Summer accelerator to seed fund student start-ups in Dublin

6 Mar 20171.55k Views

Unifund founder Zack Dutton. Image: Zack Dutton

Who needs a summer job when you can start up a business instead?

The mission behind Unifund, the brainchild of Zack Dutton, is to inspire students to trade in their summer job for the opportunity to create a start-up.

Inspired by Y Combinator, Dutton and his business partner David McGuinness will hold the accelerator at a venue in Dublin city centre.

‘Rather than work in a retail job for the summer, we can help them to get their start-up up and running, and we will surround them with mentors’
– ZACK DUTTON

Launched in partnership with USI, the new accelerator will support at least five start-ups over the summer months.

“We will pay them a salary and invest in their company,” Dutton explained. “Rather than work in a retail job for the summer, we can help them to get their start-up up and running, and we will surround them with mentors.”

Applications are already open and will close on 30 April.

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Dutton’s background is originally in the music business with his label, Revive Records. He founded his own company, Bad Apple Ltd, while in university, which provided freelance engineers with work opportunities.

Dutton also previously worked at Rolls-Royce, where he was involved in project management and IT infrastructure.

McGuiness, the co-founder of the seed accelerator, has a background in property investment and is director of property sales tech start-up, Proppio.

Dutton said Unifund is all about tapping into student start-up talent, which is often overlooked and undervalued.

Unifund will invest €5,000 in the right ideas in exchange for between 6pc and 12pc of the company.

“There is so much talent coming out of Irish universities,” Dutton said. “We believe if we can give them the entrepreneurial bug early enough, they may not take the safer option but will instead start their own businesses.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years

editorial@siliconrepublic.com