NCI Solbot

NCI team wipes out the competition at upStart

Cyber security students shine with solar panel cleaning project
Team Sol Bot Kirubakaran Jayakumar and Rajasegar Rajendhiran Shanthi , Karthik Karur Maniaraas

5 April 2019

A team of MSc in Cyberscurity students from National College of Ireland has taken the top prize at this year’s Citi upStart accelerator programme.

UpStart is a team-based entrepreneurship programme run by Citi in Ireland. Teams of postgrad students from different universities propose start-up business plans, based on a new IT artefact. Each plan must be feasible and the teams have to improve their plans, together with Citi mentors, over a period of six months. Each plan is judged on novelty and marketability.

This year’s winning project, SolBot, is a cleaning robot for solar panels that can operate in any weather, potentially saving millions in lost energy each year.




“NCI greatly values Citi upStart, which is more than a competition, but an entrepreneurship programme that allows students to work with Citi mentors and bring their initial proposal to the level of a feasible business start-up,” said Dr Anu Sahni, director of innovation at National College of Ireland.

President of NCI, Gina Quin, said: “National College of Ireland has seen many businesses emerge from course projects, internal invention competitions and programmes such as Citi upStart. Citi upstart in particular encourages teamwork, provides structure for mentoring and feedback, and has a marked impact on participants. This can be seen not only in those who go on to found companies, but in those who take an informed and tactical approach to their future employment, having had the chance to apply their academic education creatively in a professional environment.”

Nathan O’Reilly, Citi chief technology officer for Europe Middle East & Africa, said: “Citi is leading the way in terms of investing in new and disruptive technologies in the fintech space, and our partnership with the universities and colleges is just one example of how we are nurturing ideas and talent to come up with new innovative solutions.”

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