Blackstone LaunchPad - November Newsletter!

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Welcome to the November Edition of our newsletter! Alas, it's that time of year again, the days are getting shorter, Diwali lights are no longer burning brightly, pumpkin carcasses line the streets, Halloween a distant memory... but the show must go on, and we've quite a few events and application deadlines to keep you all busy until the silly season begins!

Contents:

  • The Blackstone LaunchPad Sprints - Final Call! 
  • Huawei 3xD Hackathon! In Case You Missed It (The Video)
  • Featured Startups: Zorin OS & Appetize
  • Women Who Wow - Final Call!
  • LaunchBox 2018
  • Announcing: The Undergraduate Certificate in Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Join the #BlackstoneLaunchPad Family!


The Blackstone LaunchPad Sprints - Final Call!

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The Blackstone LaunchPad Sprints is kicking off in less than two weeks! And there is still (a little bit of) time to book your place in this introductory entrepreneurship programme! 

The sprints programme is a great opportunity to get an introduction into the world of entrepreneurship by exploring your own idea and testing it with industry mentors in the following areas: design thinking, business, legal and presenting. The programme consists of five lunchtime sessions from November 14th - 23rd.

You can find more details and the application here (Deadline November 10th): http://www.launchpadtrinity.org/sprints/

Would you like to know about this programme? To see if it's the right fit? Why not book in a meeting in with one of our mentors today:  http://www.launchpadtrinity.org/appointments/

Huawei 3xD Coding Challenge (The Video)

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In case you missed it! Last month Blackstone LaunchPad and Trinity proudly hosted and co-organised our very first "3xD Coding Challenge" with Huawei Ireland at the Innovation Academy. And thanks to Huawei, the top three teams won a trip to China along with a number of goodies! 

And finally, a big thanks to our videography team Tick Tock Films and of course to our great team of volunteers below!

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Featured Startups: Zorin OS & Appetize

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A big congratulations to the Blackstone Launchpad teams Zorin OS and Appetize for taking part in the international TechStars Training Camp hosted by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation last month. Zorin OS placed third and won $5,000. You can read more about their experiences on the Blackstone LaunchPad blog and on Trinity news.

About Zorin OS

Brothers Kyrill and Artyom Zorin are behind the company. Kyrill graduated from Trinity’s Computer Science and Business course in 2016, while Artyom is currently on leave from studies to focus on the development of Zorin OS. To date, Zorin OS has been downloaded over 17 million times with users in homes, schools, and organisations around the world.

Long-term, the company aims to create “the computing platform for the developing world.” By re-imagining both the software experience and hardware in PCs, the aim is to create computers that are not only very affordable, but that are also designed to improve the lives of the next few billion users. For more information: https://zorinos.com

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About Appetize

Robin Fitzpatrick (Management Science and Information System Studies graduate from Trinity), Padraic Rowley (Computer Science graduate from Trinity) and Glen Byrne (Law graduate from Trinity) are behind the company.

The team discovered the business potential in the social dining marketplace that is growing in Ireland and abroad. They are currently looking to test their application in Trinity College Dublin, and are also partnering with the Food & Drink Society for a number of events. They hope to make dinner for students a more healthy, fun and educational experience. For more information: www.appetize.ie

Women Who Wow!

Last chance to get matched with an experienced female businesswoman for the year. We have only a few spots left, so fill out the short application form today to be considered: www.launchbox.ie/womenwhowow
 

LaunchBox 2018

LaunchBox is having a fun, informal information evening on 16 November with pizza. If you're interested in getting paid to work on your own startup or idea all summer you should sign up here: https://lbox18info1.eventbrite.ie

The Undergraduate Certificate in Innovation & Entrepreneurship

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Fancy getting credits for entrepreneurship? Well wait no more, as The Innovation Academy will now offer an Undergraduate Certificate open to 2nd and 3rd-year undergraduates in Trinity College Dublin from every discipline! The UG Cert is taught in a flexible way through online delivery (70%) and classroom-based teaching (30%) and can be taken over 1 or 2 years.

Stay tuned for more updates on this: http://www.innovationacademy.ie/our-programme-2/undergraduate-certificate-in-innovation-entrepreneurship

Join the #BlackstoneLaunchPad Global Community

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Blackstone LaunchPad at Trinity is now connected to #BlackstoneLaunchPad campuses and communities globally powered by Ideator and Blackstone. With the new school year fast approaching, Blackstone LaunchPad at Trinity is ready to unlock the power of our #BlackstoneLaunchPad global network with Ideator. Sign up today: https://www.blackstonelaunchpad.org/trinity

Thanks and see you this side of Christmas!

The Blackstone LaunchPad Team.

Blackstone LaunchPad Space, Berkeley Library
Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland.
 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaunchPadTCD
Twitter: https://twitter.com/launchpad_tcd
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/launchpadtcd/

Blackstone LaunchPad Techstars Training Camp : Appetize

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Appetize

Appetize is a social dining application that allows people to host events, meet new people and earn money while doing it! Think Airbnb, but for dining! It was founded by three Trinity College students, Robin Fitzpatrick , Padraic Rowley and Glen Byrne. Robin discovered social dining while working in Austin, Texas, and Padraic and Glen saw the potential of social dining while working together in their students’ union.

Fail, fail again fail better (Samuel Beckett)

Getting Appetize off the ground was a combination of determination and some important failures. The team believed in the idea and felt that the dining industry could be changed for the better, letting people enjoy dining more socially and with a healthier offering. Though unsuccessful in gaining full admittance into the Trinity Launchbox program, we bootstrapped the business. This meant that we could participate in the program, but we did not receive funding, and were each working full-time whilst getting Appetize off the ground. Early on we found success. We were accepted into the NDRC Pre-Acceleration Program, which is the number one accelerator program in Europe, and number two in the world.

Still aiming to achieve, we pitched the idea to Blackstone Launchpad, this time for a spot to attend the Techstars & Blackstone program in New York City. We were selected for the spot along with fellow Trinity-founded company, Zorin OS.

Techstars & Blackstone

The event was hugely beneficial to the company. The program covered crucial elements for startups at any stage, from marketing to the importance of diversity in recruitment. Some of the highlights included Ryan Kuder on marketing - “‘Lean’ in startups is not about being cheap! It’s about cutting the fat and going to the core of what produces value”. Other talks included Finance 101, which gave an insightful overview of what investors are looking for particularly early on.

Clement Cazalot was one of our mentors during the program. His perspective and advice around building Appetize really changed how we looked at the company and how to ultimately achieve success.

Away from the programs center in Galvanize, Blackstone held an event in their new ‘innovation center’. It was humbling meeting Amy Stursberg and Steve Schwarzman, who built Blackstone into the multi-billion dollar company that it is today. They both discussed their experiences, which were fascinating, to say the least.

 

The two-day event aimed to give young entrepreneurs the tools and knowledge to build businesses that were engaged, socially-aware and successful. Everyone in Blackstone and Techstars worked hard to create the event and it truly was something to remember.  

Blackstone LaunchPad Training Camp: Zorin OS

Zorin OS

"Zorin OS is an alternative to Windows and macOS, designed to make your computer faster, more powerful and secure." www.zorinos.com

Firstly, we would like to thank Blackstone LaunchPad and the Techstars team for selecting us as one of two startups attending the Blackstone Techstars Training Camp representing Trinity College Dublin. It was an honour to fly the flag of Trinity in New York.

The one word that describes the Training Camp the best: intense. In the space of 2 days, we received decades worth of experience and invaluable advice. Covering all parts of running a startup; funding, recruiting, marketing and sales, just to name a few. In such a short space of time at the training camp, we became vastly more confident in moving to the next stages of our business - from selling to enterprises to entering the developing world.

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One of the most exciting parts of the whole event was meeting and networking with other entrepreneurs from around the United States and Ireland. Companies in all sorts of industries; from electric cars to cricket farming. Learning about their journeys and what makes them tick was truly fascinating and inspiring. Regardless of the level of maturity of startups we met, the Training Camp was incredibly helpful and informative across the board. To top it off, we were flattered to win 3rd prize in the pitching competition across the 40 teams at the event. It was a pleasure sharing the story of our past, present and future with everyone there.

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Of course, our first ever trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without a bit of relaxing and sightseeing. After the event and the ensuing meetings, we spent the last few days touring the city with the Appetize team. New York is an incredibly vibrant and diverse city where the scale of everything around you inspires you to do huge and incredible things - there is nowhere quite like it.

In Case You Missed It... IoTathon 2017 The Video!

In case you missed it! This Summer Blackstone LaunchPad at Trinity proudly hosted our very first IoT hackathon or "IoTathon" and our very first inter-varsity event at Trinity College Dublin. And thanks to the generous support and involvement of Bank of Ireland, postgraduate teams from Trinity, UCC and NUIG fought it out for €1500 worth of prizes!

And last but not least, thanks to our videographer Alan Weldon who put together this great video!

We're Hiring! Intern with Blackstone LaunchPad at Trinity (Open to all Disciplines!)

Blackstone LaunchPad at Trinity are looking for an intern! This position will be on a semester by semester basis throughout the academic year and will commence immediately until 31st December 2017. Ideally we are looking for a post-grad or recently graduated student from Trinity. We can negotiate flexible hours depending on your schedule.

What is Blackstone LaunchPad at Trinity?

At Blackstone LaunchPad we introduce, support and facilitate entrepreneurship on campus as a viable career path, support venture creation and develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets. Visit www.blackstonelaunchpad.org/ or check out our websites: LaunchPad: launchpadtrinity.org and LaunchBox: http://www.launchbox.ie/ for more information.

Role and responsibilities?

  • Aid day-to-day operations of LaunchPad events and workshops, hackathons, startup bootcamps, guest speakers and mentors.
  • Brand Ambassador: build awareness of the LaunchPad program (and LaunchBox program) by doing regular shoutouts before lectures in your respective lectures and classes.
  • Event management: helping out with events, setting up and ordering catering, tidying up after, manning AV during events etc.
  • Participate and coordinate with student engagement, marketing campaigns, social media, newsletter, content creation and blogging.
  • Help with admin, expenses or small amounts of paper work.
  • Contribute if required on specific tasks like the LaunchBox applications and LaunchPad
  • Stewardship Council, writing of minutes or meeting room preparation.

Requirements?

  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Excellent organisational skills and a good team player that can also work independently.
  • Experience with design, social media platforms, web tools and social media management applications a big plus.
  • An interest in entrepreneurship, startups, social enterprise, social media, marketing or journalism is desirable.

Salary description:

Hours and compensation? - Hours will vary based on our need. - Flexibility will be required with working events. - We aim to run at least three events per week in the LaunchPad Space. - Busier times of year, like Freshers’ Week, and the LaunchBox pitch stages, will require more hours than usual. - We pay our interns €10 per hour for their work with us.

How to Apply:

Open to Trinity students only. You can apply via "MyTCD" here: https://mycareerconnect.tcd.ie/leap/jobs.html?id=1055&service=Careers+Service

Deadline: 

1st October 2017.

Blackstone LaunchPad - Summer Newsletter!

Welcome to The Summer Edition of our monthly newsletter! Check out some of our upcoming events, announcements and updates below! 

Contents:

  • The Internet of Things You Say? Join Our Very First "IoTathon" - Tuesday 18th July
  • Demo Day LaunchBox 2017: Save The Date
  • Featured Startup: NeuroBranch
  • Featured Founder: Liana Tomescu
  • Blackstone LaunchPad Sprints Team - Second Enactus World Cup
  • Recent Updates: Berlin and Tallin Visits
  • Upcoming Events / Applications / Opportunities

The Internet of Things You Say? Join Our Very First "IoTathon" - Tuesday 18th July

Calling all budding IoT junkies, hackers, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs from Trinity! The IoT (Internet of Things) revolution is just around the corner, and we're organising a one day hackathon event or "IoTathon" for students of Trinity, UCC and NUI Galway's Blackstone LaunchPad programmes to sink their teeth into all things IoT!

Our very first IoTathon is proudly sponsored by Bank of Ireland and with a generous prize fund of €1,500 up for grabs, tickets are selling fast! So please register your place on: https://iotathon2017.eventbrite.co.uk

Our IoTathon will take place on Tuesday July 18th (10:30-18:30) in Bank of Ireland's WorkBench in Trinity College Dublin. Please book your ticket before the application deadline (5pm - 7th July). For more information visit our website

Demo Day LaunchBox 2017: Save The Date

The LaunchBox 2017 programme is already in full swing, so if you haven't had a look at some of the teams yet I highly recommend you take a gander now! Or better yet please join us for the final company pitches on our demo day; to hear how the teams got on during the programme, and celebrate their achievements with us.

Please register your place for demo day here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/launchbox-2017-demo-day-tickets-35591494117

Featured Startup: NeuroBranch

A big congratulations to Blackstone Launchpad team NeuroBranch on their recent participation in the Student Entrepreneurs Awards by Entreprise Ireland in CIT Cork earlier this month. NeuroBranch won the Merit Award worth €1,500.

Also this month saw the official launch of NeuroBranch's H Pylori App, a software platform for clinical trials in Tallaght hospitalThe launch event was hosted in Science Gallery in collaboration with the gastro-enterology research group (TAGG) from Tallaght Hospital with an opening presentation from Professor Seamus Donnelly, Head of the Department in Tallaght Hospital.

Featured Founder: Liana Tomescu

Liana Tomescu is a recent graduate of Computer Science and Business and former head of the Trinity Entrepreneurial Society (TES) and current Blackstone LaunchPad participant and LaunchBox associate. She is currently running the startup "The Forward Academy", which is a non-profit that brings technology education to people at risk of poverty. Two upcoming programmes will provide refugees in Ireland with skills in a web development programme lasting a few weeks long, and also for young adults in Uganda in a week-long bootcamp.

She is looking for additional team members to help organise the curriculum, and also for volunteers to mentor at the events. If interested, you can email address her and the team on: hello@theforwardacademy.com. And for more information, please visit the website: https://www.theforwardacademy.com/

Blackstone LaunchPad Sprints Team in Second Enactus World Cup

Enactus TCD has placed second in Ireland in the Enactus National Competition, thanks to the innovation, impact, and scalability of their two projects: Keep Appy and Homeless Helpline. The latter being a product of Blackstone Launchpad's Sprints programme in 2016. The students created sustainable business models based on sound economic practice which not only dramatically improve the food security of Homeless People in Dublin but also provides opportunities for Trinity students to improve their mental health through consistent journaling.

Recent Updates: Berlin and Tallin Visits

Our jet-setting staff have been around Europe of late, from Berlin to Tallin and from Cork to Munich! For a quick summary on their experiences check out our recent blog posts about Estonia (Raw Materials event) and Germany (Re:Publica 2017, Berlin)!

Upcoming Events / Applications / Opportunities

There are a number of application opportunities on the horizon across the ecosystem:

And as always keep an eye on some of our coming events: http://www.launchpadtrinity.org/events/ 

Many Thanks!
 
The Blackstone LaunchPad Team.
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Blackstone LaunchPad Space, Berkeley Library
Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland.
 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaunchPadTCD
Twitter: https://twitter.com/launchpad_tcd
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/launchpadtcd/ 

The Internet of Things You Say? Join Our First "IoTathon" - Tuesday 18th July

Are you a problem solver? Do you have an interest in IoT (The Internet of Things)?

Blackstone LaunchPad at Trinity are proud to announce our very first IoT hackathon or "IoTathon", which takes place on Tuesday July 18th, in conjunction with the UCC and NUI Galway Blackstone LaunchPad programmes! Our inaugural IoTathon is proudly sponsored by Bank of Ireland.

With a prize fund of €1500 worth of prizes up for grabs, places are going fast so please register before applications close on Friday 7th of July: https://iotathon2017.eventbrite.co.uk

Our IoTathon is being run in conjunction with the Blackstone LaunchPad programmes in UCC and NUI Galway Universities and will be a great opportunity to network with students in attendance from these institutions. We will also have a guest speaker and a workshop on the day to answer any IoT related questions and to get the ball rolling on the challenges that will be addressed.

On top of all of this there is a prize fund of €1500 up for grabs and food and drinks will also be provided on the day thanks to Bank of Ireland. 

The event will take place 10:30am to 18:30pm on Tuesday, the 18th of July in Bank of Ireland's WorkBench in Trinity College Dublin.

To register, visit our eventbrite page: https://iotathon2017.eventbrite.co.uk and please feel free to send on any questions to: launchpad[at]tcd[dot]ie

Let's get innovative!

The LaunchPad team.

Blackstone LaunchPad at Trinity visits Estonia

In May 2017 Blackstone LaunchPad from Trinity visited Tallin, Estonia as part of a European project funded by EIT KIC Raw Materials. Well aware of the positive reputation of Estonia in the global startup community  we visited Technical University of Tallin (TTU) and  a startup summit known as Latitude59 (59 degrees N being the latitude of Tallin).

At TTU we participated in a workshop at  Mektory is the University's showcase innovation and entrepreneurship space  in a refurbished building opened just two years ago. MEKTORY is an acronym for "Modern Estonian Knowledge Transfer Organisation for You": But the association with dubious academic acronyms ends there.

MEKTORY is of interest because of its funding model and its method of engaging with student startups and the wider startup ecosystem within Estonia. It was the brainchild ofthen  the Vice-Rector of TTÜ Ms Tea Varrak. Since founding MEKTORY Tea is  now Secretary General of Ministry of Education and Research in the Estonian government. 

MEKTORY's success provides a useful case study for  the development of the new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub within  Trinity College. The main takeaways are:

  1. Funded not only from the expected sources  (i.e. the university itself  and  the Estonian government): But has secured  sponsorship from industry and foreign government embassies 
  2. Extensive engagement with primary and second level students
  3. Existence of a nationwide knowledge transfer organisation known as Adapter . This serves as a one stop shop for industry when it wishes to secure technologies or services from any Estonian University. Adapter is the Estonian equivalent of Knowledge Transfer Ireland and guarantees a response from a University within 10 working days .

The images below illustrate the practical implementation of the above:

Meeting room in MEKTORY TTU with an obvious sponsor

Meeting room in MEKTORY TTU with an obvious sponsor

Another telecoms company sponsors a training room.

Another telecoms company sponsors a training room.

The local  energy utility Unitas sponsors an interactive  in order that engineering students of all ages can understand key principles.

The local  energy utility Unitas sponsors an interactive  in order that engineering students of all ages can understand key principles.

Well equipped video studio onsite is a very useful addition for startups and innovators

Well equipped video studio onsite is a very useful addition for startups and innovators

Nice idea on the stairway  to promote healthy exercise for the entrepreneurs

Nice idea on the stairway  to promote healthy exercise for the entrepreneurs

The local electricity utility sponsors an interactive training room with an electrical engineering theme

The local electricity utility sponsors an interactive training room with an electrical engineering theme

The UK government is one of the many embassies  sponsoring the space. Other rooms are supported and named   for the US  and Finnish Government agencies who wish to be associated with the Estonian university innovation system. The Finnish space features a sauna and plunge pool (naturally).

The UK government is one of the many embassies  sponsoring the space. Other rooms are supported and named   for the US  and Finnish Government agencies who wish to be associated with the Estonian university innovation system. The Finnish space features a sauna and plunge pool (naturally).

Visitors sign the wall  and mark their home location. Mektory at TTU had over 200,000 visitors last year.

Visitors sign the wall  and mark their home location. Mektory at TTU had over 200,000 visitors last year.

Engagement with younger entrepreneurs  from primary and secondary schools is a major focus of the MEKTORY organisation.

Engagement with younger entrepreneurs  from primary and secondary schools is a major focus of the MEKTORY organisation.

The sponsor wall shows all the supporters the MEKTORY centre. The following day Blackstone Launchpad visited the startup conference www.latitude59.ee . In summary similar to any startup event in Europe. As expected government supports and university spin outs were to the fore. 

The sponsor wall shows all the supporters the MEKTORY centre.

The following day Blackstone Launchpad visited the startup conference www.latitude59.ee . In summary similar to any startup event in Europe. As expected government supports and university spin outs were to the fore. 

LaunchPad visits re:publica 2017, Berlin

The first installment of re:publica 2017 took place in the Xberg district of Berlin from the 8th - 10th May and it was a pleasure to be invited along to take part and experience both re:publica and Media Convention Berlin. They have two other events taking place in the coming months, one in Dublin and one in Greece, both of which are shaping up to be very interesting. As for re:publica Berlin, here's the skinny and the scoop!

Set in an old train station in Xberg, Berlin re:publica was much larger in size than I had anticipated. It took me no less than two hours to complete a full circuit of the event and get a sense of my surroundings. Having flown in on Sunday evening, I was well prepared for an early start on Monday - and re:publica delivered with the official opening taking place at 10am featuring Michael Müller, Dr. Anja Zimmer, Helge Jürgens, Markus Beckedahl, Tanja Haeusler, Johnny Haeusler and founder Andreas Gebhard.

Opening ceremony

After the opening ceremony I took some time to explore the open exhibition floor and got lost in some pretty marvellous workshops taking place in the maker space and Fab Lab Berlin. There was an excellent range of interactive stands across the exhibition space, showing off a multitude of new and cool technologies. Everyone from BMW to Google was there, but more importantly, so were a large number of small organisations, competing equally for attention on the exhibition floor.

Open Workshop on the exhibition floor

Open Workshop on the exhibition floor

There was hours of fun to be had exploring the creative arts and emerging technology at the event. I spent quite a while doing this on Monday, alongside visiting some great talks, delivered in both English and Deutsch. I caught an excellent talk delivered by Sascha Lobo and also signed up to take part in networking sessions with Braindate: https://re-publica.com/de/17/media-convention-berlin/page/braindate-0

On Monday evening I was invited to be a part of a panel discussion. We were discussing how to Connect Entrepreneurship and it was held in the Connecting Europe space (a thinktank for bringing together and creating shared resources for a number of disciplines across the EU).

We discussed at length how each of us were involved in entrepreneurship within our own cities and then ideated as a community on how to solve some of the common barriers we collectively identified. The conversation moved on to discuss ways to create a shared network of resources and it was very interesting to learn about opportunities for Entrepreneurs and new business in Greece and Germany.

 

 

Google "Daydream" technology

Google "Daydream" technology

Google Daydream is fantastic, I don't think it's available on the Irish market yet but if you get a chance to sample it I highly recommend that you do. It features some rather innovative games and experiences. In the space of ten minutes I got to be a basketball net, a racing car and trudge through the underground tunnels of London. Highly recommended.

There was a very large and varied selection of VR and AR applications on show at the event. Incredibly interesting stuff too.

There was a very large and varied selection of VR and AR applications on show at the event. Incredibly interesting stuff too.

 

There were some excellent networking opportunities at the event and I met some incredible people. On Monday evening We were invited to a networking session at the re:Connecting Europe space where i had the privilege of meeting the founder of the festival. There was a great buzz and atmosphere and it was a very enjoyable way to spend the evening.

It's fair to say everyone "had a ball" at re:publica

It's fair to say everyone "had a ball" at re:publica

Day two of re:publica kicked off bright and early on Tuesday and I started by visiting the Labore:tory - an exhibition space set in the former train stations three story coal house. Afterwards I attended a talk given by Melanie Boylan which covered the importance of "Social Listening" in the context of Social Media.

Another of the excellent workshops on the Main stage

Another of the excellent workshops on the Main stage

By late afternoon there was just enough time to grab some Linner (Lunch/Dinner), take in the event from a nice vantage point and then set off for the airport.

All in all it was a great experience and there was a huge amount of great ideas on display. I look forward to the next Irish installment of the festival and well done once again to all involved!

Birds eye view

Birds eye view

Blackstone LaunchPad - April Newsletter!

Welcome to The April Edition of our monthly newsletter! With Easter behind us, the Trinity Ball a distant ringing in our ears, it can mean only one thing... it's the final stretch into exam time! But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a free coffee down in our space, to take the edge of those study-filled hours in the library. So join us for a coffee and until then, check out some of our upcoming events, announcements and updates below! 

Contents:

  • Announcing our Second Edition of the LaunchPad Sprints
  • Featured LaunchPad Founder & Startup: Walker S. Mahn Jr. and LEAP
  • Startup Updates from across the Ecosystem
  • The New Blackstone Charitable Foundation Entrepreneurship Video
  • Events Recap: Legal and Software Workshops
  • NASA Space Apps 2017 - April 29th / 30th
  • HackJam! Functional Reactive Programming Event - April 24th
  • Upcoming Events / Applications / Opportunities


Announcing our Second Edition of the Blackstone LaunchPad Sprints!

The LaunchPad Sprints are back again this year for a second edition and for our very first Summer edition!

The sprints programme is a great opportunity to get an introduction into the world of entrepreneurship by exploring your own idea and testing it with industry mentors. This time we will be accepting individuals interested in entrepreneurship as well as teams.

To register your interest, please first sign up to LaunchPad and send an email to launchpad@tcd.ie for more details. In the meantime, keep an eye on our website and check out some of the photos from last year!

Taking the LEAP with the LaunchPad Sprints - Walker S. Mahn Jr

A big congratulations to student Walker S. Mahn Jr. on his very successful journey since his participation in the last LaunchPad Sprints programme. 

Walker is the Programme Director and Founder of LEAP Tutoring, a charitable education initiative borne out of Blackstone LaunchPad's Sprints programme at Trinity College Dublin. Walker has spent the past seven months getting the project off the ground, in both Ireland and Liberia. You can read more about Walker's amazing journey here!

Startup Updates from across the Ecosystem

Just a few quick fire rounds from our startups and entrepreneurs across our ecosystem, a shout out to MatchDay on their continuing progress and on their beta live versions of their app. MatchDay are off to Philadelphia for a university pitch next month, we wish them the very best of luck!

Another shout out goes to our past LaunchBox and LaunchPad team AquaChia who have launched their Chia cereal products line in seven stores this week. And a congrats to our current LaunchBox 2017 team Wynk, on their official launch of their new dating up in Bank of Ireland's WorkBench last month.

Lastly, a big congrats to student Eire Smith for being nominated for the student achievements awards Ireland by the Union of Students in Ireland.

Featuring the New Blackstone Charitable Foundation Entrepreneurship Video!

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has just a released a new entrepreneur video, as well as a corresponding blog highlighting the Foundation’s impact, featuring entrepreneurs from Blackstone LaunchPad and the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network. You can watch the new video
here: http://goo.gl/Miwqqk please keep an eye on the Blackstone website for entrepreneurial developments from across our network, including UCC and NUI Galway in Ireland and our 20 connected universities in the US! 

Events Recap: Legal & Software Workshops

Earlier in April, we were treated to two fantastic talks and workshops, from very different ends of the startup spectrum: legal and software! Mattan Lass of Philip Lee Solicitors was in for a lunch time session, and talked turkey on all things legal facing startups. Meanwhile, Yevgeny Brikman gave a very engaging talk and workshop last week to Trinity's entrepreneurial students and startup teams who are facing software challenges as they grow and scale. Both Yevgeny and Mattan are regulars of DogPatch Labs and regulars in the startup in Dublin, so keep in touch with them on Twitter and keep an eye out for them at future tech events!

NASA Space Apps Challenge 2017

Gravity is gone and Space is coming to LaunchPad, yes that's right, we are hosting NASA and its space apps challenge in conjunction with the Innovation Academy at the end of this month!

Every year NASA release a set of challenges and datasets related to real Space missions and host a global competition to find new innovative ideas to solve these problems. Solutions to the challenges leverage new methods and technologies including open-source software, 3D printing, drones, VR, AR, and machine learning. This event is designed for engineers, designers, data scientists, makers, storytellers, and ..... you!

Last year more than 15,000 participants took part from over 160 cities across the Globe, over the same weekend. Several local teams from Ireland went forward to compete in the final Global round: www.siliconrepublic.com/machines/3-winners-of-nasa-space-apps-challenge-hackathon-revealed

The theme of this year's challenges set by NASA will be 'Earth'. For more details read here.

HackJam! Functional Reactive Programming (Build your own version of RXJS) - Monday April 24th

For all you techies out there we are hosting our friends from Belgium and France again 'HackJam' for another functional programming hack evening next week.

All levels are welcome! From beginner to expert, you're welcome to join this fantastic & fun learning opportunity. As a beginner, you'll learn what are observable, observer and how to consume data from a reactive system. For those with more experience using FRP, you'll be able to go deeper on a few topics such as High Order Observable, Subject, Shared Behaviours and you will learn how to implement your own version of this library. This HackJam is built around a series of tests (TDD) that will help you rebuild your own version of RXJS.

Read here for more details and you can register on Meetup!

Upcoming Events / Applications / Opportunities
 
As always keep an eye on some of our coming events. Read on for more: http://www.launchpadtrinity.org/events/ 

Lastly, there are currently some excellent opportunities and resources available for any innovative teams with an idea and we thought it might be helpful to list these here and share a little about them. For more information check out our blog post: http://www.launchpadtrinity.org/blog/2017/3/31/when-opportunity-knocks

Taking the LEAP with the Blackstone LaunchPad Sprints - Walker S. Mahn Jr.

Walker S. Mahn is the Programme Director and Founder of LEAP Tutoring, a charitable education initiative borne out of Blackstone LaunchPad's Sprints programme at Trinity College Dublin. Walker has spent the past seven months getting the project off the ground, in both Ireland and Liberia. Today he shares his story.

Origins 

Riding down the red hill to go to work on a warm and sunny morning in Paynesville, Liberia, I could not believe what my eyes were seeing. I knew the more I rationalised this to myself, the more tolerable it would seem. But that particular day was one of those days in which I could no longer ignore what my eyes were seeing.

Seeing multitudes of children in my community, every morning who were still at home, working, playing or just casually moving about was something I could no longer ignore. This situation stirred this deep desire in my heart to finally move to action and it also raised some burning questions.

The first question I had to ask myself was, why are these children not in school? Don’t their parents understand the importance of education? 

Being a Liberian that was raised and educated in America, the values of education were taught to me at an early age. Do these values not resonate with parents in Liberia? But the overbearing presence of poverty was hard to dismiss. I knew it must be the cause.

Poverty in Liberia

The more I observed, the more I realised that my daughter Kelly and the children who live in the same community are in two separate worlds. Kelly is fortunate to have a father and mother who are employed, have a home and can afford to fund her Catholic school primary education and provide meals and medical fees.

The children I observed were not so fortunate. In fact, their story is the unfortunate reality across Liberia: parents are either unemployed, casual labourers, or deceased (either during the civil war or during the recent ebola virus disease outbreak that struck Liberia with the most casualties than any other affected country). These children either live with caretakers or guardians as referred to by Western definitions.

Either way, I could literally see the utter despair and sadness in the eyes of these children as their friends would walk past them, wearing uniforms on their way to school.

This desire to change this situation was so strong and imminent that when I was awarded a scholarship by Irish Aid to study for a Masters degree in Applied Social Research at Trinity College Dublin, I could no longer hold back about these stark realities facing Liberia.

The Creation of LEAP

After a few discussions with the President and Treasurer of Trinity College Dublin's Enactus Society, the Liberian Education Assistance Program (LEAP) was initiated with the support of volunteers from Trinity College Dublin.

Further research confirmed my gut feeling: World Bank and UNICEF statistics both confirmed that 62% of children in Liberia were out of primary school, the world’s lowest enrolment rate. This news was embarrassing as a Liberian, but we as team members of LEAP knew that we could make a difference. 

For a country that is rated the world’s third poorest country, primary education is not free, in fact $150.00 USD is all that is required to complete a year of primary education. But, Liberia’s recent civil war crises that lasted from 1989 to 2003 not only destroyed over 150,000 lives, destroyed major infrastructures and diminished any formal systems in place for protection of children rights, one which is the right to education. 

With an 85% unemployment rate nationally, primary school attendance is now a privilege rather than a right, hence the record breaking low enrolment rate.

Blackstone LaunchPad Sprints

Thus, when Blackstone Lauchpad at Trinity offered an opportunity for mentorship and development through a competitive programme called the LaunchPad Sprints. I was very excited what this meant for LEAP. After meeting with the Blackstone Launchpad at Trinity team and its managers, who initially met with our project team, we entered the LaunchPad Sprints programme. 

And due to our participation in this startup incubator, we received our first funding and our first official partnership, which subsequently led to more partnerships and funding through Blackstone Launchpad at Trinity's promotional and networking events.

From Right to Left: Walker S. Mahn, Jr./Founder and Programme Director, Arun Adrios/Head of Marketing and Ritika Chouchan/ Head of Finance at the Blackstone Lauchpad TCD Space.

From Right to Left: Walker S. Mahn, Jr./Founder and Programme Director, Arun Adrios/Head of Marketing and Ritika Chouchan/ Head of Finance at the Blackstone Lauchpad TCD Space.

Within seven months, with sponsorship from Blackstone Lauchpad at Trinity and the Graduate Student Union (GSU) of Trinity College Dublin, Enactus TCD, private donors and corporate sponsorship and with the tireless efforts of the LEAP programme team in Ireland and in Liberia, we are humbled to announce that a community assessment conducted in Paynesville, Liberia by the Programme Coordinator and Project Officers have registered 50 children on to the LEAP programme. 

This is a low number in some ways but every great journey begins with one step. LEAP has implemented the first phase of the programme, and we now have a local office space in Liberia and are gearing up to receive sponsorship from both Irish based and Liberian based organisations.

How LEAP Works

Our goal is provide quality education to our student beneficiaries from primary school right through to high school in order to avoid any disruption in their educational process. We accomplish this through fundraising, social awareness and a cultural exchange programme.

A primary education scholarship can be provided to LEAP beneficiaries for only €150 a year. Our partnership with Living Faith Elementary School, a reputable Primary School located in the heart of Paynesville, implements the scholarships on our behalf and provides monthly reports on the progress of each scholarship recipient.

Gift Programme for new beneficiaries at the LEAP Sub office in Paynesville, Liberia. With Monica, Project Coordinator (Liberia), March 17, 2017.

Gift Programme for new beneficiaries at the LEAP Sub office in Paynesville, Liberia. With Monica, Project Coordinator (Liberia), March 17, 2017.

Going Forward: Our Goals and Plans

Phase 1: September 2016 – March 2017

I was so excited going to Liberia and witnessing the work of LEAP project team in Liberia headed by Monica, who has helped implement the pilot phase of the programme. Phase one of the Liberian Education Assistance Program witnessed the funding of four primary school scholarships for our beneficiaries: Mamie Jallah, Sarah Jallah, Oretha Momo and Precious Taylor.

During this phase, we have secured an office space in Paynesville, Liberia to run our operations which will be utilised by the Programme Coordinator, Finance Officer and Programme Officers, whom are all volunteers with a passion for improving the educational opportunities for Liberian children.

Phase 2: April 2017 – September 2017

The second phase of the Liberia Education Assistance Program (LEAP) strives to enrol 46 children on the programme by September 2017, which requires funding of €6,900. The eight year running of LEAP is around €60,000, which we will aim for. We had only 20 children registered until recently, now we have increased that number to 50. We expect this number to continue to grow as more out of school children are identified in the Paynesville, Liberia community.

Long Term Goal: September 2017 – September 2022

Our 5 year plan is to build a tuition free primary school named LEAP of Faith Primary School that will be administered by volunteers from around the globe. We have since identified a suitable location and have an engineering team to work with on this project. The estimated cost of building LEAP of Faith is $110,000 USD.

Get Involved!

By giving as little as €450 (1 child for 3 years education) to as much €6,000 (5 children for the full 8 years scholarship) or more, you can give the gift of education and change the life of a Liberian child. Our Finance Team can work out a gift plan that fits your preference, contact us below for more information! 

- Walker S. Mahn Jr.

Walker S. Mahn is the Programme Director and founder of Leap Tutoring, a participant of the first edition of Blackstone LaunchPad's Sprints programme at Trinity College Dublin. To find out more about LEAP Tutoring please e-mail the LEAP team at: liberiaeducationassistanceprog@gmail.com

“I know that we cannot change the world, but we can provide the most powerful weapon used to change the world: Education.” – Walker S. Mahn, Jr. (Founder/Programme Director)

When opportunity knocks.....

There are currently some excellent opportunities and resources available for any innovative team with an idea and I thought it might be helpful to list three here and share a little about them.

First up is Unleash

"Unleash is a global innovation lab that brings together people from all over the world to transform 1,000 personal insights into hundreds of ideas, and build lasting global networks around the Sustainable Development Goals".

Who are their talents?

  • Creative and innovative people from all regions of the world

  • Passionate about solving some of the world’s pressing challenges

  • Excited about engaging in co-creation with peers and experts

  • Academics, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and technical experts

  • Primarily 20 to 35 years old

For more information:

http://unleash.org/sdg-talents/

http://unleash.org/faq/

 

Second up is ESAs Space Solutions

"ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland and its ESA Business Incubation Centres (BIC) is one of 16 ESA BICs developed to create viable businesses and new jobs. Together they support more than 130 companies every year and over 400 start-ups have already been supported. In Ireland we will support 25 start-ups and 10 technology transfers by 2020".

"At ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland, we’re seeking entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for using space technology to develop new products and services in a non-space environment".

What do they offer?

  • €50,000 ESA BIC funding for start-ups

  • €40,000 technology transfer demonstrator funding

  • Access to a variety of additional funding opportunities

  • Business support through our partners and ESA BIC network

  • Easy access to ESA technical expertise

  • Become part of the ESA brand

  • Membership of a comprehensive European-wide network of 400 ESA BIC companies

For more information:

http://www.esaspacesolutions.ie/

It's worth mentioning that this could also tie in well with the NASA Space Apps challenge taking place in Trinity College at the end of April.

More details of the Space Apps challenge here: https://www.facebook.com/events/678762812296385/

 

Last but certainly not least is Deal Room for Investor Matching:

"Dealroom actively tracks an ever growing universe of companies and investors (currently over 500,000 companies and nearly 10,000 investors), from very early to late stage and buyout. Europe is a fragmented, multi-language market of 700 million people, requiring a dedicated and unique approach."

The Deal Room investor finder enables you to find a list of the most suitable investors for your tech company. It provides some key information such as whether the investors are currently active, have investor experience and even if they may be conflicted. To begin, you register your company at the link below and state how much investment you are looking for.

For more information:

https://app.dealroom.co/target-investors/