A Torrent Of Startups

Standing at the side of the gorgeous 11th floor of Google last night I’d forgotten how far I’d come in such a short time.

Just a few years ago I was sitting in Scanarama’s office on College Green when I decided I wanted to get into tech.

The only person I knew who worked in tech was Helen McBreen, then with NDRC, now with Atlantic Bridge. Helen is married to one of my partner’s childhood friends.

We met for coffee and I told her I wanted to see if my skills were of use to the tech world.

‘You’ve come to the right place’ Helen assured me in NDRC’s offices.

Little did I know then that I’d end up being based there for the next three years!

Helen directed me to an open mike night NDRC were running in the Stags’ Head where I saw Mick Birmingham pitch his idea for Gigstarter.

As I heard his pitch about selling tickets before a gig was confirmed I remember clearly saying to myself ‘That will either work or it won’t. It could go either way.’

I had no suspicion that I would be CEO of Gigstarter within months.

That open mike led to NDRC’s Swequity pre-accelerator event where I made it my business to meet Mick and discuss Gigstarter.

From there we got into NDRC’s Launchpad, from there to Hothouse, then Enterprise Ireland’s HPSU and Access Silicon Valley programme and winning Best Startup at SF Music Tech – all in quick succession.

Two years after seeing Mick pitch in the Stags Head and almost one million in revenue later I’m sitting in a Mexican restaurant beside LAX called Burritos and Blues with a potential investor, one of the world’s most famous guitarists and the manager of the biggest female country act in the world.

Back to last night and I’m there in Google watching potential participants in the Dublin Chapter of Founder Institute pitch and I realised the guidance and advice these people in front of me genuinely needed.

I could see the steps they would take from now as they banged on the doors to enter Launchpad or similar in six months or less.

I recalled in an instant what I didn’t know then that I know now and it was going to be transmitted to those who were open to it.

I felt excited, invigorated and validated.

These vital, energetic, smart people from all over the world who are just like I was a few short years ago.

Wanting to get into tech but not knowing how.

They’ve made the first massive step. They’re knocking on the door. If they keep knocking it will open.

My personal reason for being involved in bringing Founder Institute to Dublin is to improve the deal flow further downstream by, in particular, helping people not from Ireland start tech companies in Ireland.

So far there’s a trickle of them.

I want that to be a torrent.

What I saw last night was the living proof that it will happen.

I believe Founder Institute will make it happen much faster.

Join us as a mentor or a participant.

As a mentor, you’ll be joining people like those who spoke last night – Dan Crowley from Genomics Medicine Ireland and Conor O’Loughlin from Glofox.

As a participant, you’ll be joining the next wave of awesome Irish tech founders.

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