Twenty Irish tech firms have been selected to compete in a two-day investment bootcamp event in which they will be go head-to-head with companies from 13 other countries in front of a live audience. The winner will secure funding and be crowned as Europe’s most investable start-up.
The Silicon Stroll Bootcamp, a new event, will be held in Dublin in early November. It brings 50 of Europe's most promising start-up investment opportunities to the capital to meet tech giants such as Google, PayPal, IBM and Microsoft, before competing against each other before a crowd of more than 30 international investors.
While there can ultimately only be one winner, all the start-ups are all in with a shout of walking away with new investors. The investment sought by the 50 companies taking part in the event is between €500,000 and €1.5 million.
Approximately 130 companies from across Europe applied to take part in the competition. Twenty of the chosen applicants are from Ireland, the largest number from any country.
Irish companies participating in the event include search analytics start-up HeyStaks Technologies; structural analysis software provider TruePivot; wearable tech firm Lumafit; fraud control software start-up Xintec; and Huggity, a firm that enables brands and sponsors to engage directly with an audience at sporting events and concerts through social media platforms.
Other companies taking part include the Italian online customer platform Vivocha, which was recently chosen as one of Red Herring's Top 100 start-ups in Europe
European Investor Gate, an EU initiative that seeks to promote international development in ICT start-ups, is funding the bootcamp. The idea for the event emerged during informal discussions between Google and the Dublin Business Innovation Centre (Dublin BIC) last December. Dublin BIC, which has assisted in the creation of more than 500 start-ups, manages the AIB Seed Capital Fund, Halo Business Angels Partnership and the Guinness Enterprise Centre.
On day one of the event, the selected start-ups will visit the offices of Google, PayPal and IBM in Dublin to learn how these companies operate and gain insight into possible future trends and innovations. The following day will see the firms battle it out in open pitch sessions before an international judging panel drawn from investment preparation specialists and business angel groups. The session takes place in the Guinness Enterprise Centre.
Dublin BIC consultant John Phelan, who also manages the Halo Business Angels Partnership programme, said the presence of so many Irish start-ups at the event was evidence of a healthier environment for start-ups in Ireland.
“The environment here has matured over the past few years,” he said, “and there is a lot of support and goodwill coming from international firms and investors towards the local start-up community.”
HeyStaks, one of the Irish start-ups taking part in the bootcamp, hopes to walk away with with at least €1million in additional investment. Chief executive Maurice Coyle said the company was delighted to be selected to take part.
“Programmes like the bootcamp give start-ups like ourselves reach into new markets across Europe, so they’re an invaluable way to spread our message,” he said. “For our company, the event is coming at the perfect time: we’ve recently launched our platform to help mobile operators understand their subscribers’ needs better and after securing those first vital customers, we’re looking for ways to expand our team.
"We're operating in a market where there's huge revenue potential and no clear leader has emerged, so our proposition should be very appealing to investors," Coyle said. Any future investment we secure will contribute to building our position as the leader in mobile user intent profiling." Silicon Stroll: The Irish start-ups Ace Health B-Sm@rk Bankhawk Analytics Bizbase CheckVentory Coindrum Eiratech Robotics Evercam Evolution Environmental Services FenestraPro HeyStaks Huggity Induction Manager InMusic Lumafit Newswhip Sytorus Solutions TenderScout TruePivot Xintec