Series 3: Episode 8
Name: Adrian McGreevy
Idea: Amphibia Bag
The Pitch: Evolutionary sports equipment for serious athletes, beginning with unique multi-sport bags that include wet pouch & changing mat.
Came up with the Idea: From competing in triathlons and seeing the difficulty athletes have both transporting their gear to transition and then setting up their transition area, Adrian felt there had to be an easier way. He developed a bag that transports everything you need and then becomes part of your transition area. From his experiences in surfing and a range of other outdoor and adventure sports he realised that the same features of the bag were also beneficial for a range of other sports and the X-Bag was born.
During development of the X-bag and from chatting to sports people it became obvious that everyday sports such as swim and gym would also benefit from the same functions as the X-Bag in a smaller everyday sports bag which has inspired the Evo Bag. Ideas for other items of sports equipment have also emerged and are currently being designed by Adrian - no rocket science, just simple smart ideas that can help make sporting participation easier.
Personal Information: Adrian has always had a keen interest in a wide range of sports, playing GAA and soccer for 20 years before a skiing accident meant he had to give up all contact sports. Luckily he was able to carry on a variety of other sports and has concentrated on marathons and triathlons, completing 4 marathons and 15 triathlons over the past 3 years, which will culminate in an Ironman this summer. From a business perspective after studying communications & marketing in college he was a sales and marketing executive in New York for 1 year and then moved back to Ireland to work in the drinks industry for 8 years. Adrian's been working on the Amphibia brand for just over 1 year and it's a dream come true making a job out of a passion for sports.
Name: Mandy O'Rourke
The Pitch:The product is a website, www.BabyBay.ie, which provides a service for the trading of new and used baby clothes and goods for a monthly fee.
Came up with the Idea: The idea for Babybay.ie came from a personal need to recycle her own baby goods. As a mum of 3 young children Mandy has amassed a huge amount of clothes and goods over the past 5 years. She started to look at what options were available online to sell these items on and found there were no sites just for baby goods in Ireland. So after researching the market Mandy set up www.BabyBay.ie
Personal Information: Mandy has been working in the home for the past 5 years since the birth of her first child. This was a decision undertaken at that time to take a career break to have a family with a view to returning to work. Mandy has found this a very rewarding and challenging experience but has made a decision that she is now ready to get back into the workforce. She decided to take the path of self employment when she came up with the concept for BabyBay.ie.
Mandy has a wealth of experience in Sales and Marketing in particular in the hospitality industry. She has worked for the Jury Doyle Hotel Group, Citywest Hotel and Wallace Travel Group. She has also worked for CNG Hotels as was involved in this start-up business from very early on. Mandy worked in a huge diversity of roles within CNG and contributed hugely to the success of the company.
Mandy has also worked for Japan Airlines as a cabin attendant based in London for five years. Mandy has travelled extensively all over the world. She has also lived and worked in Germany and Greece. She speaks German and a little Japanese.
Name: Tom O'Toole
Idea: Uisce Bagga
The Pitch: An inexpensive, user friendly water saving device for toilet cisterns that can reduce domestic and commercial water consumption by 10 billion litres.
Came up with the Idea: For many years Tom has had homemade water saving devices in the toilet cisterns at home. At the end of 2009 he found himself out of work. While job searching from home he decided to look into the water saving idea a bit further, and developed Uisce Bagga.
Personal Information: Tom O’Toole is happily married to Emer since 2004. They have two beautiful daughters, Katie 5½ and Ciara 4. Tom is originally from Wexford, but has been living in Dublin for the past 20 years. During those years he is very proud to state that he has worked in the contract cleaning industry. He started as a cleaner and has moved up through the supervisory and management ranks to his current executive role. He is most passionate about the industry and the role he has currently. He enjoys his private time with his family, travelling, outdoor activities, running and going to the cinema.
Name: Diarmaid Twomey
Idea: Expresso Ads
The Pitch: A unique and innovative advertising medium, utilising space on disposable coffee cups to deliver a new demographic to advertisers.
Came up with the Idea: Diarmaid was at a GAA match and observed a lot of the crowd drinking from unbranded cups during the game. From there he looked at the unbranded coffee cup market in Ireland, circa 30 million used every year. And from there looked at how he could deliver such a product, but, more importantly, how could he deliver a demographic to advertisers rather than relying on sheer volume. Diarmaid then spoke with large coffee chains, who, have their own markets and customers. He knows he can be in a position of having a number of Irelands most well known coffee chains on board and will be supplying a new revenue source to them in turn for space in their branded cups.
Personal Information: Diarmaid comes from a media and advertising background, having started with Independent News and Media for two years, he moved to RedFM, a local station in Cork. After spending 2 years with RedFM, he went to a local freesheet in Cork where he stayed for 1 ½ years before being offered a role in another start up free sheet. Diarmaid spent almost 6 months there before setting up my own media consultancy business last March. Since then he has been consulting with companies in Mint Media and working on this project.
Name: Vincent Morrissey
Idea: Green Dragon
The Pitch: To set up the first Irish Bar and Restaurant in a thriving province in China.
Came up with the Idea:
Vincent thoroughly researched from A to Z using established and personal links in China.
Vincent has been involved in the Irish Bar scene from a very young age, from organising the bottles at a very young age, to collecting the glasses on busy weekends. He became a bank clerk at the age of nineteen in AIB, from there he got on the property ladder and left the bank after purchasing a remote local bar at the age of twenty two. This had a huge impact on his business skills. Vincent ran it alone, built the trade up 7 fold and sold the business at the tender age of 26. The determination, drive and the will to succeed brought him into the coalface of Financial Advising for two of Ireland's largest banks, but this still was not enough, there was a void, a longing to get back to being the Captain of his own ship. It was at this junction he was offered to manage a bar on a far bigger scale, The Meeting Place bar in Middleton Co. Cork. The trade had fallen dramatically over the previous number of years, but with the new owners help,he turned it around.
China always fascinated Vincent, it has for years! Reading about new markets and always on the lookout for new opportunities, he travelled there in April 2010 and again in November to sign off contracts. It is his goal now to make this Bar/Restaurant a huge success but to use his contacts as a platform to import as much Irish produce as possible!
Personal Information: As well as being a pub owner at the age of 22, Vincent was also a financial advisor for two major banks in Ireland, with thorough research he has secured an investor to open up this first bar and restaurant in an emerging province of China, while using the Dragons Den experience to enhance the links to the export market abroad.
Name: Sheila Byrne
Idea: Read Assist
The Pitch: It is a reading aid for reading difficulties and dyslexia.
Came up with the Idea: When Sheila'’s daughter Jenny was 6 yrs old, she noticed that she had a difficulty with her reading. She was not able to focus on the line that she was reading from. She would take words from the line above and the line below. She was really frustrated with the reading homework and began to hate school. Sheila decided she had to come up with something to help her quickly before she started to fall behind in class work. She made the Readassist, which is a 6" long, it can also be used as a ruler. She made a window the full length of the Readassist in the centre of it, so she could read the line and focus only on that line. It blocked out the line above and also the line below. In 2008 Sheila applied for a patent and has spent the last 2 years developing it to where it is now, which is for sale on the website, and also in some school supplies stores and book stores. The Dyslexia Association was selling a huge amount of them up to Christmas. Sheila is hoping to have it available in more stores soon. So far, between web sales and store sales, in just two months she has sold EUR10,500 worth of Readassists. She has been receiving wonderful emails and messages on her Readassist Facebook page from schools and parents thanking her for helping their family and taking away some unnecessary stress.
Personal Information: Sheila is 49 years old. She is divorced, separated for 13 years and divorced 1 year. She has two wonderful children, Jennifer, 21 years old and Stephen, 17 years old in 5th year in Belvedere College. She went to school until Leaving Certificate, and then did a PA Secretarial Course for 1 year in Pitmans College, Grafton Street, Dublin. She has loved every job that she has worked in. PA, Eircom, Consultant for Waterford Crystal in Brown Thomas, school secretary, and WestLink Toll Bridge. Sheila was made redundant in 2008, and tried applying for jobs for months. She decided to use what was left of her redundancy and savings to develop the Readassist. She is very passionate about the Readassist and will go to the ends of the earth to get it into every child's hands and adults hands. Sheila feels strongly that children have the right to learn and be educated, despite any learning difficulties they may encounter.