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07 Jul 2022

£10,000 cash win for Derry-based start-ups

Unify and ProspectRX in the money after landing Co-Founders awards

£10,000 cash win for Derry-based start-ups

(From left) Barry Henderson CEO of ProspectRX, Hugh Callaghan from Unify, Hannah Cummings Co-Founders Programme Manager at Catalyst.

Two start-ups companies from Derry have won £10,000 proof of concept funding for their businesses in the NI-wide Co-Founders competition.

Unify and ProspectRX were the lucky winners of the cash which came via the Co-Founders entrepreneurship programme run by Catalyst that helps ambitious individuals to develop a new product innovation focused on science, technology or engineering.

The teams validate their idea, test them in the real world, develop their business and pitch for a £10,000 proof of concept award.

The Department for the Economy has supported the Co-Founders programme, recognising how integral innovation and entrepreneurship are to the local economy.

One of the winners, Unify, has created an online brand-building platform for the creator economy, content creators, curators and community builders, which empowers them to easily build the platform they need to succeed, providing them with the right tools to manage their business and brand.

Hugh Callaghan of Unify said: “Instead of creators renting multiple platforms such as Patreon, Podbean and LinkTree, they can merge all these channels onto their own platform with Unify, saving them time and money, and empowering them to promote their own brand instead of others.

“Our business model puts creators first, offering them greater independence, customisation and financial gains currently not seen in the market.

“The Co-Founders programme was instrumental in getting this idea off the ground and the support and mentoring from Catalyst have been second to none.

“Going forward, we’re really excited to use the funding from the POC award to start building our minimum viable product and testing it with our target market.”

The other winner from Derry, ProspectRX is a technology driven biotech start-up. The AI directed precision medicine platform aims to improve treatment options for poorly served patient populations.

Barry Henderson, CEO of ProspectRX said: “ProspectRX Bioscience aims to find the right medicine, for the right patient, at the right dose, at the right time. This AI-derived service leads to reduced costs, shortened timeframes and reducing risk in clinical drug development.

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“Our team benefited greatly from participation in Catalyst’s Co-Founders programme and we are delighted to have been awarded £10k proof of concept funding.

“This funding is invaluable as it will enable us to extract knowledge and key insights from relevant disease data sources and advance the company’s business objectives.”

Hannah Cummings, Co-Founders Programme Manager at Catalyst, added: “Co-Founders provides the opportunity for anyone in Northern Ireland with an entrepreneurial mindset to come together and co-found a start-up in a supportive environment.

“We believe the programme can only serve to benefit the Northern Ireland economy, through the growth of local innovative start-ups and by providing the skills for participants to perform in more innovative ways.

“It is great to see two talented Derry companies among the winners and we hope the £10k POC awards will help to keep their momentum going and build out their innovative solutions.”

Since launching in 2017, Co-Founders has delivered eight cohorts involving 611 people who have formed 134 teams.

Over a third of the teams formed are continuing to work on their start-up and have raised £3 million in funding.

Register your interest in Co-Founders 2023 at: https://wearecatalyst.org/programmes/co-founders/

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