Startup Lily Devices wins The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition

Startup Lily Devices wins €15,000 in The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition to empower chemotherapy patients with unique wearable technology.

Led by NUI Galway student Aaron Hannon, Lily Devices aims to eliminate chemotherapy-induced hair loss with a novel electrical stimulation treatment that is comfortable, portable and wearable.

Second runner up this year was Nearby. Team members, Merim Dzaferagic, Irene Macaluso, Conor Sexton were awarded €7,000 for their product, which helps telecom operators optimise the network configuration by using smart, automated and adaptive optimisation approaches.

Third runner up, Seamless Care supports the continuity of care for people with intellectual disability and complex needs. Via their platform, carers can take photographs, record videos and make notes to communicate the needs and preferences of each individual. Unique data analytics provides insights into patterns of care and translates the sounds made by non-verbal people so that every care provider can understand their communications.

This year, The Ireland Funds partnered with St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS) to award a prize of €5,000 to kick start a mental health focussed business plan. Auxilioscooped the prize for their app that provides between-session support to clients who are currently attending a therapist for psychological difficulties. This easy to use tool complements structured therapeutic interventions during moments of distress.

Now in its eighth year, The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition seeks to nurture creativity and hone entrepreneurial skills among Irish-based pre-seed entrepreneurs. Over the past six weeks, ten teams on the island of Ireland have had an opportunity to validate their business ideas, explore market opportunity and determine a business model. Along the way they have been mentored by industry domain leaders, and have worked closely with other entrepreneurs and the expert team at the NDRC.

The Ireland Funds America Board Director, and Founder of the Competition, Bill McKiernan said: "I proposed the idea of a Business Plan Competition to The Ireland Funds in 2010 during the depths of the Irish recession. The economic climate in Ireland was pretty bleak at the time and it was clear that the biggest contribution The Ireland Funds could make to Ireland was to help create jobs. Young people in Ireland should be encouraged to take risks. They need to be more comfortable with failure and the lessons learned from it. The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition hopes to do that."

Director Ireland, The Ireland Funds, Caitriona Fottrell, said: "The quality of candidates this year was second to none, when the competition's founder Bill McKiernan launched this competition eight years ago, none of us anticipated how vital it would become in supporting ambitious young entrepreneurs to kick start their business plans. We are also incredibly proud of our new partnership with SPMHS, as this highlights the growth of the competition and we hope to welcome new collaborations and partnerships as we continue to evolve."

Orla Gogarty, Director of Digital Health, Transformation and Partnerships, St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services, said: "St Patricks Mental Health Services is delighted to partner with the Ireland Funds and NDRC in sponsoring the inaugural special category prize for mental health in this year’s Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition.

"We believe that innovative technologies hold enormous potential to support positive mental health and wellbeing by promoting education, valuing prevention and recovery, and enhancing accessible treatment and creative interventions. We hope to build on this positive partnership with The Ireland Funds and NDRC into the future, continuing to extend the range and availability of mental health services and supports and empowering people to live mentally healthy lives."

Ben Hurley, CEO of NDRC, said: "This is our third year partnering with The Ireland Funds Business Competition, and we’re delighted to see the calibre of finalists growing each year. From healthtech to audiotech and fintech to cybersecurity, the standard of applicants this year has been exceptional.

"As an early stage pre-seed investor, NDRC knows well the importance of early stage interventions to support the commercialisation of both projects and teams. Ireland needs to continue to develop an array of good quality startups to support our indigenous economy. The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition, this year supported also by St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, generates considerable bang for its buck in this regard."