Ireland’s surging start-up culture continues to attract admiring glances from far and wide. The latest ranking of the EU’s biggest start-up city hubs has Dublin in ninth position, while the highly respected StartupBlink’s 2020 report ranks Ireland ninth out of 100 countries worldwide. For diversity, access to talent, ease of doing business and other key factors, Ireland consistently punches above its weight.
Within the Irish start-up ecosystem, technology companies are the shooting stars. Ireland has produced a remarkable array of early-stage tech start-ups that have gone on to develop a truly global presence. A decade ago, those were most likely to be cloud-based service or solutions providers. More recently, companies developing Artificial Intelligence (AI), AR/VR and Blockchain solutions have emerged from the pack.
One of the key advantages for Irish start-ups is a level of access to Government support – mainly through Enterprise Ireland and its network of regional offices – that many other countries can only dream of. Another crucial advantage is a thriving system of world-class accelerator and incubator programmes: NDRC, Alsessor, NovaUCD, LaunchBox, Google Ventures, Dogpatch Labs and many more.
Accelerators are essential for any start-up that wishes to make the step-up. They provide the fledgling business owner with investment, office space and mentoring advice from experts who have been on the founding journey themselves. Being part of the accelerator environment also provides emotional support and encouragement; so important in the daunting, demanding early stages of any business.
Our passion for accelerators is real. Back in 2018, Altada joined an accelerator programme and spent 13 intensive weeks soaking up practical advice, developing the business model and fine-tuning the overall proposition for investors. At the end of the 13 weeks, Altada was voted Winner of the Most Investible Company.
“The accelerator was the turning point for Altada,” reflects Allan Beechinor, founder and CEO of Altada. “We knew we had something but the accelerator helped us focus our product offering, refine our investor proposition and ultimately transform the business in 13 weeks.”
The accelerator experience was such a decisive factor in the Altada success story that the company was inspired to create our very own program – welcome to Alsessor, Ireland’s foremost accelerator.
The brainchild of Allan Beechinor and co-founder Niamh Parker, Alsessor has quickly grown into Ireland’s foremost accelerator program for early-stage AI start-ups. Taking place over five action-packed months, the program is designed to help business owners develop a stronger commercial edge as they move from prototype phase towards the commercialisation of their businesses.
“Our vision with Alsessor was to create a nurturing, inspirational environment that helps entrepreneurs reach a new milestone,” says Niamh Parker. “It’s not easy for start-ups to find their way in a very competitive world but Alsessor can help them get investor-ready by making sure the product is the right fit for the market.”
The program is geared towards start-ups that have bleeding edge AI innovations in retail, digital health, fintech, insurtech, regulatory and compliance. The inaugural program was won by Empeal, a SaaS health risk and productivity platform, while this year’s bootcamp will feature 11 finalists and a diverse mix of cutting-edge AI solutions.
Alsessor is founded on an intensive series of workshops designed to equip entrepreneurs with real-world tools for success: domain expertise, mentorship and masterclasses. The program features an experienced panel of mentors and company founders including senior representatives of our program partners: Altada, Tangent (Trinity’s Ideas Workspace), AWS for Startups, Clearwater, Elkstone, MHC, Alldus and Granite.
There are two stages, both of which are designed to immerse entrepreneurs in an environment of true collaboration and learning, helping them to transform their nascent AI solutions into viable, concrete business propositions. Alsessor 2022 will culminate in an official closing ‘Demo Day’ in June where the overall 2022 winner will be awarded with an investment of €250,000.
While this year’s Alsessor is now closed for entries, the 2023 program is now open for applications. If your start-up would benefit from the turbo-boost of an accelerator experience, you can find out more (and apply) here. We’d love to hear from you.