Entrepreneur Daniel Mulcahy's company RideShair has been named as Best Business Opportunity and Overall Winner of the Rubicon Centre's 2019 New Frontiers programme, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland.
Daniel Mulcahy was chosen from 12 ambitious startups at a high profile breakfast event in Cork Institute of Technology this morning.
He'll be hoping to follow in the footsteps of past participants, including successful businesses such as Abtran, Aspira, Cully and Sully, Crest Solutions, Treemetrics and Radisens Diagnostics.
RideShair is a software platform that connects airline passengers and event attendees who can share taxis to and from 3,000 airports globally.
Daniel joined the New Frontiers programme six months ago having returned from Australia, where he was the founder and CEO of a successful sales and distribution company.
“We are in advanced talks with a number of airlines, travel technology companies and global taxi companies,” said Daniel.
“We are working on our app and developing our website.
As I am just back from Australia, the programme has been great to give me access to expert advice and to build networks. It helped me create a strategic business plan and conduct market research.
Other prize winners included: Stephen Fleming, Voxxify, Best Trade Stand; Ryan O'Neill, Legit Fit, Best Business Plan; Loretta Kennedy, Mama Bear Foods, Best Video; and Sean Barni, Masqt, Best Peer Participant.
The other participants were: Christina O'Dwyer, Everywhere Medical; Dave Jeffery, ToDesktop; Marian Kennedy, PPR Healthcare; Michael O'Neill, RiiConnect; Nora Irwin, Arona; Padro DaSilva, AtDaLitho; and Tara Zuluaga Dorgan, Gut.Instinct.
All of the New Frontiers participants have progressed their businesses towards a formal launch, some already having paying customers, while others have significant deals pending.
Several will also go on to future Enterprise Ireland scaling up programmes.
The event's keynote speaker was Peter Coppinger, founder and CEO of project management software company Teamwork, winner of EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 and formerly a CIT student.
He told guests that SaaS (software as a service) is a great business model for any startup as it brings in revenue even as you sleep.
So committed is he to the concept that Teamwork's stylish campus in Blackpool, Cork, offers free incubation space to SaaS startups. New Frontiers participant Dave Jeffery of ToDesktop can certainly attest to the truth in Peter Coppinger's SaaS message.
“After my first week in business, I am already profitable,” said Dave.
“Our SaaS company converts your web app to a desktop app in two minutes. We launched last week and we have 63 new customers paying $49 a month. For our first week, that's very encouraging.
“Only two of those customers are Irish. We're aiming for an international customer base. The main thing the programme has brought me was learning how to understand our customers. And as a sole company founder, it has been good to get feedback and engage with the people around me on the programme.”
Enterprise Ireland hosts New Frontiers programmes in 14 institutes of technology nationwide. Participants come from a very broad range of backgrounds. The 2019 Rubicon graduates came from sectors including software, food, med-tech, natural cosmetics, life sciences and IOT.
Awards at the CIT event were presented and chosen by an independent panel of expert stakeholders from AIB, EY, RDJ Solicitors, The Irish Examiner Cork Institute of Technology.
“Several of the companies have secured investment in addition to sales and distribution channels in Ireland and overseas so exciting times ahead for the entrepreneurs,” said Alison Walsh, programme manager of the CIT-based programme.
Participants also benefitted from access to expertise across the CIT campus, collaborating with colleagues in the Nimbus Centre, the Health Innovation Hub and Cappa to progress their ideas, in addition to securing student intern placements and support on marketing and media projects with MA students.
Alison Walsh said she would welcome any expressions of interest for would-be participants in the upcoming New Frontiers Programme. Those interested can visit www.rubiconcentre.ie or call 021 4928900 for an informal chat.