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

€25,000 ESB Spark of Genius Award remains open to entrepreneurs and inventors across the country until 17th September

ESB announces that the call for applications for its Spark of Genius Award, has been extended for an extra week. The deadline for entries is now midnight on Sunday 17th September. 

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 ESB 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.

Paul Mulvaney, ESB Executive Director Innovation said: ”We’ve had a huge response to our call for ESB Spark of Genius entries and have been highly impressed with the calibre of applications received so far. Our decision to open the competition for an extra week means that other ambitious start-ups that may have missed the closing date during the busy holiday period in August can still apply." 

Previous winner, David Shackleton of OpenBack said: “Winning the ESB Spark of Genius Award has opened doors for our business on a global scale. Winning at Web Summit has helped us explain our product differenciation and grow our business significantly so far in 2017. For any early stage businesses out there, there are huge benefits to being in this top calibre process – we couldn’t recommend it enough and encourage anyone with a differentiated proposition to get involved.”

Encouraging Irish start-ups to enter, Paddy Griffith, Head of Start-ups, Web Summit added: "This is a great opportunity for Irish start-ups to compete at an international level and gain exposure to some to the world's top investors, media and business leaders."

Start-ups can apply for the ESB Spark of Genius here: The closing date for entries is extended to Sunday 17th September 2017 midnight.  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 Al Gore, Brian Krzanich, CEO, Intel, Mark Hurd, CEO, Oracle and Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition, European Commission.


For Further Information please contact:

Kieran O'Neill, Media Relation Manager, ESB Corporate Communications

(T) 00-353-1-7026193 (M) 00-353-87-9349200 Email:

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