Two Irish women entrepreneurs win grand prizes at pitch competitions

21 Sep 2016

Golden trophies. Image: focal point/Shutterstock

It has been a successful few days for two Irish women entrepreneurs, with Viddyad CEO Grainne Baron winning the grand prize at the L’Oréal USA Women in Digital awards and Smigin CEO Susan O’Brien accepting a first place finish at the ATech Conference.

The pair of Irish female entrepreneurs were taking part in two separate competitions over the past week, but both won top prizes as personal achievements and for the companies they founded and run today.

First up was Grainne Barron, CEO and founder of Viddyad, a platform that allows businesses to create, edit and publish videos online for marketing purposes.

Founded in Dublin in 2013, the company now has an office in San Francisco and Barron’s efforts have seen her make a number of lists celebrating her as a sci-tech star.

The latest achievement under her belt is being named as this year’s grand prize winner at the L’Oréal USA Women in Digital awards, held on 19 September.

Having been included in an original group of six entrepreneurs, Barron went on to make the final list of three before eventually being selected as the overall winner.

Speaking with Xconomy afterwards, Barron said the win will do wonders for the company’s profile and improve the likelihood of dealing with larger clients, while also bringing digital advertising to smaller stores.

“There’s a really good fit with L’Oréal and where Viddyad wants to be, and is already, with our platform,” she said.

Susan O’Brien’s Smigin wins Caribbean prize

Meanwhile, another major award winner was announced on 17 September in the Caribbean at the ATech Conference. Start-up Smigin was announced the winner of the pitching contest, with a prize of $20,000.

Led by Susan O’Brien, Smigin allows anyone looking to learn a variety of languages to engage in conversations with a digital companion. This helps the user to try out real conversational language with the aim of learning it faster.

Since its founding in 2012, Smigin has been used in 175 countries across the globe and has attracted significant investment from the US where it is now headquartered.

Speaking last year, O’Brien said that Smigin’s next goal was to achieve success in the Asian market.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic