Cork company, Skellig Surgical, was today named the Best Early Stage company and Waterford company, Kollect, named the Best New Start company at the Munster final of the 2016 InterTradeIreland All-Island Seedcorn Investor Readiness competition. Skellig Surgical, which is based in the UCC Business Incubation Centre and Kollect, which is based in Waterford Enterprise Centre overcame tough competition from other finalists to win €20,000 each 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 for a share of €150,000 cash prize, which will take place on Wednesday 23rd November at The Waterfront Hall, Belfast.
Skellig Surgical is a medical device company, focused on the design and development of minimally invasive technologies for real clinical needs. Skellig Surgical’s flagship product is SecuRetract. It was invented with surgeons and is a device for minimally-invasive surgery and will lessen the impact of keyhole surgery on people undergoing treatment for colorectal cancer, and other abdominal surgeries. SecuRetract can reduce surgical complications and improve surgical access, as well as reducing operating time following keyhole surgery. Skellig Surgical aims to make SecuRetract the new global gold standard in keyhole surgical retraction.
Kollect is a booking engine for on-demand, pay-as-you-go bin collections. Customers can simply book when they need their bins collected. Kollect takes bookings through Kollect.ie where users enter their address, select what bins they would like to have collected and then pay for their order. The dates of the collection are returned to the users online. There are no contracts or no monthly fees. Kollect partners with waste collection companies, adding their routes to the online platform, so, when a customer books a collection online, the booking engine simply subcontracts the collection to the next bin truck passing their home.
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.
Conor O’Shea, CEO of Skellig Surgical, said; “I am delighted that Skellig Surgical has won the Munster Regional Final of Seedcorn 2016. This competition has given us an excellent opportunity, not only to develop an investor ready business proposition but also to access the growing network of Seedcorn alumni and friends. The prospect of seed funding is also very exciting and would be a huge boost to our business. Advancing to the final gives us additional confidence in our work. It has challenged every aspect of our business plan and allowed us to develop and even better proposition for investor engagement. We are very excited about the next few weeks.”
Robbie Skuse, Co-founder, Kollect said; “I am absolutely delighted that Kollect has won the New Start category of the Seedcorn Munster regional final. We have gained so much from this experience so far and it has helped us to improve our offering in so many ways. Participating in Seedcorn allows us to take a step back from the day-to-day operations of the business, to hone our focus on where we want to go. The focus on pitching and setting goals allows us to set out a vision for the future of the company, beyond simply expanding our customer base. Seedcorn offers us so many supports to help get investor and expansion ready.”
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 Skellig Surgical and Kollect 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 Skellig Surgical will go head-to-head with the winners of the Northern Ireland, Dublin and Connacht & Leinster finals for the title of 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