Primer: Galway’s Tech Renaissance

With a plethora of innovative software startups alongside internationals like Cisco, Oracle, IBM, Apple, EA and HP, the West of Ireland deserves to be regularly in the innovation spotlight.

Housing the new wave of startup activity is a variety of choice startup spaces, chief amongst them The PorterShed, Superpixel Labs and a reinvigorated Galway Technology Centre. Most recently, Bank Of Ireland have established a Startup Workbench in its Mainguard Street branch:

We spoke to John Breslin, lecturer at NUI Galway as well as the founder of Startup Galway, and among others, who gave us the lowdown on the city’s busy tech scene:

‘A big part of Galway’s original startup scene evolved out of the downscaling of Digital Equipment Corporation, who closed their hardware manufacturing operations here in 1993. Perhaps it’s that combined with Ireland’s agricultural background – every farmer is an entrepreneur! – that has in some part contributed to the startup mentality that exists in the West today.

Today, Galway has a very concentrated medical device sector and a thriving ICT sector, which is a combination of the startups, multinationals, established indigenous companies, world-class research centres and the educational institutions. Apparently the density of medical technology companies is only rivalled by Minnesota, and most of the world’s top medical devices companies have presences here or nearby (Boston Scientific and Medtronic between them employ close to 5000 people).

One aspect of what’s different about Galway is possibly its size and the high density of college students and graduates here, about 25% of the city population. There’s a good flow of skills from NUl Galway and GMIT to local companies and startups, with hundreds of engineers and scientists being produced each year, lots of PhD graduates from NUl Galway and its Insight Centre for Data Analytics, and a growing sense of what entrepreneurship means among the student population… It’s an exciting time for Galway and great to see so much happening here.’

Without further ado, here’s a taster on choice Galway startups to whet your appetite:

Known for raising $3 million with investors including Delta Partners, Digicel Group and ACT Venture Capital, predictive communicative software startup Altocloud has offices in Galway and Silicon Valley, and was founded in 2013 by Barry O’Sullivan, Joe Smyth and Dan Arra. @Altocloud

Tribal City
Developing games for iOS and Android and with a team who have previously worked at Disney, Warner Brothers, EA Mobile and MTV, Tribal City was founded in 2009 and is led by CEO Alan Duggan. @tribalcitygames

Netfort develop network and user monitoring solutions, including their flagship product LANGuardian. The company was founded in 2002 by Morgan Doyle and John Brosnan. @NetFort

RealSim create interactive and passive 3D simulations for uses including urban planning, marine simulation and the reconstruction of historical environments. They were founded in 2008 by Gavin Duffy. @3DSim

Channel Mechanics
Channel Mechanics are the developers of cloud-based platforms for connecting manufacturers and resellers and distributors. The firm was set up in 2007 by Andy Simpson. @ChannelExperts

Pocket Anatomy
Improving communication between patients and doctors, Pocket Anatomy have developed medical software which illustrates ‘the human body in your pocket’ with a navigable interactive anatomy. The company was founded in 2011 by Mark Campbell. @pocketanatomy

OnePageCRM was founded in 2010 and is led by CEO Michael FitzGerald. They offer cloud-based CRM for SMEs, and have raised €575,000 from anonymous private investors and Enterprise Ireland. @OnePageCRM

Founded in 2014 by Eoghain Ryan, iRevise provides secondary school students with online guidance through their GCSE and A Level exams in the UK. @iRevise_com

Builder Engine
Founded in 2012 by Keith Kililea, BuilderEngine is a website builder which incorporates Twitter Bootstrap, allowing users to create 100% mobile responsive templates and create a customised website with no coding involved. @BuilderEngine

Digital monitoring service Cloud90 survey online conversations about brands and their competitors, alerting clients to when they need to join the conversation. The service was founded by Nicola Byrne in 2010. @Cloud90HQ

Ex Ordo
Founded in 2011 by Paul Killoran and Dermot Lally, Ex Ordo creates web applications for use by academic institutions, allowing research conference organisers to guide speakers, authors and reviewers through the process of submitting and reviewing papers and abstracts. @exordo

GameGolf, created by Active Mind Technology (led by John McGuire and a team of engineers) in 2010, facilitates comprehensive post-round analytics and social extension of real-life golf games. GameGolf has partnered with the PGA of America and the Golf Channel, and has a presence in San Francisco as well as Galway. @GAMEGOLF

Founded in 1997 by Joe McBreen and Frank Clancy, Celtrak develop fleet management systems for utilities, construction, distribution and logistics professionals in the UK, Europe, North America and Ireland. @Talk2Celtrak

Medical Exam Tutor
Virtual patient platform Medical Exam Tutor takes learners through the process of history-taking, diagnosis and treatment with processes designed by medical consultants. They are led by a team of doctors and expert contributors, and have been awarded an Eircom Spider, a Tech Gate award and were a Realex Web Award finalist. @medexamtutor

Campus company Sindice Tech creates ‘Knowledge Graphs’ which help search engines establish complex relationships between data. The company was founded in 2011 and is led by CEO Giovanni Tummarello. @SindiceTech

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