Global investors join Northern Irish startups for virtual pitch session

  • Photo: Ignite NI Accelerator 2020 teams *please note, this photo was taken before social distancing

    Ignite NI has concluded its first ever virtual accelerator with an online event that gave its 10 early stage tech startups the chance to pitch their business to almost 200 investors.

    Supported by Invest Northern Ireland the annual accelerator takes 10 high potential startups on an intensive 3-month programme. Based in the Ormeau Baths in Belfast, the programme encourages a global outlook, giving founders access to experts that provide hands on advice on how to refine their product, scale their business and attract funding.

    Among the Northern Irish startups that featured on this year's accelerator programme and pitched to the global investors was Altra, who make communication easier for care homes, Book Entertainment, a booking management platform for musicians and entertainers, CORA, an operating system for multi-million pound construction projects and ESTHER, a peer-2-peer platform connecting donors to those in financial crisis.

    They were joined by OBBI, Payhere,, SideQuest, Skylark and TrueStock on the first ever virtual accelerator.

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    Despite travel restrictions due to COVID-19, Ignite NI delivered over 700 sessions involving 200 people, including some of the most successful in the technology sector.

    Ignite NI was able to secure sessions with April Dunford, Canadian author of the best-selling start-up book ‘Obviously Awesome’, Eoghan McCabe, CEO of Intercom, Brett Hurt, founder of BazaarVoice and Whurley, founder and CEO of Strangeworks.

    Chris McClelland, Programme Director of Ignite NI said: “In week one we moved to a virtual version of the programme. Everything changed for these teams and we wanted to double down on our support. We built upon the positives and increased our reach globally involving entrepreneurs and investors from 10 countries.

    “We’ve witnessed some incredible progress by these entrepreneurs despite the circumstances. It has been an honour to see how they have made it work and makes us even more excited about their future. We’d like to thank everyone who has supported and helped this year.”

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    This year, in place of investor lunches Ignite normally holds in London, Dublin and San Francisco the accelerator teams hosted a virtual ‘investor preview’ event last week where the ten teams pitched to an online audience.

    Ignite NI has also announced that teams who have taken part in the Northern Ireland programmes in the past two years have collectively raised $15.2 million in funding – a large part sourced from investors outside of Northern Ireland, in particular from the United States.

    Source: Written based on press release

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