Meet the Finalists: The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition 2019

Now in its eighth year, The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition seeks to nurture creativity and hone entrepreneurial skills among Irish-based university students and researchers. Following a highly competitive application process, 11 teams have been invited to join this year’s cohort, all on a mission to solve a range of global problems.

Name: Darwin & Goliath

From: ADAPT Centre, School of Computer Science & Statistics, Trinity College Dublin

Team: Joeran Beel, Alan Griffin, Conor O'Shea

Adjectives That Describe Us: Adaptable, (R)evolutionary, Zealous

Sector: e-Commerce

What We Do: Darwin & Goliath is a custom-recommender system for SMEs. Using a proprietary deep-learning approach, Darwin & Goliath identifies the best algorithm for each SME to give customers superior product recommendations across all online domains from e-commerce to video streaming.

Who/What Inspires Us: Charles Darwin

Name: ITUS Secure Technologies

From: Letterkenny Institute of Technology

Team: Dr Clare Ryan, Paul Daly

Adjectives That Describe Us: Trustworthy, Adept, Agile

Sector: Cybersecurity

What We Do: ITUS Secure Technologies helps businesses manage cybersecurity risk within their organisation by providing real-time security monitoring through their digital tool. Our dashboard gives senior management and board members the data they need to save time, money and headaches associated with data breaches through improved jargon-free communication with IT departments.

Who/What Inspires Us: Deidre Diamond, founder and CEO of Cyber Security Network (CyberSN), who promotes the opportunity for non-technical people to contribute effectively in cyber security firms.

Name: Lily Devices

From: National University of Ireland, Galway

Team: Aaron Hannon, Nuno Silva, Dr. Anette Kent, Dr Barbara Oliveira, Dr Martin O'Halloran

Adjectives That Describe Us: Maverick, Open-Minded, Methodical

Sector: MedTech

What We Do: Almost 1-in-10 breast cancer patients refuse or avoid chemotherapy because of hair loss fears, and existing technologies are painful, time-consuming and carry infection risks. Lily Devices is developing a better way to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy using a unique headband device which offers patients a comfortable, dignified and portable treatment device for the prevention of hair loss during chemotherapy.

Who/What inspires you? As a team, we have been very lucky to meet with patients undergoing chemotherapy and nursing staff who support these patients. For us, seeing the enthusiasm and positivity of patients and staff towards technologies which will support the quality of life of future patients is incredibly inspiring.

Team: GridFlow

From: Dublin City University

Team: Filip Nikolic, Bernard O'Connor

Adjectives That Describe Us: Diligent, Ambitious, Resourceful

Sector: Energy

What We Do: GridFlow integrates the growing number of electric vehicles into the existing energy grid systems. We do this by giving energy providers increased visibility and control over electric vehicle charging. Additionally, we reduce the carbon footprint by better utilising renewable energy sources.

Who/What Inspires Us: Incredible entrepreneurs and inventors that are tackling one of the most challenging global problems which is climate change.

Team Name: NearBy

From: CONNECT Centre for Future Networks & Communications, Trinity College Dublin

Team: Merim Dzaferagic, Irene Macaluso, Conor Sexton

Adjectives That Describe Us: Diverse, Agile, Experienced

Sector: Network Automation

What We Do: NearBy helps telecom operators optimise the network configuration by using smart, automated and adaptive optimisation approaches. Unlike existing techniques that rely on geographical clustering, our technology is an open-loop and automated solution that considers the user mobility patterns to reorganise the association between the nodes in the network. This allows us to optimise the mobility management functionalities of the network, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and reduction in operational cost for the telecom operators.

Who/What Inspires Us: “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road.” - Stewart Brand

Team: Change Donations

From: Trinity College Dublin

Team: Lizzy Hayashida, William Conaghan

Adjectives That Describe Us: Compassionate, Driven, Reliable

Sector: Micro-Finance

What We Do: Change Donations is a micro-donation platform that allows donors to link their debit cards, round up their purchases to the next euro, and donate those roundups to the causes they care about most. Our platform gives donors the transparency and control they desire and helps charities connect with a younger generation of donors. We’re creating a community of everyday philanthropists and empowering people to make a positive impact on the causes they care about.

Who/What Inspires Us: We have always been passionate about giving back to the communities that have supported us and we are big supporters of local causes and wanted to find a way to extend that local feeling to communities all over the world. Some of the individuals we look up to are Paul Farmer, Jane Goodall, and Jim Kim just to name a few.

Team: Passive Prediction

From: Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Data Science Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway

Team: Fionn Delahunty, Mihael Arcan

Adjectives That Describe Us: Bold, Research Driven, Applied

Sector: Mental Health

What We Do: Passive Predictions offers employers the ability to support and care for employees in a previously impossible way. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, we can predict whether employees are at risk of developing certain mental health illnesses; and offer early treatment services within the workplace eco-system.

Who/What Inspires Us: The hope that we can really make a positive difference to people lives with the technology and the problem that we are solving.

Name: Auxilio

From: University College Dublin (TEAM-ITN)

Team: Claudette Pretorius, Darragh McCashin, Hidde van der Meulen

Adjectives That Describe Us: Resourceful, Creative, Optimistic

Sector: Digital Health

What We Do: Auxilio is an app that provides between-session support to clients who are currently attending a therapist for psychological difficulties. Leveraging human computer interaction methods, the app complements structured therapeutic interventions, providing the client with an easily accessible tool during moments of stress or crisis.

Who/What Inspires Us: Young people who increasingly inform the services that they want, such as technology-based solutions in mental health.

Name: seamlessCARE

From: SMARTlab, University College Dublin

Team: Dr. Aviva Cohen, Ian Kennedy

Adjectives That Describe Us: Experienced, Expert, Tenacious

Sector: Healthcare

What We Do: seamlessCARE supports the continuity of care for people with intellectual disability and complex needs. Via our 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.

Who/What Inspires Us: We have the privilege of engaging with people who continuously overcome extraordinary challenges. We are constantly inspired by their dignity, optimism and resilience.

Name: PodMaster

From: University College Dublin

Team: Pheobe Sun, Shirley Fan, Michael Riordan

Adjectives That Describe Us: Audiophile, Empathetic, Pragmatic

Sector: Audio Engineering

What We Do: PodMaster empowers anyone to produce professional-quality podcasts in a simple, intuitive and affordable way using their smartphone. No professional recording equipment, no studio hiring, no professional software subscription, no knowledge of sound engineering required!

Who/What Inspires us: Squarespace, an online website builder that aims at 'making people's ideas beautiful' by allowing users to create websites through drag and drop tools.