Posts Tagged ‘DCU Invent’

Does Your Start Up Idea Have Legs?

October 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Does your start up idea have legs?

Pitching / Presentation of new business ideas

19th October 2012, 10 – 1pm

DCU Ryan Academy, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24

Do you have an idea for a new business and wonder if it will take off?   Are you already in business and would you like to get some feedback on your presentation skills? This is your chance to pitch to a panel of Industry
Experts. The panel will evaluate your idea, give constructive advice and answer any questions you have. This is an opportunity for you to see if your start up idea has legs and get constructive advice on how to move your business forward. Applicants will have to fill out an application form in advance to book a pitching slot. Note that this event will take place in the DCU Ryan Academy, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24. This event is sponsored by Invent DCU and the DCU Ryan Academy.

Click HERE for an application form


SFI Researchers Pitch for Success at Demo Day Final

The final day of the Science Foundation Ireland’s TIDA (Technology Innovation Development Awards) took place in the DCU Ryan Academy, with researchers pitching to a panel for the prize of a week in Silicon Valley. This was the culmination of over 2 months of intense training in commercialisation and entrepreneurship for the researchers, as part of the SFI’s TIDA 2010 programme.

The visit to Silicon Valley will be hosted by the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) and provide an opportunity for the winning researchers to meet members of the venture community and leading technology companies. The panel for the TIDA Demo Day included representatives from the ITLG, Enterprise Ireland, DCU Invent, and Paddy Power.

“All of the presentations were of a very high quality demonstrating a good understanding of business concepts.” said Director of Enterprise and International Affairs at SFI, Dr Ruth Freeman. “In the end it was quite difficult for the panel to decide on a winner so we have awarded not one but two prizes to the researchers” she added.

The winners were announced at the event and were named as Dr Jerry Reen who is based in the BIOMERIT Research Centre in University College Cork (UCC) and Doctor Patricia McGowan who works in the Molecular Therapeutics for Cancer (Ireland) based in St. Vincent’s University Hospital and University College Dublin (UCD).

UCD Researcher Patricia McGowan - one of the winners of the SFI TIDA Demo Day in the DCU Ryan Academy

The BIOMERIT Research Centre was established to promote, co-ordinate and develop key biotechnology research activities in the thematic area of Environment and Health by targeting strategic research funding to sustain and develop research in this area. The Molecular Therapeutics for Cancer, Ireland (MTCI) is a SFI -funded Strategic Research Cluster that aims to discover and develop new anti-cancer drugs.

SFI is facilitating the visit to Silicon Valley, which will be hosted by the ITLG. The visit will be an opportunity for the winning researchers to meet members of the venture community and leading technology companies.

These researchers now have a solid grounding in entrepreneurship that they can bring back to their research centre to examine the potential for commercialisation of their research” said Ann Horan, CEO of the Ryan Academy.

SFI had partnered with the DCU Ryan Academy to provide entrepreneurship training for postdoctoral researchers at research centres in Universities across Ireland. SFI is working in partnership with Enterprise Ireland on TIDA to realise a greater economic impact from the state investment in oriented basic research. The programme aimed to teach business skills to university researchers and scientists.

For further information please contact: Niamh Collins at

Two DCU Alumni Get Funded through Propeller Accelerator

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Although the Propeller Accelerator is an open, global competition to see the best startups, it was interesting to see where all of our initial batch came from. Two of the companies have founders who are DCU alumni: Don Corbett (Business School) who is co-founder of Associate Mobile and Doctor Shane Linnane (Physics) who is co-founder of GreenEgg Technologies.

Dr Linnane originally came through the DCU Invent ‘Tech Venture’ commercialisation course that was run in conjunction with the Ryan Academy last year, and this in essence is a spin-out from the Sustainability Lab, run by Dr Stephen Daniels, in DCU. Shane’s co-founder, Rob Merriman, came out of the Sustainability Masters in DIT.

Associate Mobile: Associate Mobile is developing cloud-based mobile platforms for enterprise and consumer markets. MobileMinder – a parental supervision platform for mobiles is the company’s first commercial output.

GreenEgg Technologies: GreenEgg Technologies are a research and development company focused on technological solutions for the clean technology and environmental sectors. They develop innovative eco-friendly products for a range of applications and their research focuses on the development of products that enable the smart and efficient operation of technology.

Overall, the six startups chosen are five from Ireland and one from the UK. They cover key technologies such as mobile applications, cleantech, online gaming, informatics, Facebook ecommerce and social media.

Free Startup Mini-Conference in DCU 18th Feb

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment

The Business School in DCU will host a free mini-conference on starting up a business which will be held at DCU on Friday, 18 February 2011 from 1300 – 1800. It is organised by the DCU Business School and the DCU LINK Research Centre and  supported by North Dublin Chamber of Commerce and

The mini-conference comprises a plenary, commencing at 13:00, which will be addressed by Prof. Brian MacCraith (President of Dublin City University), Marc Coleman (Economist, Radio Presenter, Columnist and Author), Nicola Byrne (CEO, 11890) and Richard Stokes (Managing Director, DCU Invent).

The plenary will be followed by a coffee break and four breakout sessions running from 1600 – 1800. All breakout sessions will take place in DCU Business School.

1.      Start Your Own Business – Supports and Tools (Sponsored by

2.      Setting up an Export Infrastructure and International Business

3.      Business Planning & Business Model Workshop

4.      Introduction to Writing Competitive Tenders

Breakout session speakers include Cambridge University Press, Dublin City Enterprise Board, Microsoft, Ruby Consulting, Hosca Management Consultants, DCU, the Irish India Council, Exportise, AIB and TCI China.

There are additional details at the event is free, places are reserved only for those who register. So please register ASAP at

If you have any questions or queries, please email: or contact Sean Donnelly on 01 700 8609.

I Love the Smell of a New Startup in the Morning…

December 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Ah the launch of a new startup. Back in the dotcom era such ‘launch events’ were very popular, and often vulgar. They fell out of fashion after 2001 so I haven’t witnessed any in a decade. But I was very happy to help out (around the fringes) in the launch event for GreenEgg Technologies, with their partners and client Global Action Plan Ireland, last Thursday morning. No champagne or celebrities in sight, this was very much by the people and of the people.

The EcoBike - Perfect for Teaching People the Importance of Energy Conservation

We have been working with GreenEgg Technologies for a while now, actually since before they were GreenEgg Technologies.

The founder, Dr Shane Linnane, was one of the Dublin City University postdoctoral researchers (from the DCU Sustainability Lab) on the Ryan Academy Tech Start programme that we delivered earlier this year for DCU Invent. Rob Merriman, the new co-founder, was a top student from my Entrepreneurship Masters module in Dublin Institute of Technology. Getting them together has been, as they say, a match made in heaven.

This is the first (of what may be as many as four) startup coming out of  this Invent-inspired new venture creation programme, which had an initial group of 16 postdoctoral researchers from Engineering, Computing and Science Schools in DCU.

GreenEgg Technologies are a cleantech company. Yes, I know cleantech is a wide church, but GreenEgg have new product ideas that span a number of areas, so for once the title fits them nicely. Their first product is a nifty but high-tech EcoBike that is used to educate and excite kids about sustainable living. It was launched by the purchaser, Global Action Plan Ireland, at the Farmers Market in North Dublin last week. Complete with local school kids. And a Green Santa. Cue enjoyable chaos. All the enjoyable chaos of a startup.

Getting to Grips with the GreenEgg EcoBike!

Stimulating University Startups

September 10, 2010 1 comment

Universities in Ireland are trying to work out how to get more startups from their campus. But are the tried and tested activities of the technology transfer offices really enough now?

A lot of time and energy goes into patenting, but only a few are ever licensed. I am not saying we shouldn’t be doing it, but sometimes (from anecdotal evidence I hear around the circuit) the whole process doesn’t tend to motive academics or young postdoctoral researchers to do a startup. Licensing does bring in revenue but if you look at the universities in the US that have large revenue from licensing like Columbia, it tends to be from a couple of ‘killer’ licenses. The whole reasoning behind patents particularly in the technology sector (not including biotech in this) has been a source of debate in online technology forums in the US like VentureBeat and TechCrunch in recent months. Our TTO offices have to be more than that, taking on the mantle potentially as the focus of the universities economic development platform.

