Fertility tracker developer wins entrepreneur award

James Foody’s company Ayda was also named ‘best-start-up’ at the awards ceremony

Twenty-four-year-old James Foody, whose company has developed a wearable fertility tracker for women, has been named Ireland’s best young entrepreneur.

Mr Foody, whose business is based in Cork and San Francisco, takes home a prize of €50,000. His company Ayda was also named "best-start-up" at the awards ceremony held in Google's European headquarters in Dublin on Sunday.

Then entrepreneur graduated from UCC last year with a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. He then co-founded Ayda with Aoife Crowley, whom he met at a hackathon. The company has created a wearable fertility monitor which can be worn during sleep.

Blaine Doyle of GlowDX in Kilkenny won “best new idea” at the IBYE awards, receiving an investment of €20,000.

GlowDx is a diagnostics company which is setting out to diagnose neglected tropical diseases more cheaply in developing countries.

The “best established business” award and €30,000 investment prize went to James Keogh, whose company Rathwood is based in Tullow, Co Carlow. Rathwood is renowned for its year-round themed events. The retail entertainment company welcomes more than 250,000 visitors every year and employs almost 200 people.

The Google award for “best online promotion of business” went to Isolde Johnson of food business the Cool Bean Company.

The winners were announced by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton following a series of live pitches in front of a judging panel that included Brian Crowley of the TTM Group; Sarah Doyle of Kinesense; Colin Goulding of Google; Tom Hayes of Enterprise Ireland and Christine Charlton of the Local Enterprise Offices.

A total of 1,400 young Irish entrepreneurs, aged between 18 and 30, entered the competition, which is organised through the Local Enterprise Offices and has a €2 million fund available to county winners and overall national winners.

At last year's inaugural national final, Eamon Keane of Xpreso Software in Dublin was crowned Ireland's best young entrepreneur; Philip Martin won the best business idea category for the Blanco Nino tortilla-chip factory in Tipperary; and Dean Gammell from Westmeath took the best established business award for GroupBooking.com.

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