NDRC to provide ‘founder friendly’ investment on new accelerator

Successful applicants to receive mentoring from country’s leading tech entrepreneurs

Applications for the first national start-up accelerator run by the new operators of the NDRC have opened, with successful applicants receiving a €100,000 “founder friendly” investment.

In addition, the twelve start-ups chosen to participate in the accelerator will be coached by well-known entrepreneurs in residence such as Jules Coleman, co-founder of Hassle. com, which sold for €32 million.

More than 40 entrepreneurial mentors who have built or exited companies worth a combined net value of €5 billion will also be on hand to offer guidance. These include Mark Cummins, co-founder of Pointy, which was acquired by Google for a reported $160 million last year, Bobby Healy, chief executive of drone delivery start-up Manna and former chief technology officer of CarTrawler, and Áine Kerr co-founder of media tech company Kinzen.

Start-ups will also access an estimated €1 million in perks, which includes 12 months of free office space.


For the first time, start-ups chosen for the accelerator will receive investment under a simple agreement for future equity (Safe) financing contract. This agreement, whose use has been spearheaded by the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator in Silicon Valley, provide a simpler and low cost mechanism for obtaining funding than convertible notes.

NDRC is offering successful applicants a Safe agreement with an uncapped valuation and with a 20 per cent discount.

"The thing with Safe is that it takes a lot of the complexity out of investment and provides simple and transparent terms and reduced paperwork, and therefore leads to lower legal costs. It is more attractive to founders and to follow-on investors," said Dogpatch Labs chief executive Patrick Walsh.

Awarded contract

A consortium led by Dogpatch and including the regional hubs, Portershed Galway, Republic of Work Cork and RDI Hub Kerry, was recently awarded the multimillion euro contract to manage the NDRC start-up accelerator programmes on behalf of the State.

The accelerator has two phases over a six-month period. The initial three month ‘Foundation Phase’ focuses on business development and investor readiness, and culminates in a virtual Demo Day to a global audience of investors, VIP entrepreneurs, and potential customers and partners. This is followed by a second ‘Growth Phase’ to provide practical support to start-ups through the process of securing seed funding.

Once applicants have completed the accelerator they will be able to access an 'Extended Mentor Network' consisting of more than 1,000 mentors from companies such as Google, Intercom and Unilever.

The new accelerator is supported by venture capital firms including Act Venture Capital, Atlantic Bridge, Delta Partners, and Frontline with each committing to mentor participating start-ups.

“What we’re looking for is great founder with great ideas. We know these can come from unexpected places so we are very much sector agnostic,” Mr Walsh said.

“As well as seeking to discover the next generation of Irish entrepreneurs we are also hoping to uncover entrepreneurs from overseas who can see the advantage of setting up a business from Ireland,” Mr Walsh added.

Applications for the accelerator are open until Sunday, May 2nd with the programme due to commence on Monday, June 21st.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist