Archive for January, 2011

Ryan Academy Propeller Joins TechStars Network To Accelerate Startup Businesses and Enhance Entrepreneurship

January 31, 2011 1 comment

January 31, 2011 – The DCU Ryan Academy Propeller Accelerator is today announcing that it is now a member of the TechStars Network, a newly launched White House sponsored alliance of independently owned and operated startup accelerator programs from dozens of cities across the United States and around the world.

The TechStars Network is comprised of other startup accelerator programs similar to the Propeller Accelerator that provide seed funding and mentorship to innovative entrepreneurs. The DCU Ryan Academy’s Propeller Accelerator will collaborate with these organizations and learn best practices from the mentorship-driven model pioneered by TechStars, the leading startup accelerator program in the United States. As a member of the TechStars Network, the Propeller Accelerator will have access to a rich set of strategic resources including professional development and ongoing support to effectively lead and mentor innovative entrepreneurs in Dublin.

The TechStars Network is part of the Startup America initiative, launched today by President Obama. In partnership with the White House, the goal of the TechStars Network is to become an engine for job growth by ensuring that over the next four years, 5,000 experienced business leaders and investors will mentor and support 6,000 promising young entrepreneurs. The aim is to increase the success rate and sustainability of each program, and to ultimately create 25,000 new economy jobs by 2015.

“We are pleased to have the DCU Ryan Academy Propeller Accelerator join the TechStars Network,” said David Cohen, Founder and CEO of TechStars. “The TechStars Network signals and formalizes our support for credible mentorship-driven programs like Propeller. We believe the proliferation of the mentorship-driven accelerator model is healthy for entrepreneurs. Through this network of independent organizations, we can help increase their impact dramatically and make entrepreneurial communities the real winners.”

“At the Ryan Academy Propeller Accelerator, we believe collaboration across boundaries builds stronger communities. The TechStars Network will be the catalyst for a nationwide startup ecosystem, something our country desperately needs. With TechStars Network’s rich set of strategic resources, we will build stronger companies faster that are better able to compete globally,” said Gordon McConnell, Deputy CEO of the Ryan Academy and Director of the Propeller Accelerator.

The Ryan Academy Propeller Accelerator  joins a select group of invitation-only TechStars Network member organizations in major cities across the United States and around the world. Today the network is open to all entrepreneurial thought leaders and organizations interested in building or enhancing mentorship-driven startup accelerator programs.


Tech Cold War – Groupon Face Second Front in Europe as Facebook Makes a Move

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

So not only does Groupon need to take on geographically-based competitors (which they are doing by buying most of them out) in Europe AND the threat from Google but now Facebook has begun to move into their territory. Siliconrepublic reports that Facebook users in certain European countries can now take advantage of discounts in shops and eateries by checking into the establishments using their mobile phones.

This is part of the Facebook Places Deals application, launched in the US in November, which lets retailers see when someone checks into their shop or restaurant, and potentially offer them a discount code. Facebook seems to be spending a lot of time, unsurprisingly, on monetization of their huge bulk, in recent months. Then again a $50 billion price tag on the company and potential IPO will do that to you…..

You Should be Reading: ‘Do More Faster’ by Techstars

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

So it was only a matter of time before someone wrote a book about accelerators, from the inside, after all they have been around for half a decade now. So here comes “Do More Faster: Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup” by Brad Feld and David Cohen, two of the founders of Techstars. And yes this is not just a book for those of us who run accelerators but for pretty much any startup in the technology space.

Not a typical heavy academic type book, more a series of war stories and commentary by startups, mentors and the guys from Techstars. This makes it an easy book to read, but one that startups will get a lot out of, in terms of the Lean Startup Methodology that many of us support these days. So for the price of the book, if you are doing a startup or even thinking of one, an important one for the entrepreneurs bookshelf.

Rumours of Death of US Innovation Greatly Exaggerated

January 30, 2011 2 comments

General Electrics “Global Innovation Barometer”  has come out which puts the US firmly at the top of innovative countries. The GIB polled 1,000 senior execs from 12 countries, so this isn’t some sort of ‘one hand clapping’ from US industry. Here is the list:

1. U.S.A. (67 percent)
2. Germany (44 percent)
3. Japan (43 percent)
4. China (35 percent)
5. Korea (15 percent)
6. India (12 percent)
7. Sweden (8 percent)
8. U.K. (7 percent)
9. Israel (6 percent)
10. France (4 percent)

With all due respect to China’s (and indeed India) rising power, I am reminded of the situation in the 1980’s where everyone said that by the 1990’s we would all be speaking Japanese, bowing to each other, and singing Japanese-style corporate songs before we started work each day. There is a reason why history is interesting. Unsurprising, 95% of those surveyed felt that innovation was the “main lever” in economic competitiveness. 88% thought innovation was the best way to create jobs

President Obama’s State of the Union mentioned ‘innovation’ several times and the reference to this generation’s “Sputnik moment” , and innovation in energy, is particularly interesting in terms of the current unrest in Egypt, particularly as most of our oil comes through the Suez canal….

Why there is no ‘Irish Google’: Reason No.1

January 28, 2011 Leave a comment

So, sick as I am of the ‘where is the Irish Facebook/Google/Nokia’ etc that we tend to hear in the media and amongst the chattering classes, I decided to work out exactly why this might be. OK, so we have 4-5 million people only, compared to even mid-sized global cities, this is a small population. But it is highly educated. And we have a lot of corporates here (who do tend to take a lot of the potential entrepreneurs into their ranks).

But there are some fundamental, almost cultural reasons why the number of entrepreneurs, particularly in the tech sector, is likely to be lower than one would expect.

So, Reason Number One: The Irish family and Emotional Support.

I know a number of younger entrepreneurs (mid to late twenties) who have been working on a startup in the last year. One of the issues they face, like all entrepreneurs anywhere, is ’emotional support.’ Yet, they are getting a chorus of ‘when are you going to get a REAL job’ or ‘when are you going to stop this nonsense/hobby/gap year and get a career.’

Yes, I am afraid a lot of this flak is from the fabled ‘Irish Mammy’. Compare this to younger entrepreneurs in the US, where friends and family not only offer an emotional blanket for their offspring (for the most part) but often raise money from family and friends to help their kids be ‘the next Steve Jobs.’

I suppose this goes back to Irish history and the old days of getting a ‘solid job’ in a bank, civil service or the police (nursing if you were female). This has been replaced now with the solid corporate job. Of course many of these jobs are no longer available, so we end up with a potentially lost generation, going overseas to escape unemployment.

I know a couple of guys who have gotten some funding and publicity in the ‘serious’ papers recently, and when I asked them at an event recently if things were better with their family, they admitted that their families were now just about starting to take their new ventures seriously. Hopefully things are changing. Otherwise a potential Irish Mark Zuckerberg might be forced to take a job with the real Facebook in Dublin…..

Ryan Academy Innovation Programme Covered in

January 28, 2011 1 comment

An interesting piece from leading innovation blog, InnovationAmerica, on the ongoing Business Innovation Programme in the Ryan Academy Dublin, here is an excerpt:

The crash in the housing market and subsequent credit crunch has hit many countries hard. It has also created a generation of unemployed white-collar professionals in areas such as architecture, engineering and the legal profession. Many of these professionals had illustrious careers before the Great Recession, running their own firms and employing thousands of people across the world. In countries like Ireland the unemployment rate among the architecture profession is over 70%, while higher education produces new ones each year. After 5, 10 or 20 years in construction engineering or architecture what was a person to do? Very late for a major change in career, and how many of these could be turned into ‘smart economy’ software engineers? And worst of all, most of these people had good innovation potential – a history of innovative design, project management, cost control, planning, creative solutions – all elements needed for Innovation and new produce development.

The rest of the article can be found here.

RTE Event to Showcase Social Entrepreneurship Funders

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Of interest to those who want to find or talk to funders (Clann Credo, Social Enterprise Fund etc) in the social sector, and the event is FREE:

RTE’s The Business sets up a Pop Up Bank

RTE’s The Business TV show is organising a Pop Up Bank for one day only. From banks to credit unions, state agencies to venture capitalists, charities to non profit organisations, The Business Pop Up Bank will pull it all together to try and help you find the best credit agency for your business.

Amongst those attending include Enterprise Boards, Enterprise Ireland, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, AIB, The Irish League of Credit Unions, First-Step, InterTradeIreland, Dublin Business Innovation Centre/Halo Business Angel Partnership, LEADER, Clann Credo, Quintas, Ryan Academy Propeller Seed Fund, Kernel Capital. AIB Seed Capital Fund, Delta Partners, Endeavour Programme, Growcorp Group, Credit Review Office, Social Enterprise Fund, Business Expansion Scheme, Údarás na Gaeltachta,  and the Irish Local Development Network plus many more.

Anyone who needs credit/capital or grants for business is invited to attend. This could be someone with an idea who wants to get started, someone who needs capital to keep going, or a business which wants to expand.

The Business TV Show, which will be presented by George Lee, will go on air on RTE One in the Spring. It is the TV accompaniment to the very successful Radio One show which is also presented by Lee.

So come along to the Croke Park Conference Centre on Tues Feb 8th and state your case and who knows, you might start to access the funding you need. Doors open at 11am and close at 3pm.

There is no charge to attend this event.

If you have any questions or wish to attend this event please contact:

Louise Hynes on +353 21 4252060 or email