Two well-known Irish start-ups NewsWhip and Restored Hearing have won places on the prestigious Blackbox Connect accelerator programme in Silicon Valley, California.
Blackbox Connect takes the best young companies from all over the world and brings them to Palo Alto for two weeks to meet with investors, develop relationships in the Silicon Valley ecosystem, and launch into the wider US market.
The programme is sponsored by Google4Entrepreneurs. Enterprise Ireland is also backing both Irish companies attending the program.
Teams from NewsWhip and Restored Hearing will begin the programme this Monday, 29 September.
The programme not only gives entrepreneurs the resources to grow in their home countries but also helps them understand the Silicon Valley mentality, in order to access its wealth of resources, forge parternships, and expand their markets.
The perfect timing
Restored Hearing, founded by Rhona Togher and Eimear O’Carroll in 2009, alleviates and prevents tinnitus, also known as ringing in the ears. Their tinnitus sound therapy, Sound Relief, is clinically proven to reduce the effects of tinnitus and is entirely delivered online on restoredhearing.com.
“The US is our main market so getting to work with Silicon Valley experts to develop our business there is amazingly advantageous for us,” said Togher. “We’re hoping that by working with Blackbox Connect we can start to build relationships with partners and retailers in the US. We’ve experienced great traction online with most of our customers hailing from America, so we’re excited to bring Sound Relief tinnitus sound therapy player to stores over there as soon as possible.”
NewsWhip continuously tracks the spread of millions of news stories, videos, pictures and other content attracting engagement on social networks. NewsWhip technology is used by more than 60pc of the most shared publishers, including BuzzFeed, NBC, BBC, AOL and Bloomberg, and is also used by PR firms, marketers and communications departments.
“This springboard comes at a perfect time for us. We’ve just opened our office in New York and it’s off to a roaring start, with dozens of new clients and relationships. Now we’re interested in exploring the west coast for both investment and business development,” said Mullaney.