Entries are now open for upSTART, Northern Ireland’s most exciting startup pitch competition which this year features an all-expenses-paid trip to explore the New York tech scene for the winner.

Part of Digital DNA 2019, powered by PwC, the tech event held in St George’s Market in Belfast in June, upSTART is in its fourth year and is exclusively open to startups from Northern Ireland with the aim of shining a light on the best tech innovation the region has to offer.

Alastair Cameron, founder of Startacus and newly-appointed Startups Programme Manager at Digital DNA, said: “We want to celebrate the huge amount of startup success in Northern Ireland and let the world know about the brilliant ecosystem which is supporting so many on their entrepreneurial journey. There is so much Northern Ireland talent out there and this competition has a habit of finding it.

“The judges will be focusing on innovation in particular, as well as the potential to scale and grow outside Northern Ireland. If you think you fit the bill then I would urge you to enter.”

The one-day competition will play out in two rounds, starting with around 40 disruptive startups who will each give a three-minute pitch to qualify for the final.

From this, the judging panel of investors, professionals and entrepreneurs will pick the winner which will be announced on the second day of Digital DNA.

The winning startup will be awarded an all-expenses paid trip to New York where they will be introduced to the startup world in the city by Alastair and Simon Bailie, Chief Executive of Digital DNA.

Those who apply for the pitch competition can either get one free ticket across both days of Digital DNA 2019 or they can apply to exhibit at the event where they can display their business to 3,000 delegates who are expected to attend, attend one-to-one investor and mentor meetings, gain media coverage, and go to an exclusive evening social with a number of the judges, investors and fellow startups.

Any Northern Ireland-based startup is entitled to apply – even those from the early proof-of-concept stage – provided the business is not more than three years old or has raised more than £1.5m.

Simon Bailie said: “The upSTART competition sits at the heart of Digital DNA and has been a huge success over the last few years. We can’t wait to see the brilliant Northern Irish tech talent that it is bound to bring to the fore once again this year.”

“I would also like to welcome Alastair Cameron to the Digital DNA team. His expertise in the startup world will be invaluable as the event gathers steam and we can’t wait to work with him.”

Digital DNA 2019, which is running over two days (18th and 19th June 2019) in St George’s Market in the city, is powered by PwC for the second consecutive year, and will once again allow the tech sector to collaborate, expand their reach and gain exposure to new technologies.

Tickets and further details of the event can be found now at digitaldna.org.uk and NI startups interested in applying to pitch and exhibit at the event should visit the upSTART web page.

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