NDRC checks out start-ups for next LaunchPad accelerator

1 Feb 2012

Bill Liao, SOSventures, with NDRC CEO Ben Hurley and winner Terence Hong, CEO of Adjuno

The National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) is evaluating 70 Irish and international applications for its next LaunchPad programme that’s starting in mid-February at the Digital Hub. The NDRC will be choosing 15 start-ups to take part in LaunchPad.

The three-month programme is targeted at digital start-up ideas with a particular focus on those emerging from the research stage.

The most recent LaunchPad ended in December, with Adjuno, a Canadian social commerce platform, winning the overall ‘Lift Off’ competition. Adjuno secured an investment prize of €50,000 from SOSventures and NDRC for its efforts. At the time, the second prize went to Newswhip, and third prize went to iCabbi.

Another start-up involved in the last LaunchPad was Redeem & Get. Halfway through its time with the programme, Redeem & Get won the ESB Ireland Spark of Genius Award, giving it access to a term sheet worth €100k from ACT Venture Capital. The NDRC has supported the acceleration of 30 start-ups through its LaunchPad programme since it was first set up in 2009.

Amy Neale, communications and programme manager at the NDRC, spoke about the mentoring and funding the 15 chosen start-ups will get, as well as access to venture capitalists and investors at the end of the programme.

The 15 chosen LaunchPad start-ups will firstly delve into a three-month intensive mentoring and advisory programme alongside other start-ups, innovators, engineers and investors.  

NDRC will provide up to €20,000 per project in micro-seed investment to support the founders during the programme, said Neale.

Then, at the end of their three-month incubation period at NDRC, each of the start-ups will present to a room of investors and compete for access to a follow-on investment prize fund.  

Neale said all of the start-ups will then also have the option of a further six to nine months to develop their ventures at NDRC in the Digital Hub.

Last year, NDRC LaunchPad was identified in the top 6 best accelerators in Europe following a study by the US Kaufman Fellows Programme. The NDRC engages in joint venture collaborations with industry and a range of investment partners. Over the past 18 months, NDRC has secured commercial investments of €4.8m in technology developments and emerging enterprises by third-party partners.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic