Two Belfast start-ups win big in InterTradeIreland's Seedcorn competition

  • Photo: Shannon Beattie, COO at GenoME Diagnostics with Dr Paul Mullan

    Northern Ireland company GenoME Diagnostics has been named the Best New Start winner of the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition.

    The local medtech pocketed a cash prize of €50,000 at the online awards ceremony on Wednesday 2December.

    Established in Belfast in earlier this year, GenoME Diagnosticsis currently developing a novel blood test to detect an earlier diagnosis of ovarian cancer. The firm’s technology can be applied to biomarker discovery and development in a wide range of diseases and applications.

    Seedcorn is the island’s biggest business competition for innovative new start and early stage businesses in any sector.

    Since its inception in 2003, more than 3,100 companies have been through the programme and finalists have raised more than €256m in equity funding.

    Its aim is to support start-ups from any sector or part of the Ireland to become investor ready. Participants also have the chance to benefit from business planning workshops and mentorship support throughout the competition.

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    Shannon Beattie, Chief Operating Officer at GenoME Diagnostics said that the prize money will allow the business to validate its ovarian cancer diagnostic and “get it into clinics as quickly as possible.”

    She added: “It will also provide us with the opportunity to increase our business visibility internationally through networking at tradeshows and conferences.”

    Belfast-based Sonrai Analytics became Seedcorn’s second NI victory, winning a special award of €10,000 for the ‘Best Company stemming from a university spin-out or support programme’.

    Sonrai Analytics is an AI-enabled tech company, and its data-integration platform revolutionises precision medicine for biotech and pharma to accelerate discovery in diseases impacting lives today.

    CEO and founder of Sonrai Analytics, Darragh McArt said: “We’re so grateful to have won the special award. The prize money will help to support new developments and bolster existing projects.

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    “We entered Seedcorn to gain constructive feedback on our business as well as raising our profile. Writing the business plan really helped us to refine our unique selling points and clarify our key product messages that we’re now using throughout our marketing. It has served as a great reminder of how far we’ve come in a short space of time.”

    Both Sonrai Analytics and GenoME Diagnostics were two of a total seven NI companies that made it through to the Seedcorn finals.

    The Overall Winner of the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Competition was Galway firm NUA Surgical, who took home a notable prize of €100,000.

    The medical start-up developed SteriCISION, a novel C-Section retractor that tackles the major unmet needs of the Caesarean Section (C-section).

    RELATED: NI firm accepted onto competitive Techstars Boston programme

    Congratulating the winners, Ken Nelson MBE, InterTradeIreland Chairmansaid: “Seedcorn aims to nurture and promote the growth of new enterprises across the island of Ireland. After a difficult year, it’s extremely encouraging to see the wealth of enthusiasm, innovative thinking and ambition that these businesses – both North and South - bring to the table.

    The Seedcorn competition will open again next March.

    For further information on the Investor Readiness Competition visit and follow on twitter @Inter_Trade #ITISeedcorn.

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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