobile app development company looking to improve the way researchers publish their work and collaborate. Last December, Killoran was named Galway’s best young entrepreneur at the IBYE competition, earning a funding prize of €15,000.


Dublin start-up Obeo champions sustainable living through its household waste products. The brainchild of National College of Art and Design graduate Kate Purcell, a product designer, and Liz Fingleton, an accountant, Obeo’s first product to market is a compostable food waste box that allows householders to quickly and cleanly recycle their food waste via their brown bin.

Kate Purcell and Liz Fingleton displaying the Obeo food waste box

Kate Purcell and Liz Fingleton displaying the Obeo food waste box. Image: Obeo


Another business working off a similar idea to Airbnb, Campsited utilises the same concept for camping. It provides information on hundreds of camping, glamping and holiday parks across the British Isles, with a built-in API to support booking through its service. Parks and sites pay for the service after bookings are secured.


Founded in 2016, Ucompare is an online comparison website that enables users to compare travel insurance products on the go. Aiming to make finding travel insurance simple, Ucompare vets and compares policies – based on cost and policy benefits – through a clear, easy-to-use platform. Users can then purchase chosen policies online.


LogoGrab’s technology is used to identify brands in video, which helps to capture brand insights and increase sales. The start-up, which was named Emerging Company of the Year by the Irish Software Association, was founded by Luca Boschin and Alessandro Prest. Customers include Heineken, Nestlé, eBay and McDonald’s.

ROR Guitars

Kerry-based ROR Guitars has created Expressiv, a plug-and-play system that brings electronic sounds to real guitars in a whole new way, giving the same control previously only available on keyboard synthesisers. The system, devised by Rob O’Reilly, was one of Ireland’s earliest projects to be funded on Kickstarter.


A public sector tender database of sorts, Tenderscout collates thousands of daily ‘leads’ for clients to search for contracts they could be targeting. The company aims to tailor the tenders available to suitable users after their capabilities and interests are logged on their profiles. It claims to have more than 1m sales prospects on its platform at the moment.

Dublin Design Studio

Dublin Design Studio has introduced the world to Scriba, a stylus designed to allow creators greater control when drawing on an iPad. Scriba features a flexible and dynamic body, and responsive squeeze-motion technology. The company is targeting the 40m illustrators, artists and mobile workers worldwide that buy a digital stylus every year.


Making the most of the ‘swap economy’ that has gained popularity in recent years, Appytoy is a marketplace that facilitates the exchange of unwanted toys. It enables users to pass toys on to other children, and to institutions in need of toys. It is child-friendly, allowing kids to make their own choices.


A kind of revamped look at how the bus network operates, CitySwifter is a crowdsourced commuter shuttle. Users log in their current location and where they’re going, and the app gives them a ‘nearby’ location where the bus will pass, and a time at which to head for it. Those who drive are ‘shared vehicle’ owners registered with the service.


We all had to learn about money at some point in our lives, and PennyOwl aims to start the learning process early. The start-up is behind an app to help parents to teach their kids about money management, from making smart, kid-friendly purchases to saving for the stuff they really want.

A5 Technologies

A5 Technologies is behind an app targeting Japanese professionals, designed to help them develop their English language skills. In the app, users play as Takeshi, a young professional at a global company. Over the course of the game, the user learns relevant English that can be used in daily interactions.


Popertee is an online platform that connects marketing agencies and brands with vacant spaces, enabling them to gain access to unique and high-footfall spaces quickly and cheaply. Based in The Digital Hub, it is now building what it claims is the world’s first artificial intelligence platform, connecting the perfect audience with the perfect location.


Sanctifly has created an exclusive members club that grants access to airport hotel gyms, pools and spa facilities before, after or in between flights. The idea is to change the way business travellers use their airport downtime. The company is currently active in cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and London.

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