5 Irish start-ups selected for Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator

1 Sep 2021

Image: © Denys Rudyi/Stock.adobe.com

We take a look at five start-ups with Irish roots that have been selected for the prestigious Y Combinator programme in 2021.

This week, Y Combinator’s latest cohort of fledgling companies are vying to impress investors. Among them are five Irish tech start-ups.

The latest batch of Y Combinator-funded founders will virtually present to more than 1,500 investors and media during the accelerator’s annual Demo Day in the hope of securing additional funding for their business ideas.

The famous accelerator has previously churned out major players such as Stripe, Airbnb, Dropbox, Coinbase and Reddit. Some recent Irish start-ups to be backed by Y Combinator include Milk Video, Inscribe, Klir and Quorum.

Here are five tech start-ups with Irish roots following in their footsteps this week.

Luminate Medical

Luminate is a medical device company that is using medtech to address hair loss in people undergoing chemotherapy. Based in Galway, the start-up aims to create devices that can eliminate the side effects of drug treatments for cancer patients because it believes hair is an “essential element of personality and self-esteem”.

One such device, named Lily, is currently under development to treat chemotherapy-induced alopecia. Luminate’s technology is being developed in collaboration with the Translational Medical Device Lab at NUI Galway. The medtech was co-founded in 2019 by CEO Aaron Hannon, CTO Barbara Oliveira and chief scientific adviser Martin O’Halloran.


Noloco helps developers build custom web apps faster and without using code. It was founded this year by CEO Simon Curran from Dublin and CTO Darragh Mc Kay from Wicklow. Noloco’s customers include digital marketing agencies, accountants and SMEs looking to centralise and automate client interactions.

Curran and Mc Kay – both graduates of Trinity College Dublin – have worked in various roles in big tech companies before co-founding Noloco. Curran is a former product owner at Flipdish and Revolut, while Mc Kay has worked as a software engineer for Irish-founded tech start-up Inscribe and HubSpot.

Protex AI

Protex AI is a Limerick-based tech start-up that aims to make industrial workplaces safer and minimise injuries using computer vision. The company uses software to monitor cameras installed in the port, logistics and manufacturing industries to ensure workplace compliance and identify health and safety issues. By plugging into existing CCTV infrastructure, it leverages AI to audit customers’ workplaces.

It was co-founded by CEO Dan Hobbs and CTO Ciarán O’Mara earlier this year. Prior to co-founding Protex AI, Hobbs also co-founded a cloud-based management platform BetterExaminations which was acquired by Irish-founded higher-ed tech company TerminalFour.


Sitenna provides software for telecom companies to help them connect with real estate owners and find suitable sites for building towers and antennae. The start-up said that it can help speed up the process of deploying a site from 24 months to just six months and reduce costs while at it. 5G technology, in particular, extensively uses many times more towers than 4G, and Sitenna’s offerings can help secure contracts faster.

It was co-founded in Ireland by CEO Daniel Campion and CTO Brian Sexton in 2020. Campion, who grew up in Dublin and studied commerce at UCD, recently told TechCrunch that Sitenna launched in the UK in June and that 65,000 real estate assets and roughly 15pc of the towers in the country are now on the platform. It also has two pilot programmes with Vodafone and its tower provider, Cornerstone.


Artillery is an open-source performance testing toolkit for developers and site reliability engineers (SREs) to help keep production fast and reliable. Its cloud-native technology can help development teams to scale tests to millions of requests per second and run across 13 geographical locations. Some notable names in its user base include media company Condé Nast, open-source browser Brave and retail brand Gymshark, among others.

Although registered in London, the fully remote company is run from Ireland by founder Hasan Veldstra, who lives in Limerick. Veldstra founded Artillery in 2020. Prior to that, he held multiple SRE and DevOps roles in the UK.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic