The 11 startups selected to participate in University College Dublin’s (UCD) new AI Ecosystem Accelerator programme have been announced. The focus of this new accelerator programme is to support entrepreneurs who are developing disruptive AI (artificial intelligence) solutions for a global market.

The participating startups are; ALPACA, Customs Window, Durotimi AI, Frontier AI, GoMappED, KnowCarbon, La Casa Care,, Tashka Technology Solutions, VoxMed.AI and wrksense. (See profiles below).

The six-month AI Ecosystem Accelerator programme will be delivered by NovaUCD, the hub of innovation and startup activities at UCD, in partnership with CeADAR, Ireland’s National Centre for Applied AI.

L-R: Liana-Anca Tomescu,; Dara Calleary TD, trade minister; Doyin Bademosi, Durotimi AI and Joe Fernandez, ALPACA.

The programme is funded through the European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) framework, a Europe-wide initiative with funding of €700m from both the European Commission and the governments of member states.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, through Enterprise Ireland, is leading on the EDIH programme for Ireland and CeADAR has been designated as the European Digital Innovation Hub for AI in Ireland.

'AI-Here For Good’

Dara Calleary TD, trade minister, said: “Meeting with the entrepreneurs taking part in this exciting programme I am pleased to see that in keeping with ‘AI- Here For Good’, the government’s national AI strategy, the participating startups are focused on using AI to benefit citizens and the way we live and work.”

Targeted supports for the 11 participating startups over the next six months include a dedicated commercial mentor and workshops on value proposition, route to market, sales strategies, and securing investment.

Participants will have access to co-working space at NovaUCD and access to the NovaUCD community of founders, investors, business partners and student interns. They will also have access to CeADAR’s EDIH for AI services which include AI technologies, and research expertise with technical mentorship.

L-R: Tom Flanagan, UCD director of enterprise and commercialisation; Dara Calleary TD, trade minister; Professor Kate Robson Brown, UCD vice-president for research, innovation and impact; and Dr Ricardo Simon Carbajo, director of innovation and development, CeADAR.

Professor Kate Robson Brown, UCD vice-president for research, innovation and impact said: “The government’s ambition is that Ireland becomes a leading country in using AI for the benefit of people. Through this new AI Ecosystem Accelerator programme starting today UCD is supporting a dynamic cohort of Irish startups and entrepreneurs who are focused on using AI technologies to deliver a range of disruptive products and services, for the benefit of society, not only here in Ireland, but on a global stage.

Global ambitions

“There was a great demand from startups across Ireland to take part in the programme which will be delivered by NovaUCD and CeADAR, and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the 11 selected startups. I am looking forward to attending the showcase event at the end of the programme to learn more about how the participants have accelerated their startups to the next level and to find out more about their global ambitions.”

Emma Callinan, director of commercialisation, Enterprise Ireland, said: “The AI Ecosystem Accelerator programme will provide entrepreneurs across sectors including Healthcare, Cybersecurity, Education, and Sustainability with the opportunity to advance their AI startups through a range of targeted technical and commercial supports.

"Enterprise Ireland is delighted to welcome the 11 start-ups into the ecosystem of successful AI entrepreneurs, and we look forward to supporting them on their transformative journeys as they develop disruptive AI solutions with a global impact.”

Since opening in 2003 NovaUCD has developed a strong track record and has supported 550+ startups and early-stage ventures through the services it provides, and through business support programmes run and managed by NovaUCD. In addition, the NovaUCD entrepreneurial community has now raised €1.3+ bn in equity funding.

CeADAR’s mission is to help industry in Ireland adopt AI as the National Centre and the European Digital Innovation Hub in AI for Ireland. The centre has been awarded a multi-million-euro project as part of the EDIH programme to support start-ups, enterprises (with less than 3,000 employees) and public sector organisation from all over Ireland who are at the early stage of their AI journey or just curious to find out how using data can benefit their business.

Among the mentors who will be working with participants during the programme are; serial entrepreneur, Niamh Sterling; Aidan Finn, Binarii Labs; Mitchell O’Gorman, xWave Technologies; Lucinda Kelly; Tara Looney, both start-up advisors; and Ronan Murphy, Smarttech247 and GetVisibility.

The  six-month AI Ecosystem Accelerator programme will end with a showcase event to be held in October.