11 student start-ups getting off the ground at NovaUCD

3 Jun 2021

Image: © jchizhe/Stock.adobe.com

From fraud management software to reusable toothbrushes, here are the start-up ideas competing in this year’s NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition.

More than 20 students are currently taking part in an intensive four-week mentoring programme that aims to help undergrads and postgrads develop start-up companies.

The NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition is looking to help refine start-up ideas through a series of workshops, including advice from industry experts, pitching sessions and mentoring.

It is an annual programme run by NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs based at University College Dublin (UCD).

The programme is now in its seventh year and more than 100 students and 40 early-stage ventures have participated to date. Previous participants include Zipp Mobility and Joyst.

This year’s programme will take place virtually and each start-up will present to a judging panel at a final workshop in mid-June.

The overall winning team will be awarded a €5,000 cash prize. There will be a €3,000 prize for second place, €2,000 for third place, and the remaining teams will each receive €1,000 for completing the programme.

Here are the 11 student teams taking part.

A screen capture of more than 20 people on a Zoom call.

Image: NovaUCD


Aidvantage is an e-commerce platform designed for older people. It aims to simplify the task of online shopping and help users seek specific products for their specific needs.

It was founded by Ella Brennan, an undergrad in the UCD College of Engineering, and Liam Holland, an undergrad in the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business.


Isobel Moloney, who is studying at the UCD College of Social Sciences and Law, has come together with Odhrán O’Neill and Tim Kelly from the Lochlann Quinn School of Business to develop ANT.

This is a software platform that allows businesses to communicate in-house and to customers through different communication channels including Teams, Slack and WhatsApp.


The team behind Broncophone is designing a novel video bronchoscope attachment that uses a smartphone camera. The aim is to make video bronchoscopes more accessible in developing countries with a device that is more affordable and portable compared to traditional options.

It is being developed by Anna Potterton from the UCD School of Mechanical Engineering, along with Jemima Hurley and Sadhbh Carey from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Chikyu Composting

This venture is aiming to tackle food waste with a composting system for both vegetable and meat products, which is made out of natural materials with the addition of bug and bee hotels.

Demetra Herdes from the UCD Sutherland School of Law and Sanghamitra Chattopadhyay Mukherjee from the School of Economics are the team behind it.


EOFIS is developing an auto-generation flashcard app that aims to help users learn and retain information.

The students behind it are Tiarnach Ó Riada from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Marysol Angeloni from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.


Sophie Cassidy, a postgraduate student in the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, is the founder of FlowMo.

This is an engineering-based product that involves the integration of fluid mechanics with generative design to create new fluidic devices.


End-to-end fraud management software is the focus of Kassandra. This venture is aiming to provide effective fraud detection and to automate the fraud administration process using machine learning and robotic process automation.

The team developing it is made up of Jhelum Nandy, Eunice Fasan and Robert Tuke, who are postgraduates in the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.


Elena de Marco, a PhD student in the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, is the founder of NutriWhat.

She is developing a professional nutrition service to help corporations to improve wellbeing in workplaces.


In a bid to help consumers reduce their plastic waste, Permamint is developing a reusable toothbrush with replaceable heads made from biodegradable materials.

The team members behind it are Florence May, a postgraduate in the UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, and Tessa May, an undergrad in the College of Social Sciences and Law.


Dylan Walsh from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering has teamed up with Lola Nolan, a computer science and business student from Trinity College Dublin, to found SoundLapse.

The team is developing tech that can create audio output for timelapse videos by isolating key sounds and trying to capture the ambience and soundscape of the scene.


Finally, this is a social network-style platform where users can go to find information on service providers in their local area, such as carpenters and plumbers.

It is being developed by Mark Kennedy and Vilius Kemeza, who are postgrads in the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

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Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic