Four tech start-ups to do battle in Dublin for €10,000 innovation prize

4 Apr 2018

From left: Brendan Looney, Horus; John Lauder, Bolton Trust; Paul Hennessy, Outbound; Feargal O’Rourke, PwC; Pierce Dargan, Equine MediRecord; and Aimée Madden, CliniShift. Image: Jason Clarke Photography

600 jobs created and €14m in equity secured by firms that have taken part in the Bolton Trust-PwC Innovation Awards since 2012, with four to compete for the 2018 grand prize.

Four start-ups are to battle it out for a €10,000 innovation prize in the 2018 Bolton Trust-PwC Innovation Awards later this month.

The start-ups are: CliniShift, headed by Aimée Madden; Horus, headed by Brendan Looney; Outbound, headed by Paul Hennessy; and Equine MediRecord, headed by Pierce Dargan.

‘Making a difference through ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship is core to the PwC values and is what these awards are all about’

The finalists, all recent graduates of the DIT-IADT New Frontiers programme, will aim to convince the judging panel that their venture represents the strongest potential for global expansion and return on investment.

The judging panel consists of Kernel Capital’s Orla Rimmington, IVCA director general Sarah-Jane Larkin and 2016 winner Graham Byrne, founder and CEO of YourSmileDirect.

The event is supported by PwC and the awards evening will take place on Wednesday 18 April at PwC, One Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1.

Innovation at their core

Since 2012, the programme has offered a support package of finance, training and workspace to 160 start-ups, which have gone on to secure more than €14m in equity investment and create more than 600 jobs.

With products targeting the equine, facilities management, sales and healthcare sectors, the four finalists reflect the rich variety of companies availing of the New Frontiers programme backed by Enterprise Ireland.

“In the most recent PwC CEO survey, over three-quarters (76pc) of Irish CEOs believe that technology will significantly change competition in their industry in the next five years,” said PwC managing partner Feargal O’Rourke.

“Leveraging emerging technologies such as data analytics, automation and machine learning will be a key driver for firms to be more competitive. It is interesting to note that many of these innovations lie at the core of the product and service offerings of our finalists. It is important to support our entrepreneurs who will play a key role in our economy’s continued growth.

“Making a difference through ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship is core to the PwC values and is what these awards are all about. We wish all the candidates every success.”

The four candidates are:


CliniShift is a communication software solution for the allocation of overtime shifts in hospitals. Using the CliniShift app and the manager portal, hospital managers can communicate with their own internal staff and rapidly fill overtime shifts when vacancies appear in permanent rosters. This reduces over-reliance on external agencies and streamlines processes within the hospital. Already successfully deployed in Ireland, CliniShift is about to launch pilot deployments in the US and the UK, where it is hopes to see steady growth in the next 18 to 24 months.


Horus has developed a predictive monitoring platform to prevent expensive machine failures in plant and HVAC environments. Using proprietary technology, the Horus Sentinel sensor detects downward trends in the performance of a device and triggers a warning, allowing the issue to be addressed before the device fails. Horus makes maintenance predictive rather than reactive, thus reducing the costs of manual inspection and unforeseen machine failures. The company has already secured pre-sales in Ireland, Finland, Turkey and Australia.


Outbound is a B2B platform for outbound sales teams. Outbound mines publicly available data sources to generate a dynamic database of customers with a proven interest in a certain type of product or service. With instant access to pre-qualified contacts, it then uses artificial intelligence to help sales teams identify who best to target, what message to convey and through which channel to engage. This increases effectiveness, reduces lead-conversion times and eliminates traditional lead-generation costs, enabling companies to enhance conversion rates and grow faster.

Equine MediRecord

As a third-generation racehorse owner and breeder, Pierce Dargan was only too familiar with the paper-based systems used to record the administration of medication or supplements to a horse. This led Dargan and co-founder Simon Hillary to develop Equine MediRecord, a digital platform that allows breeders and trainers to record such information from their mobile phone. Once given permission by trainers and stud managers, industry regulators can review such data remotely without the need to visit each yard. Crucially, Equine MediRecord has been approved by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board and the British Horseracing Authority as the first and only non-paper-based system to meet current regulation requirements.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years