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upSTART 2019 countdown begins with top investors confirmed as judges

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by Startacus Admin

upSTART 2019 judges
Top technology investors have been named as part of a high calibre judging panel for upSTART, Digital DNA’s 2019 startup competition as the countdown for startups to apply begins.

A number of top tech investors have been named as part of a high calibre judging panel for Digital DNA’s startup competition.

Siobhán Clarke, Partner at London venture capital firm Episode 1 Ventures, and Volker Hirsch, Partner at Amadeus Capital, will join experts in the early stage and high-growth technology sector to whittle down the entries into the most exciting start-up competition in Northern Ireland, upSTART.

For the first time, upSTART will be exclusive to Northern Ireland-based start-ups and will feature an all-expenses paid trip to explore New York’s tech scene for the overall winner. Around 40 disruptive start-ups will battle it out in a one-day pitching competition.

The judging panel includes:

  • Siobhán Clarke, Partner at Episode 1 Ventures, a London-based venture capital (VC) fund set up to invest between £250,000 and £2m in early-stage technology upSTART 2019companies in the UK. The firm comprises ex-entrepreneurs, experienced investors and deep operational experience. After its first fund of £37.5m, it is now investing its second fund of £60m in deep tech and marketplaces. Its current portfolio includes Kyldo, Cloud NC, CarWow, Auquan.

  • Volker Hirsch, Partner at Amadeus Capital. Volker has a particular focus on AI, machine learning, human-machine interfaces, enterprise SaaS, autonomous systems, digital health and medical technologies. Currently, he is a founder of Blue Beck, a mobile development house, and is a VC partner at Emerge Education, Europe’s leading educational-tech accelerator programme.

  • Naomi Timperley, an experienced partnership and engagement consultant. Listed in Computer Weekly’s Top 50 Most Influential Women in UK IT in 2018, Naomi has extensive experience working with start-ups and growth businesses in the tech, digital and creative sectors. She sits on Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Innovation Board and is the chair of investment platform Capital Pilot.

  • Sam Louise, Head of Consultancy at Angel Investment Network, a global network of angel investors and entrepreneurs. Simon brokers investment into start-ups, SMEs and property developments, as well as consulting on AIN’s strategy and growth.

  • Carl Reader, founder of the #BeYourOwnBoss movement and chair of business advisory firm d&t. Author of The Startup Coach and The Franchising Handbook, Carl also provides regular commentary for the BBC, Forbes, The Guardian and The Mirror.

With more judges to be revealed, the judging team will also take part in a number of 1-2-1 meetings with startup who choose to exhibit at Digital DNA.

Digital DNA 2019, which is running over two days (18 - 19 June 2019) in Belfast’s St. George’s Market, 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.

Startups who wish to 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 showcase their business to 3,000 estimated delegates, attend 121 investor and mentor meetings, gain media coverage, and attend an exclusive evening social with a number of the judges, investors and fellow start-ups.

Tickets and further details of the event can be found now at and NI start-ups interested in applying to pitch and exhibit at the event should visit the upSTART web page by 28th May 2019.


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Published on: 10th May 2019

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