The Shortlist: AIB Startup Academy reveals shortlist

Irish language adventure, sick bags and healthy food dominate in diverse group of Irish startups

The longlist was cut down from 60 to 22 companies. Photograph: Getty Images

The longlist was cut down from 60 to 22 companies. Photograph: Getty Images


A five-minute "elevator pitch" stands between 22 Irish startups and a coveted place on the AIB Startup Academy, an eight-week intensive launchpad that completes a competitive journey that travelled to all corners of Ireland in search of the best new Irish business ideas. Now in its second year, the Academy brought its roadshow to Athlone, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Wexford, Kilkenny, Killarney, Donegal, Belfast and Dublin to talk business, job creation and startup support with some of the best business minds in the country.

More than 400 startups applied to enter the competition, with 60 of those making it to the longlist. Using a pitch deck submitted by the longlisted applicants, the judges from AIB and The Irish Times identified the 22 strongest business pitches to go forward to the pitching day next Thursday, Feb 4th, in The Irish Times building on Tara Street in Dublin.

It’s a diverse group, including two spirits companies, Blackwater Distillery and The Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Co, technology advocates Fuseami and travel experts WOD Holidays, sports nutrition leaders PowCow and Sports Fuel. Queezybags, the sick bag solution, stands out in its very particular niche while Boxing News and Views and Moontour, the Irish language adventure group, are carving out their own distinct markets. The full shortlist is below.

The next step is for each of these companies to pitch their ideas in front of a judging panel made up of AIB and Irish Times representatives, business leaders and marketing experts. Ten of these 22 will win a place on an intensive eight-week academy programme, with one company being the eventual winner of the prize, worth €250,000. This prize includes a cash injection, advertising and marketing spend, and a range of other financial and expertise support. This year there will also be a second-place winner. For full prize details see our website

The Shortlist in full



Topper Technologies

Pretty in Petite

The Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Co

Brendan Joseph



Buska Ltd

Fuseami - the smarter networking app

Sports Fuel


WOD Holidays


Blackwater Distillery

Nasal Medical Ltd


Rebel Chilli

Irepak Ltd

Cool Bean

QSIP Limited

Boxing News and Views