Dublin, Ireland saw one of its largest web technology and business gatherings last Thursday evening (September 13th). At least 200 Web 2.0 professionals from all over the country and Europe, plus others interested in the web application industry, converged on Ely HQ in the docklands area of the city for a series of events.
To coincide with the Future of Web Apps (FOWA) Road Trip (a meetup with FOWA conference organiser Ryan Carson), Fergus Burns and Conor O’Neill organised a number of co-located Web 2.0-related events. These were:
- Paddy’s Valley pitch training, in which a panel of four or five (from Enterprise Ireland and some venture capital firms) listened and advised those Irish entrepreneurs travelling to Silicon Valley in December;
- DemoBar, where a selection of Irish startups demonstrated their forthcoming products and ideas, and others networked over a few pints; and
- Dublin OpenCoffee Club, an informal meeting of Irish Web 2.0 developers (and some sore heads!) which was held the next morning.
The Paddy’s Valley pitch training session took place on Thursday afternoon. Seven or eight Irish startups including Relevant M, TouristR / TripPlanr, Benchd, UseAMap / JustRoutes, and Toddle gave their pitches to the expert panel. Itineraries for Paddy’s Valley were discussed and arranged, meetings and visits scheduled, contacts swapped, and various aims and aspirations for the week in Silicon Valley were formed.
Pre-selected startups gave their product demonstrations in the DemoBar room, which was very busy (and hot). Louder Voice, GlowDay, MySay, PutPlace, and PollDaddy were among those who presented their innovative web applications. But the majority of people networked and enjoyed the open bar and nibbles outside the room, making contacts, putting faces to online nicks, and giving interviews to Conn from Intruders.TV Ireland.
The FOWA Road Trip Dublin event was one stop on a tour of 11 European cities by Ryan Carson of Carson Systems (the previous stop was the night before in Edinburgh). The forthcoming Future of Web Apps event is a major conference being held in London at the beginning of October, with many high-profile speakers from Web 2.0 companies and investors including Ross Mayfield (SocialText), Matt Mullenweg (WordPress.com), Jyri Engestrom (Jaiku) and Michael Arrington (TechCrunch).
Friday morning saw a smaller but nonetheless impressive gathering of Web 2.0 folk at the Dublin OpenCoffee Club in the Morrison Hotel, where the main topic of conversation was undoubtedly the energy and buzz of the night before.
There were an estimated 200 to 300 people at the evening event on Thursday. Just some of those I got a chance to chat to on both days were (with full names I remember first): Walter Higgins, Niall Larkin, Jan Blanchard, David Lenehan, Barry Alistair, Ryan Carson, Derek Organ, Martha Rotter, Conor Power, Conn Ó Muineachain, Adrian McMahon, Mark Taylor, Conor O’Neill, Fergus Burns, James Corbett, Joe Drumgoole, Gareth Stack, Vinny Glennon, Alexia Golez, Alan O’Rourke, Eamon Leonard, Conor Wade, Ed Byrne, Paul Campbell, Anton Mannering, Jessie Roy, Eoghan McCabe, Nicola Byrne, Maryrose Lyons, John O’Shea, Fergal Breen, Mike Kiely, Brian Fitzsimons, Darragh Curran, Diarmuid Wrenne, Colm Ó hEocha, Clare Dillon, Bart, Peter, Patrick, Fintan, Dervla, and Charley.
The success of this day and the enthusiasm shown from both the developer and commercial sides bodes well for the future of similar events in Ireland. I hope that this critical mass can be maintained and built upon, and that those who had ideas just germinating in their heads will be inspired by the others who have started to put their plans into action. Hopefully that new batch of ideas will be demonstrated at the next Web 2.0 Ireland event, whenever it may be and whatever form it may take…