Irish cloud start-up Pharmapod nets €5k at Tech Entrepreneurs workshop

21 Jun 2013

Leonora O'Brien, founder, Pharmapod

Irish self-starter Leonora O’Brien has netted €5,000 to help grow her fledgling start-up Pharmapod, which aims to connect community pharmacies via its cloud-based software. O’Brien won the prize fund at a Tech Entrepreneurs workshop that took place in Dublin this week at the NDRC as part of the European Digital Agenda Assembly. She spoke to about her plans for her business.

Speaking this afternoon O’Brien said it was great news for the start-up to have won the funding at the NDRC (National Digital Research Centre) in Dublin this week during the workshop on tech entrepreneurship which ran on day one of the Digital Agenda Assembly.

As part of the event, a pitch competition was held to showcase some of the most inventive start-ups that are emerging from the NDRC, including its LaunchPad programme. The €5,000 award was sponsored by the ESB.

Participants debated how to create a favourable environment for start-ups in Europe and how to best commercialise research.

An international panel judged the start-ups, including Jon Bradford from TechStars in the UK, Ville Samola from Startup Sauna in Finland and Willy Braun of France Digitale.

And it was O’Brien who won the judges over, gleaning the prize fund for her efforts.

Getting recognised

Referring to the competition, she said she was thrilled that Pharmapod had been recognised.

“After graduating from NDRC LaunchPad last year, our company continues to grow as it fills a vital gap in the market,” she said.

Pharmapod is now an Enterprise Ireland high-potential start-up (HPSU).

As for the €5,000 funding from this week’s competition, O’Brien is set to use it to target Pharmapod’s sales and marketing efforts.

Connecting patient data

So what’s Pharmapod all about?

The goal of O’Brien’s cloud-based software is to improve knowledge sharing amongst pharmacists around the world and it caters for both community and hospital pharmacies, helping them to prevent errors and medication related incidents.

“It’s to improve patient safety by helping pharmacists maintain high standards of practice and communicate effectively with one another across the profession,” said O’Brien.

Taking the plunge

A veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, having worked in the sector for more than 15 years, O’Brien decided to take the plunge into the entrepreneurial space last year with Pharmapod.

She left her job at the Pharmacy Regulator to devote herself to the project full time.

According to O’Brien, the NDRC provided her with the vital foundation blocks to build the business.

“By helping us refine Pharmapod and providing us with the advice and knowledge necessary to grow, we were able to move forward and secure investment,” she said.

The tech buzz

And she’s not finished with the tech pitching just yet. Next week, O’Brien is heading to the London for the We Own it Summit as a semi-finalist in the global competition.

As for the NDRC, it is now looking for applications from digital self-starters to apply for its next LaunchPad programme starting in September, LaunchPad director Gary Leyden said today.

“LaunchPad attracts aspiring entrepreneurs and recent researchers with ideas and intellectual property capable of being brought to market and achieving a commercial return,” he said.

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Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic