From fashion to DIY and heart rehab to hedge funds: 7 Irish start-ups worth watching


Seven Irish start-ups attended an event organised by the Irish International Business Network at the Irish Embassy in London last night. Each of the companies had three minutes to pitch their businesses to a panel of judges, with the aim of qualifying for a place at the Bloomberg 'Pitch' event that could lead to all important investment. 

The seven entrepreneurs impressed the panel and invited audience and are all certainly ones to watch. 


First up was Founder Jack Drea explained what exactly his business does. 

"We're the online DIY marketplace and community. We offer curated content by professionals for anyone looking to do DIY at home, as well as a marketplace for consumers to buy the bits and pieces they need. The DIY market is worth £180 billion worldwide, with about 10% of that taking place online. We don't charge users, we make money buy taking a cut of what the retailers earn."

"We have the guy who laid the floors in Áras an Uachtaráin up on our site, showing you how to put down wooden flooring." 


Online recruitment services are incredibly popular, but this company are looking to change how companies hire new staff. 

"Rather than having a recruitment professional read through CVs to fill a post, why not have engineers recruit engineers, lawyers hiring lawyer and so on? Our business uses people working in the sectors employers are hoping to recruit for, as they know what it takes to do the job. This means anyone can help make a hire and it reduces the cost to the business looking to recruit"


Chartered physio, Avril Copeland, was the third entrepreneur to take to the floor to pitch her business, TickerFit. 

This cloud based application allows health professionals to monitor the recovery of patients and follow their progress remotely. The results can be tracked in realtime and this data can be measured an analysed. 

Only 20% of patients complete the rehab programme laid out for them by their health professionals. A platform such as TickerFit allows the professionals to interact with their patients and provide them with information to help them complete their treatment. 


The pitch for Cognikids grabbed my attention right away. Founder, Olwyn Nolan, stated that today's environment can impact on a child's development. Crawling, for example, can be a challenge for children today as many homes have wooden flooring. Olwyn, a trained Neurological Development Therapist, made this observation and so the Easy Grip Crawl Suit was born. This suit helps young babies grip onto non-carpeted floors and crawl. 

Cognikids have expanded their range of products and are teaming up with large retailers such as MotherCare, Boots and Tesco. Olwyn also appeared on Ireland's Dragon's Den.

The McGinn sisters are #GirlBosses, who are making waves in the world of fashion and online shopping. The trio are serial entrepreneurs and are putting all of their time and energy into Grace McGinn took to the floor at the Irish Embassy and explained what their business is in an easy to understand way,

"We're the Asos for the next generation."

Having researched their target market extensively, these women know exactly what their audience wants and are continuing to build their brand. 

Gecko Governance: 

Shane Brett, the brains behind Gecko Governance explained how his business offers software solutions to hedge fund managers. From streamlining their various projects to regulatory compliance, Gecko Governance is the best friend of anyone working in that industry. 

Shane has high hopes for the company, including an expansion to London and New York. He is also hoping to expand his team of 5 as time goes by. 


The final business to pitch was Cork based Subwoofr. This is a platform that brings music fans closer to their favourite artists.

CEO Joe Lennon explained how his business can turn followers into fans and generate revenue for the artists. While they do work with record labels, this could be a nice revenue stream for independent artists. 

Jessica Kelly, 

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