How Competitive Start Fund approval helped Nasal Medical lead the way in drug-free allergy prevention and relief

How Competitive Start Fund approval helped Nasal Medical lead the way in drug-free allergy prevention and relief

Martin O’Connell, founder, Nasal Medical

“Getting the Competitive Start Fund (CSF) approval validated what we were trying to do and gave us the confidence to grow.

Martin O’Connell, founder, Nasal Medical.

Key Takeouts:

  • 25% of Europeans suffer from a nose, chest or sinus allergy, a figure set to rise to 50% within a decade.
  • With support from Enterprise Ireland, including a Competitive Start Fund (CSF) investment in 2016, Nasal Medical’s Allergy Filter has revolutionised the drug-free allergy-prevention market.
  • Nasal Medical has a presence in the UK and will launch in the US in October. The company is working on a contract with one of the largest pharma companies in India and is exploring other markets in Europe with help from Enterprise Ireland.

Case Study: Nasal Medical

According to Allergy Ireland, about 25% of Europeans suffer from some sort of nose, chest or sinus allergy, a figure that’s set to rise to 50% within the next decade. While medical products can offer some relief, finding a long-term drug-free way to alleviate symptoms is high on the wish list of sufferers. With the help of several supports from Enterprise Ireland, including a Competitive Start Fund (CSF) investment in 2016, Nasal Medical has revolutionised the drug-free allergy-prevention market with its discreet and effective Allergy Filter.

“The ‘light bulb moment’ came through an unfortunate event on my family’s farm in Kerry,” explains founder Martin O’Connell, “when our cattle contracted tuberculosis I knew that I had to come up with a solution to prevent a reoccurrence, and from this, the concept for Nasal Medical, and a filter for humans, was born.”

How Nasal Medical secured CSF support“Nasal Medical specialises in anatomically designed nasal products to aid comfortable and effective breathing. Covering five target markets including pollution, allergies, sleeping disorders (mild sleep apnea and snoring), congestion and performance endurance, we address a myriad of major global problems – alleviating sleep disorders, protecting against the inhalation of seasonal allergies and contaminated air and enhancing athletic performance.

“We have launched two products so far, the Discreet Snoring Aid and the Allergy Nasal Filter, while the Travel Nasal Filter, Sports Aid, Pollution Filter and Snore Watch App will be launched in early 2020.”

The products are currently sold online, as well as in pharmacies in Ireland. “Google and eBay have been really helpful; we’re also recently selling through Amazon,” Martin explains. “We have a presence in the UK and will be expanding this soon along with our launch in the US in October. We’re also working on a contract with one of the largest pharma companies in India. In addition, we’re exploring other markets in Europe, with the help of Enterprise Ireland.”

 

How Nasal Medical secured CSF support

Martin and the team first approached Enterprise Ireland after developing a product prototype. From there, he was introduced to a development advisor in the High Potential Start-Ups (HPSU) unit, who helped the company to secure a feasibility grant and mentor in 2014, followed by a CSF investment in 2016.

“Aside from the funding, which has helped us in key areas of our business, the support and mentorship we have received as clients of Enterprise Ireland has been invaluable to us. They have opened doors for us, and connected us with people we could only dream of talking to.

The team in Enterprise Ireland has supported us every step of the way. We benefitted from advice and help from development advisors in the HPSU team and have also worked with the Eastpoint-based Market Research Centre, as well as overseas market advisors who took us to another level in export growth development.”

 

More than just funding

“The mentor Enterprise Ireland provided had huge experience in our sector, as well as great contacts. He was able to offer us first-hand advice and guidance and played an integral role in making sure that our patent protection and regulatory affairs were in order.

Following this, we were introduced to the team at SteriPack. Without them and without Enterprise Ireland, we probably wouldn’t be in existence today. The manufacturing side of the business was an obstacle for us, but the team at SteriPack were there to help us throughout the whole process. We have also received huge support from Eamonn Sayers in the Guinness Enterprise Centre, Chanelle, Lady McCoy, Pat Mullen of MSD Accountants, Dr. Paul Carson and John O’Dea.”

Being awarded the CSF in 2016 was a big turning point for the company. “Getting the CSF investment validated what we were trying to do and gave us the confidence to grow. The CSF also helped to get our product ready-to-sell, in terms of packaging, literature and finance for our first order.

“There’s a bit of work involved in applying, but that work will stand to you in the future – it will help you to develop a robust business plan, a detailed presentation, and iron out any issues, such as applying for patent protection and getting your finances and projections together. It will also help you to create a clear vision of your company for the future.”

 

Advice for companies planning to apply for future CSF calls

  • Martin’s advice is to get your business plan in place: “Know exactly where the money will be assigned within the business and make sure key areas are prioritised.”
  • Next: “Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve with the money, and where you want the company to be in five years’ time. If you don’t have much financial experience, you should speak with an accountant who will assist with the financial projections and P&Ls in the business plan.”
  • And: “Seek advice from someone who has been through the CSF process before.”

Enterprise Ireland is launching a new Competitive Start Fund – All Sectors call on Tuesday 7th July 2020. Aiming to support early stage start-ups, this CSF is open to early stage companies in manufacturing and internationally traded services.

Learn more about the Competitive Start Fund.

How the CSF supported PeachyLean’s growth

“The Competitive Start Fund enabled PeachyLean to make a significant hire and provided the strategy required to support our growth into new markets.

Sharon Keegan, Founder and CEO PeachyLean 

1. Describe your business

PeachyLean is an award-winning shapewear and active wear business instilling support, shape and confidence to women all around the world.

 

2. How did getting the Competitive Start Fund (CSF) progress your business?

CSF enabled me to make a significant hire within the Peachylean team as well as providing us with the mentoring and support, both from Enterprise Ireland and Innovate Dublin BIC, which has given our team the confidence and strategy for growth and scale into new markets.

 

3. What are your top tips to other businesses interested in applying for the CSF?

  • Take your time and use the application process to take a good look at your strategy for scale.
  • Research the cost implications around your plan and ask for advice from any previous CSF candidates.
  • Take feedback on applications as great advice and understand that if you’re not successful first time around there is always room for growth and progression.
  • Believe in yourself and keep going!

 

4. What are the next steps for PeachyLean?

This year we launch our new innovation in shapewear, working alongside our new distribution partners we will launch into the UK market. We continue to meet and work towards strategic partners in the US and South American Markets.

Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund for Female Entrepreneurs opens on 7th July 2020 – See other founders discuss CSF or Click here to apply

    Market Watch Industry Bulletin – Automotive

    The spread of the coronavirus led to an unprecedented collapse of many important car markets in terms of producers, their suppliers and the distribution channels across the globe . Work came to a standstill in almost all countries. But as severe as the slump was initially, the return of production is currently giving the industry hope. A large number of vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers were able to resume operations, albeit only to a limited extent. In addition, stabilization strategies and aid packages have been developed in recent months.

    In this latest industry bulletin, Enterprise Ireland has primarily surveyed leading market experts and industry leaders, and collected their views, gathering specific recommendations for companies, to stabilize, reset and recover from the current situation.

    Read the full report here.

    Industry Bulletin – Agritech & Machinery Dealership view


    Reporting from across world markets, Enterprise Ireland’s Agritech Market Advisors have compiled this buyer sentiment update consisting of case studies from importers, distributors and leading dealerships of agricultural equipment.

    As part of our Market Watch series, we have interviewed 23 companies to provide first-hand updates of the situation on the ground in key regions across the world.

    Read the full report.

    Industry Bulletin – Automotive – Impact of Covid-19 on automotive technologies

     

    Jens Altmann, Market Advisor, Automotive Industry, Enterprise Ireland Germany interviewed Robert Metzger CEO and publisher at eMove360°, a trade fair and community platform for Mobility 4.0 – electric – connected – autonomous in Munich.

    eMove360° Europe is already now world’s biggest B2B trade fair for electric mobility and connected & autonomous driving.

    The video interview discusses the effects of the current Covid-19 situation on new technologies, forecasts on the industry and alternative ways of connecting with stakeholder in the market.

    • Effects of Covid-19 on technological development in the automotive industry
    • Influence on regulations and Electromobility  and its related supply chain
    • How to counteract current contact restrictions e.g. alternatives for physical trade shows

     

    Offshore Wind Webinar – Global Market update and Covid-19 Assessment

    In the second of its Offshore Wind Webinar series, Enterprise Irelands Offshore Wind Cluster are joined by the Renewables Consulting Group which provides an update on the global offshore wind market outlook and assess the implications of Covid-19 on the industry.

    Dr. Lee Clarke and Sebastian Rae present detailed analysis from RCG’s recently published Global Offshore Wind Annual Report and focus on the following:

    • Provide an overview of the industry’s evolution
    • Outline key development hotspots
    • Highlight several markets of interest to Irish companies in the space
    • Assess the implications of Covid-19 on the offshore wind industry and supply chain

     

    UK BPO & IT

    Market Watch Industry Bulletin – BPO & IT

    UK BPO & IT_Market Watch

    See the webinar here.

    Customer engagement is critical during the Covid-19 pandemic, as organisations across every industry look to connect, engage, reassure, and supply their customer base.

    In this time of uncertainty and disruption, Irish BPO and IT companies have demonstrated impressive flexibility in providing their outsourced services to ensure international companies can overcome these engagement challenges from a remote setting and provide a positive customer experience.

    Following Enterprise Ireland’s recent Industry Bulletin which looked at developments across the world affecting Irish BPO and IT Services companies, this edition of our Market Watch series focuses on the UK region and a key end-market for many Irish companies; the UK energy sector.

    This webinar reflects on the

    • Immediate impact of Covid-19 on the UK Energy sector
    • Challenges for energy retailers and their customers
    • Future opportunities in the sector for outsourced service providers to develop new and stronger partnerships with energy retailers in the UK.

     

    See the webinar here.

    Panellists:

    David Corcoran, Senior Market Advisor, Enterprise Ireland UK

    Peter Haigh, former Managing Director of Bristol Energy, CEO of ELEXON, and Director of Business Retail at E.ON.

     

    Data on mobile phone

    How Exertis is using blockchain to transform global tech supply chains

    The global supply chains for technology products like smartphones and laptop computers are now almost as complex as the products themselves.

    A typical smartphone, for example, is made up of components and materials sourced from up to a dozen suppliers on multiple continents, which are shipped to a manufacturer for final assembly before being sent onwards to distributors, retailers and ultimately sold to consumers.

    This presents two major problems for manufacturers and others involved in the chain – visibility and provenance. A new project led by Dublin-based Exertis Supply Chain Services, with funding from Ireland’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF), is aimed at solving both of them.

    A subsidiary of DCC, Exertis Supply Chain Services is a leader in materials supply chain design and operation. “Our focus is on technology and we provide global supply chain capability for the Exertis group and clients across the globe,” says Brian Cassidy, Head of IT and Director responsible for data protection with the company. “We are also a centre of excellence within the group for the use of blockchain technology.”

    The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is a €500 million fund run by Ireland’s Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, as part of the National Development Plan under Project Ireland 2040. It is administered by Enterprise Ireland, the trade and innovation agency. An example of the country’s strong focus on developing some of the world’s most innovative companies, the initiative funds collaborations between research facilities and ambitious companies to develop innovative technologies that change the world in which we live.

     

    Exertis solves visibility problems in the supply chain

    The objective of Exertis’s DTIF-supported project, which also involves Dublin-based technology company Sonalake and the CeADAR Technology Centre located at University College Dublin, is to develop a blockchain-based platform, which will transform the technology product supply chain.

    “The two problems we are focusing on is the need for end-to-end visibility of products and components along the supply chain and the need to prove the authenticity of products once they reach the market,” says Cassidy.

    “We are using the blockchain to provide a peer-to-peer platform for authenticating provenance and we are providing visibility across the supply chain where multiple partners and a high volume of products are involved.”

    The current lack of visibility and difficulty with provenance result in a number of issues. “In terms of visibility, for any participant in the supply chain it is very difficult to know what is selling and what is not,” says Cassidy.

    This lack of visibility leads to problems with availability. “Typically, the retailer might know what the distributor has in stock but won’t know what the manufacturer has. Visibility is very much limited to one point up or down in the chain. A manufacturer may not know how much product distributors or retailers have because they usually don’t share that information.”

     

    Proving Authenticity

    Provenance is another issue. “When the item does arrive at the retailer, proving its authenticity can be a really interesting challenge. If a fake product comes into a customer’s hands, a manufacturer wants to be able to see how it got there.”

     

    Sharing information dynamically

    The Exertis project is highly innovative in that it will provide an open platform for multiple users in multiple supply chains, with each participant being able to decide which other members of the chain they wish to share information with. Furthermore, it will allow them to share selected pieces of information with selected participants.

    Once the data gets put on the blockchain it is immutable and cannot be deleted. “It is encrypted and decrypted at a granular level,” Cassidy adds. “A retailer might want to put a transaction on the platform but may not want competitors to know anything about it, whereas they do want the distributor and manufacturer to know. However, they may not be able to share with the manufacturer certain details such as the price they paid for it or what they sold it for. They can decrypt different parts of that dataset for different partners and their ERP system will be able to dynamically decide what information to share and who to share it with.”

    Manufacturers will be able to see what is selling and how much product is in the channel in real time. This is important for planning manufacturing output, as well as for managing warranty liabilities. “Manufacturers will usually know how many units were sold, but don’t know exactly when. They need to know that for when the warranty starts. This platform will address that issue. It provides a place where all participants in the chain can contribute, but everyone controls their own data.”

    Initial work on the project, began in 2018, with the DTIF-supported three-year project beginning in earnest in August 2019. “The DTIF funding has accelerated this project significantly and facilitated our collaboration with CeADAR and Sonalake. At Exertis, we have looked across our business and identified several exciting use cases, which we expect to roll out in several areas in the coming years”.

     

    For more information and call dates for the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund visit the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation website.

    Cubic Telecom car image

    Cubic Telecom’s swift response to Covid-19 strengthens its customer relationships

    When the novel coronavirus first emerged, Cubic Telecom acted fast to protect its staff and cement its customer relationships. Those moves are paying dividends now.

    The company provides global mobility solutions for IoT, automotive and mobile device companies around the world, from Germany’s Volkswagen Group to US satellite communications company Kymeta.

    The software innovator, which has received funding from Enterprise Ireland, today employs 150 people. It experienced particularly fast growth last year and was recruiting new team members right up until January, when the first inklings of the Covid-19 crisis emerged. When it did, the company acted swiftly.

    “The senior team was very focused on getting as much information in as possible early in the Covid-19 life stage. There was a focus on human impact and economic impact. We did some very detailed analysis on the impact to the company and took the right amount of time to assess the steps that needed to be taken to ensure the sustainability of the company. Once this was done the teams could be reassured and day to day work could continue as before,” says Richard Springer, the company’s Director of Commercial Strategy.

    “People have come first and this has been led from CEO level down. There have been cost reductions and tighter control of the financials but at the same time, we are still driving the business forward to make sure we come out of this period in a strong position.”

    As a technology company, it helped that remote working and the use of tools such as MS Teams and Zoom were already well established in the company.

    Once the scale of the crisis was assessed, all staff members were asked to work from home, with some international staff flying home to their native countries to work from there. The use of video and teleconferencing has ensured productivity has been maintained ever since.

    “As restrictions started coming into place, very open communication with employees was maintained and, in the background, extensive modelling work done by looking at previous events, including Spanish Flu to SARS and MERS, in order to create very good future forecasting and cash management,” explains Springer.

    Decision making was quick and efficient at the top, with the senior team participating in daily catch-ups every morning. What were previously weekly catch-ups were turned into reviews of what was happening in key markets worldwide, as well as planning for the recoveries in each.

    The key to successfully managing the crisis for the company so far has been to focus on ensuring there was “over communication” with both staff and customers as both cohorts adjusted to remote working.

    “That meant giving people more information, communicating at a more personal level about how their family is, for example, and ensuring there was more collaboration,” says Springer, who says that acknowledging the ‘human’ side of current events is vital. “It’s about making sure the team is okay and that everyone knows what is happening.”

    Being empathetic and working to safeguard employees’ physical and mental health was paramount too, with new programmes in areas such as yoga and mindfulness introduced for staff.

     

    Adapting to customers’ needs

    Cubic Telecom has customers all over the world, which means travel has always been a staple part of its customer relationship management.  Business development strategies traditionally include a presence at major international trade shows, such as CES in Las Vegas and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with vital support provided by Enterprise Ireland.

    With such events no longer taking place, the company quickly predicted that customer relationships would need to be maintained and developed remotely too.

    “We spent the first few weeks of the lockdown focusing on customer relationships, talking to existing customers,” he says.

    While nothing replaces face to face meetings, he says, by again focusing on the human side of the situation, and encouraging collaboration, these relationships are successfully being strengthened remotely.

    Although a pandemic is never welcome, the fact that Cubic Telecom is by now so well recognised in its sectors internationally helps. “We are at a point where a lot of our relationships are very well established. As a business we are also still small enough to move fast, but big enough to be recognised in the industry as a player,” he explains.

     

    International recognition

    Enterprise Ireland’s backing from its earliest days led to Cubic Telecom unlocking a series of investments as it grew, including from major industry players such as Audi and Qualcomm, among others. More recent investment has come from long term backer ACT Venture Capital and the European Investment Bank.

    The connected intelligence company is now acknowledged as a pioneer in eSIM technologies and advanced data analytics, offering mobility solutions for IoT, automotive and mobile device companies across the globe.

    It has mobile operator partnerships in more than 190 countries, for example. One of the most recent, with Etisalat, a UAE telecoms company, was announced at an Enterprise Ireland trade mission to the Middle East.

    While it is not business as usual for the company right now – too much outside its walls have changed – it is business as ‘best as possible’.

    “Our employees are well informed about what is going on, our business is running as it was previously and supply chains are open and running,” he says.

    As a supplier, it is critical to understand that “everyone is experiencing different impacts to their business,” he advises.

    “It does not matter what size that business is, during this time everyone could be under pressure. That is the key when dealing with any business during this time. There needs to be a collaborative approach in how to get through the next months together and as much sharing of impacts, plans and information as possible to help each other.”

    Market Watch Construction

    Market Watch – Construction – Industry Bulletin no.2

    Download the bulletin here.

    As a result of the Covid-19 global pandemic, Enterprise Ireland construction companies are experiencing unprecedented market disruption both domestically and across international markets.

    Following  our last market bulletin at the end of March, this report for April provides a high-level sector update from the Enterprise Ireland network of overseas construction advisors on their markets. Already we are noticing the loosening of restrictions and the strategic prioritisation of the construction industry by many national Governments.

     

     

    Market Watch Industry Bulletin – Aerospace & Aviation

     

    Enterprise Ireland’s industry bulletin for the Aerospace & Aviation industry provides insights from Market Advisors across the world, on market developments in each region, exploring market conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic , developments, opportunities and supports.

    Read the full report here.

    Market Watch Industry Bulletin – Automotive – European Manufacturers Structures, Operations & Plans

     

    Sean Long,  Enterprise Ireland, Senior Market Advisor UK for Automotive interviewed Ian Henry of Auto Analysis on the changing landscape of European Vehicle Manufacturers.

    The interview explores their

    ·         current organizational structures

    ·         plant operations

    ·         purchasing contacts

    ·         trade tariff considerations

    ·         developments around new vehicle platforms.

    The video interview took place on 10th March 2020, prior to Covid 19 restrictions.