Google Startup Meetups: The Startup Clinic Is In Session

Google Startup Meetups DublinGlobe.com

If you happened to be sitting in the atrium of the CHQ building last Friday and saw it overrun by a flash mob of people wearing Google shirts, then this is your explainer. And if you’re part of a startup and would like some advice from the brightest and best Google Ireland has to offer, then this might just be relevant to you too…

As their primary outreach programme for Ireland, Google have launched a series of Startup Meetups beginning with the inaugural event last Friday. The monthly meetups will take place across Ireland in a new location each time, structured as casual events where you can talk one-on-one with Google’s experts across a two hour session.

Utilizing fifteen digital consultants specialising in AdWords, analytics, search quality, mobile, marketing and engineering, the Google team appointed one expert to every table. Each consultation lasted fifteen minutes, with a gong sounding to remind people to change places. Startups moved between the tables like a kind of Mad Hatter’s tea party – only with a lot less tea and a lot more tech troubleshooting…

Signing up and sending on questions in advance meant that everyone got a chance to talk through individual issues. There was also a Google Cardboard doing the rounds to keep anyone left waiting entertained (I tried it out – the VR experience was a little queasy but entertaining, like a tech-augmented version of a toy kaleidoscope).

The startup meetups are part of a programme born in Ireland, and currently being trialled here. This initial one was hosted by Dogpatch Labs, the pay-to-play coworking space based in the CHQ building that plays home to CoderDojo, Udemy and Trustev among others.

Google currently employ over 2,500 people at their Dublin office, which serves as the search engine giant’s EMEA headquarters. They have a history of startup outreach, but have so far kept their programmes within the Barrow Street HQ. One, the Adopt-a-Startup programme, is now in its second year, comprising twenty startups chosen to compete in a ninety-day mentorship programme (this year’s winner was Foodcloud, with Restored Hearing and Bizimply as runners up).

Attendees on Friday ranged from UStart members to Dogpatch residents and people referred through Startup Ireland and the office of the Dublin Startup Commissioner. Common concerns addressed including how to use AdWords and Google Analytics, how to get the most out of them for a business, monetising sites and, on the engineering side, how to scale. Organiser James Allen, associate account strategist at Google, said “Our mission is to grow the Irish startup ecosystem.”

The startup meetups will continue every month into 2016, but if Friday’s turnout was anything to go by you’d be advised to RSVP – mail startup-meetups@google.com to register and find out more – we might just see you at the next one.

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