SiriusXT, a University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out, has been named Best Early Stage Company, at the Dublin regional final of the 2015 InterTradeIreland All-Island Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition.

The company won a cash prize of €20,000 and will now go forward to compete in the all-island final of the competition, which takes place on Wednesday, 25 November at Clontarf Castle, Dublin.

SiriusXT, co-founded by Dr Ken Fahy, Dr Fergal O’Reilly and Dr Paul Sheridan, as a spin-out from the UCD School of Physics, has spent eight years developing the technology for its soft x-ray microscope called SXT.

SXT is the first soft x-ray microscope of its kind in the world; it is a benchtop system that allows researchers to produce images in their own labs. Their product takes a powerful laser to make a little fireball as hot as the centre of the sun and about a tenth of the width of a human hair in diameter. This fireball produces a kind of light that allows them to illuminate single cells or tissue samples and produce beautiful 3D images of cells that cannot be produced any other way.

The images reveal in unprecedented detail the inner workings of life, drugs and disease on a cellular scale. The light sources that have been used to pioneer the technique are the size of a football stadium and cost over €250 million. Their light source will fit on a small table, and will let disease and drug researchers see changes in cells with a tool they can easily fit into their microscopy labs.

Tony McEnroe, CEO, SiriusXT said, “We are delighted to win best Early Stage Company at the Dublin regional final. The most rewarding part of the Seedcorn process so far has been hearing investors acknowledge that they ‘get’ the value proposition when this is presented. We have learned that it is not just the best technology that makes the best business proposition, but the best complete solution for the target customer’s problem.”

“This is a package of solid technology, a commercial team with application knowledge, a large, well-defined addressable market and high barriers to entry for competitors that make for a story attractive to investors.”

Now in its 13th year, Seedcorn is the island’s biggest business competition for new start and early stage companies in any sector, from any part of the island. The competition, aimed at companies who have a new equity funding requirement, has an overall cash prize fund of €280,000, with no equity stake.

KillBiller, which has developed an analytical product for mobile operators and a mobile application for consumers, was named Best New Start Company at the Dublin regional finals.

Connor Sweeney, Seedcorn Project Manager, InterTradeIreland said, “Seedcorn is considered the most important barometer for new and emerging companies among the investment and business communities in Ireland. Not only does the competition deliver a cash prize for the winners, but it also allows businesses to experience the competitive investor pitch process and equips them with the skills for future pitches.”

He added, “Since the competition inception over 12 years ago, the standard of the companies taking part has risen year on year and I sincerely congratulate both SiriusXT and KillBiller on their win against very tough competition. The Seedcorn Competition reaches out to businesses early in their development and it’s exciting for InterTradeIreland to work with these companies at such a crucial stage in their journey. I look forward to seeing the business grow from strength to strength.”

SiriusXT and KillBiller will now go head-to-head with the winners of the Northern Ireland, Connaught and Leinster, and Munster finals for the titles of overall Best Early Stage and Best New Start Company respectively.

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