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Programmes | 11/10/2019

Music Tech Startup makes a big noise at the Invent Awards

A product set to make a massive impact on music quality won big at the highly anticipated Catalyst Invent Awards.

Signal Optimiser, designed to significantly improve the sound quality between a guitar and an amplifier was the clear winner thanks to its strong innovation and global commercial potential.

Creator, Lewis Loane from Newtownards, scooped a prize package of £13,000 (from the overall prize total £33,000) and is well on his way to having his product recognised as a must-have for serious music aficionados.

Sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK, the Invent Awards took place in Belfast ICC’s Waterfront and saw almost 700 distinguished guests gather in celebration of some of Northern Ireland’s most talented innovators.

Mr Loane, a QUB electronics and electrical engineering student set up his company TORANN earlier this year and through it has been able to turn his passion for music into a business. He developed the Signal Optimiser product after playing a guitar in a shop and realising there was a disconnect between how music sounds when using different types of amplifiers. Now after several prototypes the finished product allows for 100% of the sound quality to be transferred seamlessly from an amplifier to an instrument.

Invent sponsor, Gavin Kennedy, Bank of Ireland UK’s Head of Business Banking NI said,“The Invent competition continues to be an inspiration for all ambitious entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland. It is a unique programme, providing a platform for discovery, practical supports and membership to a positive, innovative entrepreneurial community that focuses on supporting outstanding talent in Northern Ireland.

“Lewis’s success with his Signal Optimiser product is a first, becoming Invent’s inaugural undergraduate winner of the overall competition and alongside many of this year’s entries highlights the strength and depth of Northern Ireland’s young tech innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Congratulations to all the finalists and category winners this year, we need you to keep going and inspire others to help Northern Ireland’s business community to grow and thrive.”

The Invent competition offers an opportunity for innovators of Northern Ireland to come forward and be recognised as the next ‘big thing’ – and this year it attracted more than 100 entries across the six categories.

Invent Programme Manager, Karen Hall said, “Lewis is a worthy winner who epitomises the spirit of the Invent competition. His pitch was on-point, he was cool under pressure and he has picked up so many skills throughout the whole process which make him a force to be reckoned with in business. I’m sure he will inspire the next generation of inventors to follow their dreams and aim big!” 

Also, at the event, Denis Murphy was named as the 2019 Innovation Founder, a recognition given to a person who has achieved success in founding, leading or building a celebrated local innovative business.Mr Murphy who is co-founder and CEO of cloud service company Anaeko, has more than 20 years’ experience in IT and mobile telecoms, founding and managing a number of locally based tech companies including Apion and Mobile Cohesion. He joins an impressive esteemed list of previous recipients highlighting the strength and depth of successful industry founders in Northern Ireland.

The evening included the announcement of the very worthy Invent 2019 category winners, who each receive £3,000. 

AGRI SCIENCE CropSafe – an AI and satellite-based farming solution

ELECTRONICS Signal Optimiser – a product designed to improve sound quality between an instrument and amplifier

LIFE & HEALTH SCIENCE Airbrio – arespiratory management system for asthma or COPD

ENGINEERING Concrete Jungle – a manufacturer of bio-receptive façade panels for the outside of buildings

CREATIVE MEDIA & CONSUMER INTERNET Personalcarer.co.uk – A platform for disabled persons or the elderly to find experienced carers in their area

ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE Obbi Solutions – an app that digitises business processes in HR, operations and health and safety