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Archive for December, 2010

Propeller Seed Accelerator Fund gets ‘Landing’ in SkySong Arizona

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Dublin City University’s Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship in Dublin has agreed a deal with Arizona State University’s Venture Catalyst to offer First Destination access for Irish startups into the United States. Startups who will be undergoing development in the Propeller Venture Accelerator in Ireland from February 2011 will be able to establish a presence in the US market through the ASU SkySong facility in Scottsdale Arizona. Arizona State University is the largest University in the US and a leading US Entrepreneurial University.

ASU SkySong in Scottsdale Arizona

“Developing the best venture accelerator for startups is our aim, and the new relationship with ASU’s Venture Catalyst and fantastic SkySong facility is part of the global angle we are taking. At the same time the relationship with an Irish grassroots organisation like Techludd shows the balance between global and local” said Gordon McConnell, Deputy-CEO of the Ryan Academy.

The Venture Catalyst is the next step in Arizona State University’s (ASU) evolution of helping ventures find critical resources to succeed. ASU sits at the center of Arizona’s innovation ecosystem with vast resources, talented faculty and students, and a commitment to accelerating global innovation. With access to the largest market in the world and only 90 minutes from Silicon Valley, with over 170 flights daily, Arizona offers Irish startups a great ‘first landing’ location to operate, with a good climate, low taxes and lower operating costs than California. SkySong already has a variety of established ventures from Ireland, Mexico, Singapore, Brazil, Turkey, India, Germany and a growing list of places from around the globe.

“In ASU we understand the need to have an entry point into a larger market” said Julia Rosen, Associate Vice President in Arizona State University “this partnership will not only help the next generation of Irish companies get access to doing business in the US but will also help startups in Arizona to get access to the important European markets through Dublin through our relationship with the Ryan Academy.”

Dublin already has an impressive list of major companies with major operations located there, including IBM, Microsoft, Facebook, Citigroup, Google and Amazon.

Techludd

In the Irish market Propeller has also announced a partnership with Techludd, an Irish based technology media organisation that supports Irish startups through a series of regular open demo events around the Island and a popular blog covering European startups from an Irish perspective. It’s regular event series has partnered with Microsoft, Digiweb, TechCrunch Europe and a host of other local organisations.

A number of Irish-based companies have already signed-up to support the Propeller Accelerator programme including software company Sage Ireland, legal company Arthur Cox, marketing and sales company Publicis D and legal intellectual property company Tomkins IP. National Irish organisations such as the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises (ISME) organisation and State agency Enterprise Ireland are also partners.

“We have very much adapted the seed accelerator model to leverage the strengths of the Dublin region, so you will see a greater emphasis on senior executives as mentors on our programme, compared to similar programmes in the US like Techstars” commented McConnell.

I Love the Smell of a New Startup in the Morning…

December 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Ah the launch of a new startup. Back in the dotcom era such ‘launch events’ were very popular, and often vulgar. They fell out of fashion after 2001 so I haven’t witnessed any in a decade. But I was very happy to help out (around the fringes) in the launch event for GreenEgg Technologies, with their partners and client Global Action Plan Ireland, last Thursday morning. No champagne or celebrities in sight, this was very much by the people and of the people.

The EcoBike - Perfect for Teaching People the Importance of Energy Conservation

We have been working with GreenEgg Technologies for a while now, actually since before they were GreenEgg Technologies.

The founder, Dr Shane Linnane, was one of the Dublin City University postdoctoral researchers (from the DCU Sustainability Lab) on the Ryan Academy Tech Start programme that we delivered earlier this year for DCU Invent. Rob Merriman, the new co-founder, was a top student from my Entrepreneurship Masters module in Dublin Institute of Technology. Getting them together has been, as they say, a match made in heaven.

This is the first (of what may be as many as four) startup coming out of  this Invent-inspired new venture creation programme, which had an initial group of 16 postdoctoral researchers from Engineering, Computing and Science Schools in DCU.

GreenEgg Technologies are a cleantech company. Yes, I know cleantech is a wide church, but GreenEgg have new product ideas that span a number of areas, so for once the title fits them nicely. Their first product is a nifty but high-tech EcoBike that is used to educate and excite kids about sustainable living. It was launched by the purchaser, Global Action Plan Ireland, at the Farmers Market in North Dublin last week. Complete with local school kids. And a Green Santa. Cue enjoyable chaos. All the enjoyable chaos of a startup.

Getting to Grips with the GreenEgg EcoBike!

Ryan Academy Supported Cleantech Startup GreenEgg Technologies Launches

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment

First Cleantech Startup comes out of the ‘Green Way’ Economic Zone with EcoBike

DCU Researcher Links with Recent DIT Graduate to Create GreenEgg Technologies

The first new company, GreenEgg Technologies, has launched from the ‘Green Way’, Ireland’s first Green Economic Zone, An tSlí Ghlas.

The new company was launched at an event organised by Global Action Plan Ireland. The initial GreenEgg product is an EcoBike, which GreenEgg has developed for Global Action Plan (GAP), which will be showcased at the event.

GreenEgg Technologies is a spinout of the Energy and Design Lab in Dublin City University, with a link to Dublin Institute of Technology. The primary goal of GreenEgg is the development of products and solutions for the clean technology market. The founder and CEO of the new company is Dr Shane Linnane, a DCU postdoctoral researcher while his co-founder and Business Development Manager is Robert Merriman, a recent graduate from the DIT School for Spatial Planning.

The EcoBike is a pedal powered electrical generator used to demonstrate the concepts of energy efficiency and green living to children and adults in an interactive and fun way. As users pedal, it enables them to power electrical appliances with their legs. The more energy an appliance uses, the harder it is to pedal. Through a touch screen interface, users can choose between different appliances, exploring how different devices use electricity such as the difference between sound and heat.

The touch screen computer displays the user-generated power level in real-time and records total power generated for a given user. Each rider’s performance data as well as the combined energy produced on the day is stored on-board or can be up-loaded directly to your own website via WiFi. As well as the EcoBike, GreenEgg Technologies plans to develop a range of products in the eco-educational sector.

For more information see their website.

MyGoodPoints Users Get Free Money to Give

December 12, 2010 Leave a comment
Our friends in online giving platform MyGoodPoints contacted us to tell us of their newest offer. MyGoodPoints.org have partnered with the Tropical Medical Bureau
If you book an appointment for their services through the MyGoodPoints Website (simply one click) the TMB will credit you with €5. This goes into an account that you can then donate to a charity project of your choice – at home and overseas!
Its really simple, you don’t even need a MyGoodPoints account – they will set one up for you with the €5 credit already in there. The folks in MyGoodPoints will have a lot more projects loaded onto MyGoodPoints in the next few weeks including many local Irish projects.

First Cyber War in 2010? No more of a Cyber Skirmish

December 12, 2010 Leave a comment

So the mainstream press is full of articles today and yesterday as they analyse the continuing wikileaks streaming of sensitive information. What seems to be animating journalists the most is the Distributed Denial of Service attacks on various companies such as PayPal and credit card companies, in retaliation for their pulling of services to wikileaks.

So is this the first salvo in a cyber war? Not really. Attacks like these have been going on for years, and there are probably more attacks on national entities then we are made aware of, due to national security. This is more of a skirmish. But it is an escalation of such asymmetric warfare even if it is a loose coalition of activists calling itself ‘Anonymous’. Hacker culture has been around for a long time, even predating the move towards personal computing at the end of the Seventies.

Yes, coupled with the recent instigation of a worm to disable elements of Iran’s nuclear programme, and other attacks in recent years such as those on certain Baltic States, there is no doubt that cyber war on a large-scale is coming. A real cyber war in my mind is when it affects the everyday activities of citizens in the larger population.

It is somewhat disconcerting that elements of plotlines in dramas such as the BBC’s Spooks are starting to look more realistic these days. The idea that wholesale attacks on national infrastructure could potentially bring down air traffic control, power supply or all a city’s internal systems are worrying (at the same time).

As technology companies such as IBM and GE move towards more integrated systems of living, such as IBM’s Smart Cities work, the potential for large-scale disruption increases.

So what has that to do with entrepreneurship? Well, as usual problems lead to solutions, and there is no doubt that online security is probably going to enter a whole new dimension in the decades to come, from personal security to that of larger organisations and even Nation States. Far beyond the security industry, formidable as it is, that exists at the moment.

Opportunities are the mainstay of entrepreneurs, and although there may be plenty of ‘black hat’ programmers out there it is worth mentioning that being a ‘hacker’ denotes more an attitude then a designation. It depends on the colour of the hat. And plenty of white hat ones may find their future, and their fortune, giving society these solutions.

Irish Budget Will Be Hard on Social Sector…Now What?

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

So the start of a major cut in monies going to the social purpose sector, coupled with cuts in general giving as the whole population takes a hit from the worse budget in a lifetime…so what now for all the social sector organisations in Ireland and indeed in other countries cutting their spending? We know from the Wheel data that the cuts of the last few years have already had a major impact. What can the sector do?

Well there are two schools of thought around this – the Social Enterprise School (Generate Earned Income for a Social Purpose) and the Social Innovation School (New and Better Ways to create and sustain social value).

We like both of them, and these ideas can be combined depending on the kind of social purpose organisation you are, though there are no ‘silver bullets’ here. Organisations will have to be:

 

• More entrepreneurial approach to solving these issues
• Adapt some of the activities of the commercial entrepreneurship world
• More sustainable social impact
• Open to approaches that help control costs, increase revenue and efficiencies
In some cases they will create new innovative ways to tackle social issues.
Sometimes I get accused of trying to make the social sector ‘more like business.’ But I reject that accusation. It is that, as the management guru Jim Collins once wrote: “A culture of discipline is NOT a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.”
Over the coming weeks we will be taking a look at earned income and how social sector organisations can become more entrepreneurial and innovative. At the end of the day it is not about ‘profit’ but social value maximisation, surely a good thing?

 

You Should be Reading…Innovation America

December 7, 2010 3 comments

So the thing with the Internet is that there is so much information it is hard to know what websites to actually keep an eye on or what ones to subscribe to, to get that nugget of information or advice or business idea. We have talked about a number of sites here before including Techcrunch, VentureBeat, Siliconrepublic and Springwise.

Here is another extremely helpful website: Innovation America. This site is literally chock-full of information on a range of subjects, including innovation, economic development, venture news and more. It is produced by Richard A. Bendis, who is the Founder, President and CEO of Innovation America (IA), a global innovation intermediary focused on accelerating the growth of the entrepreneurial innovation economy Internationally and in America. Part of this is the first email I look at in the morning, innovationDAILY (ID) a Daily Electronic Newsletter, reporting on the Daily Pulse of Global Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Angel/Seed and Venture Capital and Innovation Based Economic Development.(IBED). ID has over 125,000 unique visitors in over 185 countries with readership growing all the time.

Bendis is also a global advocate for accelerating awareness of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Early Stage Capital in stimulating Innovation- Based Economic Development (IBED), as well as an international speaker on building Innovation and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. Mr. Bendis is a distinguished and successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, venture capitalist, investment banker, innovation and technology based economic development leader, international speaker and consultant in Innovation and Economy Building.

The daily email and the website is a must for those in the entrepreneurship space, particularly those interested in innovation and entrepreneurship around higher education and the triple helix arena.