Last night, three Irish start-ups battled it out to win the overall 2012 Docklands Innovation Awards. The eventual winner was new software venture Ultan Technologies, which is now aiming to take on the US marketplace this year.
Last night, the three ventures had to pitch their investment proposals at the Docklands Innovation Park in Dublin City. The start-ups then answered questions from a panel of judges on their business plans. The judges were Gerry Jones, managing partner at EVP; David Sneddon, director, Germany, Austria, Switzerland at Google; and Debbie Rennick, director at ACT Venture Capital. The awards themselves are supported by Bolton Trust, DIT Hothouse and PwC.
Cathal Brady is the brain behind Ultan Technologies, which scooped the overall prize of €10,000. The start-up has developed software products to enable utility companies to bill and manage customers more efficiently. Now the venture is planning to expand into the US market.
Brady already has 22 years of experience in software business development. He has worked with companies such as MasterCard, British Telecom, Misys and ICL, while he was also head of development for Orbiscom, a start-up that was sold for €100m.
Ivan McDonald of Dial2Do spoke last night about how companies like Ultan Technologies represent the best of creative Irish entrepreneurship.
Since 2001, DIT’s Hothouse Venture Programme has supported more than 250 entrepreneurs at the early stages of their business development. Previous participant companies have included Movidius, Sigmoid Pharma, Muzu.tv and Mick’s Garage. Last year’s winner Foxframe was featured as one of the top 60 technology companies to watch in 2012 by The Wall Street Journal.
Hothouse firms have also created more than 1,000 jobs and attracted more than €90m in external investment.
Rea O’Neill, the chairman of the Bolton Trust, spoke about how it is more important than ever for strategic investment in young innovative companies who represent growth opportunities for the Irish economy.
"This year’s finalists represent real opportunities with global potential for investment. All are seeking to expand quickly into global markets with a focus on the US. Last year’s awards saw the investment of over €1.2m in three excellent companies," he said.