Limerick start-up Ocean Survivor wins top InterTradeIreland Seedcorn award

26 Nov 2015

Overall 2015 Seedcorn winner, Kieran Normoyle, from Ocean Survivor. Image via Conor McCabe Photography.

A Limerick-based start-up that produces marine safety equipment, Ocean Survivor, won the overall award at the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn awards last night.

Founded by former James Dyson Award global finalist Kieran Normoyle, Ocean Survivor will now receive €100,000 out of a total prize fund of €280,000 as part of the Seedcorn competition operated by InterTradeIreland.

The event is the island’s biggest business competition for new-start and early-stage companies and is aimed at companies with a new funding requirement, with the added incentive that winning the award does not involve giving away any equity stake.

Based in the Nexus Innovation Centre in the University of Limerick (UL,) Ocean Survivor manufactures a range of safety equipment aimed primarily at the off-shore oil industry.

Currently, the company is developing a simple-use technology that is able to mitigate the effects of hypothermia, while promoting comfort and mental well-being in a survival situation.

It achieves this by reducing the person’s core heat loss and actively transferring heat to vital organs, rather than the traditional method, which uses several layers of clothing to reduce heat loss.

Back in 2013, Normoyle made it to the shortlist of 20 finalists for the James Dyson Award for his Hydros invention, which led into the product Ocean Survivor is developing today.

This win would appear to show that there’s ‘something in the water’ down in Limerick, with fellow Limerick man Cathal Redmond finishing in second place in the James Dyson Award global finals this year for his own marine invention, the Express Dive diving equipment.

Other winners

Other award winners on the night included the University College Dublin (UCD) spinout SiriusXT, which was named Best Early Stage Company in Ireland, picking up €50,000 in funding.

The company has spent the last eight years developing the technology for its soft X-ray microscope called SXT.

The SXT is the first soft X-ray microscope of its kind in the world that produces a kind of light that allows them to illuminate single cells or tissue samples and produce 3D images of cells that cannot be produced any other way.

Also, MODERN Democracy from Derry and Photonics Measurements from Belfast were awarded €20,000 each for their respective products, which encourage political engagement through an app, and a water quality measurement device.

Speaking of the winners here in Ireland, Thomas Hunter McGowan, CEO of InterTradeIreland, said: “I congratulate Ocean Survivor and SiriusXT on their success today – they have both overcome extremely tough competition, not only today but also on their way to the final. We are looking forward to working with them in the future and watching their business grow.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic