IGNITE NI ACCELERATOR HOSTS VIRTUAL PITCH SESSION WITH GLOBAL INVESTORS

Accelerator team 2020

Alumni of Ignite programmes in Northern Ireland have raised over $15m in past two years

Ignite NI has concluded its first ever virtual accelerator with an online event that gave its 10 early stage tech startups the chance to pitch their business to almost 200 investors.

Tech accelerator specialists Ignite also announced that teams who have taken part in the Northern Ireland programmes in the past two years have collectively raised $15.2 million in funding – a large part sourced from investors outside of Northern Ireland, in particular from the United States.

The Ignite NI Accelerator, supported by Invest Northern Ireland, takes ten high potential startups on an intensive 3-month programme. Based in the Ormeau Baths in Belfast, the Accelerator encourages a global outlook, giving founders access to experts that provide hands on advice on how to refine their product, scale their business and attract funding.

Despite travel restrictions due to COVID-19, Ignite NI delivered over 700 sessions involving 200 people, including some of the most successful in the technology sector. Ignite NI was able to secure sessions with April Dunford, Canadian author of the best-selling start-up book ‘Obviously Awesome’, Eoghan McCabe, CEO of Intercom, Brett Hurt, founder of BazaarVoice and Whurley, founder and CEO of Strangeworks.  

Chris McClelland, Programme Director of Ignite NI said: “In week one we moved to a virtual version of the programme. Everything changed for these teams and we wanted to double down on our support. We built upon the positives and increased our reach globally involving entrepreneurs and investors from 10 countries.

“We’ve witnessed some incredible progress by these entrepreneurs despite the circumstances. It has been an honour to see how they have made it work and makes us even more excited about their future. We’d like to thank everyone who has supported and helped this year.”

Stephen Wightman, Director for Technology Solutions & New Product Development at Invest NI said: “Businesses have had to adapt quickly to the current circumstances and the Ignite NI Accelerator programme has risen to the challenge. The successful virtual delivery of the programme, including the final pitch to a range of investors, ensures the programme will continue to help drive businesses forward, contributing to the innovative future of the technology sector in Northern Ireland. 

“It is great to see the success of the teams over the past three years, demonstrating how Northern Ireland is still an attractive location for global investors. We look forward to supporting them as they develop and scale globally.”

This year, in place of investor lunches Ignite normally holds in London, Dublin and San Francisco the accelerator teams hosted a virtual ‘investor preview’ event last week where the ten teams pitched to an online audience. The teams were:

Altra, who make communication easier for care homes, has seen a 30% usage growth week on week during lockdown helping care homes fill shifts.

Book Entertainment a booking management platform for musicians and entertainers has focused its product on supporting entertainers.

CORA an operating system for multi-million pound construction projects, has signed deals with Mac Group and Graham construction.

ESTHER a peer-2-peer platform connecting donors to those in financial crisis has launched pilots in the US helping corporates assist poverty in their city.

OBBIan onboarding and compliance for manufacturing and construction, has launched a new online platform has been set up help Northern Ireland firms return to work.

Payhere remove the barriers to businesses taking online payments. It launched a new product helping companies convert to online store efficiently.

Shopper.com a community powered platform for finding the best prices, has also launch a new product alerting customers when items are back in stock.

SideQuest, a community based app store for Oculus Quest has reached 1 million downloads with 30% of Oculus sales housed on its site.

Skylark , a virtual control room for wind farms, is closing a deal with one of largest energy provider.

TrueStock – Sales demand prediction for retailers has launched their largest update yet for Shopify users.

For more information on any of the teams please go to www.igniteni.com

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