Irish and US start-ups ‘mingle’ at Pitchify in Dublin – share tech-led ideas

4 Oct 2013

Before the start of Pitchify on Wednesday evening, at 4 Dame Lane in Dublin 2

Earlier this week, a tech start-up event with a twist took place in Dublin. The event was called Pitchify, and it was a fusion of tech minds spanning the Atlantic. Three start-ups from the US pitched their digital start-up ideas to the masses, while three Irish start-ups also pitched their ventures. And there was one winner on the evening …

The event dubbed Pitchify was held in 4 Dame Lane, just off George’s Street, in one of Dublin’s ‘hip’ cultural quarters. It was organised by self-starter Brian Daly, one of the co-founders of Pitchify, who also works with the Dublin Web Summit.

The latter sponsored the event in order to help bring about a creative fusion of minds.

Along with the 30 US students who were in attendance – they are currently doing a stint on an Erasmus programme in Copenhagen, Denmark, via the Danish Institute for Study Abroad -– there was Irish ventures, more established ventures (think DataHug), tech gurus and serial entrepreneurs such as Gene Murphy, investors, digital-media strategists and representatives from the likes of Enterprise Ireland.

Daly said that the idea of the event was to help bring together Irish and US start-ups in the digital space so that they could pitch their ideas in an ‘informal’ gathering.

So here were the six start-ups who pitched their ideas, some of them in the very early stages, on the evening.

Student travels – utilising tech

US student Benjamin Freeberg was the first to take to the stage, with his idea for Univenture. Remember when you were a student and you were going inter-railing, or away for a couple of days to explore a European city like Florence, Berlin or Barcelona?

Well, Freeberg is on a mission to help students explore cities on the cheap. He wants to be the ‘TripAdvisor for students’.

A student, he says, will be able to use the platform to enter the amount of money they have to spend, in a city of their choosing, and in advance of their voyage.

That means the app will match up hostels, airfares, eating out, and the like, with what a particular person has to pay. If it comes to fruition, this app could also be useful for many of us in these ‘recessionary’ times.

Being free

Then Rafiq Maniar from the Irish start-up – In For Free – took to the stage. This start-up says it does exactly what it says on the tin. The idea is that the app, which has already gleaned a lot of users, is to help people – namely students – find and get into events for freeing their city. It is rolling out in Ireland and Northern Ireland at the minute.. And the next target is Spain, namely Barcelona, and then to take on the UK.

Food tech

Hailing from Silicon Valley, Kyle Hypes then entertained the crowds with the start-up idea for Happy Plate. His business idea, which he is getting help from his friend’s dad, is all about new digital platform to help students and people split the bill when it comes to that often ‘awkward’ time at the end of a meal, when deciding who ate and drank what and pays accordingly.

Where maths-meets-tech

Sue O’Grady from the Irish start-up Twiddle – which is currently on the LaunchPad accelerator that’s run by the NDRC at the Digital Hub in Dublin – then gave a very relaxed, but informative, and highly visual, interview on her start-up.

Twiddle is all about using mathematical algorithms – O’Grady’s area of expertise – to make searching on the internet more visual, and ultimately, more effective. This resource could be especially useful for journalists and PhD students, researchers, and beyond.

Airport app

Karsen Humiston is the brain behind Airport Advance.

The New Yorker just came up with the idea for her start-up three weeks ago. It’s all about making getting to the airport – wherever you are in the world – easier and less stressful. On the other side of the coin, this application could also be useful for Airports themselves, so they can track in real-time, what their passengers are doing, and where they are in the Airport.

You Folio

Ryan Williams then spoke about his idea for a US start-up dubbed You Folio.

And, finally, TCD start-up Wripl is in the very early stages. Founder Kevin Koidl wants to talk to people to help the tech start-up carry out user testing. That’s before it goes into beta in the next few weeks.

Finally, Connor Murphy, founder of Datahug, engaged in a fireside chat with Niall Harbison and Emma-Jane Power who are involved in the new start-up PR Slides.

This ‘chat’ was chaired by the aforementioned Daly.

And, during the event, Gene Murphy named the overall winner on the night – as chosen by himself and the judges. It was In For Free.

Founder Rafiq Maniar, who hails from Dublin, promptly chose to donate his cash prize (€200) so that the US students and the Irish students and start-ups could enjoy their time, after a busy few weeks of preparing for their start-up pitches.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic