Louth companies, Gecko Governance and OVVO were today named the Best New Start and Best Early Stage company respectively at the Connacht & Leinster final of the 2016 InterTradeIreland All-Island Seedcorn Investor Readiness competition.
Gecko Governance and OVVO, which are both based in Dundalk, overcame tough competition from three other counties’ finalists to win €20,000 to help finance the early stages of its ventures. The companies will now go on to compete in the all-island final of the competition for a share of a €150,000 cash prize, which will take place on Wednesday 23rd November at The Waterfront Hall, Belfast.
Gecko Governance makes regulation technology for the global finance industry that allows fund managers to monitor and manage their regulation and compliance requirements. Gecko Governance allows for greater strategy potential and corporate planning by providing fund managers with a live oversight of all the funds regulation and compliance requirements – which funds are on schedule and which are behind, which compliance tasks are outstanding and which have been completed.
Santech Innovations, trading as OVVO, is based in offices in Dundalk, close to the production facility where the product is manufactured. The award winning OVVO Connection System is a simple push fit solution for joining materials together without the use of traditional aids, glues or screws. It is a totally invisible connection solution with an internal self-clamping design that forms a solid bond between two pieces of material. The product also offers the advantage of reducing the time spent on flat pack assembly.
Now in its 14th 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. Since its inception in 2003, 2,151 companies that have gone through Seedcorn have raised in excess of €200m – measuring investments by companies who have reached regional final level. Last year alone, in excess of €10m was raised.
Shane Brett, Founder and CEO of Gecko Governance, said; “Building out our business plan was a lot of work but very rewarding in terms of ending with an investor ready business plan in great shape. We also really liked getting the detailed business plan feedback. We have learned the importance of providing investors with a properly structured and articulated business plan with clear credible goals and realistic assumptions of our future business strategy. We will use the prize money to accelerate our expansion plans – specifically in rolling out our London office later this year.”
Brendan Phillips, General Manager of OVVO said; “We are truly delighted to have won today and to be progressing to the next stage of the Seedcorn 2016 competition. Our product has already won a number of innovation awards that are highly regarded within the woodworking and furniture making industry, and we believe it has the capacity to truly transform the industry. This competition has already given us the opportunity to reflect upon our product and brand proposition in order to attract the type of investment that we know is necessary to drive global growth with the pace desired. Our aim is to benefit from the seed funding and also to expand our presence and awareness in key markets.”
Connor Sweeney, Seedcorn Project Manager, InterTradeIreland added; “With a total cash prize fund of €280,000, Seedcorn is the largest business competition on the island of Ireland. Furthermore, it is widely considered by the Irish business and investment community to be the gold standard for new and emerging businesses. As well as offering an equity stake to businesses, it also gives businesses experience of pitching to investors and helps entrepreneurs hone their skills.
“Since the competition began 14 years ago we have seen a huge variety of businesses compete, with the standard rising even further year after year. Therefore I wish to heartily congratulate Gecko Governance and OVVO on their win today. It is always exciting to work with companies at an early stage in their development. The initial period of development is crucial for the success of all business and it is for this reason that the Seedcorn competition is such an exciting event to be involved in.”
The all-island final will take place at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on the 23rd November, where Gecko Governance and OVVO will go head-to-head with the winners of the Northern Ireland, Dublin and Munster finals for the title of Best New Start Company worth €50,000 or the Best Early Stage Company prize worth €50,000, and ultimately the Overall Winner title, worth €100,000.
Companies can follow the Competition on Twitter (@ITI_seedcorn) where they can get valuable information and advice from experts.
Further details are also available on the Seedcorn website at www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn