Brian Shields, Neurent Medical announced as High Potential Start-Up 'Founder of the Year 2019' at Enterprise Ireland Awards

27th June, 2019

HPSU Founder of the Year
Pictured left to right Kevin Foley, Grant Thornton, Brian Shields, Neurent Medical and Kevin Sherry, Enterprise Ireland.

Brian Shields, Founder of Neurent Medical was awarded the Enterprise Ireland High-Potential Start-Up (HPSU) Founder of the Year for 2019 at an awards event at the Gibson Hotel last night, sponsored by Grant Thornton. The Galway based company designs and develops products for treating inflammatory disease of the nasal cavities.

The Founder of the Year Awards, now in its third year, acknowledge and celebrate the commitment that entrepreneurs and start-ups have made to build world class companies of the future. There were nine finalists for the 2019 Award, all of whom were voted for by their peers who have been taking part in Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) Founders Forum over the last year.

Gillian Doyle, Cerebreon Technologies and Brendan Sheppard, SmartFactory were also acknowledged for their companies’ achievements to date and voted as runners-up on the night. Other finalists included: Declan Soden, Mirai Medical, Ollie Walsh, Pip iT, Rob Leslie, Sedicii, Aisling Teillard, Tandem HR Solutions, Pat Kirby, Tixserve and Rafael Pages, Volograms.

There are over 200 participants within the Founders Forum, spread across a range of sectors including software, medical devices, food, engineering and construction, and provides a platform for founders to help each other succeed internationally and scale faster.

The Founder of the Year was decided by a judging panel which included representatives from Enterprise Ireland, Ergo, Grant Thornton, Google and Atlantic Bridge.

Former England and current Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster also joined the event to share his perspective on leadership and building ambition in high performing teams.

Addressing the Awards ceremony, Kevin Sherry, Executive Director, Global Business Development, Enterprise Ireland said: “The Founder of the Year Awards promotes Ireland’s ecosystem of entrepreneurs who have displayed the potential and commitment to building their businesses and realising their global ambition. We are delighted to build on the success of the Awards which is now in its third year, and the Founders Forum which acknowledges and celebrates high-performance, innovative Irish start-ups. On behalf of Enterprise Ireland, I wish to congratulate Brian Shields from Neurent Medical on winning this year’s Award. I wish also to pay tribute to the other finalists, all of whom were shortlisted by their peers, which is a real testament to their potential and future success.”

Speaking at the event, Kevin Foley, Partner in Grant Thornton said: “Grant Thornton is delighted to sponsor the Enterprise Ireland Founder of Year Awards again in 2019. This year’s participants displayed the deep entrepreneurial talent and the innovative businesses that are growing across Ireland. We are very happy to be associated with this positive initiative and great celebration of high performing start-ups.” 


Full list of short-listed nominees:

Gillian Doyle, Cerebreon Technologies
Cerebreon brings deep domain expertise and an independent, fully auditable and compliant solution to the UK insolvency market. The UK possesses an unsecured debt mountain of £300 billion and every year over 33% of people default on repayments. By predicting when this default will occur and allowing insolvency firms to take preventative action, consumers can resolve their financial difficulties while creditors increase their recovery. Cerebreon has developed the CORTX Insolvency platform which extracts, validates and processes all insolvency documents and supporting data to an accuracy rate of >98% using bespoke machine learning algorithms.

Declan Soden, Mirai Medical
Mirai Medical is a cancer medical device company pioneering an energy technology called ‘electroporation’ for use in the treatment of cancer. We have developed unique IP that allows for painless delivery of electroporation energy which greatly facilitates the ease and improves the outcome of cancer treatment. Their platform generator the ePORE has associated probes for targeting tumours located anywhere on the body.

Brian Shields, Neurent Medical
Neurent Medical Ltd is a privately held, venture backed, Galway based medical device company in the Ear, Nose and Throat market. The company designs and develops products for treating inflammatory diseases of the nasal cavities. The initial product offering reduces the primary symptoms of rhinitis, congestion and rhinorrhoea. Neurent Medical was established by Brian Shields and David Townley as a spin-out from the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Ollie Walsh, Pip iT
PiP iT is an International Cash Transaction Platform which helps migrants support their families at home. They are a B2B platform who partner with Bill Pay networks, eWallets, eCommerce and Banks to enable migrants to use their cash internationally e.g. to pay a bill at home at the UK Post Office. As the merchants pay the PiP iT fees, the service is free to use for migrants. PiP iT bar codes are now accepted in UK, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Philippines with 40 more countries under negotiation with two partners. PiP iT has three live transacting partners who between them are processing £30,000 a week in payments.

Rob Leslie, Sedicii
Sedicii was founded in 2013 and has won over 15 technology and innovations awards to date including, most recently, the BBVA Open Innovation “Fintech for Future” Award. BBVA is the oldest and largest Fintech Innovation Program in the world and has highlighted Sedicii as “the start-up with the greatest potential to transform the financial sector in the next 10 years!” Sedicii has developed a patented zero knowledge proof protocol to help people and businesses prove their identities in real-time without compromising their right to privacy.

Brendan Sheppard, SmartFactory
Smart Factory is an industrial IoT company which empowers digital transformation in manufacturing. They help accelerate smart manufacturing initiatives to drive continuous improvement, knowledge transfer and data-based decision making. They enable companies to move away from paper and spread sheets and guide them digitally through their work processes. Smart Factory uses wireless sensors and cutting edge IoT technology to capture, analyse and visualise KPIs in real-time.

Aisling Teillard, Tandem HR Solutions
Tandem is an award-winning feedback platform which reinvents the way performance is managed. By making feedback in the workplace a comfortable experience and facilitating anyone to give and request feedback in real-time to their colleagues, Tandem creates a community of coaches who can inspire and empower one another to take charge of their own growth and development. Supporting continuous feedback, Tandem also offers more structured feedback through check-ins, agile goal setting and 360 feedback, all designed to build self-awareness, inspire the potential in people and unlock an engaged and high performing culture.

Pat Kirby, Tixserve
Tixserve provides a SaaS, white-label, digital ticket fulfilment solution for entertainment and sports events that uses patent-pending, secure 'track & trace’ interactive technology to enable event creators to delight their customers, reduce costs, stop fraud, control ticket resale/exchange and generate new revenues from contextual mobile commerce.

Rafael Pages, Volograms
Volograms brings reality capture closer to everyone. Augmented and Virtual Reality have the potential to change our lives by re-defining the way we interact with digital media and, ultimately, the world around us. Volograms’ technology enables the capture of real people and moving objects into volograms. These can be experienced within video games, apps or social networks like Snapchat or Instagram, using smartphones, tablets, AR and VR headsets. This allows institutions, brands, creative agencies and individuals to bring immersive storytelling to the next level. Volograms' mission is to empower everybody to create their own content and blur the line between virtual and real.


For further information, please contact:

Nicola Corboy

Press & Media Relations

Enterprise Ireland

Nicola Corboy

01 727 2149

086 021 0114