Here are the 8 new start-ups selected for the 2017 StartPlanet NI accelerator

19 Jan 2017

The StartPlanetNI class of 2017. Image: Brian Morrison

Having been whittled down from applicants from 40 countries, eight start-ups have been selected to take part in the latest StartPlanetNI accelerator based in Belfast.

StartPlanetNI has become one of the most coveted accelerators in Ireland, having been developed and delivered as a partnership between Xcell Partners in Belfast and StartPlanet based in Cork.

Over the past 10 years, the accelerator has managed to generate £20m in investment, during which time it has worked with more than 100 start-ups and created more than 1,000 jobs.

Now the accelerator has announced that eight new start-ups have been selected to join.

In a blog post about the new applicants, StartPlanetNI’s assistant programme manager said that this latest accelerator course attracted over 300 applicants from more than 40 countries across a variety of different sectors.

In the end, teams were selected from Northern Ireland, Poland, UK, Italy and Hong Kong to take part in the latest accelerator.

The start-ups have now moved into the relatively new accelerator space on Donegall Street in Belfast.

Kicking things off for the year, here are the eight start-ups that will take part.


Flyte is a Northern Irish start-up founded by Matthew Bradley and Kerr Mackinnon. It is a dedicated flight-planning platform for drone pilots, enabling them to interact and understand the environment in which they plan to fly.


With an office in Belfast, Testify was founded by Gordon and Adrian Campbell. It is a player intelligence platform with a suite of tools that enable game developers or publishers to get “inside the heads” of their players without having to observe them in person.

Media Vox Pop

Founded by Fabio Capperi and Davide Mancini, Media Vox Pop is a software plug-in that allows journalists, editors, social media professionals and digital producers to reach a targeted group of followers with varying experiences and ideas.


Originally founded in London by Rocco Scaramuzzi and Biagio Labbate, AbcDerma is a teledermatology (dermatology examination conducted via video) app created to help dermatologists analyse skin moles.

But, adding another step of sophistication, the app uses artificial intelligence (AI) to aid in early detection of melanoma cancer, one of the most dangerous forms of the disease.

Cart Defender

A Polish start-up founded by Radek Gliniecki and Przemyslaw Stefan Gliniecki, Cart Defender uses AI to connect online stores with shoppers by engaging them online with personalised messages.

The company’s aim is to bring technology used by the biggest players to the e-commerce market.


Coming from Hong Kong is Kami, another AI start-up attempting to greatly improve upon existing interactions between human and machine.

Founded and run by Alex Cheung, Kami learns and builds knowledge from conversation to make it more natural and relevant.

Cloud Rupture

After years of working in media as a journalist and producer, Northern Irish native Brendan McCourt is now expanding upon his work as managing director of New Red to develop Cloud Rupture with Dee Harvey and Malachy Duffin.

Cloud Rupture brings together years of expertise in coding, visual storytelling and content creation, and aims to build a portfolio of commercial virtual reality and augmented reality experiences.


With an illustrious career in cybersecurity behind her, Kiran Bhagotra has established ProtectBox, an all-in-one cybersecurity package for proven solutions for SMEs.

ProtectBox was a finalist in TechWeek LA’s Launch and WiSTEM’s pitch competitions. It was also a finalist for the ‘Human Factor’ award in the Computing Security Awards 2016.

Disclosure: SOSV is an investor in Silicon Republic

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic