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Foxframe Wins First Start-up Award

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DateMonday, March 07, 2011

Foxframe Wins First Start-up Award

Self-service Video Ad Creation Start-up Beats Front Square and Nootrol to Win Docklands Innovation Park Enterprise Award



Awards_Foxframe.jpgFoxframe, the Irish self-service video ad creation start-up, has won the Bolton Trust's Docklands Innovation Park Enterprise Award for 2011.

The CEOs of the three contesting start-ups, Grainne Barron (Foxframe), Geoff Beggs (Front Square) and Mark Kearns (Nootrol), presented their individual pitches in front of over 200 guests at the event, which was hosted by PwC in their office in Dublin on Thursday night last.



After their individual presentations, the each CEO faced the judging panel, DFJ Esprit partner, Brian Caulfield; HBAN National Director, Diane Roberts; Damien Callaghan, Investment Director at Intel; and Ivan Coulter, CEO of Sigmoid Pharma who collectively asked countless rapid fire questions which interrogated their financials, market capacity and products.



When the questioning had finished, the judges retired to choose the winner.


Announcing the result Callaghan, who having sat on the Government's Innovation Taskforce and now sits on its implementation group, said: "One of the key breakthroughs on the Innovation Taskforce was recognising that ideas had to answer one very significant question; does this idea or suggestion make it easier for an entrepreneur to succeed?" Based on the answer, the idea was either included as a recommendation or not. One of the recommendations we made was that there should be far more competitions such as the Docklands Innovation Park's Enterprise Award, which give recognition and reward to our country's entrepreneurs."



Callaghan paid tribute to the three contesting entrepreneurs saying it had been a privilege to hear their pitches and review their plans. "All three companies are solving big problems with a 'I can do something about that' attitude, and it is apparent that they are all extremely passionate about their businesses, and very ambitious.

Choosing the winner has been difficult," he continued. "However, the winner based on the 10x question that every VC asks. If I invest X million euro will I get 10 times my money back? Based on this, the winner is Foxframe." 



Looking very shocked, Barron, who said she was looking for €2m investment, paid tribute to her team, her family and Phelim O'Doherty of technology company FraudHalt who had provided mentorship to her . She said: "This award is fabulous, and I can't thank my family enough for investing their emotions in me all of the time."


An impressive point to note is that Barron beat Beggs and Kearns even though both have much stronger and experienced principal teams in situ. Beggs for example co-founded Front Square with former Trinity computer science graduates Sean Blanchfield and Brian McDonnell, who both have extensive experience in the online gaming sector. Blanchfield co-founded Demonware which was acquired by Activision in 2007, whilst McDonnell is co-founder of Arcadia Online Games and has also been CTO at Blanchfield's Demonware partner Dylan Collins' latest company, Jolt Online. 



Kearns, also a Trinity technology graduate, has enjoyed immense success with Internet TV platform Babelgum, and has exited one company, Core Technology Systems, very successfully. His team at Nootrol include several notable technologists in the cloud computing space. Kearns was also nominated for a BAFTA for his work on SkyTV and Big Brother.



Closing the 2011 competition, Paul O'Sullivan, Director of DIT's Business Faculty and Bolton Trust said: "Being a finalist in the Docklands Innovation Park Enterprise Awards opens doors. Dr. Mark Sugrue who won these same Awards in 2010 (more), has sinced raised almost €1/2 million for his company Kinesense, and Conor McAuliffe of Ikon Semiconductor, and Siobhan King-Hughes of Sensormind are also flourishing. There are three winners here tonight and I've no doubt Grainne, Geoff and Mark will have very bright futures."



Foxframe started life on the Endeavour programme in Co. Kerry, and are set to go live with a freemium version of their self-service video ad creation service later this month. Along with the Enterprise Award, Foxframe also collected a cheque for €10,000.



For a description of Foxframe, Front Square and Nootrol, click here.



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