Three start-ups make the final cut for Bolton Trust/PWC innovation award

Two of the finalists work in the marketing space while the other brings augmented reality to utilities

Three Dublin start-ups are competing for a prize of €10,000 in the final of the 2019 Bolton Trust/PwC Innovation Awards, pitching digital advertising and marketing against augmented reality.

The nominees - Keith Curley of Gladcloud, Shane O'Sullivan of Glimpse and Patrick Liddy of Utility AR - will each pitch their businesses to a judging panel, who will decide which venture has the strongest potential for global expansion and return on investment.

The final awards will be announced at an evening ceremony on May 1st, before an invited audience and the judges. The companies will have an eight minute presentation to 150 investors, entrepreneurs and advisors, before being questioned by the judges. The judging panel includes Debbie Rennick of ACT Venture Capital, Mary Lambkin-Coyle, Professor of Marketing at the UCD School of Business and Charlie Taylor, business journalist with The Irish Times.

The winner will receive €10,000, while the runners-up will receive €1,000 each.


"Our awards aim to help highly innovative start-ups along the sometimes difficult road to securing investment," said John Lauder, Chairman of the Bolton Trust. "Combined, our three finalists this year are seeking in the region of €3.5 million, and I am very glad to report that our three most recent winners have raised €4 million since their success in the awards."

The three companies are all recent graduates from the New Frontiers Programme at Technological University Dublin (formerly IT Tallaght and Blanchardstown) and IADT Dun Laoghaire.

Gladcloud is an AI based location marketing platform, using Software as a Service to create data-driven advertising unique to each merchant. It users include Diageo, Heineken and UberEats

Also in the advertising and marketing space is Glimpse, which has developed technology that analyses the demographic profile of visitors as they walk past digital advertising displays, and then targets ads to the dominant demographic profile of viewers at that point in time.

The third finalist, UtilityAR, brings augmented reality to utilities, industry and organisations with large portfolios of physical assets.

"Our 2019 global CEO survey highlighted that 85 per cent of CEOs believe that Artificial Intelligence will significantly change the way business is done in the next few years. The 2019 finalists have identified the opportunities that artificial intelligence, and other technologies, can bring to business and this is at the core of their innovations," said Feargal O'Rourke, Managing Partner, PwC. "Technology and innovation is also at the core of PwC's strategy to be the most technology-enabled professional services firm in Ireland. "

Previous winners of the awards inlcude Aimée Madden of communication software company CliniShift, Jacob Clafin of fintech venture Cambrist and Graham Byrne of YourSmileDirect, which allows customers to order dental aligner kits without incurring the expense of dental visits.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist