Toolbox: Dublin’s Startup Accelerators

Dublin Startup Accelerators

Dublin’s accelerators have traditionally been based around universities: the NDRC, possibly our most acclaimed and longest-running programme for example, is the product of a partnership between five of our leading universities, and Propeller and Launchbox are similarly aligned to academic institutions.

Here’s your Dublin Globe guide to Dublin accelerators of note.

MasterCard Labs

MasterCard arrived in Dublin back in 2012, making the city home to their global technology HQ led by Garry Lyons, formerly the CEO of Orbiscom, which MasterCard acquired in 2009. In 2014, MasterCard Labs came to Dublin and launched their StartPath program, the only MasterCard accelerator with a physical dimension in the world. Startups from across the EMEA region are lucky enough to work out of MasterCard’s offices in Dublin for the duration of the 4 month programme. 2014 participants included Instabank, MePin, Moqom, Ridango, Storee, Xpresso and ZenCard#MasterCardLabs


The National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) stands out as one of our longest-running accelerators. Founded in 2005, the NDRC was formed as a collaboration between five of Dublin’s universities: Trinity College, Dublin City University, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, the National College of Art and Design, and University College Dublin. In 2014, the NDRC was among ‘the top 2.5 per cent of incubators in the world‘ according to UBI Index, and between its two programmes, NDRC LaunchPad and NDRC VentureLab, it works with close to 1,000 entrepreneurs and 40 early stage companies every year. Some recent LaunchPad alumni include Drop, NewsWhip, Buildingeye and VideoElephant – all of whom have gone on to raise significant rounds of follow-on funding for global expansion. As Amy Neale of the NDRC explains: “We’ve got a particular focus on IP rich startups, and understand the particular challenges they face at the early stage”. In 2014, NDRC companies secured a cumulative €88 million in follow-on investment from angels and VCs. “Our secret sauce isn’t a single ingredient,” says Neale, “it’s a recipe that includes people, fund, environment and attitude.” @NDRC_hq

DCU Ryan Academy Propeller 

The DCU Ryan Academy Propeller Accelerator was created in 2010 with an initial seed fund of €1 million from Irelandia Investments. The programme offers each startup €30,000, office space, an investor demo day and a package of services including marketing, sales and accounting, in return for 7.5% of ordinary equity shares. There’s an emphasis on workshops and mentorship with a team of over 80 mentors on tap, including Will PrendergastDylan Collins and David Bowles. Propeller’s 24 alumni have raised €8 million in total to date and include Funked Up FixiesDefiant Games and Way2Pay. A study commissioned by the Kauffman Fellows named Propeller among the top ten accelerators in Europe. @PropellerPA


Created as Trinity College’s in-house accelerator in 2013, LaunchBox is one of the newest Dublin accelerators housed in Dublin’s oldest university (founded itself in 1592!). Running over the summer in the college’s front square, LaunchBox is a 3-month accelerator for undergraduate and postgraduate Trinity companies. It was created by eight ‘Trinity Angels’ and college alumni including high profile folk like Sean Blanchfield, Brian Caulfield and Stuart Coulson, and offers space, funding and access to a network of Trinity alumni in the entrepreneurial field. Recent alumni include Foodcloud, a food waste reduction app now working with Tesco. John Whelan, programme director at Launchbox, told us “It’s early days at LaunchBox, but our alumni have already gone on to raise a total of €650k in follow-on funding from professional investors.” @TCDLaunchbox


Broadband and telecommunications giant Telefonica no longer have a presence in Ireland and as a result, their start-up accelerator Wayra will also close up shop here in June. However, Wayra has been an important member of the Dublin, and Irish, accelerator landscape. Since its launch in 2012, Wayra startups have raised over €11 million in funding and created over 100 jobs. Wayra will close once their current batch of startups graduate, including, Investor Sheet and Legalshine. Alumni include Trustev, who have gone on to raise $7.8 million in funding. @WayraIRL

FinTech Innovation Lab

Accenture’s international 12-week accelerator programme runs in London, Hong Kong, New York and, as of 2014, in Dublin too. With a focus firmly on FinTech, the programme offers mentoring, workshops and pitch coaching from Accenture executives and an impressive list of partner organizations such as Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, Citi, FEXCO, Google, Paypal, State Street, Realex Payments and Ulster Bank. The FinTech Lab’s current batch of startups includes AntuarB-SecureSignaturCityBconVbot TV and Xtreme Push@FinTechDublin

Lab 353

The youngest on our list of Dublin accelerators, Lab 353 is the product of a partnership between the Irish telecoms company, Eircom Business Solutions and SVG Partners, and is based in Internet House in Temple Bar. In March 2015, seven startups were accepted onto the program, with a focus on mobile, cloud services and IoT. Following the classic 3-month bootcamp model, Lab 353 gives startups access to legal and tax services and an extensive network of mentors. Demo Day gives the companies the opportunity to pitch to a group of investors at the ITLG Silicon Valley Global Tech Summit#lab353


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