Waterford start-up ZolkC gets €500k investment injection

13 Jan 2012

The ArcLabs Research & Innovation Centre, which incubates technology start-ups

ZolkC, which is changing how we interact with tourist attractions, has just gleaned a significant investment worth €500,000 to ramp up its interactive handheld multimedia technology for tourists and to expand into the North American and Canadian markets.

Set up in 2007, ZolkC is a spin-out from the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). The company is now based at the ArcLabs Research & Innovation Centre, which is part of the WIT campus in Waterford City. Incidentally, another TSSG spin-out FeedHenry yesterday announced that it had won a lucrative contract with Telefónica Digital.

ZolkC, whose managing director is Paul Savage, also has a base in Alberta, Canada.

Since its inception, ZolkC’s solution has delivered tours to more than 600,000 visitors to sites such as the Culloden Battlefield experience in Inverness, Scotland, the Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, Co Down, and the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience in New Ross, Co Wexford.  

ZolkC has also just confirmed a contract with Waterford City Council to provide a handheld multimedia interpretation of the historic ‘Viking Triangle’ quarter in the city.

The ZolkC platform itself works by combining handheld guides with multimedia, video and audio content. And the aim? To allow visitors to tourist sites to customise their experiences and fully immerse themselves in the visit. The technology is also available in various languages.

Taking the Dunbrody Famine Ship as an example, ZolkC claims its technology has helped with revenue generation for the tourist site. It says average revenue per visitor has increased by 20pc since the ZolkC solution was deployed.

The funding announced today was provided by Kernel Capital through the Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund.

Savage said the investment would enable ZolkC to bring its platform to the North American market.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic