NovaUCD’s 2021 Student Enterprise Competition

Photograph Nick Bradshaw

NovaUCD recently announced that EOFIS, an early-stage student venture, which is developing a software platform to augment human memory, has been declared overall winner of the 2021 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition and a €5,000 cash prize.

Knowledge workers consume large amounts of information every day as they scroll through news items on their phones or laptops. However, this knowledge is difficult to retain and most people quickly forget those illuminating statistics and key snippets of information they encounter online within a few days.

To solve this problem time-poor professionals who need to stay well informed, can send the text of an illuminating nugget of information to a whole book chapter, to the EOFIS platform where artificial intelligence (AI) will transform the material into question format. These memory-jogging questions will then appear as a daily quiz on a user’s phone. The daily quizzes use the proven spaced repetition technique to optimally time when users will see the questions.

To help find, connect and organise the key pieces of information, each quiz question is automatically connected to all other quiz questions in a user’s library, in an interactive, configurable concept map.

The members of the EOFIS team are, Marysol Angeloni, who is completing an MSc in Management at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, and Tiarnach Ó Riada, who has just completed his BEng degree at the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

The team is supported by Dr Paul Cuffe, UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, who supervised Tiarnach’s final year engineering project during which the EOFIS software platform was initially developed.

Marysol Angeloni said, “We are honoured to have been declared the overall winner of the 2021 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition, especially as the standard of this year’s competition was very high, with many fantastic start-ups taking part.”

Tiarnach Ó Riada said, “We believe that two large markets, online news and casual learning software, can be joined together by EOFIS which combines a high-technology approach with the proven benefits of spaced repetition and interactive, self-directed learning. Since Marysol brought her entrepreneurial and creative skills to the team, we’ve managed to develop my thesis proof-of-concept into a compelling market offering we call EOFIS.”

Marysol Angeloni added, “We have ambitious plans for the future, including a B2B proposition for companies whose workers need to stay abreast of fast-evolving fields such as finance and law. We now intend to apply for a place on a New Frontiers programme to further develop our business proposition and marketing strategy, while also applying for tech-related awards. Thereafter we will be exploring an application for Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Funding to accelerate the growth of EOFIS which we believe has global market potential.”

The NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition is an intensive 4-week mentoring programme for student entrepreneurs. The programme now in its 7th year, is run by NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs, as a framework to support undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to work together to develop and grow start-up companies.

The aim of the competition, which this year was run virtually, is to assist the participating students in refining their start-up ideas through a series of structured workshops, including taught content from industry experts, interactive workshops, regular pitching sessions and mentoring.

A total of eleven (11) early-stage students ventures and 23 participants took part in year’s competition. Over 50 early-stage ventures and over 120 students have now completed the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition over the last 7 years.

Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, NovaUCD said, “During the last 4 weeks this fantastic group of entrepreneurial students came together virtually to develop and refine their start-up ideas. I look forward to seeing several of these early-stage student ventures move forward and successfully launch on the market. I would especially like to congratulate the EOFIS team, the overall winner of this year’s NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition.”

EOFIS was declared overall winner of the competition following final pitches to an external judging panel. Two other participating ventures, RespTech and FlowMo, were announced as second and third place winners and receive €3,000 and €2,000 cash prizes respectively.

RespTech is designing Bronchophone a novel attachment compatible with all mainstream fiberoptic bronchoscopes and all smartphone devices. This makes for a versatile, inexpensive product to enable bronchoscopies in low-middle-income-countries as well as providing a low cost, portable alternative to hospitals and training centres around the globe.

The RespTech team includes; Anna Potterton, an undergraduate student in the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering along with Jemima Hurley and Sadhbh Carey, undergraduate students in the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

FlowMo is developing a web-based flow driven generative design tool to streamline the design process of fluidic devices. Sophie Cassidy, a postgraduate student in the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, is the founder of FlowMo.

The 8 other early-stage ventures taking part in this year’s competition each receive a €1,000 cash prize for completing the programme.

The members of the judging panel were; Bryan O’Higgins, Branch Manager (UCD), AIB (Chair), Alison Crawford, Senior Investment Associate, Atlantic Bridge, Christian MacManus, Partner, Deloitte Ireland and Suzanne Mills, Pre-Accelerator Director, NDRC.

The 4-week mentoring programme, which used the Lean Startup and Business Model Canvas approach, included a series of online structured workshops and interactive workshops led by Raomal Perera and Rohan Perera of Lean Disruptor.

The sponsors of the 2021 NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition are, AIB, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers and Xilinx.

Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of www.newsgroup.ie with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at info@newsgroup.ie.

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