Innovative clothes dryer PurDry wins NovaUCD start-up award

By: November 21, 2012
Winners of the NovaUCD 2012 startup competition, Finbarr Maguire and David Ronan founders of PurOrigin, pictures with a prototype of their foldable clothes drier, PurDry Winners of the NovaUCD 2012 startup competition, Finbarr Maguire and David Ronan founders of PurOrigin, pictures with a prototype of their foldable clothes drier, PurDry

Winners of the NovaUCD 2012 startup competition, Finbarr Maguire and David Ronan, founders of PurOrigin, pictured with a prototype of their foldable clothes drier, PurDry

PurDry, an energy efficient clothes dryer that folds away into an easily-stored box, has won the top prize at the NovaUCD 2012 Campus Company Development Programme (CCDP) Awards. The dryer is the launch release from PurOrigin, whose founders, Finbarr Maguire and David Ronan, promised to design many more innovative products in the future.

PurOrigin wins cash of €5,000, six months free desk space at NovaUCD, as well as consultancy services from Deloitte, Arthur Cox, Aristo, Delaney Financial Consultancy and NewMarket Partnership valued at €6,000, €3,000, €1,500 and €1,000 respectively. PurDry uses a fan to not only dry but also iron clothes and then folds away into a compact box.

A large crowd gathered at the William Jefferson Clinton Auditorium on the UCD Campus in Belfast to see nine start-ups, all products of science and engineering research carried out at the University. There were some interesting ideas on show including Sebastian Robitzsch’s Seroline Networks which provides a simple solution for providing a strong, stable Wi-Fi network at events using just a single Internet connection; and AB Power which promises to provide safe and sustainable hydrogen fuel cells for the automotive industry.

However, the runners-up prizes were taken by EgoNav Analytics (2nd) and Yokie (3rd) both of whom win six months office space at Nova UCD and packages valued at €5,000 and €3,000.  EgoNav provides software that uses real time social networking analysis to detect and prevent fraud. Founders, Dr. Prag Sharma and Dr. Lorcan Coyle (the man who found the flaws in Ireland’s infamous e-voting machines) said that their product could revolutionise the fraud detection industry as most competitors are trying to detect fraud using so-called ‘dead data’ that is days or weeks old. The final winner Yokie is a search engine powered by social networks like Twitter which founder Owen Phelan claims allows users to find more relevant and up-to-date information than traditional search engines which he said are built on ’90s technology.

As the judging panel were outside, struggling to choose a winner, chief innovation officer at The Irish Times, Johnny Ryan spoke to the audience about how his newspaper is adapting to the digital age. He described The Irish Times as a slow moving oil tanker but was confident that the paper could be helped by more innovative and flexible new start-ups such as the five finalists from its Digital Challenge and even mentioned that colleagues in the Boston Globe were interested in speaking with competition winners GetBulb.

The full list of NovaUCD CCPD finalists were:

  • PurOrigin (winners)
  • EgoNav Analytics (2nd Place)
  • Yokie (3rd Place)
  • AB Power
  • DFT Imaging Solutions
  • IRL Photonics
  • Pathogen Track
  • Seronline Networks
  • SpecPros

- Fergal is a journalist with a particular interest in technology and social media. He has written for Irish national newspapers such as the Irish Independent and is currently working on a research project at NUI Galway investigating journalist's use of social media. Follow @gallagherfergal