Start-ups to battle it out to find Ireland’s best business idea

Five companies selected to pitch on stage in FutureScope One2Watch competition

Five Irish start-ups focused on everything from micro-donations and data extraction, to transportation, sports analytics and ear surgery, are to fight it out in a competition to find the most scalable business idea in the Republic.

The finalists of the One2Watch competition will be given the opportunity to pitch their idea to 1,200 attendees at the forthcoming FutureScope conference in Dublin. The winner will get office space at the Guinness Enterprise Centre in Dublin, a place on Dublin BIC’s “Investor Ready” programme, free legal consultancy services, and €2,500 in prize money.

The five finalists – Change Donations, CitySwifter, Unitek AI, Output Sports and Tympany Medical – were chosen from more than 80 applicants.

They will now have to persuade a panel of judges of the need for their particular product or service before a live audience.


This year's judging panel includes Teri Smith, manager of the high-potential start-up unit in Enterprise Ireland; and Dublin BIC investment manager Richard Watson. The other judges are OBH founding partner Orlaith O'Brien; business angel investor Gianni Matera; Mary McSweeney, deputy head of enterprise and economic development at LEO Dublin city, and Drew O'Sullivan, who oversees the European Angel Fund.

Top prize

Dublin-based Change Donations is a social enterprise-focused company that has developed a micro-donation platform connecting everyday philanthropists with good causes. The company last year won top prize in the final of Trinity College Dublin’s LaunchBox student summer accelerator programme.

CitySwifter is a Galway-headquartered company which uses big data and predictive analytics to help bus companies alter timetables to improve services for users. It recently raised €1.5 million in funding from backers that include Declan Ryan's Irelandia Investments, Act Venture Capital and former CarTrawler chief executive Mike McGearty.

Unitek AI has developed a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that can extract data from scanned images and automate data entry accurately using artificial intelligence.

Output Sports, which is officially launching later this year, is developing wearable technologies for sports coaches and athletes to optimise their performance.

Tympany Medical, which is also based in Galway, is a medtech company looking to revolutionise ear surgery with its device by improving outcomes, reducing unnecessary mastoidectomies, and minimising the requirement for extensive clinician retraining.

FutureScope, which promotes collaboration between entrepreneurs and large enterprises, is taking place at the Convention Centre on March 28th. This year’s event will cover topics including AI, data analytics, AR/VR, IoT, robotics , sportstech, fintech and 5G.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist