ITLG: ‘Innovation in Entertainment’

The Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) is opening its Southern California Chapter in the heart of the entertainment business today. Entitled ‘Innovation in Entertainment’ the event which will take place at Sony Pictures Studios, in Los Angeles, marks the impact of technology on entertainment and recognize the major advances made by Irish entrepreneurs and technologists.

“Without question, technology advancements are radically impacting the process of Innovation in Entertainment,” says Nora Zimmett from Bloomberg Television — media partner for the night. “With the launch of ITLG’s Southern California Chapter comes validation from Silicon Valley that Hollywood is fast becoming an influential center of technology advancement.”

Top entertainment executives speakers will take the stage on the night to explain how innovation will shape the future of their industry and will include Sony’s Chief Transformation Officer, George Bailey, Warner Bros SVP Post Production, Bill Daly and Rovi’s CEO, Fred Amoroso.

Included in the 300 attending are top leaders, founders, producers, presidents and CEOs from leading companies including Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures Studios, Intel, Motorola, Bloomberg, Dreamworks, HBO, Google, AT&T, NBC Universal, Paramount Studios, Nokia, and The Jim Henson Company.

The event’s technology showcase and media lounge will be featuring the latest innovation in film/TV, music, video games, mobile applications, social media and 3D Printing.

“The theme of Innovation in Entertainment rose out of the recognition that there is growing convergence between all areas of technology and entertainment and massive race to own the consumer’s screen.

“With so much relevant technology coming out of Ireland and Northern Ireland, there is no doubt that we have the resources and talent to make a demonstrable impact in the global entertainment and technology industries. We just need the public and private sector to continue a forward-thinking policy of strategic investment,” says John Hartnett, ITLG President and Founder.

The event is sold out but we will have a reporter on the ground so you can expect regular updates via our Twitter account, @technologyvoice.

Our Top 10 Irish Twitter Influencers

Centres of gravity in the Irish Twitterverse.

Determining a list of the most influential tweeters can be a thankless task. Influence can mean many things to many people. For some, it’s purely a numbers game; those with the most followers are the most influential. For most however, influence is defined by a range of subjective characteristics so broad and personal that no two lists are the same.

When compiling this list of Irish Twitterati, we looked at several factors; how many followers they had, how many they followed back, how many tweets they had notched up, and whether these tweets were actually interesting and inspiring, or of the Jed-prefixed variety. However, the deciding factor was, as ever in these cases, a subjective choice. So, while many will feel that this list is inherently flawed, we can at least console ourselves in the knowledge that theirs is too.

@glinner: Graham Linehan rose to prominence as the co-writer of seminal Irish sitcom Father Ted. He has also put his name to comedy shows such as Brass Eye and The IT Crowd. It is not unusual for the mind behind so much cult comedy to have the 126,593 followers Linehan has at the time of writing, but his use of Twitter extends beyond the usual celebrity self-indulgence.

Linehan has used his influence on the social network to campaign for a variety of issues in Ireland, the UK and the United States, and was especially outspoken during the recent hacking scandal. He also started the #welovethenhs hashtag campaign in August 2009 in response to right-wing American criticism of the UK health service. The campaign was supported by then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his successor, David Cameron.

Klout: 76
TweetLevel: 82.8

@topgold: Multimedia lecturer Bernie Goldbach is an American living in Cashel, and a stalwart of the Twitter and blogging communities here. He acknowledges that Twitter can mean different things to different people; some prefer casual online chat with acquaintances, while others glean more value from hashtag threads of interest such as the #edchatie thread he follows himself.

“I think influence is a measure of persuasiveness”, explains Bernie. “Over time, minor voices can have a measure of influence if those voices offer listeners value. On Twitter, that can be ambient intimacy, pointers to valuable content, or information about upcoming events. That’s how I decide who or what to follow.”

Klout: 62
TweetLevel: 74.4

@davidcochrane: The editor of Irish political forum, David Cochrane is never far from any Irish political issue on Twitter. His stream is a great source for links to discussion threads on the political issues of the day as well as some lively political debate.

Klout: 61
TweetLevel: 75.5

@arseblog: Andrew Mangan, aka Arseblogger, has been blogging about Arsenal Football Club since 2002, and is renowned for both his passion for the club and for his acerbic wit, for example this rather pointed barb at Welsh football pundit Robbie Savage. Interaction with his followers is key to his large following, even if he acknowledges that, “you can’t reply to all of them, it’s just impossible physically to reply to all of them”.

However, he notes, “Unless you reply to some of them, I don’t see what you get out of it, to be honest, because you can debate things, or have two people coming at the same thing from different angles. Without interaction, it just becomes a soapbox.”

Klout: 79
TweetLevel: 83.3

@miriamocal: Television personality Miriam O’ Callaghan’s balanced and unwavering anchoring of current affairs show Prime Time, coupled with her popularity with the Irish public, led to her being mooted as a potential candidate for President of Ireland recently. Despite such high standing, Miriam is an extremely responsive and engaged tweeter, whether raising awareness about a particular issue, or magnanimously apologising for her employer’s failure to cover Shamrock Rover’s latest game.

Klout: 59
TweetLevel: 65.6

@sendboyle: Green Party politician Dan Boyle may not have the same influence out of office, but few can claim to have ousted a government minister via social media. Boyle’s tweet expressing his lack of confidence in Willie O’ Dea set in motion the machinations which led to his resignation in 2010.

Should the Green Party ever recover from its damaging flirtation with Fianna Fáil, Boyle’s forthright, some would say naïve, insistence on tweeting things more suited to private conversation will likely have more ramifications than we can expect from more high-profile, and reserved, politicians’ tweets.

Klout: 49
TweetLevel: 66.7

@conor_pope: Irish Times journalist Conor Pope’s consumer advice is much sought-after these days, and he often mines Twitter for sources for his Pricewatch column. Conor is always willing to engage with fellow Twitterers, meaning that for aggrieved consumers, help can be just one tweet away.

“It has to be interactive”, he says of his tweeting. “You can’t just post self-publicising, puff, tweets. It has to be engaging, so it has to be interesting to people. You have to interact with people, and you have to really understand the medium, and not take yourself too seriously.”

Klout: 69
TweetLevel: 69.0

@nialler9: Niall Byrne is the editor of State magazine, and the recognised point of first contact for Irish music fans looking to hear the best new music, at home and abroad. Boasting an impressive 22,943 tweets under his belt, nialler9 is a bountiful source of streaming and download links for the best new talent out there.

Klout: 61
TweetLevel: 71.2

@guidofawkes: Like him or loathe him, there’s no denying the ability of British-born Irish citizen Paul Staines to stick in the craw of the administration and the established media in Britain. Under his would-be gunpowder plotting alias, Staines uses Twitter to take all the whispered rumour and plotting of Westminster and broadcast it to the masses.

Klout: 75
TweetLevel: 80.8

@marklittlenews: Former RTÉ news reporter Mark Little didn’t cower with the rest of the Luddites, waiting for online journalism to sweep his job away in a sea of unverified comment, opting instead to meet the challenges presented by citizen journalism head-on. Liberated by the interaction afforded by Twitter, he founded Storyful, a news curation service, which sifts through the reams of citizen sources on the Internet, and presents the reliable, newsworthy sources as news.

Mark sees authenticity, quality of content, and engagement as the key factors in having influence on Twitter, “I don’t necessarily think you have to constantly answer every query or engage with every person who retweets you or mentions you, but there has to be a solid level of engagement with people who follow you”.

Klout: 63
TweetLevel: 81.8

So, while Jedward, Ronan Keating and their ilk may remain top of the Twitter charts, the clear consensus among influential Irish Twitter users is that the pursuit of knowledge and engagement, rather than followers, is at the heart of Twitter influence. 140 characters is the great leveller in this case, as it is the quality of what you tweet, rather than your offline profile, that sets you apart.

The Possibilities of Kinect

In an interview with Wilbour Craddock of Microsoft Ireland we discuss the opportunities that exist for next generation user interfaces, development possibilities and market applications.

The interview took place at the Microsoft European Development Centre (EDC) on the day of a Microsoft Kinect Event. Developers gathered to hear speakers such as Fred Herrera of Create Ireland talk about the marketing opportunities for gesture based technologies using the Kinect. He pointed out that in a sense the killer app was that Kinect already had a mass market presence. This would make it very easy to distribute applications.

Stephen Howell from the Institute of Technology, Tallaght demonstrated how simple and straightforward it was to create educational and games programs using the Kinect in conjunction with Scratch; a very basic but very powerful programming language.

Finally, Neil Gannon showed how the Kinect device could be used to record real world environments for creating virtual worlds. Clearly, there were other architectural and landscaping applications to be had as well.

More Kinect events are planned and you can expect them to be listed on the Microsoft Ireland Events site when dates are set.

CRANN and Western Digital: Researching and Developing Nanotechnology for Data Storage

Instead of creating a whole new storage system to replace the hard discs that we use in in our computers it would be much more advantageous to fit more information into the same space. However, when the physical size of these data areas start to become measured in nanometers certain technical roadblocks to progress are encountered.

One such roadblock is being able to make the information stored on the magnetic material stable enough for prolonged repeated use while having the smallest possible footprint.

According to John Donegan, Professor of Physics at Trinity College Dublin, “If [data] is not stable on your disc then maybe when you come back to read it in a week or two the information is gone. That’s a disaster.”

For the information to be stable and available for a long period of time the recording material to needs to have a very high Curie Temperature. The Curie Temperature determines the point at which a given material can have its magnetic properties altered. For the hard disc drives we are used to using the desired Curie Temperature would need to be higher than any likely temperature to be found in the operating environment to prevent the magnetic material from losing the stored information.

The research that Professor Donegan and his colleagues and associates at the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN,) the Science Foundation Ireland funded research centre based at Trinity College Dublin, are involved with involves heating a very small area of the disc in a fraction of a second. Information is stored there quickly and then moves on to the next spot on the material.

CRANN recently announced a research arrangement with Western Digital. “What we are doing with Western Digital is looking at how make that spot as on the surface of the material as small as possible.” Using heat assisted magnetic recording as much as 10 times more information can be stored.

Schematic of the EAMR (energy assisted magnetic recording)
The laser light through the NFT (near field transducer) heats the surface
to above the Curie temperature. The magnet write pole then writes 1 and 0
on the surface of the disk.

The recording material is iron platinum but Professor Donnegan’s expertise in optics – the study of how light interacts with materials – is involved in using light in the form of a laser to transmit information to the disc.

He goes on to explain, “People will be familiar with the idea that if you shine light through a lens you can see a small spot of light where it comes to a focus. The spot, when using a normal lens, can be made to the size of one micron and that is one millionth of a metre in size.” But that is still a very large space for information to occupy in comparison to what can be achieved by the technology the CRANN team is developing in conjunction with Wester Digital.

“The idea is a simple one…although the physics is difficult.” Professor Donegan explains further. “We have a small channel that we put at the focus of the light (which would be from a simple lens)…The light will then travel down that small channel and make a spot smaller than what we would get with the lens itself.”

The light is produced and transmitted by a commercially available diode laser operating on or near a wavelength of 830 nanometers – just on the edge of visible infra-red.

The nanoscience comes into play with the construction of the light guide, “The channel is 40 to 50 layers of atoms thick…” Starting with a clean surface individual layers of atoms are laid down, ‘grown,’ to the requisite thickness. Light from the focal spot of the main light is guided down this channel and focused on to the surface of the disc.

In a combination of power and focus the surface of the material can be heated to about 300℃. Professor Donegan explains, “It gets very hot but only for a very short period of time — a tiny fraction of a second. Then the laser spot is moved on.

“The material heats up very quickly but cools very quickly as well. The numbers we are talking about are in nanoseconds which is 10⁻⁹. So, it is really a very short period of time for this to occur.” In 10 nanoseconds the whole operation is over and done with; the spot has been heated, the information has been recorded and the device continues to the next spot.

One big advantage of this approach is that this technique can be adapted and applied to technologies that already exist. This saves on implementation costs and makes it more likely that we will have this technology in our computers sooner rather than later.

HeyStaks representing Ireland at the Vodafone Mobile Clicks 2011 Final

“There’s a missing link between web search and these
recommender social systems,”
Dr. Peter Briggs.

HeyStaks, currently available for the Firefox and Chrome browsers, and for the iPhone, with Android, Internet Explorer and dedicated iPad versions in development, brings together their research in the area of social research and recommendation to fill the gap between current recommendation technology and web searching.

HeyStaks works by organising search results or topics into “staks.” According to Peter, “You can create a stak on any topic that you like or you can join existing ones.

“If you have joined a stak on places to eat in Dublin, a search in your web search engine will reveal the standard results, and also the results from that stak. By including your social graph through invitingFacebook or Twitter friends, you can ensure the results are more reflective of your peer group.

“The difference between these HeyStaks results and the standard Google results are that the HeyStaks ones have already been verified by real people, these are results that people like, and have found to be useful in the past, and so you have piece of mind there that it’s not just pages that have been heavily search engine optimised or paid listings.”

Peter points to Google’s +1 and Bing’s incorporation of Facebook “likes” into its search engine as examples of major search players going down a similar road to HeyStaks, but is confident that the socially-customised element of HeyStaks sets it apart from the crowd.

“The difference between what we do and what they do is we allow you to segregate, to partition your social graph based on your interests and the interests of your friends or co-workers. So, for example, you might not trust everybody that you know to provide you with movie recommendations, but you might have a few trusted friends where you know your interests overlap quite a lot, so you can decide to share a movie stak with them or join one that they’ve created and you’ll only get recommendations from those trusted people.”

Along with Dr Peter Briggs, HeyStaks was founded in 2008 by Dr Maurice Coyle and Professor Barry Smyth.

It is based on technology developed as part of Professor Smyth’s research group and the CLARITY Centre for Sensor Web Technologies, a Science Foundation Ireland funded research centre between University College Dublin, Dublin City University, and the Tyndall National Institute.

HeyStaks is representing Ireland at the Vodafone Mobile Clicks 2011 Final which is taking place in Amsterdam. Ahead of presentations by the finalists members of the public can cast their vote for their choice.

Voting closes at 6 pm (CET) on Monday 12 September. Voting only takes 30 secs.

What is the Social Semantic Web, and Why Do We Need It?

Social media is exploding! In a good way that is, not in a dramatic, cataclysmic manner. According to Bob Brisco, CEO of Internet Brands, more than half of all internet visits (in the US) are to user-generated content or social media sites – what we will term the Social Web. We’ve seen the rise of sites like Facebook (on which more time is spent than Google, Yahoo! and AOL combined) and Twitter (which today announced 100 million active users per month), and the fall of services like Bebo and Myspace.

Through social media sites, people are connected to others through the social objects that they create and share and co-participate in. These may be discussions, bookmarks, microblog posts or multimedia items, and can be on topics ranging from pets to music to holidays in Spain (or even about all three!).

Unfortunately, many social media sites act as data silos wherein the content that people are creating is locked. There are many isolated communities of users and their data. There’s a real need to connect these ‘islands’, allowing users to have mobility from one service to another and to be able to bring their data with them (profiles, photos, posts, etc.).

So on the one hand, we have the Social Web, and on the other hand, we have an effort called the Semantic Web. What’s that? Well, we as people can look at a web page and we can instantly recognise different facts. “Technology Voice is an online publisher.” “They have an office in Galway.” “Galway is a city in Ireland.” But for a computer, it’s a lot harder for it to extract these facts and to link them together. That’s what the Semantic Web does – it creates computer-understandable statements or facts that can be linked together across different websites. Then computers can use these linked facts to help us find information, to carry out tasks, to reduce the time spent piecing information together manually.

We can also do the same thing for the Social Web, so that the things that occur on these sites could be made understandable to computers (using semantics). “John is a user of” “John wrote this discussion post.” “This post is on the topic of Television.” “Mike replied to John’s post.”

The Social Semantic Web is the coming together of the Social Web and the Semantic Web. The Social Web is one evolution of the Web where we have moved from individuals posting information-type web pages to multiple people interacting on each page. In parallel, we’ve seen efforts to add more semantics to web pages, things like microformats and microdata, Google Rich Snippets and, and RDF, a Semantic Web standard from the W3C. This allows us to move from pages that are purely syntactic (e.g. defining styles for how to display text, headings, etc.) to semantic (describing the things mentioned in a web page).

Why should this marriage happen? It’s a two-way street: the Semantic Web can help the Social Web and vice versa. We can use the Semantic Web to describe people, content objects and the connections that bind them all together so that social sites can interoperate via semantics. In the other direction, object-centered social websites can serve as rich social data sources for the Semantic Web, which has often suffered from the so-called chicken-and-egg problem (no cool applications without data; no data without cool applications). People are creating semantically-rich information through their everyday interactions with social websites: tagging objects, replying to posts, making friend connections, retweeting, etc.

As Tim Berners-Lee, one of the creators of the Web, said in 2006: “I think we could have both Semantic Web technology supporting online communities, but at the same time online communities can also support Semantic Web data by being the sources of people voluntarily connecting things together.”

On the Social Semantic Web, there are a number of common vocabularies (sets of terms) that can be used to represent people, documents, social websites, etc. The first is called FOAF, or Friend-of-a-Friend. It is used to describe people and the relationships that exist between them – basically to provide a machine-readable version of a person’s identity and personal profile along with their social networks. FOAF data is produced from a variety of sites including LiveJournal, and hi5. You can create a distributed identity using FOAF: bringing together separate networks from various services, and integrating them into a single whole (if so desired).

Another vocabulary is SIOC (pronounced ‘shock’), developed by the author at DERI, NUI Galway and others. SIOC can be used to represent content (posts, comments, topics, etc.) on the Social Web for integration across a variety of platforms, and has been adopted in over a hundred frameworks including Drupal 7, Yahoo! SearchMonkey and the Newsweek website. By connecting content across different social websites, SIOC aims to enable new types of connections such as distributed conversations, virtual forums, unified communities, etc.

One common application for semantically-enhanced social content is in the search domain. With machine-readable versions of author names, number of replies, etc. for things like blog posts and forum discussions, this information can be used to enhance search results and add context to a result (showing something like “by John Breslin (32 Comments)”).

There are some other vocabularies like Meaning of a Tag and the Online Presence Ontology that, together with FOAF and SIOC, can be used to form a vocabulary stack of reusable and combinable terms for the Social Semantic Web. This stack is used in applications such as SMOB, a distributed semantic microblogging architecture developed by Alex Passant that allows users to own their own microblogging hub and to augment their posts with semantic hashtags that link to shared concepts (e.g. pages on the Wikipedia).

While the vision of a Social Semantic Web may not totally infiltrate the Social Web we use today, we can at least see some aspects of it being realised through efforts like the Facebook Open Graph Protocol and Twitter Annotations, and new services like Bottlenose. With systems like Drupal 7 now producing social semantic data out of the box, Manu Sporny estimates that there will be hundreds of thousands of these Drupal deployments within the next two years. It will be exciting to see what cool applications people will build on top of this data.

I am co-author of the book “The Social Semantic Web” with Alex Passant and Stefan Decker.

Social Media: Three Steps Towards Making it Work for You

In the spirit of Rich Moran’s “business bullet books”, here are three steps towards making social media work for you.

Step 1: Getting Onboard

Pick what services should you be on.

Choose Your Platform, Carefully: Depending on your audience, do you need to be on social networks, discussion forums (e.g. Google Groups or, or something else entirely?

Spread Too Thin? Don’t waste time on a platform if your customers just aren’t there.

The Social Network Choices:

  • Twitter: What’s happening? Info streams.
  • Facebook: Everyone’s here, eek!
  • LinkedIn: The business network.
  • MySpace: Only if you’re selling music…
  • Bebo: Nearly kaput, even for 13 year olds.
  • Google+: Too early to define; no business pages, yet.

Decide exactly who you are.

Create Your Identity: Try and get a common brand that you can use across one or more platforms of your choice.

Pick Your “Forever” Username: Have a consistent username for your Twitter account or Facebook page.

Promoting Your Identity: Make sure you tell people about your social media identity where appropriate, e.g. in your e-mail signatures, on your website, in presentations.

Step 2: Joining In

Be part of the conversation.

Respond To Others, Meaningfully! There’s no point being a standalone broadcaster on social websites. You must engage with others, not just via your own channels.

Choose Who You Are Talking To: If you want to be a person of influence using social media, then the way to do it is to acquire engaged followers who are themselves active on the service.

Tell the world about your company, your services.

Use An Integrated Strategy: View this great video from Deanna Lee (Marketing VP at the New York Public Library) about how social media is just one part of your communications strategy.

Marketing Your Brand: If you don’t already have a sufficient community of interest around your company that you can leverage into an online community instantaneously, you may want to think about using targeted advertising, if available on your platform of choice.

Step 3: Keeping Up

Stay up to date with your interests and competitors.

Monitor Keywords: Set up searches for your own brand in TweetDeck, but also for keywords mentioning your competitors and your topics of interest. Make sure you use variants in your searches so you don’t miss out on anything, e.g. “NUI Galway” OR nuig OR nuigalway.

Think about what’s coming around the corner.

The Semantic What? The next generation of the Web, encompassing the notion of “Linked Data” whereby it’s not just pages that are linked on the Web, but rather data with an associated meaning.

The World Is Going Hyperlocal: You may need to think about a web where one’s geolocation is strongly tied to their activities online: Facebook Places (now integrated with status updates), Foursquare, Layar, and more.

I will be speaking on these and other topics at the first Irish Executives Summit in Galway next week.

E—Discovery Ireland 2011: Dealing With the Obligations of Trading in a Global Market

With the recent purchase of Autonomy (who say they service 77 of the top 100 global law firms) by HP for a possible $10 billion and of Clearwell Systems by Symantec for $390 million there is a clear signal to the market regarding the value of e-discovery.

According to Gartner, “The reason e-discovery is now a pressing issue for most companies is clear: ESI [Electronic Storage of Information] in all its many forms dominates in legal proceedings because modern business is mostly conducted using electronic communications and electronic records. Regulators require this ESI to be archived for proof of compliance. Governments of all nations, except the least developed, also produce and disseminate information primarily via electronic channels.”

Elsewhere Gartner says that, “The e-discovery software market is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 14 percent and is estimated to reach $1.7 billion by 2014.”

Owen O’ Connor is the managing director of Cernam, a Dublin based company specialising in online evidence and investigations. He says that e-discovery, “is about the disclosure of electronic records in the litigation process. There is a requirement for companies to produce electronic records and paper records that are relevant to that case.”

Depending on the nature of the lawsuit and the jurisdiction in which it takes place the obligation to comply with the various legal processes can be very burdensome to a business.

Owen says that solving this problem has resulted in, “A market for companies that are building values in the high hundreds of millions of dollars in a relatively short period of time.”

However, in Ireland there is not professional association or trade publication that exists in this area. In response to this situation Owen has organised E—Discovery Ireland to give the industry a focal point. Owen would like the event, “To catalyze a significant leap forward in the use of digital evidence in Ireland.”

Irish companies, simply by trading in global markets are exposed to the legal processes of other countries either through law suits or government legislation. The area of e-discovery is about the disclosure of electronic records in the litigation process and the requirement for companies to produce electronic records and paper records that are relevant to a given case.

The event offers Ireland the opportunity to, “Get to grips with the level of electronic evidence that is required today. In terms of technology, there has been quite a bit of innovation in the last couple of years.”

According to Owen the participants would be those in the role of, “CIO or Director of IT who are fielding requests from their legal departments. Or, someone who is an information governance or discovery management role and anyone else who is likely to see their company activities pulled into investigations overseas, particularly in the United States.”

However, for the constructive discussion that this subject needs participants are also encouraged to attend from the legal sector. The conference is expecting solicitors and lawyers to come not only from corporations but from independent legal firms as well.

The conference takes place Dun Laoghaire, Dublin on the 6th and 7th of October. You can register here.

John Ryan Becomes Chairman of Mcor Technologies

Mcor Technologies Ltd, the manufacturer of the only paper 3D printer in the world — the Matrix 300 — today announced the appointment of a new chairman. John Ryan, co-Founder of Macrovision, now Rovi Corporation – a NASDAQ-listed company employing over 2,000 people worldwide, with a market value of $5 billion.

John Ryan retired as chairman of Macrovision in 2008 and is now a managing partner in the Wilde Angels Investment Fund which has recently made a $1 million investment in Mcor.

Mcor, founded in 2005 by brothers Dr. Conor MacCormack and Fintan MacCormack, has developed a printer that produces 3-Dimensional objects using A4 reams of paper, at a cost of up to 60 times less than competitors’ products. In addition it is a truly eco-friendly product, its only waste being re-cyclable paper, while competitors’ products generate toxic by-products.

Mcor’s expansion plans involve moving to a bigger premises within the next 6 weeks, “With a growing staff we need a bigger facility and a proper demo site for the increasing number of visitors we get from around the world. And now with this investment and team secured, Mcor will finally be able capitalise on the opportunities the US market can offer,” said Dr. MacCormack.

John Ryan is looking forward to helping Conor and his team build a valuable enterprise and says, “Mcor has developed a truly world-class product, which is a great tribute to Irish entrepreneurship and the technical skills and perseverance of the Mcor team.”

Mcor was a finalist in the Irish Technology Leadership Group’s (ITLG) company of the year awards in April. Dr. MacCormack explains, “The ITLG is an ideal investment partner for Mcor and already has brought a lot to the table; this investment gives Mcor the stable base it needs to continue to innovate while also being able to fulfil the growing Matrix order book.”

Mcor also has an office in the Irish Innovation Center in downtown San Jose, one that will double as a demo site in the coming months, ahead of its US launch.

Dr. MacCormack is delighted with this addition to the team and sees John Ryan’s involvement as, “A significant step forward for the company. He will be a real asset to the company as Mcor continues to grow and expand its business.”

Propeller Venture Accelerator: Application Process is Now Open

The DCU Ryan Academy has just opened its application process for its 3 month Propeller Venture Accelerator program based in Dublin, Ireland. The Academy’s aim is to “bridge the gap between academia and entrepreneurial practice in Ireland through training, support and finance for entrepreneurs.”

Propeller (see: Propeller Venture Accelerator Fund: Hands On Program For Startups And Early Stage Companies) is one of the top 8 accelerator programs in Europe according to a study commissioned by the Kauffman Fellows Programme.

The aim of Propeller is to accelerate early stage technology start-up companies with an emphasis on software, Web 2.0, informatics, clean-tech and applications. It offers participants:

  • €30,000 Euro investment in exchange for 6.5% equity in the company
  • Office space
  • Over 60 mentors – Advice and guidance from techies, accounting and tax specialists and serial entrepreneurs

The program culminates a demo day on April 6, 2012 in which the participants will be able to pitch their products to a group of specially invited investors and VCs. Over seventy investors attended the last demo day.

Propeller is a TechStars Network Member, one of five outside the US and one of only three in Europe.

Winning a place on the inaugural Propeller Venture Accelerator was like being plucked off the bus and placed on the bullet train for our business. We were given access to the most senior Irish business talent and an inside track to the Irish and international investment community.
Paul Healy, CEO Fantom and a Serial Entrepreneur.

This program is not only for Irish based companies. Entrepreneurs from all over the world including the USA, France, Israel, UK and Portugal have expressed interest in applying to the Accelerator.

The closing date for applications is the 2nd November 2011 and the program starts with the companies moving to the Citywest offices on the 2nd January 2012.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to better be able to discuss their needs and wants with the Academy.

“If you want to do a Masters or a degree please go to DCU business school. If you want to do a short course that is, ‘What can I do in the morning?’ oriented then you come to the Academy. That’s the sort of stuff we do.”
Gordon McConnell, Executive Director, Arizona State University Venture Catalyst

Registration and more information can be found at the website.