Today’s ThinkPiece comes from Kim Pham, Head Of Platform at Dublin-based early stage venture capital firm Frontline VC.
The tech community is funny??we love to compare ecosystems.
We even give them cute monikers: how does Silicon Valley stack up versus Silicon Alley, versus Silicon Roundabout, versus Silicon Prairie, versus Silicon XYZ
Maybe its just semantics, but it often feels like a futile attempt to reconcile each city alongside another??as if tech ecosystems can be squared away and encapsulated in a two-word, headline-catching phrase.
Coming from two mature tech hubs (Boston & NYC), I often get asked, How does Dublin compare? I never really know how to answer this question, and youll see that my response varies every time.
There are the obvious things??i.e. relative earliness of the overall ecosystem, smaller amount of VC funding being deployed, smaller absolute scale, lower valuations, etc.
But mentioning those terms feels like Im doing a disservice to the city. In my opinion, Dublin does not have to worry about becoming a SF or NYC. Like any other city, Dublin has a unique history, legacy, and DNA make-up through which it is defining its own story.
I moved here from NYC last year because I saw the potential in this city. There are still many challenges that lay in Dublins path??yes, it lacks the decades of legacy that the Valley has dominated in. Yes, there needs to be greater diversity in the workforce. Yes, there is dearth of extensive tech press coverage. Yes, there are founders who need to think with greater ambition, targeting international markets from Day 1. Yes, there needs to be a more active angel investor community. These are just some of the growing pains that Dublin will experience.
However, it has all the raw ingredients to become a global technology hub??a concentration of large tech multi-nationals, an enthusiastic and supportive government, a young and highly-educated workforce of business & engineering talent, rising interest from US investors, an explosion of community meetups, conferences, and spaces, etc. I could go on and on(and I have).
I moved here because I want to help shape Dublins future and fulfill its massive potential. As Frontline Ventures Head of Platform, I am in a uniquely humbling position to suss out where Dublin stands??on the edge of becoming sustainable and scalable from a community standpoint. There is a small, yet powerful tech community here??one that can only continue to grow through the efforts of the Dublin Startup Commissioner, Dublin Globe, Dublin Startup Digest, etc.
I moved here because Dublin is greater than the sum of its parts. The ecosystem will always be larger than any one person, group, or company. There is a truly unique symbiosis here, a surprisingly collaborative nature that ties all of these various pieces of the ecosystem??the startups, the investors, the community groups, the large tech companies, the government.
All of these parties work together (shockingly well, in my opinion) to feed into this ever-growing product??a city on the brink of global greatness, capable of outgrowing its ‘Silicon Docks’ moniker.