Belfast tech start-up Ivea Labs has won €10,000 as part of the annual Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition for their product Visit, a dual-aspect technology solution that will change the way tourists interact with exhibitions.
The group, made up of Andrew Boyd, Victoria Potts, Adam Whiteside and Alex Caskey are from Queen’s University Belfast.
Specifically targeted at Northern Irish tourism, Visit’s appeal is two-fold: it will allow tourists to receive free information about a piece in an exhibition directly to their phone via Bluetooth but more importantly it will allow attraction owners to gather accurate visitor analytics in a non-intrusive way.
“We're so happy to have won, absolutely delighted. We started this idea as a module in college, but got on so well and thought that this idea was viable. Winning this competition means we can actually get going and stop doing competitions to try win money. Now we can hit the ground running and start focusing on the business," the team from Ivea Labs said, speaking about their win.
In second place, with a prize of €5,000, was Brian Morgan from IT Sligo for his business plan WaterWatch. The acoustic water monitoring system allows customers to understand their real-time water consumption, helping them to save money. Meanwhile, joint third place and a prize of €1,000 went to James and Peter Nagle (UCC) for their business plan, Bitcove, an online platform for buying and selling the Bitcoin digital currency, and to Ken Bourke, Dan Malone and Max Hoffman (DCU) for their idea Mawla, a software that allows users to design and build mobile apps through a graphical interface in real time.
Announcing the winner, chair of the judging panel and founder of CyberSource Corporation Ltd, Bill McKiernan, said “It’s always an honour to come to Dublin to see these compelling and diverse business plans and pitches. I’d like to congratulate all of the finalists for displaying such an innovative and entrepreneurial flair in each of their ideas. Backing this energy and offering practical support is crucial to seeing these young people reach their full potential.” He was joined by fellow judges Fergal Mullen of Highland Capital Europe, Marie O’Connor of PwC Ireland, Alan Foy of Blueface and Neil O’Herlihy of Google.
The Business Plan Competition kicks off the 2015 Worldwide Ireland Funds Conference, an annual coming together of philanthropists and business, political, and cultural leaders which is taking place in Killarney this weekend. For more information on The Worldwide Ireland Funds visit www.theirelandfunds.org