by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

Ten innovative technology companies have been given the chance to pitch their business plans to an audience of Northern Ireland’s top start-up investors at a packed demo event in Ormeau Baths. The Ignite NI Accelerator hosted its first ever showcase, bringing some of the brightest tech prospects to the attention of Northern Irish business leaders, stakeholders and investors.

The showcase marks the end of the intensive 12-week accelerator programme, which is designed to help established early stage technology companies to grow their business and develop them to a point where they are equipped to go and raise further investment of between £250,000 and £2.5m.

The ten companies taking part in the accelerator programme, which is supported by Invest Northern Ireland, each had the opportunity to deliver a 4 minute pitch about their business to the assembled audience. Ahead of the showcase, the Ignite NI Accelerator teams also delivered their pitch to investors in London and Dublin.

Launched in 2011, Ignite’s support has helped over 120 companies to raise more than £30m in private investment across the UK and Europe.

Tristan Watson, CEO of Ignite said: “It has been a fantastic first programme for the Ignite NI Accelerator. We have loved working alongside this group of talented tech founders in Belfast to help them refine their business models and hopefully put them in a better position to attract investment and scale up their startups into thriving, sustainable companies. The showcase was a great chance for the Ignite NI teams to demonstrate all they’ve learnt and for the audience to see some of the exciting new businesses who might one day be household names.”

Chris Acheson, CEO at spare parts platform CADshare said, “We were able to attract £500k of private investment during the Ignite NI programme and we’re now recruiting more staff as the company continues to grow. The showcase was a vital opportunity to build on that momentum and drive further growth for the future.”

Emma Gunes, CEO at automated recruitment platform Landed said, “We have just recently secured Hotel Chocolat as a client which is a landmark success as we come to the end of the Ignite NI programme. We now have a total of eleven clients and we’ve seen a 20% increase in revenue. The showcase was a fantastic moment to share those achievements and hopefully attract investment.”

Jonny Clarke, CEO at online booking platform for pharmacists and pharmacies Locate a Locum said, “The showcase was a great platform to highlight our achievements on the Ignite NI programme. The programme helped us identify key elements of our product we could improve. As a result, we’ve been able to double our work with Boots Pharmacy. Locate a Locum is used by the 4 largest pharmacy chains in the UK, we hope to continue that success in the months ahead.”

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The founders from the teams on the 2018 Ignite NI Accelerator programme with Invest NI’s Tracey Meharg, Executive Director of business solutions (centre), and Ignite’s CEO Tristan Watson (right).


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