FoodCloud is the last Irish start-up left vying for slice of €1.2m Voom fund

16 Jun 2016

Iseult Ward from FoodCloud and Gavan Smyth from Virgin Business

Irish start-up FoodCloud has battled its way past 3,000 entries to make it to the final six in the finale of Virgin Media Business’s Voom 2016 entrepreneur competition.

FoodCloud, a former Start-up of the Week, is a not-for-profit social enterprise that connects businesses with surplus food to charities in their communities that need it through a technology platform.

Co-founders Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien launched FoodCloud in October 2013 with one Tesco store in Dublin and the business grew from that moment, redistributing the equivalent of 2.9m meals to charities across Ireland and the UK to date.

Ward will now pitch to Richard Branson and a panel of business heavyweights, including Tyra Banks, Sara Blakely Marcus Butler and Virgin Media Business’ managing director, Peter Kelly, at the live finale on 28 June

“This is an unbelievable result for Ireland,” said Gavan Smyth, vice president of Virgin Business.

“Not only was it Ireland’s first time to be invited into the pitching competition, an Irish company made it to the final six.  I am so thrilled for Iseult and everyone at FoodCloud and wish her every success on 28 June.”

FoodCloud - Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien

FoodCloud co-founders Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien

Originally, 15 Irish businesses made it through to the Voom 2016 pitchathon and now there’s just one left standing.

FoodCloud will go head-to-head with two other businesses in the Grow category for a slice of the €1.2 million prize fund.

“We are delighted to have made it this far in the competition and can’t wait to pitch FoodCloud to Richard Branson,” Ward said.

“We’ve worked extremely hard to get here and it’s been such an incredible experience so far, we’re excited for the finale and the future opportunities this will bring.”

Incidentally, FoodCloud’s technology will be put to use during Inspirefest 2016 later this month, where the company will manage the distribution of leftover food to charities that could put it to good use.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Book your tickets now to join us from 30 June to 2 July 2016 for fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity.

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