startlab: A Bank-Funded Incubator in the Heart of Galway


In a corner of Eyre Square in the heart of Galway City is the Bank of Ireland’s startlab. This is a tech startup incubator whose stated aim is to educate, connect and scale. It doesn’t take equity nor does it fund startups.

Tracy Keogh is the Program Manager and runs the incubator day to day. She is responsible for bringing in the coaches and mentors and working with the teams afterwards.

She brought the first bank-run incubator to Galway with the idea that, “In a formalised, structured way we could do something great.”

Interest was immense and it took, “Two hundred meetings to get down to the eight companies that are there. But my personal milestone achievement for this was that two of the companies came from Dublin and one came from Limerick. We are starting to attract in good talent; bringing more people in, more knowledge, different perspectives.

“For the first cohort… We needed people who had some level of funding beforehand. We wanted to see some level of traction, some cash behind them and a good team.”

She emphasises that, “For us a team that is coachable is very important. When somebody takes their day out to spend time here and gives their valuable knowledge to the teams it is really important that the teams are able to take on board the information and feedback that’s been given.”

For Tracy an entrepreneur is someone who is, “Prepared to take on all the risks and runs up against brick walls constantly.” And, “Being able to bring on board employees one and two and lead them on that journey so that they can actually create something.”

Tracy was originally destined for corporate life but yearned to do something on her own.

“I was actually at a roundabout. There were two cars either side of me. One was a Mercedes. One was a clapped-out little Nissan. The man on the right-hand side in the Mercedes was on the phone and you could see him pulling down his face and he looked so stressed. And the guy in the Nissan was bopping away to some music. I thought what sort of life would I like?”

She opted for the Nissan.

“I loved working in a startup, I loved being a jack of all trades… You were always learning. Conversations were always about new things. You were just fulfilling your curiosity all the time. I felt if you were doing that you could never really go wrong.”

As for the teams currently working at startlab. “We’re very excited to have them here. We want to be part of their journey. We want to see what they do over the next six months. To help them as they are zig-zagging along the route to greatness is, frankly for me, thrilling.

“My goal would be that they would come out of here after six months with all of the networks — all those coaches and mentors still onside — and they move into the PorterShed, then grow and expand and then IPO.”

Eventually Tracy wants to start her own company but is not in a rush, “I used to have a fear that I would run out of ideas but I don’t anymore because they keep coming.”

Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway – A One Stop Shop for Ideas

The recently opened Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway offers students, postgrads, alumni and staff the opportunity to feel out, test and nurture their fledgling startup ideas. They also have the opportunity to see if the life of an entrepreneur might be a possible or worthwhile career path to follow.

To help them with their questions and to provide support in determining the feasibility of ideas and creating a pathway of development is Executive Director, Mary Carty and Program Manager, Natalie Walsh.

LaunchPad is centrally located on the Concourse at the heart of the NUI Galway. No matter what background the students have or what degree they are pursuing, they can come to LaunchPad discuss their ideas.

Mary says that, “If they have an idea or they want to pitch something or present something, they want to build out some skills or they are just curious, they can just come in and talk to us and we’ll help them to figure out what’s next in their journey.”

Mary is herself an experienced entrepreneur having been CEO of Spoiltchild, an award winning design and development agency, and co-founder of Toddle, an email marketing system for small businesses. Prior to LaunchPad she co-founded Outbox, an incubator for young women with tech ideas.

“I pretty well understand how you start something, how you develop something, how you grow something.”

The number one question she hears is, “Is my idea a good idea?” To which the answer is, “We have to figure that out. This is the first stage of the conversation. Let’s figure out if this ideas has legs and what are you going to do next.

“We use the lean business model. That’s very good as it focuses very much on the problem that you want to solve. It focuses on the customer end – what the pain is and how you are going to help the customer solve that problem. It is a very interesting flip of the mind for a lot of people.”

LaunchPad is funded by the Blackstone Foundation in partnership with the Galway University Foundation.

Blackstone LaunchPad already works with over 500,000 students across the United States. In Galway, over six hundred students signed up for the program in the first month.

The space itself is mainly fitted out with benches and bare tables – no computers. “We wanted this space to be very collaborative and open so students could come in and talk about their ideas and work on their canvas. We have a well-used blackboard and people can become as hands on and as creative as they want.”

“We are signing up people from across the colleges. So that’s arts, humanities, social science, medicine; then, obviously, science and business as well.”

Mary says that LaunchPad is, “A one stop shop for ideas. Our aim is to help you to get you to the next point from where you are at with your idea.”

