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Startups to head to Belfast to battle for £150k prize

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by Startacus Admin

Applications are open until the 28th April to apply to pitch at upSTART 2017, the startup pitching battle from Digital DNA, with the fab news that the winner prize fund has increased to a whooping £150k in value.

digital DNA upSTART 2017

Digital DNA upSTART 2017, launched in partnership with Startacus, are currently on the lookout for the most impressive startup in Europe to win the coveted upSTART 2017 title.

In 2016, high potential startups from across Europe travelled to Belfast, Northern Ireland to take part in the inaugural upSTART pitch event at Digital DNA. As part of Digital DNA’s annual event that takes place in Belfast every year, the startup battle is based on the boxing culture in Northern Ireland where startups swap the boxing gloves for a microphone and pitch their way to the prize.

The two-day startup pitch competition, will again take place within a boxing arena with boxing ring, lighting, judges, bells, playing out over a number of rounds, with one eventual winner.

upSTART 2017

As startup community partners to upSTART, Startacus (that’s us) started promoting the opportunity a couple of weeks ago, and we can now reveal that the winner of upSTART 2017 will now receive a mega cash prize of £10k, plus an additional £140k in business support such as consultancy, software and access to investors.

UK, Irish and European Startups from specific industries, such as Data, Cyber, Fintech, SaaS, IoT and Wearables, are encouraged to apply, but the door has also been left open for innovative startups outside of these industries to be shortlisted in a wildcard category.

upSTART 2017

Gareth Quinn, Digital DNA Founder and MD 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 UK, Ireland and Europe to be part of this startup culture in Belfast and pitch their innovative products/services to a panel of esteemed judges. Last year’s winner Rommana has had an incredible journey since her win and we’re looking forward to seeing how this year’s finalists and ultimate winner can establish themselves further into the ecosystem."
This year, the prize is made up of £10k in cash and a range of investor and networking opportunities as well as 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 bringing a wealth of experience and support to an already impressive prize. 

upSTART 2017 prize

Alastair Cameron, Startacus co-founder said:

“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.”

Key Criteria to apply...

  • Startups that apply can be at the concept, MVP or launched and trading stage.
  • Both pre-investment and post-investment startups, who have raised less than £1 Million will be suitable to apply.
  • Startups who have been trading for less than 36 months can apply**
  • It is free to pitch at Digital DNA 2017

Applications are open, (closing 28th April) and for all the information on upSTART 2017 including the categories, prizes and criteria, visit 

To get a flavour of upSTART, check out this short video of last years event...

Startup Pitch Event Startacus

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Published on: 5th April 2017

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