Trinity College Dublin: Tangent gets LaunchBox 2021 underway as 10 student entrepreneurship teams begin their journey

Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace, today announced the start of LaunchBox 2021, which gives student entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop their business ideas as part of Trinity College Dublin’s student accelerator programme.

Sponsored by Tangent’s innovation partner Bank of Ireland, LaunchBox is the longest-running and most successful programme of its kind in Ireland. Established in 2013, the pioneering accelerator guides students with innovation ideas through the process of building effective ventures through collaborative workshops, expert mentorship and funding opportunities over 12 weeks.

After an application period which saw overwhelming interest from enterprising students, 10 teams collectively representing 9 schools from across Ireland’s oldest university have been selected to participate. Each team has received €10k in funding courtesy of Bank of Ireland. The programme will conclude at the end of August with a pitch showcase for the students to present their budding business ventures known as Demo Day.

Several LaunchBox alumni spanning the accelerator’s nine-year history have achieved success in the business world. Notable past participants include social enterprise FoodCloud, which aims to curb food waste, and payment processing venture Touchtech Payments, who were recently acquired by Stripe. Since 2013, the student ventures involved have created approximately 278 jobs and raised over €73 million in investment and funding.

Ken Finnegan, CEO of Tangent, said:

As our flagship entrepreneurship initiative, LaunchBox offers the next generation of founders unrivalled access to a wealth of industry leaders, best-in-class education, and superb networking opportunities. I also firmly believe that any student, from any school or faculty, can become an entrepreneur and this programme certainly demonstrates that, with two Trinity School of Pharmacy students, Bidemi Afolabi and Lauren O’Reilly, winning last year’s competition with their company ProMotion. It truly is a pleasure to become acquainted with each LaunchBox intake and watch them go on to greater things.

This sentiment was echoed by newly appointed Chair of Tangent, CEO and founder Louise Grubb of TriviumVet, who said:

Trinity is known as a community of innovators, and this reputation is undoubtedly sustained thanks in no small part to LaunchBox. It is a privilege to begin my tenure as chair by launching this wonderful initiative and I look forward to witnessing the growth of Ireland’s next generation of innovators.

The LaunchBox 2021 finalists are:

1. Diglot

Diglot is a revenue-generating language learning and book publishing company. They take classic novels like Pride and Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes and weave foreign words into the English sentences.

2. Field Of Vision

Field Of Vision is a device that enables visually impaired football fans to experience live sport. They use computer vision to track the location of the ball on the pitch and translate it to a moving finger-piece on the device, enabling the action to be felt in real time.

3. ReFunk

10m tonnes of furniture are discarded annually in the EU, while IKEA accounts for 0.1% of the world’s carbon emissions. ReFunk is a platform that facilitates a three-stage furniture upcycling process. The Donator lists an unwanted item on the app, The Upcycler collects the item, upcycles it as they see fit, and lists it on the app to be sold to The Buyer.

4. Fonz Music

Fonz Music uses a physical product, a Fonz Coaster, and their in-house app to simplify song requests. Hosts connect their Spotify to the Fonz Coaster. Their Guests then tap the coaster to join the session, search up & select a song, and then tap the coaster again, automatically queuing that song to their host’s Spotify, just like a jukebox.

5. One Sure Thing

Live for today & prepare for tomorrow. One Sure Thing is End-of-Life planning made easy. A digital planning assistant for customers to organise all their wishes and vital documents in one secure online safe.

6. Park Turtle

Park Turtle enables yacht clubs to manage their boat parking and seasonal fees all in one smart software. With space at a premium, clubs need to optimise their parking to maximise their revenue.

7. Plalgae

Plalgae is the most sustainable alternative to single use plastics, made from seaweed. Unlike other bioplastics, Plalgae is carbon negative, doesn’t require industrial composting and results in zero waste. Plalgae makes money by selling the raw material and innovative biodegradable plastic products.

8. QRx

QRx is an end to end healthcare SaaS solution with a focus on optimising prescription management for healthcare providers whilst improving patient compliance. QRx leverages the newest in blockchain technology to provide a scalable, flexible, and decentralised application.

9. UniPeer

UniPeer is a platform for university students experiencing loneliness. It facilitates peer-to-peer support, connecting students through shared experiences and interests. In essence, the platform will act as a support group for university students. The platform is unique because it addresses the issue of loneliness in a university setting.

10. X-Lite Beverages

X-Lite is a revenue-generating premium hard seltzer alcohol product. The product is a low-calorie, zero sugar, alcohol product with natural flavours and colouring. Hard seltzers have become increasingly popular primarily as a result of the strong surge of health-conscious consumers and ‘premiumisation’ of the alcohol industry (Global Data, 2020).

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