€100,000 fund for start-ups at Kilkenomics is no laughing matter

6 Oct 2017

Comedian Karl Spain (centre) during Kilkenomics last year. Image: Kilkenomics

Pitchenomics is looking for some good start-ups to support.

A dozen promising start-ups are being urged to pitch for all or some of a €100,000 prize fund at the upcoming Kilkenomics festival.

Funded by Mike Driver, founder of Convex Capital and Kilkenomics, 12 shortlisted businesses will be selected in advance and invited to make their pitch to Driver and two other judges: Vikas Nath, CEO for UK and Europe, Adani Group; and Sarah O’Connor, co-founder of Cool Food Company and a World Economic Forum ‘Global Shaper’.

Driver is a mover and shaker who has sold over £1.5bn worth of owner-managed businesses in the last six years in the areas of digital, tech, fashion, online and software. Previously, he was co-founder of M2 the managed print service business, that grew from two founders in 1992 to 250 staff, before selling a minority stake to ECI Private Equity in 2006 in a £50m deal.

To be in with a chance of pitching, companies need to apply online here.

A spokesperson said that the judging panel may choose to award all of the €100,000 to one really good, glaringly obvious start-up to back or split it between a few of the start-ups.

Cool for cats

€100,000 fund for start-ups at Kilkenomics is no laughing matter

Economist David McWilliams at Kilkenomics last year. Image: Kilkenomics

Kilkenomics, which takes place from 9 to 12 November is a combination of economics and comedy – or, ‘Davos with jokes’.

Confirmed so far for 2017 are comedians Andrew Maxwell, Ardal O’Hanlon, Gerry Stembridge, Colm O’Regan and Karl Spain, as well as contributors such as US bank regulator Bill Black, Cormac Lucey, Steve Keen, Pinchas Landau, Dearbhail McDonald (group business editor of Independent News and Media), author Joris Luyendijk, Liam Halligan, Linda Yueh, Peter Antonioni, Simon Kuper and Sinead Ryan.

Also attending are Yanis Varoufakis, economist and former Greek finance minister; Gillian Tett, US managing editor of the Financial Times; Martín Lousteau, former Argentine Ambassador to the US and former finance minister; Mehreen Khan and Robert Shrimsley of the Financial Times; Rory Sutherland of Ogilvy Advertising; and Pippa Malmgren, former economic adviser to George W Bush.

2017’s new contributors joining the festival party are Patrick Honohan, former governor of the Central Bank of Ireland; Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator of the Financial Times; Harald Malmgren, senior aide to four US presidents and two senators; Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics; Katie Martin of the Financial Times; Marie Hicks, author of Programmed Inequality; Marla Dukharan, chief economist of Bitt Inc and Caribbean economic expert; Mihir Desai, professor of finance at Harvard Business School; Steve Moore of think tank Volteface; and Rafael Behr, political economist with The Guardian.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years