It is expected that some users will go on to other incubators and accelerators while others may go through the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) at NUI Galway.

“The pipeline is there and there are pathways that people can follow and we can help people to figure out where to go next.

“We have StartLab. PorterShed is going to come online. BioInnovate is here. The TTO office is here. No matter where you are at in your career or in your evolution as a startup there’s a place for you to go.”

NUI Galway Launches Unique TechInnovate Fellowship with Support from Bank of Ireland

Bank of Ireland has been announced as a sponsor of TechInnovate, a new technology entrepreneurship fellowship at NUI Galway. TechInnovate is a unique specialised technology innovation programme at the University, where teams identify real needs in a certain domain and invent/implement solutions. The programme is a 10 month full-time stipend-supported fellowship.

The full-time programme combines teams of high-calibre Fellows from either an engineering, business or design graduate background that aims to align unmet domain needs with a market opportunity. Team members are chosen to contribute their skills, knowledge and expertise as part of a multidisciplinary Fellowship team.

Now recruiting, TechInnovate’s focus is on enabling technology innovators and innovations, by producing more technology entrepreneurs in local startups, as well as more intrapreneurs in established technology companies in the West of Ireland. High-calibre Fellows are recruited to form 2-3 person interdisciplinary teams and participate in an intensive 10-month programme that goes from concept to product.

The programme has been inspired by BioInnovate, a successful medical device technology fellowship that is modelled on the prestigious and internationally-recognised Stanford BioDesign programme.

In parallel to the fellowship programme, the second aspect of TechInnovate involves a series of ten day-long industry training workshops that are offered to industry partners, and that mirrors the TechInnovation process undergone by the full-time Fellows. The aim of this stream is to instil intrapreneurial thinking among staff from participating corporates.

Tracy Keogh, Galway Community Manager at Bank of Ireland, said: “Support for the technology community is one of Bank of Ireland’s pillar activities, and we’ve implemented a number of successful initiatives around this in Galway. We’re delighted to invest further in the creation and growth of tech startups in this thriving community.”

Dr John Breslin, director of TechInnovate, and senior lecturer at NUI Galway, said: “In the West of Ireland, we need more people thinking entrepreneurially and intrapreneurially, and TechInnovate will provide an injection of these people into the tech ecosystem in the region.”

TechInnovate is a joint initiative from the College of Engineering and Informatics and the College of Business, Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, and is supported by Bank of Ireland, Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway, the Galway University Foundation, NUI Galway, and the Western Development Commission.

Interested fellowship candidates can apply for the TechInnovate fellowship at www.techinnovate.org before 8th April 2016. Candidates in the areas of engineering, information technology, design, law, and business must have completed an undergraduate degree in their area and should hold a postgraduate qualification or have equivalent professional experience.

TechInnovate Presents: The Galway Startup Guide

You probably know that the startup ecosystem in Galway has evolved and grown rapidly over the past two to three years, but it’s only when you put all the pieces of the puzzle together that you realise how much stuff is actually going on. As part of an effort to collate these resources, and under the auspices of TechInnovate, a new technology entrepreneurship fellowship from NUI Galway, we’ve published the first Galway Startup Guide.

From A to Z (well, from B to Y actually), we list all kinds of startup resources including:

  • The best recurring and one-off startup-related events,
  • Galway’s tech hubs including coworking spaces and startup offices for those looking for a place to launch,
  • key organisations helping startups to get started and scale up, and
  • networking groups and tech meetups where you can hear from experts, leaders and founders, because it’s good to talk, but even better to talk, listen and learn.

For each resource, we provide a short description, key contacts, their webpage, and Twitter handles where available. We have many small tech tribes, but they’re all part of a big Galway startup community!

You can download the Galway Startup Guide for 2016 in either single page format or as a double page spread.

TechInnovate is a 10-month stipend-supported Fellowship from NUI Galway that aims to create interdisciplinary teams of technology entrepreneurs (techpreneurs) who are embedded in a particular domain for 6-8 weeks to identify real needs, following which they invent, implement and iterate solutions. For more information, visit www.techinnovate.org

Let’s Shine a Light on Galway’s Greatness

Picture of Black Head Lighthouse on Galway Bay (Allgau, Wikimedia Commons). My grandfather was the first lighthouse keeper here, having helped build it from 1935 to 1936 with the Galway Harbour and Irish Lights Commissioners (this Clare lighthouse was requested by the community of transatlantic liner captains and freighter masters using Galway Bay).

Galway has so much to be proud of that often remains under the radar. Sometimes we tend to be a bit “Irish” about the great stuff going on here, hiding our lights under bushels. So I wanted to make a plea to everyone in the West to shine a light on the creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship of Galway, the capital city of the West, whether it be through social media, word of mouth, or promotional material you may be creating for your organisation.

Here are some tidbits that many of you may have heard before, and some others that you may not have encountered thus far:

Barry O’Sullivan wrote an article in the Irish Times on Friday about various initiatives centred around what he dubbed “Silicon Square” in Eyre Square, including the Galway City Innovation District’s PorterShed, StartLab, and other projects that are aiming to raise the game in terms of innovation density in downtown Galway. The final line of his article summed it all up very nicely: “The folks in the west have a vision of Galway as a birthplace of ambition, so that our kids will have a choice to have amazing careers in the west, and not have to pack their bags for Dublin or San Francisco or even Lisbon.

Galway has a great reputation for quality of life and culture, but to attract the creators, innovators and entrepreneurs (and keep our own kids here) we should be telling them first and foremost about our ecosystem of internationally-renowned and award-winning tech and medtech companies, as well as the skilled and talented graduates and postgraduates from our respected educational institutions (NUI Galway, GMIT) and research centres (Insight, Cúram, GMedTech, CiSET, Marine Institute), because it is this density of ecosystem that will primarily draw them in.

The literary, arts, music and food events plus other outdoor activities to do around Ireland’s cultural heart and most multicultural city are a huge feature and added benefit, as it could be the Derroura mountain bike trail outside Oughterard, Ireland’s only Computer and Communications Museum, or the Food on the Edge extravaganza in Galway that further resonates with the CEO of a high-potential startup or multinational who is already considering Galway as a location. Few others can boast having Galway Bay, Connemara, the Corrib, the Twelve Bens, the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands on their wild Atlantic doorstep, not to mention the Galway Races, Arts and Oyster Festivals held here every year. Christopher Columbus even paid us a visit in 1477.

But we also need to appeal to those businesspeople who are just visiting Galway as a tourist destination (1.13 million visitors came to Galway in 2014) and who have no idea of the fact that there is a tech and medtech hub right under their noses. Real-time social media searches often unearth such people: I remember a few years ago, one of the heads of a large internet organisation was on holidays in Galway and I felt that we had missed out on an opportunity. It would be great to instantly make these people aware of the ecosystem here in case they choose to combine work with pleasure and have a tour of what’s going on.

I also do a daily search for the word “galway” along with “innovation”, “tech”, “technology” or “startup” on Twitter, Google News, etc., and as part of my routine I share out the interesting things I come across on social media. You too may have seen a fascinating story about a Galway innovator or innovation in the newspaper or elsewhere: we can all be ambassadors, so I am calling on you to share these good news stories (online, verbally, hand-written, whatever!) with your peers, colleagues and friends.

Let’s shine a light on the treasure that is Galway, the best small city in Ireland, Europe, and I believe, the world.

Ireland’s Talented 38 Technology Women 2015

38


This post is brought to you in conjunction with the Galway City Innovation District, a non-profit initiative working to develop a downtown innovation district in Galway, attracting creators, innovators and entrepreneurs who wish to work in close proximity to others in a supportive and connected environment. Follow @galwaycity


It’s National Women’s Enterprise Day in Ireland, so there’s no better time than this to publish our 2015 list of Ireland’s technology women, also known as the yearly “Talented 38”. This is the fourth annual list of Irish and Ireland-based technology women, all of whom are driving the ICT, medtech and/or startup scenes in Ireland, the US, and around the world, and shortlisted from a longer list of 83. You can also view our previous lists from 2014, 2013, and 2012.

Ailish Ryan

Mocks.ie / iRevise.com

Twitter

Ailish Ryan is the director of Mocks.ie (used by 20% of Leaving Certificate and 15% of Junior Certificate students), and more recently iRevise.com (covering GCSE and A-Levels for England and Wales). She is also a director of Ryan and Associates, has worked as a senior fire engineer for a large fire safety engineering practice. Ailish has a Masters in fire safety engineering from Ulster University and a BE in electronic and computer engineering from NUI Galway.

Áine Behan

Cortechs

Twitter | LinkedIn

Áine Behan is the CEO and co-founder of Cortechs, developing engaging games to make users more relaxed and focused using brainwave technology and neuroscience. She was previously a research lecturer in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and has won a number of awards for her research. Áine has a PhD in neuropathology and an MSc in leadership and management development for researchers from RCSI, and a BSc in neuroscience from UCC.

Alice D’Arcy

STEAM Education

Twitter | LinkedIn

Alice D’Arcy is the course director for STEAM Education, bringing innovative solutions for teaching science, technology, engineering, the arts and maths to young children. She was previously an environmental consultant and green campus facilitator for UCC, and has worked as a facilitator with SUAS, SEI and Animation Space. Alice has a PhD on the sustainability of agrifood systems and a BSc in applied ecology from UCC.

Anne-Marie Farrell

Google

LinkedIn

Anne-Marie Farrell is the head of behavioural economics research at Google in San Francisco, with a focus on designing experiences to strengthen Google’s marketing and product strategy. She has worked at Google since 2006 in a variety of roles, including senior strategy and business analytics manager and senior financial analyst, and previously worked in Accenture as a management consultant. Anne-Marie is a past student of NUI Galway, where she graduated with a BE in electronic and computer engineering in 2003.

Avril Copeland

TickerFit

Twitter | LinkedIn

Avril Copeland is the founder and CEO of TickerFit, a cloud-based application that allows health professionals to provide personalised lifestyle interventions for each patient, based on their current health status. She has won a number of awards for TickerFit, including a National Healthcare Innovation Award in 2015, and is a founding member of Pieta House’s Darkness Into Light 5k walk/run. Avril is a chartered physiotherapist, with degrees in physiotherapy from RCSI and in exercise science from Belmont University.

Caitriona Lynch

C Infinity

Twitter | LinkedIn

Caitriona Lynch is director of C Infinity, working with startups and larger enterprises to help them choose appropriate SaaS infrastructures and platforms as well as associated support services. She has also worked as a consultant and business advisor with C3 Consultants, as a financial and systems lead for Apple on their global ERP systems and business process reengineering projects (including iTunes), and in various financial roles with Black & Decker and PWC. A co-organiser of the recent Entrepreneurship at Work event at NUI Galway, Caitriona is a qualified chartered accountant with Chartered Accountants Ireland, and holds an MBS in finance and financial management services from UCC.

Caroline Cawley O’Neill

ITAG

Twitter | LinkedIn

Caroline Cawley O’Neill is the CEO and board member of ITAG, the Information Technology Association of Galway, whose remit is to promote, strengthen and grow the information technology industry in the West of Ireland. She is also the promoter of ITAG Skillnet, delivering tailored training and learning programmes to over 50 companies involved in the IT sector in the Galway area, and she has a background in HR with senior posts in general management and public relations (Cigna, Business Advantage). Caroline strongly supports the arts, is actively involved in local fundraising for various charities and community projects, and has a qualification in human resource management from GMIT.

Ciara Clancy

Beats Medical

Twitter | LinkedIn

Ciara Clancy is the CEO of Beats Medical, aiming to revolutionise how people with Parkinson’s are treated, assessed and monitored using technology, with the goal of improving their mobility and independence. She was a finalist at the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards for Europe in 2015, and was the startup / overall winner for the Dublin region of the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Awards in 2014. Ciara has previously worked at Nike, and is a chartered physiotherapist with a BSc in physiotherapy from TCD.

Danielle Mallen

Acteavo

Twitter | LinkedIn

Danielle Mallen is the co-founder and COO of Acteavo, a B2B reservation and management software solution for tour and activity companies. She is also co-founder of TripClocker, and previously worked as an investment portfolio manager with Bank of Ireland. Danielle has an MA in international relations and a BA from DCU, and is a QFA with the Institute of Banking.

Deirdre Ní Luasaigh

CultureArk

Twitter | LinkedIn

Deirdre Ní Luasaigh is co-founder and COO of CultureArk, a digital archiving platform for brand archives, creative agencies and cultural heritage organisations. She has previously worked in creative director and graphic design management roles with various companies including Hähnel Industries, EPC Direct and Uppercase. A native Irish speaker from Dún Chaoin in the west of County Kerry, Deirdre has participated in the Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers programme at CIT and in the LaunchPad programme at the NDRC.

Diane Hodnett

AEConnect

Twitter | LinkedIn

Diane Hodnett is an executive director at AEConnect (part of AquaComms), a new transatlantic subsea fibre optic cable system that connects North America with Europe and joins Ireland at Killala in Mayo. She was previously founder and CEO at Sea Fibre Networks, and before that was director of corporate development and Netherlands country manager at euNetworks. A BComm graduate from UCC, Diane is also a mentor at the synthetic biology axlr8r and on the organising committee of Techies4TempleStreet, a technology community charity event for Temple Street Hospital.

Edel Browne

Free Feet

Twitter | LinkedIn

Edel Browne is the founder of Free Feet, a multi-award winning medical device designed to treat gait freezing for people with Parkinson’s disease. She is a past participant on the STEMette’s Outbox Incubator in London, a founding member of the Digital Youth Council in Ireland, and a global youth ambassador for AAT (America’s Amazing Teens). Edel is currently studying for a BSc in biotechnology at NUI Galway, and is a past best individual award winner at the BT Young Scientist competition in 2013.

Edel Flynn

Element Property

Twitter | LinkedIn

Edel Flynn is co-founder and director at Element Property, providing coworking space for startups in Dublin’s city centre. She was previously CEO (and before that COO) of the Digital Hub Development Agency, and has worked as operations manager for Regus’ EMEA business centres, and as head of information for Visit Britain. Edel is chair of Bizworld Ireland, which helps tweens to learn about critical thinking, team work, digital skills and enterprise, and has a BA in international business studies from Sheffield Hallam University.

Emer O’Daly

Love and Robots

Twitter | LinkedIn

Emer O’Daly is co-founder and CEO of Love and Robots, a design brand that makes unique and customisable 3D products that customers can tweak online for printing on demand. She was previously a lecturer in digital design/emergent technologies at UCD, and worked as an architect at Heneghan Peng, where she coordinated designs on projects such as the Grand Egyptian Museum. With her Love and Robots co-founders, Emer has won a number of startup awards (Spark of Genius, Seedcamp, DCU Ryan Academy Propeller), and she also has a MArch from Yale and a BArch from UCD.

Evelyn O’Toole

Complete Laboratory Solutions

Twitter | LinkedIn

Evelyn O’Toole is the CEO of Complete Laboratory Solutions, a contract lab that provides microbiological analytics to the pharmaceutical, medtech, food and water industries, and employs over 100 people. Prior to CLS, she managed a laboratory for Gaelic Seafoods, an aquaculture subsidiary in Ireland, and prior to that she worked in the UK as a QA and R&D analyst in Hammer Paints. Evelyn has a diploma in business development from IMI, a diploma in “train the trainer” from NUI Maynooth, a diploma in pollution assessment/control from Sligo IT, and a certificate in applied biology from Athlone IT.

Fiona McCarthy

Dell

LinkedIn

Fiona McCarthy is executive director HR at Dell, where she has worked for over 17 years, and is also a global HR business partner for Dell. She previously worked at Boston Scientific, AST Computer, Analog Devices and DEC, and is a passionate advocate of young women entering the disciplines of engineering, science and technology. Fiona has an MBA from UL, a postgraduate diploma in computer systems analysis from NUI Galway, and a BA in economics from UCC.

Helen Ryan

Creganna-Tactx Medical

Helen Ryan was CEO of Creganna-Tactx Medical, Ireland’s largest indigenous medical device company and ranked among the world’s top 10 medical device outsource providers, between 2005 and 2013. She is a board member of Enterprise Ireland, and previously worked with Tyco Healthcare (Covidien), Medtronic and CR Bard in product development and R&D functional management roles. Helen has completed a senior executive programme with Stanford University, has an MSc in project management from UL, and a BE from NUI Galway.

Jayne Ronayne

KonnectAgain

Twitter | LinkedIn

Jayne Ronayne is co-founder and CEO of KonnectAgain, which aims to reconnect past alumni and institutions together to ensure that institutions receive the most up-to-date information on their alumni. She is co-founder of Graduate Founders with Connor Murphy (encouraging graduates to run a startup), a member of the One/Thousand Network, and co-founder of UrYearBook (also on UCC’s Ignite programme). She has a degree in government, public policy, marketing and management from UCC, where she was also president of their Entrepreneurial and Social Society from 2011 to 2012.

Joanne Dolan

Insight Centre for Data Analytics, DCU

Twitter

Joanne Dolan is the site general manager at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics in DCU, one of four sites in Ireland’s largest decentralised ICT research institute and funded by Science Foundation Ireland. She also leads Girls Hack Ireland, an initiative which aims to generate knowledge and interest among girls to pursue the academic disciplines of STEM subjects through creative and interactive learning.

Julie Currid

Initiafy

Twitter | LinkedIn

Julie Currid is co-founder and COO of Initiafy, which helps companies like Domino’s, Pfizer, Adobe, Sodexo and Lidl to manage the initial steps each employee and contractor takes to become part of their team. She previously worked in business development with EazySafe, as territory manager for Loreal, as a marketing and sales manager with Puratos, and as a promotions executive with UTV Media. Julie has a BSc in management and marketing from DIT, was a participant on the Going For Growth programme in 2014, and is interested in technology startups and female entrepreneurship.

Katie Tsouros

Artfetch

Twitter | LinkedIn

Katie Tsouros is co-founder and CEO of Artfetch, an ecommerce platform that globally selects, curates, and sells emerging contemporary art online. She is an ambassador to the One/Thousand Network, a member of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers, and previously held positions at IMMA, Artwise Curators, Sadie Coles HQ, and the Rubicon Gallery. She has an MA in contemporary art from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art and a BA in art history and philosophy from UCD.

Kim Tighe

HP Galway

Twitter | LinkedIn

Kim Tighe is a solution lead with HP’s enterprise services division in Galway, where she has worked in a variety of roles over a ten-year period. She previously worked as a solution architect with HP, as a researcher at HP in conjunction with the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway, and as a software engineer at the company. Kim has a first class honours BSc degree in information technology (computer science) from NUI Galway, and is a fundraiser and supporter of children’s cancer charity Hand in Hand West.

Lauren Boyle

European Digital Girl of the Year

Twitter

Lauren Boyle is the founder of Cool Kids Studio, teaching life skills to kids aged 3 to 12, e.g. what to do on a rainy day (plus maker projects), how to deal with bullies, making friends, healthy eating and meditation. She is also the founder of Cool STEAM Kids, promoting STEM/STEAM/STREAM to 10 to 15 year olds, and she was also named as European Digital Girl of the Year at the European Ada Awards in 2014. As well as being an app and web developer herself, Lauren is a member and mentor with the national/global CoderDojo movement, where she helps teach other kids how to code.

Linda Kiely

Voxpro

Twitter | LinkedIn

Linda Kiely is co-founder and director of Voxpro, a multilingual business process outsourcing provider set up twenty years ago and headquartered in Cork that now employs nearly 500 people. With Voxpro she has won multiple awards, including Deloitte Best Managed Company and EY EOY Finalist in 2013, and she previously worked in Pageboy Communications and the Department of Foreign Affairs. Linda has qualifications in HR from Coombes HRM, as an accredited strengths practitioner from Libra Coaching, in HR from Cork IT, and in marketing from the College of Commerce.

Lisa Ruttledge

Sen Academy

Twitter | LinkedIn

Lisa Ruttledge is co-founder and CEO of Sen Academy, whose mission is to improve student understanding, confidence and engagement in mathematics through challenging, self-led activities. She was previously co-founder and director of the Think Academy, worked as an engineering consultant with GE and as an engineer with EirGrid, and has taught at UCD and on KPMG’s Bright Sparks programme. A winner of the Impact Series Minnovation Award (best social idea to change Ireland) from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland/JP Morgan in 2014, Lisa has a PhD and BE in electrical/electronic engineering from UCD.

Louise O’Sullivan

Anam

Twitter | LinkedIn

Louise O’Sullivan is the founder and CEO of Anam Technologies, a leading provider of innovative and intelligent mobile messaging security solutions. She previously worked at Logica as leader of their service delivery business in the UK, and before that as project manager for Aldiscon’s short message service centre implementations. Louise gained her initial training in business from the internationally recognised Shannon School of Hotel Management.

Mairéad Ní Mhaoilchiaráin

Irish TV

Twitter | LinkedIn

Mairéad Ní Mhaoilchiaráin is founder and managing director of Irish TV, connecting Irish communities and businesses worldwide through its satellite and online video offerings that are targetted at the Irish disapora. She previously worked as CEO of Gnó Mhaigh Eo and director of Mayo Media Productions, in advertising roles at the Irish Times and the Irish Echo newspapers, and in journalism roles with RTÉ and Foinse. She is a graduate of the entrepreneur’s programme at GMIT, and studied for a BA and higher diploma in applied communications (ard-dioplóma i gcumarsáid fheidhmeach) at NUI Galway.

Martina Skelly

YellowSchedule

Twitter | LinkedIn

Martina Skelly is co-founder and CEO of YellowSchedule, a cloud-based appointment management and client CRM tool for the mental health sector, with customers including GoDaddy and GoodLife Fitness. She was previously the owner and operator of hoteldealsireland.ie, and has worked in variety of online marketing roles with Activate Marketing, Digino Marketing, and the Mercer Accommodation Group. Martina was winner of the Women in Business Award at the Vodafone Startup Awards in 2013, and has a diploma in international sales from DIT and a BSc in software/design/multimedia from Plymouth University.

