AventaMed from Cork and TruePivot Ltd from Dublin were named the Best Early Stage and Best New Start respectively at InterTradeIreland’s annual all-island Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition.
The event, which took place at the Stormont Hotel, is the largest business competition on the island. As the Overall Best Early Stage company, AventaMed won the cash prize of €100,000 while TruePivot took home a cash prize of €50,000 for its success as the Best Overall New Start Company.
Jenarron Therapeutics and System Ready Ltd, trading as PT Dock, both from Belfast were also recognised at the Awards, each winning a €20,000 share of the prize fund as the Northern Ireland regional winners in their respective categories. eMedia Interactive from Galway secured the special Category award prize of €10,000.
Margaret Hearty, Acting CEO for InterTradeIreland, said: “The environment for start-ups is exceptionally buoyant in Northern Ireland and we are seeing the results of this with the emergence of a new wave of young companies with strong potential for future growth.
“The Seedcorn competition helps to foster an entrepreneurial mindset and provides these young winning companies with funding and support at a crucial stage in their development. That is why the Seedcorn Competition is of such importance to InterTradeIreland and the wider economy despite constrained budgets under which it is delivered.
“To date £155m in new equity funding has been leveraged by 2,150 companies that have reached the regional finals of the competition and it is through this type of entrepreneurship and innovation that indigenous local companies will continue to play a vital role in our economy.
“We are looking forward to following and encouraging this year’s winners in their future business development in the hope that they will replicate the success of those who have won in previous years.”
AventaMed, which is based in Cork, has developed a novel medical device which allows grommets or to be placed safely and quickly in an office setting, eliminating the need for general anaesthesia and costly operating room time. With 2 million children worldwide requiring grommet surgery each year, it is the number one reason why children undergo surgery and have a general anaesthetic.
Olive O’Driscoll, CEO, AventaMed Ltd said: “Since entering the competition we have focused our attention on making the best use of the fantastic resources available to us through InterTradeIreland. Our business plan and pitch was honed through feedback from the investor panels and experts in presentation skills. In the two months we have been involved in the competition, our fundraising has gone from strength to strength and we have progressed to due diligence with a number of investors. Because AventaMed is a lean start-up the Seedcorn prize of €100,000 will go a long way to build further value in the company.”
Dublin-based TruePivot has designed and developed software which allows engineers to store and search for engineering designs in the cloud. TruePivot extracts and indexes useful information from engineers design files. As an engineer begins to model a new design, TruePivot’s software analyses the design in real-time and automatically alerts the engineer to previous designs that are more efficient and further developed, therefore cutting down design time.
Adrian Culliney, CEO, TruePivot said: “We’ve found the feedback we received from judges through each stage of the Seedcorn competition immensely helpful. As you advance through each stage there is a process of refinement that forces you as an entrepreneur to get a clearer and more focused view of your business, its strengths and weaknesses and the actions you need to take to improve the business.
“TruePivot is certainly a better and stronger business for the experience and we’d highly recommend other start-ups to enter the competition next year. 2015 will be a big year for TruePivot and the Seedcorn competition has played a significant role in setting us up for success in the future.”
InterTradeIreland’s all-island Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition aims to recognise and promote the best early stage and new start companies across the island and to help them become more ‘investor ready’ with the ability to raise further equity investment. Companies are selected following an intense competition designed to emulate a real life investment process.
In addition, companies reap the benefits of being part of the Seedcorn network – an extensive business and investment community that will help to boost their profile, contacts and create future potential investment opportunities.
Further details are available on www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn. Follow the Seedcorn Competition on Twitter (@ITI_seedcorn #Seedcorn) or on LinkedIn (Seedcorn Network).