Innovative start-ups to compete for €20,000 UCD VentureLaunch prize

20 Nov 2017

Founders of five emerging University College Dublin start-ups, who will pitch later this month at the 2017 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme Showcase and Awards event. Image: UCD

2017’s VentureLaunch competition will be hotly contested.

The latest start-ups from University College Dublin (UCD) will be showcased at the 2017 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme Showcase and Awards event later this month.

The three-month programme takes place at NovaUCD, a centre for new ventures and entrepreneurs. It aims to support creation and accelerate the launch of sustainable and profitable ventures based on intellectual property developed in the university.

Five new ventures will pitch at the event, with the overall winner receiving the UCD Start-up of the Year award and a €20,000 prize fund.

The start-ups


En-Perium is developing a next-generation building energy-analysis software system for architects, educators and engineers. It combines 3D-modelling, climate and physics-simulation technologies with specific green building codes and certifications, all in a single system. The founder of En-Perium is Michael Mescal of the UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy.


PicoworX is developing a proprietary technology that provides a scalable and continuous reel-to-reel process to enable the coating of large surface areas with vertically aligned carbon nanotubes. A coating such as this is the perfect function layer for next-generation photovoltaic cells, enabling high radiation absorption to improve solar-harvesting efficiency by 50pc.

PicoworX’s founders are Prof Dominic Zerulla, Dr Pratheesh Nair and Dr Inbarasan Muniraj, from the UCD School of Physics.


Founded by Dr James Nicholas Barry of the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, PlasmaBound has developed a patented manufacturing technology that removes the requirement for bolts when joining structural composites, eliminating mechanical and fatigue performance problems.

The application of this technology means manufacturers can build stronger, lighter and leaner composite assemblies to meet regulations as well as environmental directives.

Prolego Scientific

Prolego Scientific offers proprietary data analytics and software solutions for genetic testing of pedigree animals to improve their health, monitor performance metrics, predict breeding values and improve the food chain.

The founders of Prolego are Dr Belinda Hernández, associate professor Andrew Parnell and Dr Mahdi Amina, from the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics.


Trustalink aids banks in the protection of customers by locating trustworthy data on fintech firms on the internet. The software is powered by artificial intelligence to collect, verify, link and explore social data as well as more typical financial data.

The Trustalink team consists of Dr Elie Abi-Lahoud, Paul-Emmanuel Raoul and Prof Cal Muckley, from the UCD School of Business.

UCD playing host to innovators

The 2017 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Showcase and Awards event takes place on Wednesday 29 November, in the UCD O’Brien Centre for Science, Belfield.

Founders will deliver an elevator pitch to members of Ireland’s venture capital, research, state agency, industry and business communities to win an overall cheque for €10,000 and a professional services package valued at €10,000.

The prizes are sponsored by AIB, Bryan Maguire Business Consulting and Deloitte. The overall winner will also receive free incubation space at NovaUCD for one year.

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