Here are 23 Irish start-ups featured in our Start-up of the Week series that are shaking up the world of tech across a range of sectors.
Every year, we speak to dozens of start-up founders based in Ireland and beyond, asking them what their business is all about.
In 2022, we featured more than 40 budding businesses making a mark in their sector as part of our Start-up of the Week series. Many of them have gone on to raise more funding and expanded their innovative technology into new markets.
As we head into the new year, we have selected some of the most promising Irish start-ups from our series that tech investors and entrepreneurs should keep an eye out for.
University College Dublin (UCD) biotech spin-out Atturos combines data science and machine learning analytics with proteomics – the large-scale study of proteins – to better detect disease biomarkers in blood samples. A provider of highly specific and personalised diagnostic information, Atturos has a pipeline of advanced blood tests for a variety of conditions.
Founded by Prof Stephen Pennington and led by CEO Robert Perryman, the research-based start-up has dedicated laboratories and an office in UCD’s Conway Institute.
Cork start-up CergenX is putting a vast databank of baby brainwaves to good work using the kind of AI that underpins tech like Siri and Alexa. Founded by Jason Mowles, Geraldine Boylan and Sean Griffin, the company is on a mission to achieve a seemingly impossible task: make testing of all newborns not only possible, but effective at evaluating brain health.
Driving the research behind the UCC spin-out is co-founder Geraldine Boylan, professor of neonatal physiology and co-founder and director of the Infant research centre. Research overseen by Boylan at Infant has been vital to the creation of CergenX.
ChektAhora is a unique entry in this list in that it is the only one whose primary services are not in Ireland or Europe. In fact, far from it – the Irish start-up is based halfway across the world in Mexico.
Co-founded by former winner of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Blaine Doyle and Rodrigo Cervantes in 2018, ChektAhora is a full-stack healthcare company that provides at-home testing, treatments and vaccination services primarily in the South and Central American market.
The start-up raised €2.5m in funding last October and has plans to expand its business into more markets.
Coalescent Mobile Robotics
One of the few Irish-led companies on this list that are not based in Ireland, Coalescent Mobile Robotics is on a mission to become the go-to robotics technology for the retail industry. Founded by Clionadh Martin, who is both CEO and CTO, the Danish-based start-up develops robots that help reduce workload for people working in retail and address labour shortages.
Salling Group, Denmark’s largest retailer and owner of several chain stores, is one of its customers – deploying 10 of the start-up’s mobile robots in one of its supermarkets as of last October. In the same month, Coalescent closed a pre-seed round of €1.7m.
Founded by Limerick brothers Jack and Nick Cotter, this start-up uses patented hardware and software to help farmers to precisely target animals with antiparasitic drugs instead of blanket treating an entire flock or herd. Cotter Agritech technology can reduce drug use by up to 50pc and prevent drug resistance, as well as reduce costs for farmers.
The Cotter brothers won the Engineers Ireland Student Innovator of The Year Award in 2019 and were named best agri-engineering start-up at the 2019 Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards. CEO Nick Cotter was also named Global Champion at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards last year.
Founded in 2017, Trinity spin-out Danalto promises highly accurate global positioning allowing organisations to track assets anywhere. Co-founder Albert Baker told SiliconRepublic.com last January that the start-up uses software to make “every IoT device reachable and locatable”. The kind of tracking offered by Danalto has widespread application, from logistics and supply chains to healthcare and the oil, gas and mining industries.
In 2021, the European Space Agency gave Danalto’s positioning intelligence the seal of approval with a contract to work on cost-efficient, low-infrastructure, indoor location technologies.
Combining stickers, tattoos, books and wall decals with an app, HoloToyz is on a mission to help children play and learn in a safe, augmented reality environment. Its many products come to life, so to speak, though its app that incorporates state-of-the-art 3D animations and graphics.
Founded by CEO Kate Scott and sales director Declan Fahy, the start-up secured major licensing agreements with Nickelodeon and Sega in 2021. “By finding the right balance between digital and physical play, we are introducing exciting new technologies to young children in a safe environment, without forgetting the centrality of the user experience,” Scott told SiliconRepublic.com last year.
ICS Medical Devices
Built out of Ireland’s medtech hub along the west coast, ICS Medical Devices provides design, prototyping and manufacturing of catheter shafts for minimally invasive medicine. An expansion last summer added extensive general manufacturing space and cleanroom capacity, as well as a customer innovation centre, to the start-up’s Galway headquarters.
Founder Seamus Fahey told SiliconRepublic.com last year that ICS Medical’s minimally invasive therapies “push the boundaries” of what is possible in medicine. “Today, we can replace a diseased heart valve with a single catheter in less than an hour, replacing traditional open-heart surgery which can take up to half a day on the operating table.”
Founded in 2020 by Richard Guy and John Gilleran, Konversational is on a mission to become the ‘go-to’ customer workflow expert in Ireland and the UK. Based in Dublin, the start-up supports organisations with their customer digital transformation strategies and helps them to extend their services beyond the customer contact centre. Its growing client base includes Dublin-headquartered IT firm Ergo.
When we spoke to Kwayga CEO and co-founder Martin Fitzgerald last year, he likened the start-up to a 24/7 trade show. Founded in 2021 and headquartered in Cork, Kwayga is a subscription-based service connecting buyers and suppliers across Europe’s food and beverage sector.
Its key selling points are its verification process and a messaging centre that helps businesses overcome language barriers. This is done through text translation and live interpreters to support multilingual conversations. As of last May, Kwayga had already attracted members from 37 countries and users can start out with a ‘freemium’ entry-level subscription.
Founded in Belfast in 2020, Legitimate is on a mission to build a new content-sharing platform readers can trust by separating fact from fiction in news. Using a mix of technologies, the start-up is looking to fight fake news, fake profiles and disinformation online by going straight to the source and verifying who’s legitimately worth your attention.
Started by primary school teacher turned entrepreneur Caoimhe Donnelly and her husband Gerard, Legitimate has been focusing on getting journalists and politicians to join the platform and become verified sources. “The ultimate goal is to build the biggest community of journalists and politicians online,” Caoimhe told SiliconRepublic.com last year.
University College Cork spin-out Liltoda has built a gamified learning assessment tool based on years of research and the paediatric expertise of Prof Deirdre Murray. The start-up is on a mission to change how children under three from all backgrounds are assessed on their attention and ability to problem-solve. It has developed tablet-based touchscreen tasks that can screen for early learning delay and build a ‘cognitive profile’ for the child.
This Galway-based medtech start-up is making C-sections – one of the world’s most common surgeries – safer and easier. Nua Surgical has built a SteriCision device, which was developed following CEO Barry McCann’s immersion with obstetrics and gynaecology teams through the BioInnovate programme.
The SteriCision C-section retractor has been designed so that obstetricians and their assistants can gain hands-free unobstructed access to the uterus during surgery, replacing “old inadequate tools or extra assistants”, McCann told SiliconRepublic.com last year.
Founded in 2020, Outmin wants to make starting and running a small business as easy as possible. The Dogpatch Labs headquartered start-up offers bookkeeping, accounting, finance and tax services to small businesses in Ireland and the UK. These services are provided as a combination of software and a staffed team of finance professionals.
Outmin was founded by David Kelleher, Ross Hunt and Conor Ryan, and hired its first full-time employee in February 2021, the same month of its commercial launch. As of August 2022, it had more than 20 full-time employees with plans to launch in Canada.
On a mission to see a more sustainable, carbon-reduced future, UCD spin-out PlasmaBound has developed technology that helps composite materials lose weight. The deep-tech start-up is based on technology invented by Dr Nick Barry that has been seven years in development. It commercialises this patent-pending technology as an automated and speedy method of manufacturing composite materials with the advantages of higher volume and increased reliability.
PlasmaBound recently won a competition to collaborate with Hyundai and Kia on reaching their innovation goals. Founded in 2017 by Nick, Alan Barry and Xavier Montibert, it secured €2.35m last summer.
