Data privacy start-up takes top prize at UCC Ignite awards

28 Oct 2021

Refractd’s Eoin Buckley and Daniel Keane Kelly. Image: Darragh Kane

Refractd won out of the latest crop of start-ups taking part in UCC’s Ignite programme for graduate entrepreneurs.

Data privacy and compliance start-up Refractd has won the top prize at the University College Cork (UCC) Ignite programme showcase.

Refractd founders Eoin Buckley and Daniel Keane Kelly claimed the prize for the best business as well as the award for the best business plan.

The two have degrees in business information systems from UCC, and are building enterprise tools for data privacy and compliance with a focus on improving the speed and quality of risk assessments that organisations need to complete when processing personal data.

They were among several participants of the Ignite programme recognised at an awards ceremony held yesterday (27 October).

Ignite is an incubator programme based at UCC that helps graduates turn their ideas into fully fledged businesses. It is a joint initiative by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, the Local Enterprise Offices in Cork and UCC to encourage student entrepreneurship.

The programme is open to recent graduates from all third-level institutions in Ireland to work full-time on a scalable start-up idea with potential for commercial or social impact.

Since its founding in 2011, Ignite has worked with around 150 start-ups including AnaBio Technologies, ApisProtect, Ecanvasser, LegitFit, EziVein, QuickMinutes, Talivest, Traxsit, Trustap and UrAbility.

“The last two years have been challenging for many businesses and we are very proud to see that people continue to want to start and develop businesses with the help of the Ignite programme,” said Ignite director Eamon Curtin.

He also said he was pleased to see the awards ceremony return to the campus as an in-person event again. Ceremony attendees heard from start-ups that have just completed the programme as well as the latest batch of graduates that joined in April.

At an April awards ceremony, Patrick O’Regan’s data-driven sports-tech platform ReachTheTop scored the winning prize.

Other start-ups that took part in the Ignite programme this year included Conor Kelleher’s Spectiv, a plug-in app for VR content creators to create and discover high-resolution live videos, and Cleidi Hearn’s Sunny Numbers, an interactive social learning platform for students to learn statistics and data analysis.

Luke Murphy developed Waking Dreams, a video production company that specialises in explainer videos for STEM companies, while Niall Brennan focused on perfume subscription service Simple Scents, Stephen MacCarthy turned to interview training platform Preparo, and Paddy O’Toole created a hiring platform for student interns.

Other participants include Louis Walsh’s Fem2Fire, a risk assessment system to help combat the risk of fires in forested areas; Ciara Hennebry’s consumer resource Croía; Nathan Kirwan’s clothing brand Chariot; and Monika Wojtek’s BuildZon, an online resource connecting construction workers to suppliers.

John O’Keeffe developed tech-for-good platform Altrufy; Clare Meskill developed Teleatherapy, a medtech providing voice therapy to people with Parkinson’s disease; and Daniel O’Mahony and Michal Sikora were behind social enterprise Da Silly Heads.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.