Big Ideas 2019 to Showcase Academic Entrepreneurs

Big Ideas 2019 includes a fairytale-inspired innovation to save the lives of firefighters, The Quickstitch for rapid wound closure and energy efficient wastewater recycling

Twelve investor-ready start-ups will pitch their new technology solutions to investors at Big Ideas 2019 today. The annual Enterprise Ireland showcase of start-up innovation emerging from higher education institutes is taking place at the booked-out event at the Printworks in Dublin Castle this afternoon.

The selected third-level spins-outs with Big Ideas 2019 will each have just three minutes to promote their innovations and business propositions to an invited audience made up of the Irish research and investment communities.

Big Ideas 2019

“Disruptive technologies and world-class innovations stemming from research taking place in our academic institutions are often showcased for the very first time on the Big Ideas stage” said Stephen Creaner, Executive Director, Enterprise Ireland.

“This is why Enterprise Ireland’s annual Big Ideas event is one of the most popular in our yearly calendar and always guaranteed a full house – for those who are looking for the next big thing, this is a first-hand opportunity to witness Ireland’s latest technologies and business innovations.”

Big Ideas 2019

Innovations relate to a range of sectors including medtech, agritech, cleantech and other industries. Now in its 11th year, Enterprise Ireland’s Big Ideas 2019 illustrates the commercialisation potential of Irish academic research.

Big Ideas 2019 event includes a potentially life-saving wayfinding system developed by a firefighter who was inspired by ‘Hansel and Gretel’; a wound closure device which combines the advantages of skin stapling with suturing; and a novel cyclonic method of mixing air and water to halve the electricity spent on recycling trillions of litres of wastewater every day.

Big Ideas 2019

“Collaboration between Higher Education, state agencies, investors and business creates a pathway to success and Enterprise Ireland is committed to helping start-ups like these to realise their commercial potential and achieve their global ambition, bringing their innovative solutions to the global market” continued Creaner.

A ‘One to Watch Award’ will be presented for the outstanding pitch of the day. Guest speakers at today’s event will also include Julia Hobsbawm OBE, author of ‘Fully Connected’ and twin brothers Declan and Garech Stone, aka The Stone Twins, an award-winning creative brand consultancy based in Amsterdam.

Enterprise Ireland

“Enterprise Ireland’s team of Commercialisation Specialists help researchers with idea feasibility, customer and prototype validation and accelerating the process of business start-up and growth” added Gearoid Mooney, Divisional Manager, Research and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland.

“Today’s Big Ideas is a showcase of that work, reflecting the high standard of innovative research that is currently being conducted within Higher Education Institutes in Ireland and highlighting the business potential of the fruits of that research.

“With the support of Enterprise Ireland, many of the innovations being pitched here today will go on to increase the competitiveness of industry in Ireland and achieve global success – we are proud to say that you saw them here first.”

The Big Ideas

  • According to the World Health Organisation, dementia is the biggest healthcare challenge of the 21st Cortex Cognition, a neuroscience technology spin-out company from Trinity College Dublin, has developed a state-of-the art Virtual Reality-based cognitive assessment which can detect subtle changes in cognition and identify early stages of dementia. Promoter: Paula Bolger
  • Environmental concerns have seen a desire to move away from synthetic chemicals used in agriculture. e-Seed from Trinity College Dublin is a technology for coating seeds which reduces the need for pesticides and fertiliser-use while increasing yields for farmers. Promoter: Sean Daly
  • Exit Entry is a software spin-in company based at DCU offering a solution for talent wars – the platform can measure soft skills and matches students with jobs using psychology-based software tools. Promoter: Lewize Crothers
  • As industry marches on towards digitalisation and Industry 4.0, sensing technology created by iSentiolabs in Trinity College Dublin, has the goal of making mechanical components, machines and structures ‘smart’. The technology has been developed for advanced manufacturing processes used to create quality-critical mechanical components, such as artificial hips and knees. Promoter: Garrett O’Donnell
  • For athletes and sports performance coaches, the ability to measure and track athlete performance accurately is crucial. UCD’s Output Sports has developed a single lab-grade wearable motion sensor that can accurately test and track multiple components of athletic performance so coaches can truly understand athletes and optimise performance. Promoter: Darragh Whelan
  • The children’s fairytale ‘Hansel and Gretel’ inspired fireman Martin Trainor’s development of Pathfinder at DCU. One of the major causes of firefighters’ deaths is becoming trapped, lost or disoriented within burning buildings. Using ‘smart pebbles’ on the way into the building, firefighters can landmark their route using easily deployable wayfinders, effectively leaving a trail to follow on the way out which can also be monitored externally. Promoter: Martin Trainor
  • Rapid population growth means we need more food to feed the global population of the future. Farmers are currently using optical sensing agtech solutions to help make farming decisions, however, data collected from images can be poor. UCD spin-out ProvEye’s technology can generate better agricultural data resulting in better farming outcomes. Promoter: Tim Buckley
  • The world’s first range of disposable devices to remove excess secretions from the respiratory tract and reduce mucus plugging in the small airways has been developed by Solopep, a spin-out from the University of Limerick. Currently, reusable OPEP (Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure) devices require rigorous daily cleaning, taking up to 40 minutes a day for those at highest risk of infection. Promoter: Kevin O’Sullivan
  • Over 230 million wounds are closed every year – that’s 450 wounds per second. Current processes are slow, costly and can get infected easily. Trinity College Dublin spin-out Starling Surgical has developed The Quickstitch, a wound closure device as rapid to use as a skin stapler with the clinical advantages of meticulous sutures. Promoter: Travis Davis
  • With over 5 million people suffering from hearing loss worldwide, Tympany Medical is on a mission to revolutionise how ear surgeons operate. The NUI Galway spin-out is designing and developing a novel combined access and visualisation device which will enable ear surgeons to ‘see around the corners’ of the ear canal. This will allow surgeons to perform trans-canal ear surgery with a wide endoscopic view of the surgical site, thereby avoiding unnecessarily invasive surgery. Promoter: Elizabeth McGloughlin
  • NUI Galway’s Venari Medical is developing a unique medical device to treat patients with chronic venous disease by using the body’s natural healing response. Venous disease is caused when veins fail to circulate blood effectively which then pools in the legs and is the cause of 80% of all leg ulcers, affecting up to 120 million patients across the US and Europe. Promoter: Nigel Phelan
  • Every day, nine trillion litres of clean water is turned into nine trillion litres of wastewater across the globe. NUI Galway’s VorTech Water Solutions has developed a novel cyclonic method of mixing air and water to solve the energy intensity required in treating this wastewater which can amount to up to 4% of a developed nations’ total electricity bill. Promoter: John Geoghegan

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Featured Image Credit: Enterprise Ireland