Downpatrick-based Jumpack Ltd has made it through to the regional final of InterTradeIreland’s all-island Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition on 8 November 2018 and will be competing for a €20,000 cash prize.
In total, six innovative and up-and-coming companies from Downpatrick, Belfast, Derry/Londonderry and Dungiven will go head-to-head in the competition to win the respective categories of ‘New Start’ and ‘Early Stage’.
Two Northern Ireland companies will be named regional winners in their respective New Start and Early Stage categories, pocketing €20,000 in the process. They will then progress to the all-island final of Seedcorn, where they will compete against regional winners from other jurisdictions, for €50,000 or €100,000 as either category or overall winner of the competition. So there is a lot up for grabs in this top flight business head-to-head.
Downpatrick’s Jumpack Ltd, which has created the world’s first portable extreme sports ramp for use with skateboards, BMXs, mountain bikes, scooters and snowboards, has a one in three chance of securing a regional winner title. In the New Start category, the firm will be competing against Dungiven-based IMAGene Ltd, which creates digital platforms and solutions to improve productivity for engineering and manufacturing organisations targeting various industries and Belfast-based Advanced Analytics Labs, which builds intelligent analytics software giving manufacturing companies the tools to understand how to reduce variabilities in production, allowing real-time corrections.
Jumpack co-founder Phil McIntosh said: “The Jumpack idea started five years ago and we went through quite a lot of early development work. Basically, we wanted to create a platform that was 100% stable and did not move. Engineers said it could not be done. We persisted and after 18 months we cracked it. We have made a world’s first stable sport’s ramp that is now used by the world’s leading BMX performers, top medalists and skateboard champions.
“What we had to do was create a lightweight ramp a 10 year old could easily lift, and we did this and included a unique suspension system which is the centre of the product patent.
“We started production in March 2019 and are now exporting to countries all over the world from Russia to Norway, Spain, Italy and farther afield such as North America and of course in the UK. Amazingly our ramp is being used by the top performers and this in such a short time is a huge accolade for the product. We’ve had 100% positive feedback to date. In 2016 we were fortunate to win the Invent NI award which was about having a strong prototype concept. And it has even been flagged up in the Nitro Circus TV channel with millions viewing the Jumpack ramp.
Check out the You Tube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMF6nj9bWkQ
“Mike Crowe, my business partner, and myself feel now our product is ready to get into the air business-wise and make a real name for itself. We are producing around 5000 units a month at the moment and these are assembled in the Downpatrick area. We were scheduled to appear on Dragon’s Den recently. We had a world class performer lined up but because the show was re-scheduled, he could not make it because he was on a world tour, so we decided to let it go rather than going forward at a crucial presentation not at full strength.
“We are both now very much focussed on getting Jumpack up and running. The lightweight Jumpack can be carried as a rucksack with shoulder straps and assembled in less than a minute ready for use. So far we have been quite impressed with the support we have had from the performers in the extreme sports sector. Our sales are certainly picking up, very much export driven, and we look forward to a busy time ahead. We have to prepare for the next pitch to the ‘dragons’ at the Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition and we are really looking forward to this.”
In the ‘Early Stage’ category, two of the finalists are companies based in Ulster University’s Intelligent Systems Research Centre at Magee Campus in Derry/Londonderry. ActionSense Ltd, has designed and developed a new wearable system that can detect and measure hand joint stiffness and NeuroCONCISE has developed a solution that can revolutionise the way that consciousness and awareness can be assessed following a traumatic brain injury, allowing basic communication channels to be realised even when a person is unable to speak or move. Both companies will be contending for the title against Belfast-based Reynolds Sports Ltd, which manufactures composite hurley sticks and sports goods.
Speaking about the regional finalists, Shane O’Hanlon, Funding for Growth Manager at InterTradeIreland, said: “To get to a regional final, companies have already successfully submitted a visual representation of their business idea and a full business plan, so I’m delighted to offer my congratulations to all those who have reached this crucial stage. The standard of entries from Northern Ireland this year was very high and we look forward to seeing how the competition progresses.”
All six companies will participate in an intensive investment pitch masterclass. This will help them to refine their presentation skills. At the regional final they will have to deliver a pitch to a panel of judges who will select the category winners.
The two successful regional finalists will take home a €20,000 cash prize and progress to the all-island final of InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition.
Seedcorn, which supports burgeoning companies, has a €280,000 total cash prize. The two regional finalists from Northern Ireland will compete against regional winners from other jurisdictions for €50,000 or €100,000 as either category or overall winner.
The all-island final of Seedcorn will take place at St Anne’s Cathedral on 22 November 2018.
The competition can be followed on Twitter (@iti_seedcorn) and on the website: