Six start-ups make DCU Ryan Academy accelerator programme

20 Dec 2011

Paul Geraghty, founder of Picturk, one of the start-ups chosen for the next DCU Ryan Academy Propellor Accelerator programme. Picturk is aiming to change the face of the stock photography market through ethical crowd sourcing. Photo by Karl Martini

DCU Ryan Academy has picked the six start-ups for its next Propeller accelerator programme. The start-ups are Picturk, Seoige Technology, StyleCloud, SwiftQueue, Slattery Validation Systems and VideoElephant.

In all, 137 applications came through for the programme from 20 countries, including Ireland, Germany, Finland, USA, Australia, Iran, India, Israel, South Africa, Brazil, Rwanda and China.

The Propeller Venture Accelerator Programme itself was this year ranked seventh best in Europe in an independent study of accelerator programmes commissioned by the Kauffman Fellows Program.

So what will the six start-ups get during their incubation tenure at DCU Ryan Academy when the Propeller programme starts up again in late January 2012? Each company will glean:

  • €30,000 seed investment
  • Mentoring and training, with access to more than 60 mentors whose experience will be used to advise and lead the start-ups
  • Three months’ incubation with free space and services, in total a package worth €45,000.

The companies cover an innovative technology spectrum, from increasing energy efficiency in commercial refrigeration systems to enhancing distribution and sales channels for online video content producers.

Some of the start-ups, you may know already, as they have been making their mark. For instance, Seoige Technology CEO John Joyce already created the SavvyBear via Savvybear is a virtual world where children between five and 12 can take on animated teddy bear avatars and take part in a variety of activities. Harmonia CEO Norah Casey took a 24pc stake in Seoige Technology and for €80,000 when John Joyce made his pitch to the ‘dragons’ on Dragons’ Den earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Picturk won the NDRC LaunchPad LiftOff competition in December 2010. Paul Geraghty, a designer, came up with the idea for Picturk when he saw a niche for bringing a new twist to the internet-based stock photography market – through ethical crowd sourcing using local camera clubs.

At the time, Geraghty said he first started using stock photography via the web for his work in 1998. At that time the idea of sourcing stock images on the internet was just exploding onto the scene. However, in 2010, Geraghty became frustrated with the lack of choice in the internet stock photography market, so he decided to go down the crowd-sourcing route.

Ireland has had its own success story in the stock photography sphere – Getty Images bought Kerry-based firm Stockbyte in 2006 for US$135m.

Terence Bowden, venture manager, said the Propeller accelerator was oversubscribed, but in the end only six companies could be chosen. “The standard of companies applying has been extremely high,” he said.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic