Ulster Spin Out Company Wins Top Business Award
27th November 2009
University of Ulster spin out company, Sophia Search, has won one of the top awards at InterTradeIreland's all-island Seedcorn Business Competition.
Sophia Search – a thriving technology business - was crowned the best high growth company among firms from all regions of the Republic and Northern Ireland.
Chief executive, Dr David Patterson and co-founder Vladmir Dobrynin, took home a €100,000 prize from the award ceremony in Dublin this week.
Dr Patterson, who is senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the Jordanstown campus, said: “"Winning the competition is a tremendous boost for our business.
"Being selected as overall high growth winner will bring excellent validation and credibility to our business plan and put us on a new platform with investors."
Ulster’s Director of Innovation Tim Brundle said: “This is the highest accolade for a technology company in Ireland, and comes with a prize of €100,000 on top of the €25,000 already received from the regional heats. I’m very proud of what Sophia Search has achieved.”
Sophia Search was set up in 2007 and is based across two continents - the Northern Ireland Science Park in Belfast and St Petersburg, Russia.
Dr Patterson and Dr Dobrynin have developed ground breaking semantic search technology which enables companies and organisations to intelligently search their ever increasing volumes of documents and unstructured information, whether it resides internally or external to the organisation.
Seedcorn, the largest business competition on the island with a €360,000 prize fund, aims to stimulate new start-up activity, accelerate commercial development and create more opportunities for private equity investment.
A total of 225 entries to the competition were received, a 30% increase on last year's total and the largest number of entries since the competition began
Eight companies made it through to the finals based on the quality of their business plan and an investment pitch to an independent panel of judges, including leading entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and private investors.
The event was attended by An Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Mary Coughlan TD, who said: "These winning companies typify the island's entrepreneurial spirit, using their ideas and vision to develop a product or service with innovative and commercially viable technology to break new ground in a growing market."