NUI Galway Entrepreneurs Tap into the New York Start-Up Scene

From left, Barry McCann, SteriCision; Dr Jamie Goggins, Edward Fagan, and William Finnegan, BladeComp; and Natalie Walsh, Executive Director of LaunchPad at NUI Galway.
Nov 19 2018 Posted: 11:43 GMT

Two NUI Galway start-up companies were in the US recently for the second annual Blackstone LaunchPad Powered by TechStars Bootcamp. The programme brought together entrepreneurial teams from across the US and Ireland to take part in an innovation bootcamp with access to world class mentors and content to further accelerate and develop their businesses. 

LaunchPad, based on the NUI Galway campus, is a highly experiential entrepreneurship program open to students, alumni and staff offering coaching, ideation and start up creation support. The programme focuses on innovation and entrepreneurial education and training, entrepreneurship events and community building, and provides supports and funding for early stage student start-up companies.

As LaunchPad at NUI Galway continues to globalise its programmes, offerings such as this bootcamp give early stage entrepreneurs access to one of the world’s most well-known and respected entrepreneurship accelerators across the world, Techstars. Techstars is a global leader in the startup ecosystem, providing a network with access to over 1.5 million founders, investors and mentors.

Over the course of the New York programme NUI Galway start-ups engaged with a diverse mix of mentors, start-ups and potential investors at SAP Next Gen HQ at Hudson Yard in New York. The programme resulted in Bladecomp and Stericision start-ups benefitting from personalised mentoring, unique Techstars expertise and content and support from business leaders including Jean Case from the Case Foundation.

SteriCision is a newly funded Enterprise Ireland project developed from the BioInnovate Ireland Fellowship programme based at NUI Galway. The team are developing an innovative medical device to reduce infection following surgery. Barry McCann, Commercial Lead for the project, commented: “Attending the Blackstone Launchpad powered by Techstars event was a tremendous opportunity for us to grow our mentor network and learn from some of the most successful entrepreneurs and investors in the US. We are extremely fortunate to have an entrepreneurship programme such as Launchpad on campus that can accelerate good ideas and bring them to a global platform.”

BladeComp is a wind and tidal turbine blade design software. BladeComp provides a faster, easier and more reliable blade design process. The team includes Dr Jamie Goggins, Dr Edward Fagan, Dr Yadong Jiang and Dr William Finnegan from the MaREI Centre, Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. Needing a faster way of modelling blades and a framework for the novel analysis and design techniques developed at NUI Galway, the team built automated design software to meet this need. The team have recently used BladeComp to design next generation tidal turbine blades (among the largest in the world) for a leading tidal turbine manufacturer, Orbital Marine Power Ltd.

Edward Fagan of the BladeComp team, commented: “The Techstars event was a fantastic opportunity to get feedback on what we’ve done so far, and advice on how to effectively take our venture forward. The experience, mentorship and guidance we received was more than we could have hoped for. LaunchPad at NUI Galway provide an invaluable service to the development of entrepreneurs at the University”.

Speaking at the LaunchPad Global Bootcamp, Natalie Walsh Executive Director of LaunchPad at NUI Galway, said: “It is always inspiring to work alongside early stage entrepreneurships but to work with TechStars in New York City and watch our start up teams flourish and grow through the supports provided has been amazing. We will have unparalleled access to the TechStars network and content and we are very excited about the future of entrepreneurship at NUI Galway.”


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