DIT Hothouse Startups Go Head-to-Head in Enterprise Awards Battle for €10,000 Funding Prize
Pictured at the shortlist announcement for the 2016 Docklands Innovation Awards with Feargal O'Rourke, PwC Managing Partner (sponsor), second from left are (L-R): Richard Spence, BEUTifi (online marketing platform that connects salons and consumers); Graham Byrne, Your Smile Direct (provides cosmetic dentistry direct to consumers) and Shane Lynn, KillBiller (provides analytics products to the telecommunications industry).They will battle for a €10,000 expansion fund prize and the winner will be announced at an Award Ceremony at PwC on Monday, 7 March 2016.
Three companies, each seeking expansion funding, will battle it out at the Docklands Innovation Enterprise Awards to secure the title of ‘Best Investment Proposal 2016’ and a prize of €10,000. The finalists, all of whom are recent graduates of the Dublin Institute of Technology/IADT New Frontiers Programme, will pitch their investment proposals and be questioned by an experienced panel of judges on their business plans. The Programme since inception has created over 1,450 jobs and attracted over €150 million in external investment. The event is supported by PwC and the Awards Evening will take place on Monday, 7th March at PwC, One Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1.
The three shortlisted individuals are:
Richard Spence, BeuTiFi
Shane Lynn, KillBiller
Graham Byrne, Your Smile Direct
They will each give a 20 minute presentation on their investment proposal and be questioned by a panel of judges. Now in its fourteenth year, the Docklands Innovation Enterprise Awards is the initiative of Bolton Trust and DIT Hothouse and is aimed at showcasing the innovative companies emerging from Docklands Innovation Park to investors and those with an interest in start-ups. Last year’s winner CheckVentory went on to raise investment and created 8 jobs (6 part time), setting up an office in the UK and there are now 12 people involved with the company.
Docklands Innovation - A Bolton Trust initiative was established in 1987 at the height of Ireland’s ‘brain drain’ to promote an enterprise culture and to offer young entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop their business ideas in Ireland. There are some 300 people currently employed by the 60 companies based at the 14,000 square metre Docklands Innovation Park on Dublin’s East Wall Road. Docklands Innovation is committed to helping the growth of indigenous Irish enterprises and fostering entrepreneurship. Vice Chairman Kevin Sullivan commented : “At this early stage in our national recovery it is more important than ever to have strategic investment in young innovative companies who represent employment opportunities for our economy. This year’s finalists have been selected from a cohort of twenty excellent applicants all representing real opportunities with global potential for investment. Coming from a variety of sectors with new technologies all are seeking to expand quickly into global markets.”
The judging panel comprises: Connor Cantwell, Partner, Cosimo Ventures; Aisling Hassell, Head of CX, Air BnB; Kevin Neary, Founder & former Managing Director, Game Stop Group and Raomal Perera, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at INSEAD & UCD.
Speaking at the Awards shortlist announcement, Feargal O'Rourke, Managing Partner, PwC, said:
"Many CEOs around the world see innovation and innovation technologies as generating the greatest return in terms of successful stakeholder engagement. Embedding an organisational culture that promotes innovation and fosters new ideas across all business areas is more important than ever. The winners in the innovation game, however, will be those who harness this innovation and turn it into commercial success. It is equally important to support our young entrepreneurs, who are leading innovators, who will create jobs and play a key role in our economy's growth. Supporting innovation and young entrepreneurs is exactly what these Awards are all about and which PwC is delighted to be part of. We wish all the candidates every success."
Since 2001, DIT Hothouse, which is based in Docklands Innovation Park, has supported over 300 entrepreneurs at the early stages of their business development. Previous participant companies have included Movidius, Sigmoid Pharma, DecaWave, Mick’s Garage and Smarter Surfaces Hothouse firms have created over 1,450 jobs and attracted over €150 million in external investment. This year’s finalists are all recent graduates of the DIT/IADT New Frontiers Programme which is an Enterprise Ireland funded entrepreneur development programme. The New Frontiers Programme is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) 2007-2013. DIT Hothouse deliver the New Frontiers Programme in collaboration with the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire.
