Startup 2015: SMEs who are benefiting from work with enterprise support agencies

Many companies are already benefitting from their work with enterprise support agencies - these are their stories.

Cathal O’Meara - Sculpting new landscapes

Cathal O’Meara
Cathal O’Meara

Established in 2010, Cathal O’Meara Landscape Architects is an award winning, design-focused practice, with a broad range of design and consultancy services to the environmental, planning and development sectors.

Cathal recently took up a hotdesk space in E-Fermoy because of the quality of the space offered.

Cathal established his own business in 2010 after finishing a contract in Guatemala City. At that time there wasn’t much happening in Ireland in Landscape Architecture but the chance to do consultancy work with the Avondhu Blackwater Partnership in 2011 enabled Cathal to get his business off the ground.

This consultancy work built up a client base in the North Cork region which has recently expanded nationwide where Cathal has been working on public park schemes for county councils, housing schemes for residential developments and streetscape improvement works with the NRA, as well as one off commissions for private clients.

Cathal’s work with the Avondhu Blackwater Partnership involved providing expertise in the area of landscape architecture, where he worked with the group on such projects as, the new Rathcormac Wildlife Reserve and the renovation of passive housing at Baile Glas in Lombardstown, and the design guidance on infill programmes for Tidy Towns and local community development groups in the region.


e-Quiddity - Innovators in procurement

Ingrid De Doncker, managing director of eQuiddity
Ingrid De Doncker, managing director of eQuiddity

Formed in 2013 by Ingrid De Doncker, e-Quiddity has gone from strength to strength and now employs five full-time staff in Ireland and manages outsourced partners in the UK as part of her service.

e-Quiddity works predominantly in the procurement space, providing full managed e-procurement/benchmarking solutions for all stakeholders in the negotiation cycle of life.

Ingrid started her career in Belgium as a sales manager. For the last 15 years, however, she has concentrated on the world of eSourcing and cost reduction for telecoms, networks and manufacturing, before finally embarking on an adventure in retail.

Ingrid is focused on helping her clients build long term sourcing strategies for understanding, controlling and managing their spend and to positively impact the bottom line. Beyond that, it is about establishing mutual respect between all parties through equitable and sustainable contracts.

Ingrid established her own business in 2013 to make a difference for the procurement professionals.

e-Quiddity has a unique understanding of procurement in the eWorld, including retail, public procurement and manufacturing. The team is small but formidable, acting as commercial detectives to uncover the best possible solutions.

Together, they have more than 70 years’ experience in eWorld practices, and they have delivered more than 800 auctions with more than €200m delivered in savings for clients.

e-Quiddity has been based at E-Bandon Enterprise Centre, Bandon, Co Cork, since 2013. Ingrid chose E-Bandon because, while work is important to her, family is always more important. Ingrid travels a lot and when she is in the office, she does not want to be too far away from her loved ones.

The Bandon E-Centre was a perfect location for her and a good trade off. It meant as well that she could provide local employment which is important. She says these days, you do not need to be in the city centre to make a difference.

e-Quiddity was nominated for a National Enterprise Award in 2015, representing Cork West.

GRASP - Wearable technologies

At Grasp’s formal launch are Minister for Research and Innovation, Damien English, Grasp CEO, Ken Byrne; GRASP CTO, Michael Walsh and Tyndall CEO, Kieran Drain.
At Grasp’s formal launch are Minister for Research and Innovation, Damien English, Grasp CEO, Ken Byrne; GRASP CTO, Michael Walsh and Tyndall CEO, Kieran Drain.

Today’s information hungry society has a seemingly insatiable appetite for smart products that engage us with real-time feedback about our performance.

Grasp’s wearable technologies measures the wearer’s bio-mechanical parameters based on principal research carried out at Tyndall under the leadership of Dr Michael Walsh, who is also Grasp’s chief technology officer.

The innovative technology Grasp is using to create a range of products was developed in Tyndall. Ten years of research supported by SFI, EI and the EU have enabled Tyndall to develop technologies robust enough to generate a new company.

Using smart algorithms, Grasp can give an instant three-dimensional profile of a user’s stride length, vertical lift and impact. This information can be used to draw informed conclusions about a user’s performance and efficiency, and can be used to improving running technique and helping avoid injury, to analyse real-time player and team position and movement patterns in team sports.

With Apple, Google and Samsung all expanding their wearable technology platforms, opportunities in the sector have never been so strong. Grasp is actively seeking investment to bring their products to market, with clear market potential and consumer benefits.

Grasp has carried out extensive user analysis to understand what the athlete, runner and end user really needs in a wearable system for running and how existing product gaps and unmet needs can be addressed. The culmination of this research is the development of technology that will equip the runner with a complete assessment of running technique and the provision of real-time feedback and coaching that is helpful and actionable. The athlete will be able to further assess performance and progression through the provision of tailored dashboards and analytics.

Exceedence - Harnessing ocean energy

Raymond Alcorn, founder of ocean energy sector innovator Exceedence
Raymond Alcorn, founder of ocean energy sector innovator Exceedence

Raymond Alcorn has spent 15 years in ocean energy, both commercial and R&D — both overseas and in Ireland.

An electrical engineer, Dr Alcorn has spent his entire career in ocean energy having first obtained his PhD in the field from Queens University Belfast; he then became a chartered engineer through his work in industry. He was head of electrical engineering and then chief engineer of a start-up wave energy developer called Energetech in Australia. His most recent position as executive director of the Hydraulics and Maritime Centre in UCC saw him build and manage a 40-strong technical team over eight years through various national, EU and international funding mechanisms.

Exceedence was set up in 2014 to catalyse commercialisation and investment in the Marine Renewable industry by providing sector-specific, independent, credible and robust financial planning, evaluation and optimisation software which was built and tested around international standards.

ExceedenceFINANCE has and will continue to help the MRE sector in Ireland through engagement all along the supply chain. However, the product has been built to work in any global market and to allow like for like comparisons across domains and borders which will further catalyse the entire industry.

Exceedence’s software will save time, reduce risk, increase profitability and maximise resources for its customers. For the first time there will be Integration and optimisation of technical and financial teams. Ability to import and use own data along with supplied databases of devices and resources.

Exceedence has been accepted on to the Microsoft Bizspark programme for startups, and was a finalist in the Irish Maritime Industry Awards. The company has been supported by Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund, and has benefited from the GatewayUCC Business Incubation facilities and business support packages. It is also supported by Cork LEO and Cork City Council.

RADISENS DIAGNOSTICS - Firm at fore of diagnostics

Dawn Guiney, Kernel Capital; Tony McDonald, Enterprise Ireland; Seán Sherlock, Research Minister of State, and Ian Hayes, Radisens Diagnostics, unveil a €1m contract to Radisens by the European Space Agency to develop their instant blood testing device for use on board the International Space Station.
Dawn Guiney, Kernel Capital; Tony McDonald, Enterprise Ireland; Seán Sherlock, Research Minister of State, and Ian Hayes, Radisens Diagnostics, unveil a €1m contract to Radisens by the European Space Agency to develop their instant blood testing device for use on board the International Space Station.

Cork-based medical diagnostics start-up Radisens Diagnostics is developing a near-patient device to instantly test for high-burden chronic disease.

The Ballincollig firm has recently secured €4.5m via Horizon 2020 to develop products that, from a single pinprick of blood, will instantly deliver laboratory-grade diagnostic results for diabetes, cardiovascular and kidney analysis.

With current lab tests taking days to give results, Radisens’ disruptive technology removes the need for blood samples to be analysed at central labs, thereby eliminating delays in patient diagnosis. Radisens Diagnostics is based at the CIT Rubicon Centre, backed by Enterprise Ireland and by Kernel Capital through the Bank of Ireland MedTech Accelerator Fund. CorkBIC has also been supporting Radisens since 2007.

It was founded by Jerry O’Brien, an engineer with a commercial background.

Jerry O’Brien said: “We have exciting challenges in our new Ballincollig premises; we hope to contribute to the local economy as we expand on a global scale.”

The market for clinical diagnostics will reach $70bn worldwide by 2017. Clinical diagnostics segment is c.2% of healthcare spend, its outputs are in 70-80% of clinical decisions.

Radisens’ technologies have the ability to transform blood testing, allowing medical practitioners to instantly test for high-burden chronic disease from a single drop of blood.

DARE TECHNOLOGY - Daring to dream of a cleaner future

Meet the technology company planing to take a million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year.

Dare Technology is a Cork startup looking to shake things up in the renewable sector by using portable devices to produce energy in the same location that it is used.

Founded by Darren Hayes and based in the Entrepreneur Ship on the IMERC campus at Ringaskiddy, Dare Technology’s first product, Hi-Gen, is a portable wind turbine for use on marine vessels.

The idea was first developed by Darren who, when working in the marine renewable energy industry, noticed that vessels on down time (that is to say, in port), were wasting a lot of fuel to power processes.

Darren says: “After doing some research it became clear that small vessels worldwide could be spending a combined total of up to €300m and using 374 million litres of fuel to power themselves while not actually working. To me, this seemed an area open to a better solution.”

So in Summer 2015, Darren and Paddy took the leap to go full-time into the business and develop the prototype. Dare Technology was awarded a Competitive Start Award by Enterprise Ireland and is now officially a High Potential Startup.

This has been hugely valuable to Dare providing them with funding, and crucially, a mentor.

Dare recently moved to the IMERC Entrepreneur Ship in order to capitalise on the new infrastructure and innovation hub being built up to support the maritime, marine renewables and energy sectors in the IMERC Campus.

The plan for the coming months for Dare is to develop the prototype while completing detailed market research to fully understand the size of the global market, and develop the supply chain.

In parallel, Dare will look at other projects and hopes to begin expanding the company and the staff to become a leading developer of innovative renewable energy technology.


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