By Eimear Dodd Journalism MA student, @TheCity_Dublin editor,@Irish_TechNews

The second upSTART  pitch competition will take place at this year’s Digital DNA event in Belfast on 6 and 7 June 2017.

Digital DNA, in partnership with the startup community Startacus, is looking for the most innovative startup in Europe. The winner will walk away with a price worth £150,000 including £10,000 cash.

Part of the annual Digital DNA event, the startup competition is inspired by the boxing culture in Northern Ireland. However, startups swap the boxing gloves for a microphone to pitch their way to the prize.

Taking place within an arena with a boxing ring, lighting, judges and bells, the two-day pitch event will play out over a number of rounds to find the one eventual winner. They will receive a cash prize of £10,000 plus an additional £140,000 in business supports such as consultancy, software and access to investors.

Gareth Quinn, Digital DNA founder and managing director said:

“Digital DNA has long been a supporter of the entrepreneurial spirit and ethos that can be seen across Northern Ireland. We wanted to welcome startups across the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe to be part of this startup culture in Belfast and pitch their innovative products/services to a panel of esteemed judges.”

Startups in Data, Cyber, Fintech, SaaS, IoT / Wearables can apply. Innovative startups outside these industries will be shortlisted in the wildcard category.

The closing date for applications is 28 April 2017.

In 2016, high potential startups from across Europe took part in the inaugural upSTART pitch event.

“Last year some excellent foundations were put in place to make sure that upSTART was a high quality startup pitch event. This year we aim to not only increase the number of startups pitching, but extend the pitching across two days to make sure that the startups not only get the chance to shine, but also have longer to make meaningful connections and make the most of Digital DNA as an event itself.” said Alastair Cameron, co-founder of Startacus.

Last year’s winner was Rommana Bint-Abubaker, the CEO of HauteElan and Modlist. Modlist is an online discovery engine for people in search of modest fashions. This global shopping destination combines AI, neural mapping, and smart personalisation to revolutionise the shopping experience.

“It’s a very exciting atmosphere. If you are a startup coming to pitch, you can walk around the room and leave with a lot of good relationships and connections to help you move to the next stage which is almost like an incubator and accelerator in one.” said Rommana Bint-Abubaker about the event.

The 2017 prize fund of £150,000 is made up of £10,000 in cash plus investor and networking opportunities. It includes access to business support, enterprise software and advice to help the winning startup move to the next stage. It includes prizes from Deloitte Digital, Microsoft, Kx Systems and The House London who will bring their experience and support to the winner.

For more information, please visit or contact Alastair Cameron, co-Founder of Startacus [email protected]

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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