Go Eve a start-up focused on bringing a novel electrical vehicle (EV) charging system to market has recently been declared winner of the 2021 University College Dublin (UCD) Start-Up of the Year Award.
Go Eve, a joint UCD and Imperial College London start-up, won the Award, and a €32,000 prize fund, after being declared overall winner of the 2021 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme. The annual Programme, which is run by NovaUCD, aims to support the creation and launch of sustainable and profitable new start-ups emerging from the University.
The availability, reliability and associated costs of charging points remain an issue for EV owners. While AC charging options are inexpensive, they are also slow, and DC charging options while fast are expensive and can only electrify a couple of parking spaces at a time.
Go Eve is focused on commercialising a patent-pending ‘DockChain’ technology for charging EVs at scale. The DockChain innovation allows multiple parking spaces to be rapidly ‘electrified’ from one base power source with a daisy chain of inexpensive and simple charging points. The technology can significantly reduce the costs involved with charging large numbers of EVs, or where rapid vehicle turnaround is required, and can remove the operational inconvenience of moving vehicles around chargers.
The technology was originally invented by a team of academics and researchers led by Professor Robert Shorten at the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Professor Shorten subsequently moved to Imperial College London where the technology is being further advanced by him and his team. Go Eve is currently in the process of spinning-out from both universities as well as formalising the required knowledge transfer and intellectual property licence to the start-up.
Go Eve was founded by Hugh Sheehy, who completed the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme, John Goodbody, Professor Robert Shorten, Dr Pietro Ferraro and Andrew Cullen.
Hugh Sheehy, CEO and co-founder, Go Eve said, “We are truly honoured to have won the 2021 UCD Start-up of the Year Award. Our vision at Go Eve is to make every parking space capable of charging an EV using the DockChain technology. This technology makes rapid DC charging possible for all parking spaces at little more than the cost of today’s slow AC charging infrastructure.”
“The technology has the potential to open up a whole number of use-cases, especially where large volumes of EVs are parked, such as for car rental fleet operators, large destination car parks in hotels and office buildings. Many other applications are being examined, from municipal parking to advanced Vehicle-to-Grid solutions.”
He added, “We currently plan to run three pilot programmes with three customers during 2022 and we are now seeking to secure seed investment of €3 million to support these pilot programmes, to support further product development and design and team expansion.”
He concluded, “I would like to acknowledge the fantastic support and encouragement provided by NovaUCD, all the VentureLaunch programme facilitators, and the other VentureLaunch participants through their invaluable feedback and support throughout the programme.”
The main objective of the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme is to equip participants with the knowledge, skills and understanding that will be required to work as part of a team leading a new commercial venture. On completion of the programme the expectation is that participating new ventures will have developed a commercially viable business plan.
The programme consisted of eight workshops delivered over a two-month period from October to November at NovaUCD. The Business Model Canvas approach to start-up development forms the basis of the programme with each session consisting of a mix of taught content and interactive workshops delivered by external experts as well as involving talks from entrepreneurs. Participants also gain expert mentoring on marketing, finance and funding, sales and pitching to investors.
Tom Flanagan, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, NovaUCD said, “Each year we support members of our research and entrepreneurial communities who want to accelerate the creation of exciting new start-ups through our VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme.”
He added, “Given the importance of climate action it is fantastic to see Go Eve which is developing an innovative technological solution in the area of sustainability win this year’s programme. We are also delighted to be working in collaboration with our colleagues in Imperial College London to commercialise this exciting DockChain technology. It has the potential to make a significant impact on how EVs are charged.”
He concluded, “I wish Go Eve, and all the participants on this year’s programme, every commercial success, here in Ireland and internationally, in the years ahead.”
Dr Rebeca Santamaria-Fernandez, Director of Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation – Engineering, Enterprise, Imperial College London, said, “We are thrilled to be part of Go Eve’s journey towards becoming an impactful business aiming to have a positive effect on our climate. We believe the technology can significantly reduce the costs involved with charging large numbers of EVs. Go Eve joins a long list of Imperial start-ups focused on supporting the transition to a zero pollution future and we look forward to supporting the company over the coming years.”
“We are proud to collaborate with NovaUCD to enable Go Eve’s work and the DockChain technology to go further and have an impact.”
In addition to the 2021 UCD Start-up of the Year Award Go Eve receives a cheque for €10,000 sponsored by AIB, a professional services package to the value of €10,000 sponsored by Bryan Maguire Business Consulting and Deloitte and incubation space at NovaUCD to the value of €12,000.
The 2021 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme evaluation panel, which selected the overall winner following pitches by the eight finalists, was chaired by Dr Helen McBreen, Investment Director, Atlantic Bridge. The other members of the panel were; Denis Dudley, AIB; Caroline Gaynor, Lightstone Ventures; Dr Sharon O’Kane, LivaNova and a NovaUCD Entrepreneur-in-Residence, and John O’Sullivan, ACT Venture Capital.
The other participants on this year’s programme in addition to Go Eve were, Blood Brothers, Eofis, FeetAI, giyst, La Casa, Nightleaf and PEARlabs.
Blood Brothers, FeetAI, giyst, La Casa and Nightleaf are currently being supported through the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund.