Smart dumbbell start-up lifts €50,000 Seedcorn prize
BALLYMENA start-up Atlas Smart Technologies has pocketed a €50,000 cash prize after being named best new start at the 2022 InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition.
The all-island final of the investor readiness contest, which took place at the Hilton in Belfast on Thursday night, saw Galway-based ByoWave named overall winner, lifting the top prize of €100,000.
The InterTradeIreland initiative, which is aimed at improving the investor readiness of innovative new start and early stage businesses, carried a total prize fund of €300,000 this year.
Participants also benefit from workshops, mentorship, networking opportunities and access to angel investors.
Founded just last year by Queen’s University students Jack Fullerton, Joseph Gillan and James Logan, Atlas Smart Technologies has developed an adjustable smart dumbbell, providing 26 different weight levels.
The start-up has also developed Stronger Mobile, a workout app that has already been downloaded 38,000 times since its launch earlier this year.
“Being named best new start is a huge honour after what has already been an incredible journey for us,” said Jack Fullerton. “And the prize fund will go towards our product development and marketing.
“The InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition has been a perfect opportunity for us to refine our business plans and practise our pitch in front of experienced investors.
“We are delighted to have picked up the €50,000 prize, and the guidance and feedback we received throughout the competition will prove invaluable as we take SmartBell to market.”
The overall winners on Thursday night, ByoWave, have developed their own accessible video game controller for people with disabilities.
Set up in 2020 by Brandon Blacoe and Eibhlin O’Riordan, the company allows users to design their own controllers based on their own physical needs, opening up unrestricted access to the world of video-gaming.
Eibhlin O'Riordan was in Belfast on Thursday night to accept the prize, while her co-founder appeared via a live video link from China.
“The Seedcorn journey has been invaluable for us, and we are grateful to the programme team for all their support and encouragement throughout the process,” said Brandon.
Eibhlin added: “There are millions of people all over the world with a physical disability that prevents them from using traditional video game controllers.
“Indeed, accessibility barriers affect 40 per cent of gamers who have a disability. We have been working for the past two and a half years to develop solutions that help people overcome this barrier, and the €100,000 prize fund will go towards our product development as we build more accessible controllers to make gaming open for everyone."
Based on the University College Dublin campus, EpiCapture has developed a cutting-edge diagnostic test for prostate cancer.
“Seedcorn is all about promoting and nurturing the growth of innovative start-ups from across the island of Ireland, and it has been exciting to see fresh new talent from a range of sectors,” said InterTradeIreland’s chief executive, Margaret Hearty.
“As well as rewarding the winners with a substantial cash prize, Seedcorn provides all entrants with specialist support and guidance to achieve their growth plans.
“ByoWave, Atlas Smart Technologies, Capella Workspace Solutions and EpiCapture each demonstrate the talent, fresh thinking and ‘can do’ attitude that epitomises the very best of what companies across this island have to offer.
“In the current challenging economic climate and with a global recession looming, it is innovative businesses like these who can embrace change and shape the future of our economies. InterTradeIreland is proud to support these companies at this early stage of their development.”
She added: “We will continue to focus on supporting SMEs to start their innovation and export journey and help them navigate a pathway to growth.
“On behalf of InterTradeIreland I want to congratulate the winners on their success and wish them all the very best as they take their businesses to the next level.”