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New Frontiers Winners Of National Startup Awards 2023

Congratulations To The New Frontiers Winners Of The National Startup Awards 2023

By New Frontiers blog

New Frontiers Winners Of National Startup Awards 2023

The annual National Startup Awards reward excellence in vision and innovation, marketing, and social impact. Open to rising stars across all industries and technologies, the awards help them on their journey to success by providing national and international exposure and credibility. The awards “shine a light on talented founders, innovative products and services, and startups with the potential for rapid growth”.So, who are the most disruptive, scalable, and fundable companies in Ireland? It appears that many of them are Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers participants and alumni. This year saw 14 New Frontiers startups collect awards after a tough regional selection process and live pitching to a panel of expert judges. Congratulations to all the startups who took part, and to the winners from the New Frontiers community below!

National Startup Awards winners 2023 from the New Frontiers programme

Category: AI Focused Startup

“The advent of AI has had significant impacts on the startup landscape and this category is open to startups whose value proposition is centred on artificial intelligence or that utilize AI substantially in their product or service delivery.”

BRONZE: Snappie Dev. Founder: Mihael Melnic (participated in the programme at IADT in partnership with UCD – 2023). Snappie allows users to create top-quality, unique and beautiful websites, instantly, at freelance prices, on a revolutionary AI-based platform.

Category: Tech Startup

“We want to recognise Ireland’s booming tech start-up community and celebrate and reward the nation’s best tech businesses.”

GOLD: ReaDI-Watch. Founder: David Byrne (participated in the programme at TU Dublin – Tallaght Campus – 2021). ReaDI-Watch is an innovation management system (IMS) – a digital platform built by innovation and R&D experts to help companies embrace and unlock their innovation potential across any industry. Using ReaDI-Watch as a centralised platform, they can build, track, protect, and manage  innovation and R&D strategy, including projects, teams, and intellectual property.

SILVER: LiveCosts. Founder: Ciaran Brennan (participated in the programme at TU Dublin – Blanchardstown Campus -2017). LiveCosts is a Blanchardstown, Co Dublin-based business with a simple goal. It tells construction companies if they are making money or not in real time. As is often the case, simple doesn’t mean easy. They collect data and apply it back to the main dashboard. Ciaran started the business in 2017 alongside his brother Niall and Diarmuid Quinn and Livecosts now has 15 staff.

Category: Early Stage start up

“The Early Stage Startup award is designed to recognise Startups that display great potential for future growth. Early Stage Startups can come from any sector but must be under 2 years old (From date of incorporation).”

BRONZE: HomeHop. Founder: Robert Kelly (participated in the programme at TU Dublin – Tallaght Campus – 2023). HomeHop streamlines maintenance and operations for property management companies across the globe. They can reduces maintenance costs, boost revenue, and scales business with HomeHop’s white-labelled, plug-and-play technology.

Category: eCommerce & Retail Startup

“eCommerce is the term describing the conducting of business through online channels, encompassing the outward-facing processes that touch suppliers, partners and customers, and including not just marketing communications but also sales, order taking, delivery, fulfillment and customer service.”

GOLD: Anewmum. Founder: Marian Kennedy (participated in the programme at MTU Cork Campus 2018). Anewmum has created postpartum self-care hygiene products that comfort and support new mothers.

Category: Emerge-Tech Startup

“Emerging technologies are perceived as capable of changing the status quo. Emerge-Tech industries include AI, information technology, wireless data communication, man-machine communication, on-demand printing, bio-technologies, and advanced robotics.”

GOLD: Sports Impact Technologies. Founder: Eoin Tuohy (participated in the programme at TU Dublin -Blanchardstown Campus 2020). Sports Impact Technologies has developed a sensor that monitors and reports any head impacts of a player to their coach, physio, or parent in real time.

SILVER: Druid Learning. Founder: Niamh Faller (participated in the programme at TU Dublin – Grangegorman Campus in partnership with IADT 2020) . The Druid Learning Enterprise content management tool transforms static and archived content, establishing an extensive digital repository for all your content assets. Prepare for AI by using your content to create training sets.

BRONZE: Agri Data Analytics Ireland. Founder: Jack Pilkington (participated in the programme at TUS – Athlone Campus in partnership with Maynooth Campus 2022). Agri Data strives to tackle the climate crisis through innovation in the agricultural sector, focused on reducing enteric methane emissions in line with Ireland’s COP26 pledge of a 30% reduction in methane by 2030. Agri Data Analytics Ireland is currently in the research and prototype development stage of creating a methane testing and monitoring unit called The Bovine Breathalyser which will record and process GHG emission levels produced by ruminant animals.

Category: Fintech Startup

“The rise of fintech has changed the way companies do business. This has opened up a world of possibilities. Businesses can offer more services than ever and for a fraction of the price of what it would have cost before.”

SILVER: Cytidel. Founder: Mathew Conlon (participated in the programme at ATU Galway and Mayo Campuses 2021). Cytidel helps security teams reduce breaches, save time, and stay secure. It offers vulnerability management, cyber risk management, and threat intelligence.

Category: Food and Drink Startup

“The Food and Drink industries play a major role in economic activity in Ireland with a wide-ranging impact on economic growth, employment, and local development.”

GOLD: BiaSol. Founder: Niamh Dooley (participated in the programme at TUS Athlone in partnership with Maynooth University – 2020). BiaSol is a range of milled grains with the ultimate zero-waste approach to reintroducing nutritional food back into the food chain.

SILVER: Well Spent Grain Ltd. Founder: Sunkyung Choi (participated in the programme at TU Dublin – Tallaght campus – 2022). Well Spent Grain is a food upcycling start-up based in Dublin, Ireland.
It collects brewer’s spent grain from local breweries and “spends it well” by creating high-quality and value-added food products such as snack bites.

SILVER: Wexbury Spirits. Founder: Mark Kavanagh (participated in the programme at SETU – Waterford Campus – 2022). Wexbury Spirits produces a range of vodka cream liqueurs made from Irish fruits.

Category: Medtech Startup

“Medtech is already diagnosing, monitoring and treating virtually every disease or condition that affects the human race. From sticking plasters to body scanners, ever more technologies are coming on stream to improve patients’ lives.”

GOLD: Gasgon Medical. Founder: Vincent Forde (participated in the programme at MTU Cork Campus – 2017). Gasgon Medical AirVault™ is a medical device developed by Gasgon Medical (Ireland), intended to remove air-in-line bubbles from intravenous (IV) infusion therapy.

Category: Product and Manufacturing Startup

“The Irish start-up scene may appear to be increasingly dominated by tech and service-focused companies but there’s still a huge market for product businesses.”

GOLD: Omuu Petfood. Founder: Frank Clarke (participated in the programme at DkIT in partnership with DCU – 2022). Omuu is a quality dog food designed by a leading Irish veterinarian. It’s a hypoallergenic dogfood based on insect protein that’s easy on sensitive stomachs and a sustainable product.

See the full list of regional and national winners on the National Startup Awards website. Congratulations again to everyone who took part. 

Dermot O Shea Taoglas On The Highs and Lows Of Building A 100 Million Business

Dermot O’Shea (Taoglas) On The Highs & Lows Of Building A €100 Million Business

By New Frontiers blog

Dermot O Shea Taoglas On The Highs and Lows Of Building A 100 Million Business

Dermot O’Shea and Ronan Quinlan founded Taoglas nearly two decades ago. Dermot participated on the precursor to the Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers programme, the South East Enterprise Platform Programme (SEEPP), which was run by our Programme Manager in Waterford, Dr Eugene Crehan. Taoglas has grown from strength to strength, and at their recent graduation Showcase and Awards event, South East Technological University (SETU) in Waterford inducted Dermot into their New Frontiers Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame.

Enniscorthy-headquartered Taoglas is a leader in complex Internet of Things connectivity solutions. Its technology is applied in areas as diverse as mobility and infrastructure, transportation, smart industry, connected health, smart cities, and even in space. Earlier this year, the company made a deal with private equity backer Graham Partners that values the business at around $200 million.

Dr Eugene Crehan interviewed alumnus Dermot about his experience of SEEPP and his learnings from nearly 20 years growing a cutting-edge business.

Eugene: What motivated you to set up Taoglas, and what challenges did you face in the early stages of your business? I know that your co-founder, Ronan Quinlan, was based in Taiwan and you were in Wexford.

Dermot: My co-founder and I met in Taiwan. We both wanted to work in global Irish technology company and we both aspired to be entrepreneurs. Also, I think we had a great work ethic. We had both worked in the electronics industry for some time before that and were looking for opportunities in that area. After trying some different products and ideas, we were offered some GPS antennas from a vendor we were working with – used in Sat Nav units at the time – and they were an instant hit with many potential clients building GPS into their product for tracking or location-based services.

The biggest initial challenges were financial and size-related, for example, how do you hire people to do complex projects? Or, how do you win large customers as a small and new business? Building credibility while building up your cash flow so that you can deliver what you’re promising is tough. The first year of the business, the planning stage, happened in Taiwan where we were both based. Then my wife and I moved back to Ireland and registered the business here, as we wanted an Irish headquartered business with Taiwanese excellence in manufacturing. We’re still an Irish headquartered company today, and the name TaoGlas means ‘The Green Way’.

Eugene: Why did you join SEEPP and what did you hope to get from it?

Dermot: When you start up, you’re always wondering what you’re missing and what you’re not doing. It was like a kind of paranoia, I suppose. I registered for a Start your own Business course with the local Enterprise Board [Ed: the predecessor of Local Enterprise Offices] to refresh my business skills in areas such as cash flow, profit and loss, marketing, etc. Because we had an international business, the Enterprise Board pointed me towards the South East Enterprise Platform Programme (SEEPP). It had more content relevant to growing an international business. And that’s how I met you and came onto the programme.

Eugene: How did you find the programme? Did it meet your expectations?

Dermot: The programme offered a bit of everything. Apart from the funding support, it could also help out with relevant expenses. Let’s say you’d identified an important opportunity in the USA, the programme would contribute towards the cost of your flights to go there. But the financial support was only one aspect.

A big benefit was the interactions with the other participants. Typically, as a founder, you’re working away on your own in some temporary office in the attic or the garden shed. On the programme, we were all developing international business but there was a good variety of business ideas so none of us were in direct competition. There was a lot of camaraderie and we made connections that would last forever. That was really special.

But also, I have to say that the content of the programme was excellent. There were experienced business founders coming in to share knowledge in areas you might not even think about. I remember learning about how to really leverage the power of websites back when company sites were no more than a basic brochure. This encouraged us to think of our site as an interactive tool, which gave us a competitive advantage over bigger, more established companies. It was very educational.

“There was a lot of camaraderie and we made connections that would last forever. That was really special.”

What’s great as well is that you have kept in touch with all of us ever since. You don’t miss an opportunity to say good things about us and promote the business when you can. It really is a network for life.

After the SEEPP, we became an Enterprise Ireland client. One of the first things that EI did was match me up with a mentor, an experienced businessman who didn’t hesitate to tell me some very hard truths about the business. I found that really valuable. Whenever we needed support from EI, especially the overseas offices, they didn’t hesitate to pull out all the stops. A few years ago, we won some European Space Agency funding which is managed here by Enterprise Ireland, so at the moment we are working closely with them on that.

Eugene: How did you stay motivated and focused during challenging times when growing Taoglas?

Dermot: You have to have a true belief in yourself and the journey. You will launch products that don’t work. You will do stupid things. But that’s OK as long as you bounce back. To build a sustainable business, you need to build resilience. We’ve been through the recession, through Covid, and through the current supply chain issues because resilience is part of our culture at Taoglas.

As the founder or CEO, you can’t expect every day to be a great day. If things go right; you have to give everyone else the praise. If things go wrong, you have to take the blame. But it’s not the great days that define you. It’s the daily grind, the dedication, the ability to take the knocks and keep going. You don’t win business because your website is the best; you win it because you’re able to get in front of the right customer and convince them to choose you.

Regardless of whatever other drama is happening in the background, you keep on the mission. Persistence and hard work are what really pay off in business. If you’re in it for the champagne and unicorns, you’re better off going to Hollywood.

Eugene: At our event, you talked about the importance of work-live balance. As the CEO of a large company with teenage children, how do you maintain a work-life balance and what strategies do you use to avoid burnout?

Dermot: I didn’t have any strategies until six or seven years ago and that’s why I ‘burned out’ in 2017 and had to make some changes. Most CEOs and entrepreneurs are excellent at putting a good spin on things, especially in Ireland. “Everything’s fine! My arm’s falling off but everything’s OK!” We never want to say there’s anything wrong in the business, and of course that makes sense to a certain degree. You don’t want customers thinking things aren’t going well. So, it becomes second nature to keep saying everything is great. Maybe that’s why so many CEOs and founders feel lonely, in the early days especially.

My advice is don’t isolate yourself. Stay connected – talk to mentors, have coffee with a peer, go and talk to your customers. Some people don’t do well working from home because it is isolating, so get out there and be with other people.

“Persistence and hard work are what really pay off in business. If you’re in it for the champagne and unicorns, you’re better off going to Hollywood.”

For a while, I made the business the most important part of my life. I have to keep reminding myself that it isn’t, in fact, the most important thing. It’s maybe the fifth or sixth thing on my priority list now, and even our investors know that. Because if I’m not good and things aren’t good in my family life, I’m not going to be a good CEO. Now I work fewer hours, but I work more effectively and I feel that I perform better and can handle more stress. Experience helps as well, after 20 years in the job I’ve seen most things and problems that would have seemed impossible to deal with before are just bumps in the road now.

I made changes in my life such as giving up alcohol, eating better, and travelling less. I also built a management team that takes on some of the things I used to handle myself. It’s a process, and I think a lot of people forget that you have to work on yourself and not just the business. Some people have this mentally of, “If I go on this business course, everything will be better.” Actually, they’d probably be better off getting therapy or going to the gym or taking some time out. Entrepreneurs aren’t great at admitting weaknesses, but we should try to change that.

Eugene: I know you have ambitious plans for the business. How do you identify and evaluate new business opportunities, and do you have criteria to determine whether to pursue them?

Dermot: Yes, I have a very scientific process called my gut instinct. Well, that’s part of it anyway. I do have 20 years of experience and I also know who to ask for feedback on ideas. In the business, we have an innovation committee that works with our engineers, salespeople, customers, and suppliers to understand where the market it going and what types of products we should work on. This means that if we launch something that no one wants to buy, which we have done, we should have some early warning signs that it might be a bad idea. It’s not good to just decide for yourself and then hope for the best, so we have people and processes in place to help.

But at the end of the day someone – you – has to decide if it’s a go or no-go on a particular project. The data, feedback, numbers, experiences, analytics are good information, but you go with your gut instinct at the end of the day. If it’s wrong, you can adapt and change and will feel comfortable with that because it was your decision. If you had gone against your gut, that would be a really frustrating. Luckily, we have enough projects and products that we aren’t reliant on any one thing for success.

I do have ambitious plans for the business. If I look ahead 10 years, similar things are happening at Taoglas but hopefully we have more products in more markets. There are a few new areas I’m interested in exploring, like marine, mining, and maybe defence. We’ll have added new component lines, effectively creating more products that we can sell to our existing customers. We also aim to do one acquisition each year, allowing us to sell our products into new markets.

Last year, the company hit its target turnover of €100 million; our target is now €1 billion by 2030. After that, we’ll no doubt be chasing a target of €10 billion. But beyond that, we want to have a great company culture, with 12 or 13 locations around the world and up to a couple of thousand employees. I want Taoglas to be a great, fun company to work for.

Dermot O’Shea receiving his award at SETU

Dermot O Shea (Taoglas), SETU New Frontiers Hall of Fame - with Paula Carroll

(l-r front) Paula Carroll, National New Frontiers Manager at Enterprise Ireland; Dr Eugene Crehan, New Frontiers Programme Manager at SETU – Waterford Campus; and Dermot O’Shea, CEO of Taoglas. (l-r back) Brian Fives, Senior Development Adviser at Enterprise Ireland and Dr Tom O’Toole, Dean of the School of Business SETU

Dermot O'Shea, centre, receiving his award

(l-r) Dr Tom O’Toole, Dean of the School of Business SETU; Dermot O’Shea, CEO of Taoglas; and Dr Eugene Crehan, New Frontiers Programme Manager at SETU – Waterford Campus

Our congratulations to Dermot on his induction to the SETU New Frontiers Hall of Fame. Dermot joins two prior SETU inductees, David Whelan of XR Engage in Waterford and Edward Hendrick of Sonru in Wexford. Read more about the ceremony on the SETU website.

Read more about the awards ceremony and the recent graduates of New Frontiers at SETU – Waterford Campus, including award winners Praveen Kaur of Uoto, Chris McGarry of Migim, and Susan O’Neill of Sulu Solutions.

Drone Consultants Ireland wins European Satellite Navigation Competition

Drone Consultants Ireland wins European Satellite Navigation Competition

By New Frontiers blog

Drone Consultants Ireland wins European Satellite Navigation Competition

Bruce Hannah, (Irish National Space Centre), Ian Kiely, Peter Downey and Keith Tracey (Drone Consultants Ireland) at the Galileo Masters

A huge congratulations to New Frontiers participant, Ian Kiely, and his team at Drone Consultants Ireland on being announced as the winner of the 2018 European Satellite Navigation Competition (aka the ‘Space Oscars’).

A Media Cube (IADT) company, Drone Consultants Ireland offers a range of aerial solutions and develops UAV ideas for companies looking to improve efficiency and safety. The company also runs Drone & Tech Expo in the RDS.

The European finals of the competition took place in Marseille as part of European Space Week. Drone Consultants Ireland’s entry, Jack in the Box,  is used for UAV Persistent Surveillance. Self-contained, tethered, and aircraft-deployable, the system provides real-time visual data and pinpoints locations to assist emergency services and disaster relief in remote or inaccessible areas. It monitors up to 300 square kilometres from a fixed position, with flight times up to 500 hours. It can also operate in adverse environments without risking lives.
Jack in the Box can provide reliable positioning data to support emergency services, environmental protection, government bodies, civil defence, and border control on land, at sea, and in remote locations. It offers benefits such as reliable real-time data, extended flight times, re-usable hardware, the ability to network multiple devices, variable payload options, and cost-efficiency compared to standard aircraft.

Drone Consultants Ireland New Frontiers company wins European Satellite Navigation Competition

Peter Downey, Ian Kiely, Keith Tracey (Drone Consultants Ireland) with Bruce Hannah, (Irish National Space Centre)

Congratulating Ian Kiely on winning the European Finals, Dr. Annie Doona, President of the Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dún Laoghaire praised the winning submission:

“We were delighted when Ian Kiely, a New Frontiers DIT/IADT graduate company from the Media Cube, won the recent Ireland Regional Competition of the 2018 ESNC Awards. To win the overall European Award is a remarkable achievement. I would like to congratulate Ian Kiely and his team and thank him for his engagement with the staff and students at IADT.”

Jessica Fuller, Head of the Directorate of Creativity, Innovation & Research at IADT commented:

“It is uplifting when a New Frontiers graduate flourishes on the programme and Ian’s success is well deserved. “The real value comes from the mentoring and financial supports available through the Media Cube. We are always looking to support entrepreneurs and innovators with a thirst for international success. It’s wonderful to see innovators like Drone Consultants Ireland being acknowledged and awarded for the risks they take. A considerable amount of effort and research made the Jack in the Box vision a reality. We look forward to working with Ian and Drone Consultants Ireland on future projects’.

