Start-up streamlining sport scholarships takes top prize at UCC’s Ignite

23 Apr 2021

Patrick O’Regan of ReachTheTop. Image: Darragh Kane Photography

Patrick O’Regan won the top prize for ReachTheTop, a software platform designed to streamline basketball scholarships in the US.

From smart sleep masks to edible biofilm, there was plenty of innovation among the seven start-ups graduating from this year’s Ignite incubator programme at University College Cork (UCC).

However, it was Patrick O’Regan who walked away with the Best Business award for his start-up ReachTheTop, a platform designed to streamline basketball scholarships in the US.

The data-driven software platform aims to reduce the costs associated with the recruitment of athletes by eliminating the need to travel extensively. The platform connects colleges directly to a global talent pool of pre-screened and ranked athletes.

O’Regan was one of seven entrepreneurs who took part in the Ignite programme at UCC, which was conducted entirely online for the first time this year. The 12-month incubation programme is designed to help recent graduate entrepreneurs take an early-stage start-up idea to first sale or investor readiness.

“We are proud of the hard work and dedication of all our founders in developing their start-up ideas in what are very challenging times,” said Ignite director Eamon Curtin.

“This is the 13th cohort to come through Ignite and those involved join a growing network of successful founders who started their start-up journeys on Ignite,” he added. “We are always open for expressions of interest from recent graduates from any discipline, from any third-level institution in Ireland with a viable business idea.”

Ignite is a joint initiative by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork City and County and UCC. It was founded in 2011 and is supported by Bank of Ireland.

Previous participants include ApisProtect and AnaBio Technologies. Last year’s winner was EziVein, a medical device that aims to enhance the visibility of veins to reduce the time and trauma it takes to complete a blood draw.

As well as O’Regan’s ReachTheTop, other participants in the latest Ignite UCC cohort were:

James O’Brien, Desdi

Desdi is a platform that connects architects and designers to clients in real time, with data held in an accessible and comprehensive database.

Brian Mallen, Bridge

Bridge is a start-up that helps businesses develop and communicate sustainable practices with their staff, community and the environment, helping companies to strengthen their corporate responsibility strategy.

Eric Teahan, Eclipse Sleep Bliss

Eclipse Sleep Bliss is developing smart sleeping masks designed to improve health through better sleep. It won the Best Video Pitch award.

Kevin Murphy, Cardio Flourish

Cardio Flourish is a web-based platform that provides remote cardiac rehabilitation, allowing for efficient monitoring between therapist and client.

Niall Crowley, Basevault

Basevault is a modular capital markets technology platform that aims to make it easier for wealth management firms, brokers and banks to automate internal processes and deliver new experiences to clients. It won the Best Business Plan award.

Marion Cantillon, Pitseal

Pitseal is an edible biofilm that replaces plastic sheeting in the silage process, which reduces plastic waste and improving greenhouse gas emissions in farming.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic