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Archive for February, 2011

New Supports for Female Entrepreneurs in Europe

February 28, 2011 Leave a comment

One of the disappointing and worrying things about the applications for the Propeller Accelerator was the very low number of female entrepreneurs who applied. Indeed there is almost no female founders in the first batch of companies (one of the startups has a female Chair and that is it). This is not just an Irish or indeed European issue but exists elsewhere. It is paralleled with the lack of female participation in the senior management or directors within larger corporates.

But today the EU has started to look at some of the issues, the European Commission said it will create mentoring schemes for female entrepreneurs in at least 10 member countries to provide advice and support.The idea is expected to be modelled after the existing European Network of Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors.

Good data on women entrepreneurs are hard to find, but throughout Europe estimates peg the percentage of female business owners below 30%. In an effort to bring more women into the workforce, the Commission is looking at ways to tackle the financial and social challenges that hinder some women from running their own businesses. For more information on this please see here.

Two DCU Alumni Get Funded through Propeller Accelerator

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Although the Propeller Accelerator is an open, global competition to see the best startups, it was interesting to see where all of our initial batch came from. Two of the companies have founders who are DCU alumni: Don Corbett (Business School) who is co-founder of Associate Mobile and Doctor Shane Linnane (Physics) who is co-founder of GreenEgg Technologies.

Dr Linnane originally came through the DCU Invent ‘Tech Venture’ commercialisation course that was run in conjunction with the Ryan Academy last year, and this in essence is a spin-out from the Sustainability Lab, run by Dr Stephen Daniels, in DCU. Shane’s co-founder, Rob Merriman, came out of the Sustainability Masters in DIT.

Associate Mobile: Associate Mobile is developing cloud-based mobile platforms for enterprise and consumer markets. MobileMinder – a parental supervision platform for mobiles is the company’s first commercial output.  www.associatemobile.com/mobileminder/

GreenEgg Technologies: GreenEgg Technologies are a research and development company focused on technological solutions for the clean technology and environmental sectors. They develop innovative eco-friendly products for a range of applications and their research focuses on the development of products that enable the smart and efficient operation of technology. www.greenegg.ie

Overall, the six startups chosen are five from Ireland and one from the UK. They cover key technologies such as mobile applications, cleantech, online gaming, informatics, Facebook ecommerce and social media.

Propeller Accelerator Announces First Batch of Six Funded Companies

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship ‘Propeller’ Accelerator outlines the first cohort of six companies on its Techstars Network member programme

The Propeller Accelerator, part of the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship, has released details of the first group of companies funded and supported under its mentor-led programme. These startups, five from Ireland and one from the UK, cover key technologies such as mobile applications, cleantech, online gaming, informatics, Facebook e-commerce and social media.

This first group of six companies has already begun their 3 months intensive programme of mentor-led acceleration that culminates in the Propeller Demo Day on the 6th of May, when the startups present to a group of investors. The first group of companies are:

Associate Mobile: Associate Mobile is developing cloud-based mobile platforms for enterprise and consumer markets. MobileMinder – a parental supervision platform for mobiles is the company’s first commercial output.  www.associatemobile.com/mobileminder/

Fantom: Fantom’s goal is to be the premier provider of social media software for fan-based websites. It currently operates in social media for politics and hopes to use the Propeller opportunity to pivot into other domains. www.icitizen.ie

GreenEgg Technologies: GreenEgg Technologies are a research and development company focused on technological solutions for the clean technology and environmental sectors. They develop innovative eco-friendly products for a range of applications and their research focuses on the development of products that enable the smart and efficient operation of technology. www.greenegg.ie

HealthComms: HealthComms aims to become a leading specialist in providing health and security solutions to the Equine Industry. They have developed Equinewatch, which provides continuous monitoring of location and telemetry of animals. Their highly visual based systems provide a means for alerting owners when unusual events such as isolation, agitation or temperature variation occur. http://equinewatch.com

Founders of HealthComms

Simple LifeForms: Simple LifeForms: Simple Lifeforms is an online games development, publishing and consultancy firm. They develop games for the world’s most dynamic game platforms such as Facebook, iPhone and iPad. www.simplelifeforms.com

Vendorshop: VendorShop enables businesses to sell products on Facebook via their social shopping cart application. VendorShop is free to install and takes just minutes to set-up. It currently powers 15,000 stores worldwide.

www.facebookvendor.com

“We had over seventy applications from across Ireland, the UK and Europe and even included the US and Brazil” said Gordon McConnell, Director of the Propeller Accelerator and Deputy-CEO of the Ryan Academy. “We are delighted to have such an exciting group of startup companies working in the Propeller Space, and a group of over 40 mentors to work with them over the next three months.”

