South Dublin companies, Nasal Medical and Valitacell were today named the Best New Start and Early Stage companies respectively at the Dublin final of the 2016 InterTradeIreland All-Island Seedcorn Investor Readiness competition.
Nasal Medical, which is based in Dublin 8, and Valitacell based in Dublin 2 overcame tough competition from four other Dublin 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 €150,000 cash prize, which will take place on Wednesday 23rd November at The Waterfront Hall, Belfast.
Medical company, Nasal Medical, is addressing an aspect of health and wellness that affects a huge proportion of the global population. They have developed and launched a range of patent-protected innovative devices that provide breathing solutions. The problems that they address include breathing clean air in locations with atmospheric pollution or air with high pollen count; improved sports performance through improved nasal breathing; and snoring and sleep apnoea.
Valitacell provides analytical support for the biopharmaceutical sector. It helps companies to improve the efficiency and performance of a cell development process that is crucial in the manufacture of monoclonal antibody drugs. These products are accelerating the delivery of high-tech, expensive modern drugs to patients who need them but currently do not have access to them.
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.
Martin O’Connell, CEO and Founder of Nasal Medical, said; “We decided to enter Seedcorn in order to raise money to advance the business to the next stage and we are thrilled with our success so far. We have received invaluable support in preparing our business plan, particularly the advice provided by the Seedcorn team. The importance of a good business plan for the success of a company has been made clear. We hope to use any seed funding gained to help pay for our patent bill along with new machinery to expand the business.”
Dr Terry McWade, CEO of Valitacell, said; “We are delighted to win at this stage and progress to the Seedcorn 2016 Final. This competition has taught the whole team a lot and allowed us to refine many aspects of our business. We developed an improved business plan that helped us to refine our message and strategy for investors. The emphasis that we have put on communications and messaging means we can make our offering more understood to businesses and customers that do not have a technical or scientific background.”
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 Nasal Medical and Valitacell 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 Nasal Medical and Valitacell will go head-to-head with the winners of the Northern Ireland, Munster and Connacht & Leinster 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