Startup Accelerator Spotlight: StartPlanetNI


StartPlanetNI is Northern Ireland’s only private equity backed accelerator programme.


Assistant Programme Manager, Linda Robinson


Programme Director, Wayne Murphy

Name of Accelerator: StartPlanetNI

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland


Programme DirectorWayne Murphy

Assistant Programme Manager: Linda Robinson

This article is part of our Startup Accelerator Spotlight Series featuring accelerators from around the world. We hope these spotlights will assist the entrepreneur should they consider attending an accelerator program.

In two sentences or less, tell us about your accelerator and its objectives.

StartPlanetNI focuses on a number of core activities to develop the team, the business model and the potential to gain follow-on funding. Centrally we aim to build positivity and energy around our startups. We combine a global outlook with domain expertise to help each of our companies succeed.

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Why is your accelerator program unique? Please describe the benefits of participation in your program.

StartPlanetNI is Northern Ireland’s only private equity backed accelerator programme.StartPlanetNI

  • Funding for a startup
    This is the oxygen required to grow its potential and StartPlanetNI has a specific focus in assisting the right companies to access that capital. In fact, 50% of teams from our recently completed programme have already received offers of investment.
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  • Grow Important Networks
    Our assembled team has extensive experience in the startup space both from a local and international perspective. Diane Roberts and her team at Xcell Partners have been involved in the Northern Ireland startup scene for many years and have built up a comprehensive network of support and contacts (local and international) to assist high potential startups. Bill Liao (European Venture Partner @ SOSv) is lead mentor on the programme and he brings incredible experience on an international scale to the programme. We know how to extract the very best from the startups and what is required to truly scale and build a global business.
  • Access to experienced mentors
    We have an incredible network of mentors who are successful entrepreneurs in their own right, some of whom have raised millions in investments and some also with significant exits. To tap into all that experience, knowledge and networks is an opportunity to truly accelerate the development of any startup.

Looking for an accelerator with a focus consistent with your startup?  Try  Find My Accelerator !

What is the most difficult part of working with startups?

Sometimes when startups are so deeply embedded into their business, they lose the ability to look/listen to other aspects that may allow them to work smarter. Frustration can kick in and they can often be stubborn to accepting the advice from those who have been there and done that. This is all part of the startup journey.

What do you enjoy the most; what do you find most appealing about working with entrepreneurial startups?

So many things – the unknown, the energy and drive amongst teams, their desire to succeed, the “lightbulb” moment, sharing the highs and lows and seeing all the fruits of their hard work.

Tell us about your success stories; which are the most interesting companies to have participated in your program?

We have had 8 amazing companies from around the globe join us on our last programme. In terms of generating revenues to date, the most notable include:

  1. Glistrr enables event organizers to identify and engage influencers within their customer base, to increase attendances and revenues. Event organizers face a huge challenge in identifying and engaging potential customers. While a typical event organizer may be processing thousandStartPlanetNIs of guests, it is extremely difficult for them to understand who these guests really are, what sort of events they enjoy and how to engage and remarket to these guests in the most effective way.

    Glistrr enables event organizers to collect intelligence on their customers and act on it, as well as uniquely enabling them to identify influencers within their customer base and better engage with them. Glistrr currently has over 150 clients operating in over 170 venues across UK, Ireland and the USA and has processed over one million guests.

  2. Clinishare‘s mission is to achieve enhanced public and individual wellness through research, development and deployment of technologies that advance the application of medical services in an patient-centric model. Their solution provides a unique, market leading service offering geared to the business requirements of a clinical laboratory.

    This in turn empowers tactical and strategic competitive advantage for laboratories. This platform connects clinical labs, physicians and patients seamlessly. Clinishare has recently established support in Brazil and the USA and is rapidly taking their business to a global scale.

What are the three most important factors startup entrepreneurs should consider when contemplating attending an accelerator?

Startup time is valuable time as everything is scarce – money, resources, customers and patience. Wasting 3 months on a “startup programme” that is not relevant to you and does not add specific value to your business can be a disaster for a number of reasons. An accelerator programme is the new “MBA” for a startup so you need to do your homework. However, for me there are 3 simple but critical factors that a startup should consider when deciding on which accelerator to apply to.

  1. Does the team behind the programme have a strong track record of developing and promoting startups?
  2. The quality of the mentor panel and their ability to add value to my journey.
  3. The networks that can be accessed and strategic opportunities that can be created by completing a particular accelerator.

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What else would you like to share?

StartPlanetNI Accelerator programme is an incredible 3 month journey of discovery where your business will be transformed like you could never believe. It will enable you to truly focus full-time on developing your startup and take the opportunity to really look at how you take your business to the next level and beyond with the help of some incredibly experienced and talented people.

This incredible opportunity allows startups to showcase their talent and potential, build some incredible contacts and access global networks necessary for your crucial development. But it will be incredibly hard work, involve incredible commitment and dedication allied with a huge desire to win and be successful. If you have what it takes and want more info, reach out to Linda (



Pam Goforth

Pam Goforth is Research Manager for FundingSage, which provides valuable information, tools and resources to entrepreneurs seeking to start, grow and fund a business.