Theya Healthcare founder addresses AIB Start-up Night

Start-up Night is part of a nationwide tour with upcoming events in Wexford, Killarney

Ciara Donlon, founder and CEO of Theya Healthcare, talked about her company, which makes lingerie for women who have undergone cancer surgery or are having treatment.

Ciara Donlon, founder and CEO of Theya Healthcare, talked about her company, which makes lingerie for women who have undergone cancer surgery or are having treatment.

 

Pet farms, ticketing platforms and lingerie were some of the topics that emerged at the AIB Start-up Night in Athlone.

Guest speaker Ciara Donlon, founder and CEO of Theya Healthcare, talked about her company, which makes lingerie for women who have undergone cancer surgery or are having treatment.

The idea came to her while running her shop, Cup Cakes Lingerie, in Ranelagh. When customers asked her about specialist bras for cancer patients, she found the market lacking.

That led to Theya Healthcare, which Donlon started two years ago. The company is expanding and is developing medical device products for the same market.

Donlon’s advice to start-ups is to do their research.

“You might have a great idea, but before you do anything else, validate it with your target customers to make sure that is what they actually want…I think that’s why we’ve had a reasonably smooth ride. We did so much research, we knew it was what the customers wanted.”

The audience also heard from John Tuohy, chief executive of Nightline Group, Ireland’s largest independent delivery company.

Tuohy started the company with friend Dave Field 23 years ago and now employs 800 people and recently created 20 jobs at a new parcel depot.

Tuohy says cash flow and market research are essentials for new businesses.

Three companies pitched at the event, to show aspiring entrepreneurs and early-stage start-ups how a pitch is done.

Karl McCarthy pitched Usher, the event-booking platform that curates and showcases quality event listings.

McCarthy is not a stranger to the AIB Start-up Academy. He was a finalist last year and says the programme gave Usher credibility, which helped when talking to similar companies about possible partnerships.

“In the coming weeks, we’re about to announce a partnership with a major European ticketing platform,” he said.

Daragh O’Rourke pitched Auctus, a company that supplies animal health and nutritional products to the farming community.

He says the company, which he and two co-founders started in 2014, predominantly concentrates on young animal nutrition products. The company also addresses the gap in the market left by EU restrictions on dairy production, which were lifted earlier this year. Now, there is more demand for nutritional advances to produce better animals.

Linda Syron pitched her pet farm, Mollie Moos, which she opened on her family farm in Mullingar earlier this year.

Syron came up with the idea when researching alternative farming enterprises, and she has relied on social media and word of mouth for advertising.

She says the business is “going brilliantly, considering the weather has been very bad” and has welcomed visitors from across the country.

The event was part of a nationwide tour leading up to the AIB Start-up Academy, now in its second year. There are forthcoming events in Wexford, Killarney, Kilkenny and Dublin which will run throughout the autumn.