This week’s one to watch is AirDryer Systems, a new green-tech firm that’s based at the Rubicon Centre at Cork Institute of Technology. The company has just won an InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition award.
Daniel Bradfield is a director of AirDryer Systems, which is pioneering new appliances for the home, specifically around the more energy-efficient drying of laundry. The company’s initial product is the Marilyn unit.
Bradfield explains that the unit is the first in a range of products the company is bringing to market. The system works by using room air, so it can dry all fabric types without damaging them, says Bradfield. He asserts that it use less kilowatts per hour than any other clothes-drying appliance out there right now. The Marilyn unit has already featured on Dragons’ Den.
AirDryer Systems participated in the Genesis Enterprise Programme in 2010 and 2011. It also won an award in the finals of the Genesis Programme in 2011.
Just last week, the company won an award in the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition, scooping the best venture arising from a university spin-out or platform programme and gleaning €10,000 in the process.
So how does the Marilyn product function?
The electrical unit contains six fans that circulate room air to the clothes above, say on a clothes horse.
Bradfield says the fans have been specifically designed to produce a low noise output, so you can dry your clothes at nighttime, at off-peak times, when electricity is generally cheaper.
"The unit dries your laundry overnight for less than five cent and reduces the drying times by up to 75pc."
There are four kids in Bradfield’s family and he says that a family wash, including jumpers, shirts and jeans, can be dried for less than five cent.
"We don’t have a clothes line and the tumble dryer has been put into the garden shed."
Right now the team at AirDryer Systems comprises five people. "From next month we will be recruiting additional staff on the sales and customer support, including UK sales and marketing."
Bradfield says the plan is to scale-up next year: "From January we are on a euro-wide sales drive, engaging with the large multiple retail chains in the UK and Europe."
He says that South Cork Enterprise Board has been a great support. In terms of financial and mentoring support, Bradfield says InterTradeIreland has helped the company with training programmes, as well as giving master classes on business plans and advising on how to prepare for investor meetings.
"We are currently engaging with Enterprise Ireland."
InterTradeIrerland Seedcorn competition
Back to the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition, which appears to have given AirDryer Systems a great confidence boost to take its business to the next stage.
AirDryer Systems was a top three finalist in the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition. These finals were held last Wednesday.
Explains Bradfield: "This was a 15-minute presentation of the business to a panel of business people who assessed the complete package, including the business plan, the investor pitch, the promoters, etc.
AirDryer Systems was up against two other companies: Surgacoll Technologies and Working Analytics.
"It was the closest yet with several rounds of voting required to decide the winners. Surgacoll Technologies came out on top. From that event, as we had been a platform company participant, we also qualified for the best venture stemming from a university spin-out or platform programme, and we won!"
And, finally, having been there himself, Bradfield’s words of wisdom for other self-starters out there is to go ask for advice.
"Go to your local county or city enterprise board. They were of huge benefit to me right from the start. Don’t give up. Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new!"
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