That is why I was happy to work with DCU Invent, DCU’s Tech Transfer Office, at their behest earlier this year on the very innovative technology entrepreneurship and the follow-on mentoring programme that the Ryan Academy helped them with. We now have a bunch of potential startups that will be coming on stream in the next few months, the first one should be out of the blocks next month. The Universities and Institutes of Technology tech transfer offices and their incubators are key to getting entrepreneurship going on campus, with staff and students and with alumni, not to mention the local economic community.

But it isn’t just about technology transfer. The potential impact of the university could and should be much greater. Take the example of the University of Miami. Lets face it, not an MIT or a Stanford but they have a hugely successful on-campus entrepreneurship programme called Launch Pad, based in their interdisciplinary entrepreneurship resource center, with over 45 companies coming out of the programme in the last few years. As their website states:

“The Launch Pad serves both beginning and experienced entrepreneurs, assisting with opportunity recognition, feasibility assessment, and strategy for starting and growing companies or non-profits. We specialize in just-in-time delivery of resources – what you need, when you need it.”

Of course lots of higher education organisations talk about this kind of thing, but they are often delivered by those who haven’t actually either worked with startups or done a startup themselves. Reading lots of books about playing guitar is very different from playing in a band for year. Same goes for entrepreneurship, if the module isn’t just some elective but is delivered to people who want to do it. Now.

The Miami programme is as much about economic development as it is about entrepreneurship. One of the aims of the programme is to show University of Miami students and alumni that starting a new venture is a legitimate career path that starting a new venture is a viable way to make a living. Talking to entrepreneurs in DCU and beyond in the last year, it seems that finally being an entrepreneur in Ireland is becoming just that – a legitimate career choice. Some of the graduates coming out of universities and institute of technology now may not have thought that way five years ago but I guess one of the silver linings to the recession is that this is now, very much, an option.

A second key goal of Launchpad is to encourage every Miami student who wants to start a new venture – either for-profit or not for profit – to do so in South Florida and thereby contribute to the economic and social growth of our region. Notice they include non or more-than-profit in this too, something the Ryan Academy has been pushing for some time now. Empowering people to take control of their own destiny is a wonderful contribution the University can make to people’s lives. Helping to build a robust economy is payback for all the government funding (from taxpayers like you and me) the sector receives. And doing it in an interdisciplinary way ensures ‘no faculty gets left behind.’

Close-Mentoring a bit like A&R for Record Labels

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

As I have mentioned before, I am ‘close-mentoring’ a number of very early stage start-ups in Dublin City University at the moment. It started me thinking about what the process was like. When I was younger I managed a couple of rock bands, we were young and alas my lack of knowledge and their ego’s put paid to any future in the music industry. But there is a similarity with mentoring early stage technology companies. It is kinds like a cross between a band manager and the artists and repertoire (A&R) people that the music labels employ. Managers are meant to make the deals and sort out gigs for bands. Close mentoring tech companies can often mean getting them into potential partners, or help them make initial sales.

A&R people are meant to help groom the musicians for greatness, expected to understand the current tastes of the market and to be able to find artists that will be commercially successful. As a mentor in a university environment, my job is to help the researchers to clarify their vision but in a way that there is an immediate commercial application. In my life in the higher education sector, and previously in early stage venture capital, I saw several ‘we have built it so they will come’ technology ideas from labs of various Dublin universities. Of course the problem is that academics and researchers tend to think of technology as an end all and be all. They don’t start with the question of who will want it and what will they pay for it. This is because they are trained this way as this is how the academic research world works. Alas all these academically driven start-ups all those years ago all failed.

The ones I am dealing with now are different. They all came through the DCU Invent/Ryan Academy tech start programme, a series of mini-modules delivered by pracademic staff (entrepreneurs or those who dealt with entrepreneurs), with follow-up one-to-one meetings at the end, to see where their original idea sat with what they had learned. In most cases the ideas had developed in a different directions and since the mentoring (myself and others around Dublin) they have developed further again, to the point where the first start-up is currently in the process of actually setting up a company. Two more are probably going to be set-up in the next three or four months.