Founded by Aisling and Mark Kirwan, Positive Carbon is on a mission to minimise food waste – which costs up to €21bn in the EU annually, according to the founders. The Dublin-headquartered start-up provides commercial kitchens with the data they need to tackle this issue. Deploying technologies such as AI and lidar, the Kirwans believe the tech can help cut food waste in half, while also reducing costs and supporting business sustainability goals.
Positive Carbon’s system is already in use in Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, Sandymount Hotel, The Grand Hotel Malahide and Airfield Estate in Dundrum. It also secured a partnership with KSG, the third-largest food service provider in Ireland, in 2022.
The last Start-up of the Week to be featured in 2022, ProMotion Rewards was founded by Trinity pharmacy students Lauren O’Reilly and Bidemi Afolabi.
Initially focused on allowing companies to advertise using bikes as a medium – which won them the Trinity LaunchBox student accelerator programme in 2020 – the start-up has now evolved into an app that allows users to photograph or scan receipts and upload them to collect points. The points can be used for gift cards or to donate to charity.
Based in Dogpatch Labs, ProMotion Rewards closed a fundraising round of €725,000 in October 2022 and is now on a mission to become the consumer rewards app of choice.
This Irish proptech start-up is capitalising on the new world of hybrid work by using technology to create smart workplaces of the future. SpaceOS offers a workplace experience platform that can turn smartphones into a remote control of sorts for the workplace.
From opening doors and booking desks and rooms, to registering guests and even ordering food, SpaceOS can blend all these tasks into the daily workflow. Headquartered in Dublin, the company was founded in 2017 by co-CEOs Marley Fabisiewicz and Maciej Markowski.
One of the many start-ups that made a pivot during the pandemic, Limerick-based Tracworx began as a start-up that helped hospitals track patients and assets to improve workflow. Once the pandemic hit, Tracworx developers worked up a system to automate contact tracing for people in workplaces.
Founded by Chris Kelly, Fionn Barron and Eoin O’Brien as Pinpoint Innovations in 2016, Trackworx is now targeting its technology at managing and tracking assets in global supply chains – such as kegs, pallets and cylinders. “Our long-term goal is to remove the need for single-use packaging and enable a returnable packaging economy,” Kelly told SiliconRepublic.com last year.
Founded by Gavin Duffy last year, Trigr is a resource planning platform on a mission to become the next Oracle or SAP but for media businesses. The start-up helps media businesses to stay on track and stick to their budgets by efficiently managing projects and suppliers through the platform. Trigr claims it can save operating costs by up to 9pc annually.
The company is headquartered in Galway and counts among its partners Virgin Music and advertising agency TBWA, along with media trade bodies in Ireland and the UK.
Founded by three Trinity College Dublin graduates, Weeve Languages aims to completely change the way languages are learnt. Evan McGloughlin, Oisín Morrin and Cian McNally, all of whom are passionate about the science behind language learning and how technology can improve it, have built a machine learning translation engine that can weave a second language into any body of text with varying density.
In McGloughlin’s own words, Weeve is like “Netflix for learning languages”. Users can read popular books in the language they know – but some words are swapped out to another language to make the learning process easier.
This start-up was founded when former Enterprise Ireland employee Caroline Price was on maternity leave . “I worked with all types of clients in Enterprise Ireland and I was always inspired [by] how they started their business,” she told SiliconRepublic.com last year.
Pitched as an ‘Airbnb of desk space’, WorkSpot.ie is creating a network of nationwide “desk hosts” offering spaces where remote or hybrid workers, self-employed people or business travellers can work on a pay-as-you-go basis.
One of Ireland’s most well-known players in the micromobility space, Zipp Mobility was founded by CEO Charlie Gleeson in 2019 and is headquartered at NovaUCD. The start-up operates shared e-scooters and e-bikes in towns and cities across the UK and Poland, with plans to expand in these areas while also preparing for further launches in Spain and Ireland.
Last year, Zipp launched an e-bike sharing scheme in Dublin and it is one of many start-ups that plans to enter the Irish e-scooter market once legislation is in place.
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