Ignite NI to send five start-ups to San Francisco landing pad

11 Sep 2019

Image: Ignite NI

The five start-ups chosen to participate in the three-month programme are Cloudsmith, Snappd, iSensing, Datch and Prospr.

On Wednesday (11 September), Ignite NI announced that five Northern Irish start-ups in its accelerator programme will participate in a three-month landing pad initiative in San Francisco.

The five teams were selected based on their ability to demonstrate that San Francisco and the US could be a tangible market for them.

The teams selected are are: cloud-based software start-up Cloudsmith; Snappd, which offers a ‘Snapchat on the web’ tool; iSensing, a smart city solution that offers real-time traffic analytics; Datch, a voice assistant designed for use in factories; and Prospr, a marketplace for business software and services.

The Ignite NI landing pad, with the support of Invest Northern Ireland, will assist these teams with raising investment funding, growing sales and testing the viability of a US base.

Accommodation and travel will be covered, and each team will be provided with office space in a San Francisco WeWork building.

Ignite NI said that it will use its networks to “support, advise and connect [the teams] to key players and provide ongoing mentoring support on the ground in San Francisco”.

Breaking into the US market

Programme director at Ignite NI, Chris McClelland, said: “Working alongside Invest NI, the landing pad is an exciting addition to the support for start-ups in Northern Ireland and builds on the knowledge and support gained during the pre-accelerator and accelerator programmes.

“There’s no doubt that San Francisco and the Bay Area is a unique place for start-ups, with a highly concentrated collection of tech companies, investors and successful founders.

“Giving the companies the opportunity to immerse themselves in the US market for an extended period of time is an innovative approach that will pay dividends for the participants, the start-up ecosystem and the Northern Ireland economy.”

Niall Casey from Invest Northern Ireland added: “Breaking into the US market is not easy but can be transformational for the Northern Ireland companies who get it right.

“We think it essential that our exciting young tech companies get an early opportunity to decide if it is a viable option, while gaining a direct understanding of the skills and investment needed to compete on a global stage.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic