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31 March 2015

Herdwatch Wins the AIB Start-up Academy 2015

Posted By: AIB Business

The AIB Start-up Academy, in association with The Irish Times, launched last year with a series of nationwide events where start-up owners learned from – and networked with – industry leaders and like-minded entrepreneurs.  In October the AIB Start-up Academy competition opened and almost 300 start-ups applied for a place on an intensive eight-week mentoring and training programme with Irish Times Training.

Eleven finalists – Blanco Nino, Everest Granola, GymChef, Herdwatch, KillBiller, Obeo, Usher, Vanguard Beer Collective,, Writing for Tiny, and Wyldsson – won a place on the programme, which ran from January-March 2015 and provided them with comprehensive training on the skills needed to progress their businesses.

On 26th March the 11 finalists pitched their businesses to a panel of judges in the Sugar Club, Dublin.  Judges included Ken Burke (Head of AIB Business Banking) and Brian Keating (AIB Brand Director).  Herdwatch, a customer of AIB’s MidWest Business Centre, came out on top, winning a prize package valued at €250k. Herdwatch is CRM for cows – a farming app and software package for dairy and beef cattle farmers to assist with calf registration and herd management. 

“I was delighted to secure a place in the AIB Start-up Academy. It gave me great confidence that AIB and The Irish Times believed in what we’re doing and were willing to back us,’’ said Fabien Peyaud, co-founder of Herdwatch. ‘’It's amazing to be selected as the winner of the AIB Start-up Academy and the best business out of 300 applicants. The past eight weeks of the Start-up Academy gave me the chance to learn how to build my business and what is needed to progress to the next level. I’m really looking forward to seeing what lies in store for Herdwatch and the doors that winning this competition will open.”

As winner of the AIB Start-up Academy 2015, Herdwatch will receive the ultimate start-up prize package consisting of: 

  • €50,000 print and online advertising spend with The Irish Times and
  • €90,000 advertising spend across &
  • Profiling on & for 12 months
  • Mentoring from an AIB Sector Specialist, and finance meetings with AIB SME Specialist
  • Digital & social mentoring with AIB Head of Digital & Innovation 
  • Brand mentoring with AIB Brand Director
  • Media workshop from The Irish Times’ Editorial team
  • Office space in The Irish Times building for a year
  • Mentorship from successful entrepreneur Niall McGarry, owner of Maximum Media (creator of Joe/
  • One-to-one coaching programme
  • Full-day PR crash course
  • One-day digital & social training programme.

Ken Burke said: “There has been a huge response to the AIB Start- up Academy over the last year. We are delighted to see a start-up of the calibre of Herdwatch come out on top in this year’s competition. This success is a testament to the drive and ambition of Fabien and his team. The high standard of start-ups setting up and operating all over Ireland at the moment was evident right from the beginning of the AIB Start-up Academy. We had the pleasure of meeting many of the entrepreneurs behind innovative companies during our 11 nationwide Start-up Nights.”

Brian Keating added: “As the number 1 bank for start-ups, we developed this 12-month programme in association with the Irish Times, making the AIB Start-up Academy the biggest media partnership in Ireland.  We’re delighted with the success of the first year of the Academy and have just announced our partnership for a second year. The AIB Start-up Academy will be an integral part of our Backing Brave Programme, with more events around the country from May onwards and more start-ups being backed in the Academy in 2016.”

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