O’Kale Krisps Wins University College Dublin’s 2017 Start- Up Programme for Students

Early-stage food venture receives €3,000 prize

Dublin, Ireland, 26 June 2017, University College Dublin (UCD) has announced O’Kale Krisps (www.okalekrisps.com) as the overall winner of the 2017 UCD Startup Stars Programme. This year’s programme, the University’s start-up support initiative for student entrepreneurs, has just ended at NovaUCD.

O’Kale Krisps, an early-stage food venture, has developed low-calorie, highly nutritious and air-dried kale crisps to give consumers a unique and healthy snack alternative when they are on the go.

Each tub of O’Kale Krisps contains only 69 calories, is high in iron, calcium, vitamin C, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. The snacks are currently on sale in three flavours (original, spicy chilli and cheesy) and in 28 stores across Ireland.



The members of the O’Kale Krisps team are UCD undergraduate students, Jack Parsons (Business and Law) and Oisin McElhinney (Arts).

Jack Parsons, O’Kale Krisps, said, “We have thoroughly enjoyed our last 4 weeks at NovaUCD during which we have further developed our start-up and we are delighted that O’Kale Krisps has won the 2017 UCD Startup Stars Programme.”

He added, “Through our products we want to build a community around healthy food, healthy body and mind to help people live a happier life. We hope to have O’Kale Krisps available in stores in all corners of Ireland by the end of the year. We also have future products in the pipeline and may venture into other areas of healthy living.”

The UCD Start-up Stars entrepreneurship programme, now in its 3rd year, has been developed by UCD Research and Innovation, the UCD Innovation Academy and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, to support UCD undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to work together to develop and grow start-up companies.

The programme began earlier this year with cross-disciplinary workshops and course modules delivered at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the UCD Innovation Academy. During this period students from across the University explored and evaluated a number of real world problems before forming teams to develop start-up solutions to address the identified problems.


Five (5) early stage ventures, with a total of 15 team members, were then selected to participate in an intensive mentoring programme which took place over the last 4 weeks at NovaUCD.

The aim of this mentoring was to assist the students in refining their start-up ideas through a series of structured workshops, including taught content from industry experts, interactive workshops and regular pitching sessions. In addition each team also received a cash stipend and office space at NovaUCD.

Following final pitches O’Kale Krisps was selected as the overall winner as it was judged to have the most commercial potential and the founders received a cash prize of €3,000 sponsored by Xilinx. The four runner-ups (profiled below) also received a cash prize of €500 each sponsored by Xilinx.

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said, “I would like to congratulate the founders of O’Kale Krisps on winning the 2017 UCD Startup Stars Programme and I would like to applaud all the students who participated in this year’s programme.”

She added, “During the last 4 weeks we leveraged our start-up expertise and experience to support this group of enthusiastic and entrepreneurial students as they developed and refined their start-up ideas. We now look forward to seeing all these early-stage ventures move to the next stage of development and launching into the market.”

Professor Suzi Jarvis, Founding Director, UCD Innovation Academy said, “UCD Start-up Stars is a great collaboration between NovaUCD, the UCD Innovation Academy and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.”

“The students have worked very hard these past few weeks on venture ideas they are passionate about. The final pitches, better than any words, are a testament to the work that is being undertaken at UCD to foster entrepreneurial mind sets and the ambition of our students to tackle big problems. The programme is a fantastic opportunity for them to develop an idea and explore its viability in the real world.”

Majella Murphy, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School said, “There was a great mix of students from multiple disciplines, on this year’s programme who brought with them diverse ideas and perspectives which are very beneficial to early stage start-up ventures.”

The members of the final UCD Startup Stars Programme judging panel were; Anthony Collins, Senior Staff Marketing Engineer, Xilinx; Barbara Diehl, Executive Director, UCD Innovation Academy; Caroline Gill, Innovation Education Manager, UCD Research and Innovation; Gianni Matera, Founder and Partner, Growing Capital and Dr Sharon O’Kane, NovaUCD, Entrepreneur-in-Residence.

