Nova Leah zooms past finish line to pick up Grand Prix Award

30 May 2018

From left: Gavin Kelly, CEO of retail for Ireland, Bank of Ireland; Stephen Dillon, founder of; Nova Leah CEO Anita Finnegan; and Joe Healy, HPSU divisional manager, Enterprise Ireland. Image: National Startup Awards

Medical security player Nova Leah is definitely one to watch.

Dundalk start-up Nova Leah has picked up the Grand Prix Startup of the Year gong at the final of the National Startup Awards, which are backed by Bank of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.

As well as winning the Grand Prix Award, which includes a €10,000 cash prize, Nova Leah was also named overall winner in the Emerge-Tech Startup category.

‘It is always exciting for us to see the quality of start-up companies emerging across the country, and the innovative ideas and products they are bringing to the fore’

Founded by CEO Anita Finnegan, Nova Leah specialises in developing expert cybersecurity risk management systems specifically for medical devices.

Nova Leah’s cloud-based system, SelectEvidence, is the result of a five-year R&D programme at Dundalk Institute of Technology. SelectEvidence is designed to guide medical device manufacturers in the implementation of cybersecurity requirements and best practices over the lifetime of a device, in compliance with US FDA recommendations for infosec threats and risks during pre-market and post-market activities.

The National Startup Awards recognise innovative, successful and aspirational Irish start-up companies that have launched in the last five years.

“The awards provide a platform to promote young companies on a national stage,” said Gavin Kelly, CEO of retail for Ireland at Bank of Ireland.

“As the largest lender to the Irish economy, we are committed to supporting new and emerging entrepreneurs as they grow and develop their business, and we have been incredibly impressed by the high standard of entries that have come through this competition.”

Quality and quantity

This year, awards were also presented to deserving winners across 13 other categories, including tech, retail, product and tourism, with gold, silver and bronze winners being awarded in each category.

Among the winners, iKydz won the gold award in the Tech Startup category. It is a web and mobile application that allows a parent or guardian to manage a child’s internet usage.

Hooke Bio won the gold award in the Medtech Startup category. Hooke Bio has developed a unique ultra-high-throughput screening (uHTS) microfluidic platform that allows unlimited drug screening at the crucial early drug discovery phase.

ID-Pal won the gold award in the Fintech Startup category. ID-Pal is a software-as-a-service (Saas) know your customer (KYC) solution that enables businesses to verify customer identity simply, securely and conveniently.

AudioSourceRE won the gold award in the Research Spinout/Third Level category. AudioSourceRE has developed innovative technology for separating and manipulating music and audio files.

“It is always exciting for us to see the quality of start-up companies emerging across the country, and the innovative ideas and products they are bringing to the fore, and I look forward to seeing what is ahead for this year’s winners and runners-up,” said Joe Healy, divisional manager for high-potential start-ups at Enterprise Ireland.

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