Student entrepreneurs seek backing from investors at LaunchBox Demo Day

30 Aug 2017

LaunchBox 2017 teams. Image: Trinity College Dublin

The successful incubator programme sees 10 student-led start-up teams seek capital backing from investors.

Innovative students are today (30 August) seeking investments as they pitch their company plans at LaunchBox 2017’s Demo Day at Trinity College Dublin (TCD).

The incubator has now entered its fifth year, with a whole host of student entrepreneurs using the programme as a springboard to create successful and sustainable businesses.

Innovation across many sectors

The 10 teams for 2017 are addressing unmet market needs, from online ticket resales and language education, to bespoke tourism and online dating.

Provost of TCD, Dr Patrick Prendergast, will open Demo Day, with panel judges including Dr Diarmuid O’Brien, chief innovation officer at TCD; Daniel Heaslip, Bank of Ireland fintech business developer; and start-up veteran Síofra Flood.

O’Brien said of the venture: “Trinity is committed to empowering our students to achieve impact with their talent and ideas.”

‘This cohort of start-ups is one of the best we’ve had’

TicketChain and Ekho are among the LaunchBox start-ups this year to have already progressed to latter-stage entrepreneur development programmes.

TicketChain is a white-label B2B ticketing platform that allows events, venues and stadiums to exert more control over both their primary and secondary ticket markets. Using blockchain technology, the team aims to end the scourge of ticket fraud and touting that is currently widespread.

TicketChain has already been accepted into the first phase of Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme, and the pre-accelerator programme at the NDRC, with the platform being piloted across various TCD clubs and societies.

Ekho provides integrated solutions for established cultural sites that decrease costs and increase visitor engagement via an iBeacon-enabled app, which transfers information using Bluetooth technology. It has also been accepted into phase one of the New Frontiers programme.

The team has piloted the Ekho solutions model with TCD, and is currently working on a solution for one of Ireland’s most popular distillery tours.

An exciting new edtech venture, Lexi is a language-learning app targeted at children, to keep them engaged through storylines, character interactions and rewards.

Lexi is choosing Irish as its first port of call in order to tackle the difficulties many people have in learning the native language. Founders Catherine Coffey and Machaela O’Leary have expertise in linguistics, computer science and philosophy.

Start-up success

LaunchBox programme manager Alison Treacy was full of praise for this year’s group: “Our students are hardworking, resilient, creative and intelligent, and that is reflected in their success today. This cohort of start-ups is one of the best we have had and I’m confident they will go on to achieve incredible things.”

Other LaunchBox alumni have included the successful social enterprise FoodCloud as well as payment processing venture Touchtech.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects