Pitching underway at AIB Start-up Academy 2017

A shortlist of 22 start-ups are busy pitching for a shot at the grand prize in The Irish Times building today as the AIB Start-up Academy gathers steam

There were sleepless nights for many of the companies pitching at today’s AIB Irish Times Start-Up Academy as the 22 shortlisted companies have just three minutes to present their business story and try to win a place in the final 10 of this year’s Academy.

Each company is tasked with delivering a three-minute elevator style pitch to the judging panel followed by a two minute Q&A.

The 10 companies who have won a place will be announced tomorrow (Wednesday Jan 11th).

Niall Harty from Origin Bars, one of the 22 shortlisted companies taking part in the pitch day. Photograph: Conor Mulhern

This year’s judging panel are Fiona Mahon from AIB, Bridget O’Donoghue from AIB, Eimear Moran from The Irish Times, Elaine O’Hora from Munchies, Jamie Macken from Livewire and David Murphy from The Irish Times.


“It’s actually quite exciting, their passion is contagious. The companies really believe in what they have so that makes the decision even more difficult. If this morning is anything to go by it’s going to be a really difficult decision,” said one of the judges, Eimear Moran.

Niall Harty from Origin Bars who make handmade high-fibre protein bars was one of the first through the doors this mornign. He summed up the experience with a mixture of emotions, both nerves and excitement. “When you are working on a business by yourself it’s your baby so actually getting to talk to people about it is so good. You also have to get used to having such a short amount of time to try and get across your business without sounding like a motormouth. ”

Over 450 initial applications were initially received from companies across Ireland and a longlist of 76 was whittled down to these 22 shortlisted companies facing the judges today. This is one step closer for these start-up companies to winning the Academy’s coveted top prize, which is worth €200,000.

The shortlisted companies are:
Minu - Brenda Woods

Engager - Aisling OReilly and Charlie Byrne

Frankman Grooming - Michael Swift 

Fresh from ... the pier - Ken Mc Hugh

The Bashco - Claire McCarthy 

Primaryschools.ie - Sadhbh Kurzawska

Feed - Shane Ryan

Tipperary Boutique Distillery Limited - Jennifer Nickerson

Bakers & Cakers - Mary Toner 

Izzy Wheels - Ailbhe Keane

Origin Bars - Niall Harty 

PhysioLinked - Sonia Neary

WorkJuggle - Ciara Garvan 

Kirwan Dynomed

Atturos - Stephen Pennington 

Ostoform - Kevin Kelleher

SocialFeedia - Mel Clohosey 

The Little Pharma Ltd - Amanda Swan

Hydrasure - Emer Cooney 

Kiki Moon - Keelin O'Keeffe

JobFace - Fearghal Mulvihill 

Oathello Network Limited - Jennifer Hourihane

The 10 finalists will be announced Wednesday and the remaining 12 shortlisted companies will be invited to pitch at one of the four AIB Start-up Academy Summits taking place over the next two months around Ireland. At those events a judging panel will select a further four finalists to participate in the Start-up Academy programme - one at each event.

The eight-week academy will begin in February and at the end of that the finalists will make a final pitch to win the overall prize at the final in April.

To find out more visit aibstartupacademy.com and follow us on Twitter for more updates from pitching day @irishtimessales