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Entrepreneurial researchers pitch at IPIC Photonics Bootcamp final

Posted on: 13 May 2016

Entrepreneurial researchers pitch at IPIC Photonics Bootcamp final
Paul Townsend, Director of IPIC with Ben Hurley, CEO of the NDRC.

The IPIC  Photonics Bootcamp, designed to introduce researchers to lean start-up methodologies and customer development approaches, held its first ever ‘pitch off’ final for the 16 participants who completed the intensive training and mentoring bootcamp over the last 6 months.

Throughout the first year of the Bootcamp programme, which is generously supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), participants embarked on a series of training and mentorship workshops provided by NDRC and the Irish Photonic Integration Centre (IPIC). The bootcamp is aimed at encouraging and supporting exciting ideas and inventions in photonics and deals with themes across a broad spectrum such as energy harvesting, internet efficiency & healthcare.

Following a tense, competitive ‘pitch-off’, the overall winner of the IPIC Bootcamp 2016 was announced as a team of postgraduate students and researchers from UCC & Tyndall who impressed the judges with their winning investment pitch. The team of Joveria Baig, Muhammad Junaid Amin and Philip Marraccini will receive €2000 plus further mentorship and advice from some of Ireland’s leading start-up specialists.

Salvatore Tedesco, Tyndall,  Joveira Baig, Tyndall and Muhammad Junaid Amin of UCC. All three participated in the final of the bootcamp, with Joveira and Muhammed being the overall winners with their AutoAssist pitch.

Professor Paul Townsend, IPIC Director said: “With the global photonics market predicted to reach over €600 billion by 2020, now is the time for startups to get involved in this successful area. Photonics technology is quietly disrupting many traditional electronics markets and many start-ups across Europe are getting very interested in using photonics to build world-changing applications which were not possible until now. We hope that the support measures we have put in place through the IPIC bootcamp will help produce the next wave of Irish photonic entrepreneurs. NDRC’s role as a facilitator in the IPIC bootcamp has been critical to the success of the programme.”

Paul Townsend, Director of IPIC with Ben Hurley, CEO of the NDRC.

NDRC’s Commercial Director Gary Leyden said: “The purpose of the bootcamp was to focus researchers on problems that need fixing rather than starting with solutions. The potential for success is far greater if they then match their research to their insight into market problems. This lean approach to support scientists commercialise their research has been validated by Steve Blank, Stanford University, and NDRC have incorporated this approach into their early stage investing approach over the last 7 years.  The participants have worked hard over the last 6 months and we hope we’ve given them a new skill set which will help bridge the gap between the research and commercial worlds.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said: “For over a decade Science Foundation Ireland has been investing in world-leading research. This investment is yielding results, not only in our rising global scientific rankings, but also in terms of commercialisation output such as patents, licensing, start-ups and spin-outs. We are delighted to support the IPIC Photonics bootcamp as it fosters and encourages entrepreneurial spirit by giving participants exposure to market knowledge, commercial opportunity validation, business networks and professional mentoring they need to potentially see their innovative ideas put into action”.