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£25k awards uncovers NI’s hottest intellectual property


Affyon Networks, founded by Kieran McLaughlin, edged out nine rival competitors with their innovative microchip which could potentially transform internet security and reinvent anti-virus software. The team’s deep packet inspection (DPI) solution has been designed to remove the need for expensive anti-virus software in PCs, and could shake up the software industry and save consumers money.

Affyon Networks’ technology will be prepared for the international marketplace through TitanIC, a recent spin-out from QUB’s ECIT Institute, established for this purpose. In addition, £25k Awards category winners were:

• CleanTech: CleanTech Global, based in Belfast, is a solar disinfection device for drinking water
• Digital Media: Disability Heroes, based in Ballynahinch, offers innovative E- Learning tools to enhance disability awareness
• BioTech: Proteocypher, based in Coleraine, assess biopsy samples from patients with a range of autoimmune diseases, so that high costs drugs can be rationalized.
• Hi-Tech: as above, Affyon Networks were both category winners and overall winner.

The £25k Awards attracted a record 71 entries and two of the biggest names in UK venture capitalism were drafted in along the way to judge the finalists: Donald Fitzmaurice, Partner at ePlanet Ventures which has yielded successful exits with an aggregate market value of over $20 Billion; and Sigurður Sævarsson of Thule Investments who has over 10 years in venture backed companies in the telecommunications industry.

The awards, sponsored by Bank of Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland, were presented yesterday evening at a VIP gala ceremony in the newly refurbished Titanic’s Dock & Pump-House at Northern Ireland Science Park.

Affyon Networks founder Kieran McLaughlin said: “We are all over-the-moon. It has been a long, challenging but extremely rewarding journey for us.

“Competing in the awards has been a great help in taking our product to the marketplace. We have been exposed to some of the top venture capitalists and the advice they have given us has been indispensable. The assistance and opportunity we have had in commercialising our product has been extraordinary. In addition to this, the icing on the cake is receiving a prize fund of £10,000 which will provide vital capital for us going forward.”

Steve Orr, Director of NISP Connect, said that the “talent on display has convinced me that Belfast is on the brink of creating its answer to Silicon Valley – perhaps even becoming a Silicon City for a new generation of young innovators”.

He added: “We uncovered a real local talent in Affyon Networks and were really blown away by their commercial potential. The competition was designed to shake out the hottest intellectual property in Northern Ireland and that is exactly what we achieved – that applies not only to Affyon Networks but to all the finalists.

“The project won not only for its anti-virus solution but also for its market-ready capability. The finalists this year have raised the bar for next year’s entrants and we look forward to the competition heating up even more next year.”

Mark Cunningham, Director of Business Banking, Bank of Ireland, main sponsor of the award added: “Affyon Networks are a shining example of what can be achieved in Northern Ireland with the correct business support systems. This is an extremely exciting time to be associated with the Northern Ireland research base and all the finalists must be warmly congratulated.”

Ian Murphy, Managing Director of Clients Group - Entrepreneurship at Invest Northern Ireland, which also sponsored the event, said: “If Northern Ireland is to increase exports and innovation, leading to higher wages and salaries in the local economy, it is vital that entrepreneurs fully utilise the commercial opportunities that are offered by this region’s academic and technical excellence. Affyon Networks has achieved exactly this by developing an innovative and highly marketable product which could be a springboard for significant future success.

“Invest NI offers expert advice and guidance to both new and established businesses on the development and commercialisation of new products.”


Publisher Contact Information:

Northern Ireland Science Park
02890 393837
s.bloomer@morrowcommunications.com

Company profile of Northern Ireland Science Park
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