Louth companies triumphed at the Connacht & Leinster final of the 2015 all-island InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition.
Ardee-based company Kong Digital was named Best Early Stage company and Drogheda company Aphix Software was named Best New Start company at the regional final. Both beat off tough competition to each walk away with a €20,000 cash prize to help finance the early stages of their ventures. The companies will now go on to compete in the all-island final of the competition, which will take place on Wednesday 25th November at Clontarf Castle, Dublin.
Kong Digital has developed a marketing software platform which integrates social media, online advertising and Search Engine Optimisation. The company provides an online marketing tool (Kongalytics) that clients can use on a daily basis to get the best possible return on investment from their online marketing campaigns. With the wide range of online marketing tools and platforms, many businesses don’t have the in-depth expertise required to get successful results online. Kongalytics addresses these gaps by providing analytics to increase viral marketing and using its unique predictive algorithm to support cross sell and up sell.
Established in 2014, Aphix Software is a cloud and mobile sales ordering software solution which helps wholesale businesses sell more and reduce operational costs. The products help wholesale businesses to take orders, automate business processes and deal more effectively with customers both online and via mobile applications. Aphix Software has developed two business-to-business mobile-enabled platforms called WebShop and SalesRep. The reach of these platforms means that there is the opportunity for Aphix to go global, however, they are just focussing on Ireland the UK at present.
Now in its 13th year, Seedcorn is the island’s biggest business competition for new start and early stage companies in any sector, from any part of the island. The competition, aimed at companies who have a new equity funding requirement, has an overall cash prize fund of €280,000, with no equity stake. To date, InterTradeIreland has supported over 2,151 enterprising companies through the Seedcorn process. With €197 million in new equity being raised by the companies who have reached the regional finals stage of the Seedcorn competition over the past 12 years, the competition has a strong track record of supporting early business start-ups to become investor ready.
Robert Kelly, CEO, Kong Digital Limited said; “We are delighted to win Best Early Stage Company. Kong Digital aims to be a global scalable business that is successfully operating and profitable in key target markets like Ireland, the USA, the UK and China, within the next three to five years. Being part of the Seedcorn process has put the right pressure on us at the right time and we believe it has had a positive impact on how we have evolved and grown as a company. We have learnt that we need to be patient but also need to keep moving forward. Over the past couple of years, we have been able to define what is unique about our product ‘Kongalytics’. The cash prize will support further software development of our platform ‘Kongalytics’ and the company’s expansion into international markets.”
Graham O’Rourke, CEO, Aphix Software said; “We are delighted to win Best New Start Company. The Seedcorn competition has been a huge boost for us. We have two products that are already in the market with over 60 customers to date so the opportunity to get our story in front of seed and angel investors was one we could not miss! The most rewarding aspect has been the way in which our whole team has fed into the business planning process from the start. Not only has this gelled us together as a team, it has also allowed each member of the team to be proud of their contribution to date and feed into the future of our company. Our goal is to expand out both, to build a UK sales team and to grow our existing team to deliver a world class customer experience. We want to be the best and biggest we can be and the prize money could unlock an important further step on that journey.”
Laurence Lord, Director, InterTradeIreland, added; “Seedcorn is considered the most important barometer for new and emerging companies among the investment and business communities in Ireland. Not only does the competition deliver a cash prize for the winners, but it also allows businesses to experience the competitive investor pitch process and equips them with the skills for future pitches.
Since the competition inception over 12 years ago, the standard of the companies taking part has risen year on year and I sincerely congratulate both Kong Digital Limited and Aphix Software on their win today against very tough competition.
The Seedcorn Competition reaches out to businesses early in their development and it’s exciting for InterTradeIreland to work with these companies at such a crucial stage in their journey. I look forward to seeing the business grow from strength to strength.”
Kong Digital Limited will go head-to-head with the winners of the Northern Ireland, Dublin and Munster finals for the title of overall Best Early Stage Company.
Aphix Software will go head-to-head with the winners of the Northern Ireland, Dublin and Munster finals for the title of overall Best New Start Company.
The all-island final will take place at Clontarf Castle Hotel in Dublin on the 25th November, where regional winners are in with a chance to compete for the overall ‘Category Award’ worth €50,000 or the ‘Overall Winner Award’ prize worth €100,000.
Companies can follow the Competition on Twitter (@ITI_seedcorn) #itiseedcorn or on LinkedIn (Seedcorn Network) where they can get valuable information and advice from experts.
Further details are also available on the Seedcorn website at www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn