Bio-Bean sees off FoodCloud in Richard Branson’s Voom finale

28 Jun 2016

Irish start-up FoodCloud finished runner-up to Bio-Bean in the ‘Grow’ section of Virgin’s Voom entrepreneur competition, with MacRebur taking the ‘Start-up’ gong.

Securing €25,000, a Virgin Media Business broadband package, mentoring and brand support, FoodCloud’s charge to the final of Voom ended with a wonderful second place.

Pitching to a panel including Richard Branson and Tyra Banks, co-founder Isuelt Ward spoke for the first Irish company to make it this far in the competition.

A non-profit venture, FoodCloud is a former Start-up of the Week, which was set up by Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien.

It’s a platform to help businesses like shops and restaurants redistribute surplus foods with nearby charities. To date, the company has redistributed almost 3m meals.

Today (28 June), though, the judges found Bio-Bean, which industrialises the process of recycling waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels, to be the overall ‘Grow’ winner.

The ‘Start-up’ category was won by MacRebur Plastic Roads, which holds the UK and EU patent on the method and recipe of mixing waste plastics with bitumen, and its ‘magic formula’, to produce a new asphalt road material.

The winners in each category took home €63,000 in cash, as well as £250,000 worth of marketing.

“I love seeing entrepreneurs pitch an idea to me that they are incredibly passionate about and it was both a difficult and inspiring task to choose just two winners,” said Richard Branson.

“All the finalists showed they have the dedication and intense desire to take their business to incredible heights and I believe they will all do so.”

When the original thousands of entries were whittled down to 160, 10pc were Irish ventures.

FoodCloud will be at Inspirefest 2016 later this week, where the company will manage the distribution of leftover food to charities that can put it to good use.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Book your tickets now to join us from 30 June to 2 July 2016 for fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity.

Food cloud concept image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic