25 tech start-ups from around the world that founders find inspiring

6 Jun 2022

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Here’s a list of Irish and international tech start-ups that have influenced some of the entrepreneurs we’ve profiled.

Every time we speak to entrepreneurs and leaders for our Start-up of the Week series, we ask them to name the tech start-ups that they admire the most and why.

From big established companies that have come a long way since seed stage to budding and ambitious Irish start-ups jumping on the boat to foreign shores, founders are inspired by the success of companies at all stages and from a variety of sectors.

Here are 24 start-up companies from around the world that have a fan-following among tech entrepreneurs.

AuriGen Medical

AuriGen has developed a heart implant meant to treat both the stroke and arrhythmia risk associated with atrial fibrillation, or AFib.

Founded in 2016, the company is led by Tony O’Halloran and Dr John Thompson. The BioInnovate Ireland spin-out, based in Galway, raised €2.5m from the EU Horizon 2020 SME Instrument funding scheme in 2018.


One of the bigger names in European mobility, Bolt is an Estonian start-up that raised a whopping €628m in January in what became its largest funding round to date.

Now valued at €7.4bn, the company operates e-scooter and e-bike rental schemes, taxi-hailing and car-sharing services, as well as food delivery. It launched in Ireland in December 2020 to compete with taxi rivals FreeNow and Uber. Luke Mackey, Bolt’s country manager for Ireland was namechecked by Tracworx co-founder and CEO Chris Kelly for his “success and work ethic”.

Boson Protocol

Boson Protocol is a blockchain company that enables commerce transactions in the metaverse. Built for creators, communities and merchants, Boson Protocol’s products aim to make the exchange of digital assets for physical products, services and experiences easier.

Founded in 2019, the London-based company has created a marketplace called Boson Portal in Decentraland which, according to Fortune, has attracted names such as Tommy Hilfiger, Hogan, and others that sell NFTs linked to physical products.


Boundless is looking to take the hard work out of remote people operations by allowing companies to quickly and easily employ people in other countries. The start-up has developed a platform that allows businesses to manage multi-country payroll, tax filings and HR compliance, among other things.

Founded by Dee Coakley (who recently spoke at Future Human), Eamon Leonard and Emily Castles, Boundless raised €2.5m in seed funding last year. PlantQuest’s co-founder and CEO Ger Carton is a huge fan of Boundless and told SiliconRepublic.com it enabled him to “hire the right talent for my company”.


Originally developed at the University of Cambridge, the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) is a research-based start-up that has developed software to study human cognition. The language-independent and culturally neutral platform includes sensitive and precise measures of cognitive functions in adults corelated to neural networks.


This AI-powered facial recognition company has been hailed as a “frontrunner” in this emerging space by Legitify’s co-founder and chief product officer Arko Ganguli. Founded in New York almost a decade ago, Clarifai uses computer vision and machine learning to identify and analyse images and videos, offering a suite of services to developers, businesses and governments.


Founded in 1999, Cogstate is on a mission to democratise brain health assessment in clinical settings. The Australian company provides rapid and highly sensitive cognitive tests to replace expensive paper-based assessments. To date the health-tech has conducted more than 2,000 clinical trials and administered more than 2m tests.


Irish-founded CropSafe made waves only weeks ago after raising $3m in seed funding to expand its farming data platform. CropSafe’s platform helps with farm management by letting users create alerts and use real-time modules to monitor various topics that are important to their farm, from weather to crop health.

The start-up was founded in Northern Ireland but has now opened a headquarters in Los Angeles, sowing the seed for further growth in the US market. Legitimate co-founder Caoimhe Donnelly said they “really admire” the CropSafe founders. “We love that they had such determination to go to the US in order to raise more interest and attract funding.”


A previous SiliconRepublic.com Start-up of the Week, ID-Pal is a Dublin-based identity verification company that aims to help companies combat fraud with tech. It provides businesses in Ireland, the UK, the US and Europe with remote identity and address verification using biometric, facial matching, liveness testing, address verification and document checks.

ID-Pal, which counts among its clients AIB Merchant Services, Elavon, Fexco and Mercer, raised €1m in 2020 to accelerate its global expansion, and officially launched in the UK last month.


Founded by former BT Young Scientist winner and Cork native Greg Tarr, Inferex is a start-up based on his project to put powerful computing power to work detecting deepfakes. Its services are targeted at government agencies in the US concerned about weaponised deepfakes, with the ultimate goal to enable large-scale deployment of AI.

The company has raised more than $1m in seed funding from investors in Ireland and Europe.


Dublin-based MagrowTec (formerly MagGrow) is an agritech start-up which develops crop-protection tech that can reduce the waste associated with conventional pesticide spray applications, while also achieving a reduction in water usage and labour.

Founded in 2013 at NovaUCD, MagrowTec now has operations across Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and more. It raised €6m in a Series A funding round in August 2020.


Manna is an Irish drone delivery start-up that has been reaching new heights rapidly since it began building and testing delivery drones in 2019. Led by Bobby Healy, Manna has a fleet of uncrewed aerial vehicles that can deliver food and other goods in suburban areas. Last month, the company announced a major expansion in Balbriggan, Dublin and 50 new jobs, according to a Newstalk report.

Strikepay CEO and co-founder Oli Cavanagh said Healy is doing something “wildly innovative and succeeding where the likes of Amazon failed”, while Martin Fitzgerald, CEO and co-founder of Kwayga said Manna is at the cutting edge of a global race in Drone delivery. “They also have the coolest product videos anywhere!”


Founded in 2018, Motoklik is a Kilkenny-based motorsport tech start-up that has built an electronic device that uses artificial intelligence to inform motorcycle racers of the best suspension set-up for current track conditions. Backed by the European Space Agency, the device links to Motoklik’s motorcycle suspension position monitoring system via a mobile app. The start-up raised €300,000 in seed funding in March last year.

PlantQuest’s Carton said he admires Motoklik co-founder Jens Köpke because he “is truly following his passion in motocross and has just relocated to Benelux to be closer to his market”.


Just when we thought the days of milkmen delivering milk to people’s doorsteps were over, Irish start-up MyMilkman.ie is bringing the trend back with online milk and other related products such as juice, butter, eggs and cheese, delivery services with just a few clicks and taps.

“It’s a super simple concept that links dairy delivery in your location to deliver products on your schedule,” said John Hannon, CEO and founder of Sales Tier (formerly Gain Grain).

Neurent Medical

This Galway medtech has developed a device called Neuromark, which is designed to treat chronic rhinitis safely and effectively from the comfort of an ENT’s office.

In January 2021, the medtech raised $25m in a Series B round to fund its expansion into the US, where it eventually received FDA approval last November. Founded by Brian Shields and David Townley, Neurent is also a BioInnovate spin-out.


Noloco helps developers build custom web apps faster and without using code. It was founded this year by CEO Simon Curran from Dublin and CTO Darragh Mc Kay from Wicklow. Noloco’s customers include digital marketing agencies, accountants and SMEs looking to centralise and automate client interactions.

Vyra co-founder and product lead Luke Faga said the Noloco founders are “a great example of how an offering can change in relation to true problems and pain points in organisations, not perceived problems”.


OneProjects is an Irish-German medtech that develops 4D cardiac imaging technology. Last October, the medial device start-up raised $17m to support the development of its Verafeye technology, which is designed to treat AFib.

Verafeye uses advanced imaging and data analytics in conjunction with its catheter-based sensor system to provide 4D data from within the heart, with the aim to increase the efficacy and safety of treatment.


Based in Co Westmeath, Ostoform is a medtech start-up that manufactures medical seals for use with patients who have received a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy.

Founded by CEO Kevin Kelleher along with Rhona Hunt in 2016, Ostoform raised €3m in private equity funding in October last year. In February, the company featured in a Health Innovation Hub Ireland list of Irish companies disrupting the health-tech sector with new innovations.

Property Bridges

Property Bridges is an online marketplace for property finance. It helps construction professionals to raise finance fast, and investors to access secured property loans. To date, it has loaned more than €20m to customers using the platform. The start-up was one of nine participants in NDRC’s first ArcLabs accelerator in Waterford.


Trinity College Dublin spin-out ProVerum is developing technology to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is an enlargement of the prostate gland that causes difficulty with urination.

The medtech, which raised €30m in Series A funding in January, has built a device called ProVee, which gently re-shapes the enlarged prostate to alleviate the symptoms caused by BPH. ProVerum was also namechecked by Nua Surgical’s Barry McCann as having “done extremely well” in terms of funding rounds and European grants.


According to Legitify’s Ganguli, UK-based SeedLegals has been a frontrunner in the legal-tech space, resolving “inefficiencies which had plagued companies and investors alike”.

First launched in 2016, the SeedLegals platform, founded by Laurent Laffy and serial tech entrepreneur Anthony Rose, aims to automate the legal aspects of funding rounds. Last month, it was reported that it had assisted start-ups in closing more than £1bn in funding for UK companies.


Cork-based Vaultree is a cybersecurity company that is looking to build scalable, privacy-enhancing tech and encryption-as-a-service tools. Its platform uses enhanced searchable symmetric encryption and fully homomorphic encryption technologies to help highly regulated organisations access and use their data without having to reveal encryption keys or the data content to a tech or cloud provider.

Founded in 2020 by a team of engineers and tech professionals and launched late last year, the start-up raised $3.3m seed funding in November. John Ward, CEO and co-founder of ServBlock said: “The guys over at Vaultree are doing an amazing job, it’s great to see an Irish start-up hit it off stateside from the get go. Maxim and the guys seem bound to go on to great things.”


Viotas, formerly known as Electricity Exchange, is a smart grid technology company that enables more renewable energy to be used on the grid. Founded in 2013 by Paddy Finn and Duncan O’Toole and now a joint venture with Bord na Móna, its technology allows clients to get paid for participating in demand response services, supporting national power grids in times of need. The company opened its first international office in Melbourne in 2020 and announced an additional 60 jobs.


WorkCompass is a HR software company founded by Denis Coleman in 2012. It aims to make performance coaching part of everyday working life and said it has worked with more than 1,000 organisations around the world.

Kwayga’s Fitzgerald said said he admires it as a company because it is “scaling in an under the radar manor, but is a great business in the HR performance management space”.


Employee communications software platform Workvivo was founded in Cork by Joe Lennon and John Goulding in 2018 to promote a ‘digital-first work culture’. Pitching itself as “the employee experience app that brings your entire company together”, Workvivo has bagged some big clients including Amazon, Telus International and VMware.

Fitzgerald also namechecked Workvivo as a company he admires because saying it has a “great team, a great product in a quickly scaling market”.

Updated, 11.26am, 8 June 2022: This article was updated to reflect MagrowTec’s new name.

Updated, 4.05pm, 9 June 2022: This article was to clarify details about the work Viotas does.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic