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Phion Therapeutics scoops €100,000 and title of Overall Winner at InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Competition

Phion Therapeutics has this evening been crowned Overall Winner of the 2017 InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition, winning a cash prize of €100,000.  The other main winner on the night was Cerebreon Technologies, which was named Best New Start Company, winning a cash prize of €50,000. The winners were announced at the grand final of the competition at Crowne Plaza, Northwood, Dublin.


Now in its 15th year, Seedcorn is the island’s biggest business competition for new start and early stage companies in any sector, from any part of the island.  With over 275 competition entries, the winners went up against companies in a range of sectors including Medical Devices, Technology, FinTech, Design Engineering, Diagnostics and even Digital Ticket Sales.  This year’s competition saw an unprecedented number of submissions from female entrepreneurs, with five women among the regional winners who went forward to the national final.


Belfast company, Phion Therapeutics sells services (contract research) and licenses (right to use their technology for pharmaceutical development and therapeutic applications).  It intends to launch a third, more tangible, product that is defined as a research use tool kit that allows access to its technology in a less expensive and smaller kit that allows each end user the ability to test the technology. 


Donegal company, Cerebreon Technologies is developing fintech software targeted at the UK insolvency industry.  It brings an advanced level of machine intelligence and automation to the processes involved in insolvency. Its software also improves compliance with financial regulators and will reduce the amount and duration of the debtor’s arrangement.


Welcoming the successful conclusion of InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn competition, An Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD, said: “I heartily congratulate this year’s winners and I want to thank InterTradeIreland for organising this event.  Securing funding can be a challenge for early stage companies and, while there can only be two major winners of the generous Seedcorn Competition funded by InterTradeIreland, all 276 companies which participated in the process will have benefitted from the competition and should now be a better position to pursue outside investment as their companies develop. I wish them all the very best for the future”.  


Commenting on the announcement of the winners, Ken Nelson, Chairman, InterTradeIreland said: “It’s very rewarding to be in a position to promote the growth of new start companies on the island of Ireland, north and south.  Entrepreneurs and innovators are essential to the health of every economy and InterTradeIreland is proud to support them as they turn ideas into action.  It’s great to see so many female entrepreneurs  involved in the competition  this year.  I warmly congratulate both of our winners on their success in our very challenging Seedcorn competition.  I wish them and indeed all those companies who entered this year all the best for the future.”


The Seedcorn competition is aimed at new start and early stage companies which have a new equity funding requirement.  It has an overall cash prize fund of €280,000, with no equity stake.  Since it started in 2003, the 2775 companies that have gone through the competition have raised over €229m.


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About the competition

InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn Competition is the largest investor readiness competition for early stage/high growth companies in any sector on any part of the island. The competition, aimed at companies that have a new equity funding requirement, has a record total cash prize fund of €280,000.


Businesses can enter in one of the two categories; new start or early stage and there are four regions; Northern Ireland, Dublin (City & County), Munster, and Connacht & Leinster (including counties Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan).


Companies submit their application along with a visual representation of the business idea. Shortlisted companies are invited to submit a full business plan and, if successful, are invited to deliver an investment pitch in front of the judging panel comprising of venture capitalists, business angels and some of the island’s leading industry experts and entrepreneurs.


Throughout each stage of the competition, companies will be judged on various criteria including financial performance, company milestones and achievements, future strategy for the business, the management team in place and the quality of the pitch to the judging panel. Feedback is provided to companies at each stage of the competition process.