The Media Cube works in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Office in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Council and beyond. It provides state-of-the-art facilities including office space, meeting rooms, boardroom and canteen facilities, serviced reception areas and of course the best sea views from its rooftop terrace!

Ann Marie Phelan, Enterprise & Innovation Manager at the Media Cube and New Frontiers Programme Manager in partnership with DIT Hothouse, works closely with client ventures to help them formulate and refine their proposition and navigate the investment options available to support the growth of their start-up. She is delighted with how well the company is doing:

The success of Drone Consultants Ireland centres on the fact that they started from the premise of building their technology around the problems faced by the emergency services in dealing with natural disaster events. The technology was specifically tailored to address the problems of trying to properly survey inaccessible locations, the need to speedily determine whether there were injuries or fatalities and the need to identify the most efficient rescue route out of the disaster area. A classic example of responding to the pain points of those they wished to serve.

About the author


Scarlet Bierman

Scarlet Bierman is a content consultant, commissioned by Enterprise Ireland to fulfil the role of Editor of the New Frontiers website. She is an expert in designing and executing ethical marketing strategies and passionate about helping businesses to develop a quality online presence.

Drone Consultants Ireland (DCI), were announced by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar as winners of the Ireland Regional Competition of the 2018 ESNC (European Satellite Navigation Competition) awards.

Drone Consultants Ireland (DCI) wins regional competition of ESNC 2018

By New Frontiers blog

Drone Consultants Ireland (DCI), were announced by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar as winners of the Ireland Regional Competition of the 2018 ESNC (European Satellite Navigation Competition) awards.

Drone Consultants Ireland (DCI) was announced by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, as the winner of the Ireland Regional Competition of the 2018 European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) awards.

DCI won the regional competition with its Jack-In-The-Box concept and will represent Ireland as they proceed to the European Finals which take place in Marseille at the ‘Space Oscars’ during European Space Week on the 4th December 2018.

Jack-In-The-Box is a self-sustaining, aircraft-deployable drone system that can be parachuted to remote and inaccessible locations, enabling it to gather critical data where natural disasters occur. This technology has the potential to assist rescue services in saving lives and calculating the safe and efficient deployment of resources.

DCI is based at the Media Cube in Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT). The company was founded in 2016 by Ian Kiely and Peter Downey to provide consultancy and support to a variety of emergency response services, government entities and private clients as well as organising and hosting the Drone & Tech Expo Ireland. Ian Kiely is a recent alumnus of Phase 2 of the New Frontiers programme at IADT.

Receiving the award, DCI’s COO Ian Kiely said,

“We are really excited to receive this award and are also looking forward to attending Space Week in Marseille in December to compete for the top awards. We believe this product has significant potential and we are working to bring it to market. DCI is a growing company and we are looking at partnerships and preparing for funding in the immediate future to launch a successful commercial product. We are grateful to the New Frontiers programme and for the ongoing support from Enterprise Ireland and The Media Cube at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) in Dún Laoghaire where we are currently based.”

Bruce Hannah, CTO of the National Space Centre and head of the Irish judging panel said,

“The Jack-In-The-Box entry from DCI demonstrates the potential which satellite navigation data holds to deliver life-saving new technologies to the world stage. The DCI entry leverages existing technology alongside innovation with exponential potential. We wish Ian and his team every success in Marseille.”

Annie Doona, President of IADT, praised DCI for their commitment to research and development,

“Innovative companies like DCI make more than a commercial impact – their technology has the potential to save lives in the aftermath of a vast array of natural disasters. Through their risk-taking and tenacity, we all stand to benefit and we wish them every success in the finals of the ESNC competition.”

For further information, contact Ann Marie Phelan, Enterprise & Innovation manager at the Media Cube, IADT: annmarie.phelan @ / 086 701 5922.

About the author


Scarlet Bierman

Scarlet Bierman is a content consultant, commissioned by Enterprise Ireland to fulfil the role of Editor of the New Frontiers website. She is an expert in designing and executing ethical marketing strategies and passionate about helping businesses to develop a quality online presence.