'One to Watch Award' presented to UL spin-out for the best pitch at Enterprise Ireland's Big Ideas 2019

20th June 2019

Big Ideas
Pictured, L-R: Gearoid Mooney, Enterprise Ireland; Deirdre Glenn, Enterprise Ireland; Kevin O’Sullivan, SoloPep; Carol Gibbons, Enterprise Ireland; Stephen Creaner, Enterprise Ireland

Kevin O’Sullivan from SoloPep won the “One to Watch Award” at Enterprise Ireland’s Big Ideas 2019 which took place yesterday at the Printworks in Dublin Castle. SoloPep was one of 12 investor-ready start-up companies to pitch their new technology solutions to investors at Enterprise Ireland’s annual showcase of start-up innovation emerging from higher education institutes.

The award was presented to Kevin O’Sullivan from SoloPep, for the outstanding pitch of the day. SoloPep, which is an Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund supported spin-out from the University of Limerick, has developed the world’s first suite of disposable airway clearance devices for patients with Cystic Fibrosis, COPD and bronchiectasis. As the only disposable in the market, SoloPep addresses a previously unmet need in both the acute and home setting by removing the risk of infection from poorly cleaned devices.

The Big Ideas’ promoter Kevin O’Sullivan is a founding director of SoloPep Ltd, alongside his colleagues Professor Colum Dunne and Professor Leonard O’Sullivan.

Other Big Ideas at this year’s event included a potentially life-saving wayfinding system developed by a firefighter who was inspired by ‘Hansel and Gretel’; a wound closure device which combines the advantages of skin stapling with suturing; and a novel cyclonic method of mixing air and water to halve the electricity spent on recycling trillions of litres of wastewater every day.

Each start-up had just three minutes to promote their innovations and business propositions to an invited audience made up of the Irish research and business communities.

Full details on the event are available at www.bigideas.ie


Notes to editor:

SoloPep’s Big Idea:

The world’s first range of disposable devices to remove excess secretions from the respiratory tract and reduce mucus plugging in the small airways has been developed by SoloPep, a spin-out from the University of Limerick. Currently, reusable OPEP (Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure) devices require rigorous daily cleaning, taking up to 40 minutes a day for those at highest risk of infection.

Big Ideas 2019 also included:

  • According to the World Health Organisation, dementia is the biggest healthcare challenge of the 21st century. Cortex Cognition, a neuroscience technology spin-out company from Trinity College Dublin, has developed a state-of-the art Virtual Reality-based cognitive assessment which can detect subtle changes in cognition and identify early stages of dementia. Promoter: Paula Bolger
  • Environmental concerns have seen a desire to move away from synthetic chemicals used in agriculture. e-Seed from Trinity College Dublin is a technology for coating seeds which reduces the need for pesticides and fertiliser-use while increasing yields for farmers. Promoter: Sean Daly
  • Exit Entry is a software spin-in company based at DCU offering a solution for talent wars – the platform can measure soft skills and matches students with jobs using psychology-based software tools. Promoter: Lewize Crothers
  • As industry marches on towards digitalisation and Industry 4.0, sensing technology created by iSentiolabs in Trinity College Dublin, has the goal of making mechanical components, machines and structures ‘smart’. The technology has been developed for advanced manufacturing processes used to create quality-critical mechanical components, such as artificial hips and knees. Promoter: Garrett O’Donnell
  • For athletes and sports performance coaches, the ability to measure and track athlete performance accurately is crucial. UCD’s Output Sports has developed a single lab-grade wearable motion sensor that can accurately test and track multiple components of athletic performance so coaches can truly understand athletes and optimise performance. Promoter: Darragh Whelan
  • The children’s fairytale ‘Hansel and Gretel’ inspired fireman Martin Trainor’s development of Pathfinder at DCU. One of the major causes of firefighters’ deaths is becoming trapped, lost or disoriented within burning buildings. Using ‘smart pebbles’ on the way into the building, firefighters can landmark their route using easily deployable wayfinders, effectively leaving a trail to follow on the way out which can also be monitored externally. Promoter: Martin Trainor
  • Rapid population growth means we need more food to feed the global population of the future. Farmers are currently using optical sensing agtech solutions to help make farming decisions, however, data collected from images can be poor. UCD spin-out ProvEye’s technology can generate better agricultural data resulting in better farming outcomes. Promoter: Tim Buckley
  • Over 230 million wounds are closed every year – that’s 450 wounds per second. Current processes are slow, costly and can get infected easily. Trinity College Dublin spin-out Starling Surgical has developed The Quickstitch, a wound closure device as rapid to use as a skin stapler with the clinical advantages of meticulous sutures. Promoter: Travis Davis
  • With over 5 million people suffering from hearing loss worldwide, Tympany Medical is on a mission to revolutionise how ear surgeons operate. The NUI Galway spin-out is designing and developing a novel combined access and visualisation device which will enable ear surgeons to ‘see around the corners’ of the ear canal. This will allow surgeons to perform trans-canal ear surgery with a wide endoscopic view of the surgical site, thereby avoiding unnecessarily invasive surgery. Promoter: Elizabeth McGloughlin
  • NUI Galway’s Venari Medical is developing a unique medical device to treat patients with chronic venous disease by using the body’s natural healing response. Venous disease is caused when veins fail to circulate blood effectively which then pools in the legs and is the cause of 80% of all leg ulcers, affecting up to 120 million patients across the US and Europe. Promoter: Nigel Phelan
  • Every day, nine trillion litres of clean water is turned into nine trillion litres of wastewater across the globe. NUI Galway’s VorTech Water Solutions has developed a novel cyclonic method of mixing air and water to solve the energy intensity required in treating this wastewater which can amount to up to 4% of a developed nations’ total electricity bill. Promoter: John Geoghegan


For more information:

Conor O'Donovan

Head of Communications

Enterprise Ireland

Conor O'Donovan

+353 1 7272912

Brigid Burke

Press Office

Enterprise Ireland

Brigid Burke

+353 1 7272430

+353 87 1803995