In the super-cool, exposed-bricked splendour of the NDRC (National Digital Research Centre) building in Crane Street, Dublin 2, fifteen start-ups took their turns to pitch their innovations to a room full of judges, potential investors, media, movers and shakers and, er, us in the hope of becoming Ireland’s Next Top Mogul.
The standard of excellence, innovation and originality on display was truly amazing. And the polish with which all fifteen delivered their pitches was something to behold. No manky ‘aul Powerpoint slides for this crew: it was all super-slick animations and gorgeous looking presentations all the way. From innovative car share solutions, to a virtual manager system for restaurants and bars, there was an incredible demonstration of real entrepreneurship in the room.
In the end, Soundwave were the ultimate and deserved victors in the Lift Off competition, winning a €50,000 investment fund. Headed up by Brendan O’Driscoll, Soundwave is basically a music data analytics service that allows users to discover and track what songs are being listened to, and where, in realtime. It combines geo-location and ID3 music tagging technology. Musicians can track the diffusion of their songs and decide where to promote their music based on information from Soundwave. Record labels and radio stations can identify what artists are popular in what locations and run location-targeted marketing campaigns and tour promotions.
Great news for anyone in the music industry, bad news if you are caught listening to a bit of Michael Bolton!
Other winners were Building Eye, the technology nosey neighbours the world over have been waiting for where open source planning data from local authorities allows users to see what is being planned in their area; Jumpzter, a children’s travel application and kids forum for all those aspiring Michael Palins out there, and Sneaky Vegetables, a multi-platform educational game for use on the iPad / Android tablets, desktop and interactive whiteboard that teaches children (7+) the skills necessary to draw freehand in 3D.
The NDRC Lift-Off competition really is an amazing showcase for all these bright young (and not so young) things who are taking their ideas and making them into an investable reality. As an observer, it is a fantastic event – buzzing with innovation, contagious optimism and it has to be said, some of the tastiest sambos we’ve had in a while.