ESB and Web Summit begin search for Ireland's best Start-Up

€25,000 ESB Spark of Genius Award now open to entrepreneurs and inventors across the country

ESB announces that entries are now open for the 2017 Spark of Genius Award, which recognises Ireland’s most high potential start-up company. The ESB Spark of Genius Award, which will be presented in November at Web Summit in Lisbon, will see one Irish company win €25,000 and the opportunity to exhibit at Web Summit, along with mentoring support from top executives at ESB.

The ESB Spark of Genius Award is open to high potential technology start-ups who have been in operation for less than three years and have received under €1 million in funding. Entrants will be judged on the uniqueness of their idea, their level of development to date, and their potential for future growth.

Now in its seventh year, the ESB Spark of Genius Award is the longest running competition of its kind in Ireland, offering unrivalled exposure to entrepreneurs and investors at Web Summit, the world’s fastest growing tech conference. The Spark of Genius Award has a strong  track record of success with previous winners using the award as a launch pad to grow their companies with €20million in funding secured by winners since its inception in 2010.

Launching this year’s competition, Paul Mulvaney, Director of Innovation at ESB, said:

“ESB is focused on exploring radical and disruptive ideas in the energy and tech space to help develop smart energy solutions for our customers in homes, businesses and across the community. ESB Spark of Genius is one of a number of ways that we work with start-ups to co-create these solutions. Partnering with Web Summit for the seventh year is a perfect fit for the award. We collaborate with cutting edge companies and are involved in start-up accelerator programmes, as well as hackathons, to drive innovation and support Ireland's start-up community in the development of future energy solutions.”

Patrick Griffith, Head of start-ups at Web Summit added: "We are looking forward to being involved with ESB Spark of Genius again this year. The standard of applicants over the last number of years has been extremely high and this year will be no different. It has been great to see the participants go from strength to strength over the years." 

Start-ups can apply for the ESB Spark of Genius here: The closing date for entries is Sunday 10th September 2017.  A shortlist of five will pitch live on RTE 2FM’s Eoghan McDermott Show and three winners will travel to Lisbon for the live pitch at Web Summit.

More than 60,000 people from over 170 countries will attend Web Summit this year in Lisbon. Keynote speakers include Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Expedia and Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel.


Previous winners:

OpenBack (2016): OpenBack enables any App to deliver powerful personalised notifications to users, increasing engagement and retention of lapsed users.

BizSimply (2015): An employee management start-up which has secured over €1.95m in funding. Co-founded by Norman Hewson, John Forde and Mikey Cannon.  

Smart Things (2012): Internet of Things start-up which has been purchased by Samsung for approximately €177m.  Founded by Alex Hawkinson, Jeff Hagins, Scott Vlaminck, James Stolp, Andrew Brooks, Ben Edwards and Jesse O'Neill-Oine.

Datahug (2010): A data science company which has raised €4.87m ($5.5m) in funding to date and has offices in Dublin and San Francisco. Founded by Connor Murphy.

About ESB: ESB is Ireland’s leading energy company, operating across the full spectrum of the electricity market: from generation, through transmission and distribution to supply. In addition, ESB extracts further value at certain points along this chain: supplying gas, using our networks to carry fibre for telecommunications, developing electric vehicle public charging infrastructure and an international consultancy arm which has worked in 120 countries globally. More information at