Mary Carty

Outbox Incubator

Twitter | LinkedIn

Mary Carty is co-founder of the STEMette’s Outbox Incubator, the first STEM-focused incubator for girls under 22, provide seed funding, mentorship and support to those who have innovative STEM business ideas. A board member of the Irish Internet Association, she was previously CEO of online agency Spoiltchild, co-founder of email marketing platform Toddle, and before that county arts officer for Meath County Council. Mary has lectured widely on business development and entrepreneurship in universities and colleges across Europe, and has an advanced diploma and MA from Ulster University, and a BA and diploma in fine art.

Mary Moloney

CoderDojo Foundation

Twitter | LinkedIn

Mary Moloney is the global CEO of the CoderDojo Foundation, responsible for CoderDojo’s operations and growth worldwide, with 800 coding clubs in 60 countries reaching 40,000 kids and young people 7 and 17. She was previously a partner at Accenture, where she filled managing director, CEO, COO and talent/HR director roles within Accenture and for international financial/professional services and high-tech clients. Mary is active in various business organisations, including board of director roles for the Dublin Fringe Festival and the European Professional Women’s Network, and she is a law graduate from TCD.

Norah Patten

International Space University

Twitter | LinkedIn

Norah Patten is an adjunct faculty member and co-chair of the space humanities department in the International Space University’s space studies programme. She previously worked as a composite materials researcher at the Irish Centre for Composites Research at UL, a lecturer in engineering at UL, and in engineering roles at Alcatel-Lucent and Boeing. Norah is the Irish national contact point for the Space Generation Advisory Council, and has a PhD in aeronautical engineering and a BE in aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering from UL.

Patricia Scanlon

SoapBox Labs

Twitter | LinkedIn

Patricia Scanlon is founder and CEO of SoapBox Labs, developing a speech technology-based assessment and personalised learning platform for young children learning to read or learning a language. She has held research positions with Bell Labs Alcatel-Lucent (working with businesses and collaborators to design and develop innovative products), the IBM TJ Watson Research Centre, and Columbia University in New York. Patricia has a PhD in electronic engineering/digital signal processing from UCD (on feature analysis for audio and visual speech recognition), and a BScEng in electronic/electrical engineering from DIT.

Rhona Togher

Restored Hearing

Twitter | LinkedIn

Rhona Togher is co-founder and CEO of Restored Hearing, creators of the “Sound Relief” streaming online sound therapy to alleviate tinnitus or ringing in the ears, and the forthcoming “Sound Bounce” responsive hearing protection headset. The original idea for Restored Hearing emerged from a project that she and co-founder/CTO Eimear O’Carroll entered for the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in 2009. In charge of the logistics and manufacturing side of Restored Hearing and now based in Westmoreland Street (having come through Wayra and NovaUCD), Rhona graduated with a BSc in physics from UCD in 2013.

Sinéad Kenny

DiaNia Technologies

Twitter | LinkedIn

Sinéad Kenny is founder and CEO of DiaNia Technologies, a medical device materials technology company based on NUI Galway’s campus focusing on a series of products incorporating built-on components while maintaining a low profile so that they are easy to fit into the anatomy. She was previously a design engineer with Creganna for nearly eight years, a healthcare consultant with Altran, a lecturer in polymers and materials at UL and LIT respectively, and has worked on regulatory affairs with Cook Medical. Sinéad has received funding under the SME Instrument of Horizon 2020, and she has an MSc in project management, a PhD in biomedical cements, and a BE in materials science from UL.

Siobhán Ní Chofaigh

Mint Tek Circuits

Twitter | LinkedIn

Siobhán Ní Chofaigh is the founder and CEO of Mint Tek Circuits, whose aim is provide an online marketplace for hardware developers building prototypes to make it faster, easier and cheaper for them to source their hardware needs. She is also a part-time European projects coordinator for the “Startup Scaleup” internet of things accelerator at the DCU Ryan Academy, and has worked in a variety of operational and business development roles at Noni Lifestyle, Beta Layout, Sanmina, Infineon, Betatherm and Bemitech. Siobhán is a passionate about teaching kids how to design and build hardware using a PCB and components (through Hardie Kids), and she has an MBA from UCD and a diploma in electronic engineering from DIT.

Sonya Lennon

Frockadvisor

Twitter | LinkedIn

Sonya Lennon is co-founder of Frockadvisor, a social commerce platform for independent fashion retailers that has received a number of awards including an Irish Times FUSION Award in 2013 and an Arthur Guinness Fund Award in 2012. She is also the founder of Dress for Success Dublin, is a board member of the Crafts Council of Ireland, and presented the television show “Off the Rails” for seven years on RTÉ. Sonya’s work with Frockadvisor has been recognised by Astia, a global community dedicated to the success of women-led, high-growth ventures, and the company has been supported by Enterprise Ireland HPSU, NDRC LaunchPad, and Wayra.

Tanya Duncan

Interxion

LinkedIn

Tanya Duncan is the managing director of Interxion, a Dublin-based cloud and carrier-neutral data centres company, where she has held a number of positions before becoming MD in 2005. She is vice chair of the Telecommunications and Internet Federation outsourcing services industry group in IBEC, and began her career in the telecommunications sector with roles at Esat BT and KPNQwest. Tanya has qualified in business administration and management from IMI, has a graduate diploma in business studies from DBS, and has a BA in mechanical and manufacturing engineering from TCD.

Tara van Zyl

seamless

Twitter | LinkedIn

Tara van Zyl is the founder and CEO of seamless, a platform offering the film and television industry a private and secure solution for real-time approvals, notifications, and communication. She released the iCostume app in 2013 for tracking costume continuity on film sets, and has worked in the film industry for over 20 years on a variety of projects including Game of Thrones and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Tara has won various awards, including first prize for the Bell Labs IPMashup in 2015 and winner of NDRC Female Founders in 2014, and has qualifications in digital marketing, web design, and fashion technique and design.


This post is brought to you in conjunction with the Galway City Innovation District, a non-profit initiative working to develop a downtown innovation district in Galway, attracting creators, innovators and entrepreneurs who wish to work in close proximity to others in a supportive and connected environment. Follow @galwaycity


AIB Announce Five Year Partnership with Galway City Innovation District

AIB has announced a five year partnership with Galway City Innovation District (GCID), a new initiative supporting startups and business innovation in Galway City and the West of Ireland. The initiative brings together Galway Chamber of Commerce, Galway City Council, NUI Galway and GMIT to form the GCID.

Initially AIB is sponsoring the PorterShed, the first building to be opened as part of the GCID initiative, which is located close to Eyre Square. The PorterShed will house an accelerator program, high potential startups and entrepreneurs, as well as providing coworking space and an open area for workshops and seminars. It is expected to open early next year.

Additional buildings are due to open over time, and it is envisaged that this innovation district could eventually support up to 20,000 workers. The innovation district is expected to be similar to Dublin’s so-called ‘Silicon Docks’ area where companies such as Google and Facebook are based.

The PorterShed was once used as a Guinness storehouse, and is located on CIE land at the back of Ceannt Station. It will have capacity for 85 workers, and it is also hoped it will encourage more multinationals to establish a base in Galway.

Announcing this key partnership for AIB at the Venture West Conference, AIB CEO Bernard Byrne, said: “Developing an innovation district in the heart of Galway can serve as a catalyst for high growth companies, and is a model that worked in other cities such as Boston. This will help address the economic imbalance between the West of Ireland and the East coast.

“The Galway City Innovation District is the first part of an ambitious plan to support the growth and development of innovative companies across the West of Ireland. AIB is delighted to be involved in the development of this new innovation district for Galway and the West of Ireland.”

According to the President of Galway Chamber, Frank Greene, the Galway City Innovation District will be a driver of new enterprise and commercial activity in Galway City and ultimately in the county and region.

“This cluster of entrepreneurs, startups, accelerators and incubators will nurture collaboration and knowledge sharing. Galway Chamber, with our partners, is proud to be an initiator of the GCID which, by creating jobs, will also increase the need for services and in turn, further increase employment,” he said.

Maurice O’Gorman, council member of Galway Chamber and board member of the Galway City Innovation District said: “Commencement of work on the PorterShed is a significant milestone in the implementation of our vision for a downtown city innovation hub, which will attract young technology companies with strong growth potential, including many of our existing superstars.”

Dr John Breslin, senior lecturer at NUI Galway and also a board member of GCID added: “We also want to provide a place where incoming tech companies and investors visiting Galway can have a visitor’s seat and can network with some of the best companies that the West has to offer. This is an ideal location for attracting visiting companies and for giving them a feel for what it would be like to be based here: close to transport, cafés and restaurants, and everything else that downtown Galway has to offer.”