Three start-up enterprises were awarded prestigious titles at a pitching session in DCU’s Ryan Academy earlier today. The event, sponsored by Grant Thornton, marked the culmination of the Propeller accelerator and UStart programmes which support early-stage start-ups and student entrepreneurs develop their businesses.
Congratulations to Theo Lynn, Associate Dean Industry Engagement and Innovation in DCU, who pitched on behalf of the Rendicity team to win Propeller Company of the Year 2015. Rendicity designs and develops software solutions that allow users to securely schedule, broker and provision processing capacity in the cloud on-demand, delivering it to customers as a unified, easily-consumable resource. Their initial offering services the 3D rendering segment of CAD/ CAE market such as animation studios, architectural practices and engineers.
Rendicity was one of five early-stage start-ups who took part in this years’ Propeller programme and was chosen by a panel of independent judges including Debbie Rennick, Director of ACT Venture Capital, Kevin Foley, Partner at Grant Thornton and Teresa McColgan, Partner at PWC Ireland and StartUp Angel Investor.
Liam Sexton, a DCU Biomedical Engineering graduate and winner of the President’s Award for Innovation 2015, was awarded the UStart Company of the Year 2015 title for PhotoCAD, a mobile app capable of generating a computer aided design (CAD) drawing file of an object captured on a phone’s camera feed. This technology significantly enhances product design processes by allowing a member of the design team quickly create electronic drawing files when away from the office that can then be sent to the desktop team for further modelling and analysis.
Colm Byrne, a recent graduate of the DCU Ryan Academy and DCUBS Graduate Certificate in Innovation in Social Enterprise also picked up an award for UStart Most Innovative Company. Colm’s business, DaysE, stands for ‘Donate as you Save Energy’ and provides a platform to raise funds for positive impact energy projects through energy saving measures. The funds raised are used to help social enterprises and charities to reduce their energy costs so that they can have a bigger impact.
Nine companies took part in UStart this year. The four-month programme is aimed at profit and non-for-profit ventures from all DCU students, giving them the opportunity to develop innovative ideas and launch viable start-up companies. Today’s winners were selected by a panel of judges to include Pat McDonagh, Tech Entrepreneur and founder of Riverdeep, David Bowles, Partner Delta Venture Capital and Claire O’Connell, freelance science journalist.
Eoghan Stack, CEO of DCU’s Ryan Academy, congratulated all of the participants and reflected on the success of the programmes this year.
“The DCU Ryan Academy has provided early-stage funding of more than €800,000 to 29 start-ups to date and our 24 Propeller alumni companies have raised over €9.5 million in follow-on funding.
Interestingly there has been a trend of connectivity between our programmes this year, with participants progressing from one accelerator programme to the next – a strong indicator of the entrepreneurial potential and appetite for ongoing support required in this country.
Through access to the Academy’s extensive network of investors and mentors, all 13 companies who showcased today have been equipped with the tools to unlock their potential and prepare their ventures for growth. We wish all of them every success in the next stage of their journey.”