Ostoform wins AIB Start-up Academy 2017
A medical device that aims to manage peristomal skin complications for people with ileostomies takes top prize at the AIB Start-up Academy 2017
AIB Start-up Academy 2017 winners, Rhona Hunt and Kevin Kelleher of Ostoform, with their award
“I am over the moon and speechless,” said Kevin Kelleher, co-founder and CEO of Ostoform, the winner of the AIB Start-up Academy 2017.
“We are solving a problem for patients and it is fantastic to be able to do that and get rewarded for it. This is exactly what we need to build a relationship with the end user (patient) and go to the next stage where we can build the brand and build brand recognition, become a thought leader in an area that is niche, but as a main competitor,” said Kelleher.
Kelleher co-founded Ostoform with Rhona Hunt. Ostoform is a device that prevents the output from an ileostomy leaking on to the patient’s skin, keeping the patient’s skin healthy and giving the patient confidence. Often, people suffer from skin complications as a result of output from their stoma leaking on to their skin. (An ileostomy is where the small bowel is diverted through an opening in the abdomen and this opening is known as a stoma. A special bag is placed over it to collect waste products).
Ostoform won the top prize package valued at €200,000, including a €20,000 cash injection, designed to bring their start-up to the next level.
The first runner up of the Academy was Frankman, who produce men’s grooming products. The second runner up was Ailbhe Keane with her company Izzy Wheels who create a range of customised spoke guards for wheelchairs.
Hosted by Gráinne Seoige, the AIB Start-up Academy final was held in The Light House Cinema in Smithfield and saw 14 finalists pitch to a panel of expert judges in a bid to win the top prize. After eight weeks of training from industry experts, in areas like marketing, sales, social media and finance, each finalist was given five minutes to pitch their business followed by five minutes for questions and answers from the judging panel.
Kelleher praised the 13 other finalists who took part in the Academy. “It is a genuine surprise (to win) because I have spent the last eight weeks with all of the other contestants and realised how impressive they all are. It’s so exciting and satisfying for me to win this, but there are such a diverse range of businesses and it’s very hard to compare a medical business with one in a different industry that is equally good, or better in my eyes, so I’d like to take my hat off to all the other contestants as well,” said Kelleher.
Brian Keating, group propositions and brands director for AIB, was impressed with the calibre of all the finalists. “There were 14 exceptional candidates, any one of which could have won. I thought what Kevin (Kelleher) and Ostoform did really well was they talked about their competitors and how their product was different to their competitors and unique. They had absolute passion about their mission to help these patients. And in terms of the quality of their pitch, even though they probably have the most difficult to describe, and it’s a very sensitive issue, within five minutes the judges understood the product perfectly, and that’s a real testament to the quality of the presentation,” said Keating.
The AIB Start-up Academy is a joint venture between The Irish Times and AIB to help start-up companies with information and networking opportunities.
The fourteen finalists in this year’s Academy were:
Shane Ryan, FEED
Mary Toner, Bakers and Cakers
Michael Swift and Gill Blake Swift, Frankman
Ailbhe Keane, Izzy Wheels
Keelin O'Keeffe, Kiki Moon
Stephen Pennington, Atturos
Amanda Swan, The Little Pharma
Niall Harty, Origin Bars
Mark Rowe, Dynomed
Jennifer Hourihane, Oathello
Kevin Kelleher, Ostoform
Jennifer Nickerson, Tipperary Boutique Distillery
Ken McHugh, Fresh From
Emer Cooney, Hydrasure
The judges: Brian Keating, group propositions and brands director for AIB, John O’ Dwyer, head of digital investments and innovation for AIB, Jamie Macken, partner Livewire, Joanne Hession, owner and founder of the Entrepreneurs Academy, David Murphy, head of digital solutions for The Irish Times and Sarita Johnson, senior development advisor for Enterprise Ireland.
In their own words: Kevin Kelleher of Ostoform on his startup.
For more see www.ostoform.com/