The sponsors of UCD Startup Stars Programme are; AIB, Arthur Cox, Ericsson, Growing Capital, Goodbody Stockbrokers and Xilinx.

A total of 17 early-stage ventures and 43 students have now completed the UCD Startup Stars Programme over the last 3 years.

The hashtag for this programme is #UCDstartupStars.


26 June 2017

For further information contact Micéal Whelan, University College Dublin, Communications Manager (Innovation), m: +353 87 760 1746, t: + 353 1 716 3712, e: miceal.whelan@ucd.ie.

Editors Notes

Profiles of the other 2017 UCD Startup Stars Participating Ventures

Aosta Medical aims to identify those members of the elderly population who are at risk of falling in order to prevent them falling and sustaining injuries. Aosta Medical’s novel solution involves capturing whole body data of individuals, achieved by visually analysing a subject with 3D cameras, in a non-invasive manner. This data, when combined with machine learning algorithms, will allow for the continuous improvement in predicting the likelihood of an individual falling in order to assess his/her need for early medical intervention.

The members of the Aosta Medical team are undergraduate students, John Murtagh (Medicine), Sinead Carroll (Commerce), Clodagh Dunne (Mechanical Engineering) and Eoghan O’Neill (Bio-mechanical Engineering).

BeauBae is developing a platform to connect freelance beauticians to those seeking their services at a time, price and location that suits both parties. BeauBae’s market research indicates that both men and women currently find it a disappointing experience to find, book and pay for a freelance beautician in their locality.

To solve this problem BeauBae is developing a platform to give customers the freedom to find, book and pay for a local freelance beautician. The platform will enable customers do this in a simple and cheaper process, than currently available beauty service providers. The platform will also provide a space for beauticians to market themselves to potential customers.  

The members of the BeauBae team are undergraduate students, Grace Sherry (Commerce), Oisin Kirwan (Dairy Business), Harry Stapleton (Commerce) and Cathy Browne (Commerce).

Paypiq is developing a new revenue model for accessing free and premium online content, including news content.

Users want to be able to access a wide range of content with the least amount of hassle. Users don’t want to have to subscribe to read one article or go through a registration process on every website they visit. News publishers also need to earn more from advertising or from users as most are struggling to break even or are losing money.

Paypiq’s solution offers users a single sign-in account from which they can access any number of websites, not limited to news publishers, without having to separately register for each one. This enables users to access premium content, either by subscription, pay-as-you-go, or by viewing adverts.

Paypiq’s approach is to let publishers keep control over their own content, not limited to news, on their own websites. As a result, Paypiq has potential to scale, and to provide income for a wider range of content publishers and, ultimately, to change the way in which much of the content on the web is consumed.

The members of the PayPiq team are postgraduate student, Frank Humphreys (Data Science) and undergraduate student Fiachra Doherty (Mechanical Engineering).

Entering university is far more stressful then it needs to be for students and this contributes to the high drop-out rates many universities experience. To solve this issue UniLYF is developing a digital platform to help universities reduce first year drop-out rates. The platform aims to do this with a modular and a university specific approach to help their students transition more successfully from the secondary school environment and integrate better into the student body at their university.

The members of the UniLYF team are undergraduate students, Abdullah Ahmed (Chemical Engineering), James Carron (Data Analytics) and Anas Khaled (Mathematics).

UCD Startup Stars is an entrepreneurship programme for undergraduate and postgraduate students from all disciplines at University College Dublin. It is run by NovaUCD in collaboration with the UCD Innovation Academy and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. The programme is sponsored by AIB, Arthur Cox, Ericsson, Growing Capital, Goodbody Stockbrokers and Xilinx. www.ucd.ie/innovation/students/ucdstartupstars

Further information on NovaUCD visit www.ucd.ie/novaucd

Further information on the UCD Innovation Academy visit www.innovators.ie

Further information on the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School visit www.smurfitschool.ie


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