Stripe-backed accelerator Patch is set for expansion as the youth-focused project appoints a new managing director and secures a three-year funding commitment from NDRC.
The programme will also add new places, growing from the current 30 to 36, and travel to Belfast and London to expose the cohort taking part in the accelerator to the ecosystems there.
Former Patch participant Jack O’Regan Kenny has been appointed as its new managing director, with founder Tom McCarthy moving into the role of chairperson.
“I’ve been working on Patch for about four or five years. I think the time is right to bring in somebody new to drive the organisation forward, especially since we’ve got a lot of new funding and resources, both in terms of funding but also in terms of access to great experts, people from all around the world who are founders, investors, scientists, and who build organisations,” said Mr McCarthy.
“All those resources are there. Why Patch exists is to use those resources and the collective expertise that’s available to really try and find and help develop very, very talented young people, wherever they are.”
Mr McCarthy said Mr O’Regan Kenny would bring a clear understanding of the issues that Patch was set up to tackle, with plans to expand its supports further. The execution, implementation and the shaping of initiatives will fall to him, while Mr McCarthy will work with the new managing director to bring his own experience and ideas to the table.
Twenty-year-old Mr O’Regan Kenny, who first participated in Patch in 2020 after completing his Leaving Certificate, has already started two companies of his own, Mirr and VC-Hunt. The latter was acquired last year by Toronto-based Startup Fuel.
Mr O’Regan Kenny described his participation in the accelerator as “a key event” in his life. “This year, we will run our largest programme yet, with 36 participants, and bring the cohort to Belfast and London, immersing them in inspiring new environments,” he said. There are plans to develop grants programmes and other supports that build on what alumni gain from the summer accelerator.
The further support from NDRC is another win for the accelerator, which is backed by Stripe, which signed a three-year funding deal with the accelerator in 2021, as well as Pointy’s Mark Cummins and Dogpatch Labs, among others.
Mr McCarthy did not put an exact figure on the funding, which is being deployed under the NDRC Startup Fund that is supported by successful outcomes from prior investments in Irish start-ups. However, it is understood to be a couple of hundred thousand euro.
Founded by Mr McCarthy in 2018, Patch identifies high potential youth and supports their development. It runs an annual summer accelerator for young people, where they work on projects of their own and learn from world-class founders, scientists and leaders. The programme includes a combination of workshops, hands-on experience, and mentorship from entrepreneurs including Des Traynor, Iseult Ward and Celine Haliloua.
Open to 16 to 21 year olds, it is currently accepting applications for the 2023 programme, with the closing date for this year’s cohort set at March 24th.
Its ecosystem partners are also growing, including the new Immersive Software Engineering programme at University Limerick, BT Young Scientist, CoderDojo and Scifest.