Orla McCallion and Sean Judge, Trinity graduates and recent alumni of Trinity’s startup accelerator programme, Launchbox, recently achieved recognition from Enterprise Ireland and Silicon Valley investors, placing first in Enterprise Ireland’s Silicon Access Programme’s pitch night in San Francisco.
UniTuition, developed by Judge and McCallion though the Launchbox programme, allows university students to locate local tutors in their subject areas online.
As the winners of the Trinity Launchbox pitch night in September, the pair won an all expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley. They used this to fund their participation in Enterprise Ireland’s Silicon Access Programme, a business centred trip lasting two weeks. While there, they met with local university staff, students and investors.
Judge and McCallion won the programme pitch night during their trip, beating intense competition which included companies returning revenue of over €1 million. Their prize was a return trip to San Francisco at a time of their choosing.
Speaking to Trinity News, McCallion said of the win: “The standard of competition was extremely high, so we were delighted to be judged as the winners.”
The San Francisco trip has been hugely beneficial to them, she explained: “[The trip] enabled us to determine the tweaks we would need to make to our operating model in order to be successful in the US market. From engaging with so many stakeholders on the ground over there we discovered opportunities we didn’t see before because they don’t exist in the UK market.” She continued that: “In terms of the startup scene over there, it was very motivating to be immersed in such a fast paced culture where everyone is interested in and open to adopting new technologies. Everyone we met was delighted to give any advice they could or to help us make contacts we needed. The community there really works to help each other succeed.”
UniTuition launched in Ireland in March of this year and has already expanded into seven UK universities. The company will be opening a seed-funding round in early 2016. McCallion said: “In the short term we’ll be focusing on the UK; after that we’ll be looking towards Europe and the US.”