About the shortlisted organisations:
Richard Spence, Founder & CEO, BEUTiFi.com www.beutifi.com
BEUTiFi.com was established in 2015 and is headquartered in Dublin. BEUTiFi.com is a subscription based online marketing platform that connects salons, professionals and consummers enabling them to recruit new clients, fill empty timeslots, grow revenue in off peak times, capture client reviews and take online appointments. Salons urgently need more new clients. On average they have 35% unused capacity each week, 70% have no online presence and 85% are not equipped to offer online booking. Salon owners are time and cash poor and are generally not tech savvy. BEUTiFi.com makes it simple and affordable to get their business online and connect with their target customers.
In 2015 BEUTiFi Ltd processed over 30,000 online bookings and facilitated over €2m in service revenue to its 1,500 salon customers in Ireland and UK.
For consumers, BEUTiFi.com is a trusted online marketplace and community that makes it simple and convenient for them to discover the best vetted salons and professionals, and to book them online in real time, 24/7.
BeuTiFi.com is a recent graduate of the DIT/IADT New Frontiers Programme and an alumni of NDRC Launchpad. In July 2015, the company received CSF funding of €50,000 and is now an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start Up client.
Richard was previously Head of Sales in CarTrawler the global car rental aggregator and technology company. Joining at an early stage, Richard was instrumental in growing the business internationally and taking it to over 180 countries worldwide prior to it being sold. Richard holds a Degree in Marketing from Trinity College Dublin and has also completed DIT’s International Selling Programme with Enterprise Ireland.
Shane Lynn, CEO, KillBiller www.killbiller.com
KillBiller provides analytics products for the telecommunications industry, specialising in tariff pricing and generating customer offers. KillBiller provides a free mobile phone application that allows users to compare every mobile plan on the market with their exact usage. The app has been used over 50,000 times by Irish consumers, helping people save money by comparing and switching mobile phone plans and networks.
Alongside the consumer application, KillBiller's analytics products have been used by almost half of the mobile operators in the Irish market. For mobile operators, KillBiller provides two key capabilities: advanced simulation tools to optimise new tariffs and propositions, and next-generation next-best-offer technology to optimise revenue for existing customers. In an increasingly competitive mobile market, network operators are required to be intelligent in the attraction of new customers and retention of existing customers. KillBiller's analytics tools have had multi-million Euro revenue impacts for Irish operators.
KillBiller Ltd was founded in 2014 by Shane Lynn Ph.D., Bart Lehane Ph.D., and Ciarán Tobin, who are firmly established in the creation and commercialisation of advanced-analytics solutions, particularly in the telecommunications space. A graduate of the DIT/ IADT New Frontiers programme in June, KillBiller was selected as the Dublin Regional Winner of the Intertrade Ireland Seedcorn Investor Readiness competition in November 2015. The focus for the company is now international expansion, with clients in the U.K., Europe and North America targeted for 2016.
Dr. Shane Lynn holds a Ph.D. from Maynooth University in machine learning and control engineering, with research experience in semiconductor manufacture, autonomous vehicles, and rocket-engine design. Before co-founding KillBiller, Shane was a manager in the advanced analytics team at Deloitte Consulting, selling and delivering data solutions to some of Ireland's largest companies.
Graham Byrne, Founder & CEO, Your Smile Direct www.yoursmiledirect.com
Founded in 2014 with headquarters in Dublin, Your Smile Direct is a recent graduate of the DIT / IADT New Frontiers Programme. Your Smile Direct provides clear cosmetic dental aligners directly to the consumer saving 75% on costs and has the convenience of no expensive monthly dental visits. YourSmileDirect.com is a disruptive sales and service model bringing cutting edge orthodontic technology directly to consumers. This service is delivered by utilising tele-dental technology which includes digital image assessments, home impression kits, digital treatment plans and our team of tele-dentists to provide world class treatment plans for our clients orthodontic and dental care. Following a successful validation trial in the UK market Your Smile Direct Ltd has received multiple funding offers from private equity, venture capital and dental companies in the UK to fund its rapid expansion into further international markets.
The long term aim of the business is to become the world’s largest and most trusted provider of laboratory to consumer dental solutions. By offering clients laboratory to patient treatment solutions Your Smile brands, currently available in the UK, will expand across Europe, US and Australia offer clients world class products manufactured in Ireland and a market beating price.
Graham is an experienced entrepreneur and has held a number of senior leadership and business development positions with technology companies including Promethean, RM, Level 3 and Verizon. Graham holds an MBA from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.