Ireland is brimming with tech talent, which is evident in the quality of the many tech startups that continue to emerge from the Emerald Isle, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
Its capital Dublin is also home to the European headquarters of tech giants that include Facebook, Google and Microsoft, while Brexit could be the catalyst for even more international brands to relocate their European HQ from London to Dublin, providing an additional boost for Ireland’s Irish thriving tech startup ecosystem.
Here are five of the most exciting and potentially influential Irish AI startups.
Founded in 2015 by Romanian entrepreneurs Andreea Wade and Adrian Mihai, Opening is an AI-powered engine that is disrupting the talent acquisition space by enabling recruiters and HR professionals to ensure that the vital CVs are not overlooked.
Opening creates shortlists of suitable candidates for each job, ranking the most relevant, predicting salaries, and providing other valuable insights and data. The technology can analyse thousands of pieces of content about potential candidates, matching them to their ideal jobs, and it can do it in mere seconds. According to Opening’s website, the hiring time for candidates is reduced by as much as 40%, a bonus for time-pressed recruiters who need to fill positions with top talent as quickly as possible. The technology is particularly helpful to large organisations that receive thousands of CVs for a single job vacancy.
Last year the company secured an investment of €30,000 from the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC).
Exponential growth in the use of images on social media is behind the growing demand for image recognition technology, including that offered by LogoGrab. Technically a Swiss import founded by Italian entrepreneurs, Luca Boschin and Alessandro Prest, the Dublin-based company’s product has been designed to scan millions of images and videos on social media and identify the specific brand logo images that users want to find.
Companies are notified when their image appears somewhere and provided with additional information on how well their digital marketing strategies are working.
LogoGrab, which took first prize in the 2017 Google Adopt a Startup Spring programme, has worked with major brands such as McDonald’s, Heineken, eBay and Nestlé.
One of Ireland’s leading AI companies Soapbox Lab is using smart voice recognition technologies to help children learn to read. Its technology can spot any mistakes they make as they work their way through the pages of a book. As children read out loud, devices and apps that are enabled by the SoapBox technology provide real-time feedback that helps to improve reading skills while tracking overall progress.
Founded in 2013 by former IBM and Bell Labs expert Dr Patricia Scanlon, who has 20 years’ experience in the area of speech recognition technologies, Soapbox Labs can also assess young readers’ fluency with the help of training from more than 600,000 audio samples from 15,000 kids in over 100 countries.
The company secured a €1.5 million EU grant, in addition to €600,000 from existing backers, bringing its total investment just over €3 million. The cash injection is helping the latest SoapBox platform to developing French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, and Italian recognition capabilities.
Founded in 2014 by Dr Nora Khaldi, Nuritas uses AI, machine learning and DNA analysis to quickly predict, and then provide access to, some of the potentially beneficial components hidden within food called peptides.
Since its launch, Nuritas has carried out research into ways of preventing diabetes through nutrition and made a major breakthrough when it discovered a peptide that has the capacity to destroy MRSA, a type of bacteria resistant to several widely used antibiotics. The results could lead to the discovery of new food components to help prevent, manage and even cure deadly diseases.
Last December the Dublin-based biotech company secured a €16 million Series A funding led by Chicago-based investment firm Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, bringing its total investment to date to approximately €25 million. This has included funding from a number of familiar, household names including Bono, The Edge from U2, while Salesforce’s billionaire founder Marc Benioff has also backed the company.
Earlier this year collaboration on AI-based discovery of food-derived bioactive peptides was announced between Nuritas and Swiss food and beverage giant Nestlé.
Popertee is an AI platform that connects brands with vacant spaces for short-term retail and marketing campaigns.
The business was founded in 2016 by entrepreneur Lucinda Kelly after she had spotted a gap in the short-term rentals market and come up with the idea of creating spaces where brands could launch pop-ups and connect more effectively with their target audience.
The software combines behavioural and social media data to enable companies to identify the best location for their pop-ups or marketing campaigns. Locations scores range from zero to 100 based on the success of the match to the demographics and interests of companies’ target markets. Brands that have used Popertee include Virgin Media Volvo and Coca Cola. The platform also has the capability to measure the impact of campaigns for brands looking for deeper insights on performance, event planning, agencies and venues.
In June 2017 Popertee raised its €500,000 seed round with Growing Capital, European Investment Fund and Enterprise Ireland.
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