Which 12 Irish businesses are in pole position for Voom 2016?

20 May 2016

So, which 12 Irish companies have been shortlisted to be grilled by Richard Branson in Voom 2016?

Virgin Media has named the 12 Irish businesses flying high among the top 80 for its Voom 2016 start-up accelerator competition, vying for a chance to be grilled by Richard Branson and win €1.2m in prizes. Two happen to be in the top 10.

Now in its fifth year, this is the first year the Voom accelerator created by Virgin Media has incorporated entries from Ireland since it formally took over the reins of UPC towards the end of last year.

The 12 Irish businesses surfaced from a pool of 4,894 entrants; a very impressive feat considering it was their first year in the competition.

Two winners will be chosen from the finalists that make it to the event, to be held on 28 June, each of which will receive €63,000 to help grow their business, in addition to access to a €312,000 marketing campaign on JCDecaux’s Waterloo Motion – a digital screen located in Waterloo Station in London.

Two runners-up will be chosen from each category, receiving a cash prize of €25,000, as well as mentoring, financial advice and brand support.

Last year’s winner was Jeff Paterson, founder of Fourex – an automated kiosk that turns unsorted foreign currency into British notes and coins –who has seen his machines used across the London Underground network.

The 12 businesses include the transport-themed glamping village in No 1 position, which recently towed a jet from the Shannon Estuary all the way along Ireland’s Atlantic western coast to Enniscrone in Sligo.

Another one of the 12 in the top 10 is Wandsville, an animated TV series focused on helping a child’s reading skills, at No 9.

The other 10 businesses include Virtuebrush; GolfBirdie Pitch; Glamour and Fashion Scents for Your Home; Cleverbooks; PowCow; What’s Your Medistori; Rye River Brewing Company; FoodCloud, Yogandha Mind Body Therapy and Travelling Languages.

The Irish entries are posted under two categories that companies have applied to: Start-Up, and Grow.  The ‘Start-Up’ category is for fresh and exciting businesses that are still in the early stages of development. The ‘Grow’ competition is for businesses that are already recording revenues but are looking to ramp things up.

Anyone who wants to support these and other Irish entrants should get onto the Voom website ASAP to vote for their favourite candidates.  By casting a vote, you can help to determine who goes through to a pitchathon, which will take place over 29 hours from 1-2 June, as part of Richard Branson’s business-boosting Voom 2016 competition.

“We’re thrilled to see so many Irish entries make it through to the leader board for Voom 2016,” said Gavan Smyth, VP of Virgin Media Business.

“There’s still time for the public to get behind the Irish entries, so we’re urging people to visit the website and cast your vote to support Irish entrepreneurs with great ideas and businesses who are looking for a boost.”

Irish companies shortlisted for VOOM 2016

The 12 companies are:

Start-up category

Position Start Up VOOM Link
1 Boeing 767-Transport Themed Glamping Village https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/boeing-767-transport-themed-glamping-village
9 Wandsville https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/wandsville
11 Virtuebrush https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/virtuebrush-the-100-plant-based-toothbrush
27 GolfBirdie Pitch – https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/golfbirdie-pitch-1
32 Glamour and Fashion scents for your home https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/glamour-and-fashion-scents-for-your-home
62 Cleverbooks https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/cleverbooks
75 PowCow https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/powcow


Grow Category

Position Grow VOOM Link
17 What’s your Medistori https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/whats-your-medistori-2
34 Rye River Brewing Company  https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/rye-river-brewing-company
36 Food Cloud https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/foodcloud
57 Yogandha – Mind Body Therapy https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/yogandha-mind-body-therapy
60 Travelling Languages https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/travelling-languages

Richard Branson Image via Shutterstock

Updated 4.30pm, 20 May 2016: This article was updated to clarify that the 12 Irish businesses highlighted are in the top 80 at time of writing, there are further Irish businesses in the wider pool of entrants. 

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years