The Propeller Accelerator was recently announced as a charter member of the Techstars Network, which was announced in the White House. It has also agreed partnerships with the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) and the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) in recent weeks.

A number of Irish-based companies have also 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. Propeller is also linked to the Venture Catalyst at Arizona State University.

For further information please contact: Gordon McConnell at Gordon.mcconnell@dcu.ie

Enterprise Ireland Best Connected Highlights Importance of Propeller Accelerator

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

From Enterprise Ireland’s Best Connected email newsletter:

In what is seen to be one of the most important developments in Dublin’s status as a major game player in the area of web and technology start-ups, the DCU Ryan Academy Propeller Accelerator (a mentor-led seed accelerator that funds very early stage tech companies in areas such as software, hardware, cleantech and internet) has joined TechStars Network (a recently launched White House-sponsored alliance of independently owned and operated start-up accelerator programs from dozens of cities across the US and around the world).

“TechStars affiliation is a major feather in the cap for the Propeller programme,” said Lorcan O’Sullivan, Manager Overseas Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland.  ”It is also a further endorsement of Dublin as a major player in the web start up space. It follows a recent announcement that US VC Polaris, has selected Dublin as a location for a Dogpatch Labs.”

For the rest of the article see here.

Mr Desmond – Your Ideas are Great – But Politicians don’t create jobs, Entrepreneurs Do

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Dermot Desmond’s political reforms were pretty spot-on. It’s a shame that the political parties, of all hues, are unlikely to do anything about it. Do we need it as a nation? Absolutely but I think it will take ‘people power’ to change any political system, and we haven’t (alas) reached that point yet.

A new government may start moving in that direction, we will see, but while this is going on our country drops further into debt, lives are destroyed and a generation of wealth creators, educated at high cost, leave to sunnier shores. What is to be done?

All this electioneering at the moment is wearying, talks about ‘how many jobs our party will create’ would be funny if it wasn’t sad. Entrepreneurs and their companies create value, wealth and jobs. The best the political class can do is to make it easier to do business (costs of rates, electricity and services are still too high despite deflationary period) and stay the hell away from business overall.

So, what the really wealthy and influential people like Mr Desmond and his friends can do right now is back the initiatives that we really need, to get ‘down and dirty’ in Ireland:

1. Be an even more visible role model for the next generation of entrepreneurs. Get out there and evangelise with those of us who are trying to support entrepreneurship.

2. Use some of your wealth and your friends to set-up more early stage funds, new accelerator programmes, and not just for high-tech (cleantech, food, creative industries), yes we have other industries where we need to incubate the next generation of winners

3. Use your international connections to get early stage companies into potential partners, clients and funders

4. Use those great people who work for you or have worked with you, to mentor the younger entrepreneurs.

We have huge talent here, and we have a group of senior, international serial entrepreneurs who know the ropes. We know you have helped before but we all need to raise our game now. Don’t do a reality show, give us real, hardcore help, and in the end we will all be winners.

Free Startup Mini-Conference in DCU 18th Feb

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment

The Business School in DCU will host a free mini-conference on starting up a business which will be held at DCU on Friday, 18 February 2011 from 1300 – 1800. It is organised by the DCU Business School and the DCU LINK Research Centre and  supported by North Dublin Chamber of Commerce and Startups.ie.

The mini-conference comprises a plenary, commencing at 13:00, which will be addressed by Prof. Brian MacCraith (President of Dublin City University), Marc Coleman (Economist, Radio Presenter, Columnist and Author), Nicola Byrne (CEO, 11890) and Richard Stokes (Managing Director, DCU Invent).

The plenary will be followed by a coffee break and four breakout sessions running from 1600 – 1800. All breakout sessions will take place in DCU Business School.

1.      Start Your Own Business – Supports and Tools (Sponsored by Startups.ie)

2.      Setting up an Export Infrastructure and International Business

3.      Business Planning & Business Model Workshop

4.      Introduction to Writing Competitive Tenders

Breakout session speakers include Cambridge University Press, Dublin City Enterprise Board, Microsoft, Ruby Consulting, Hosca Management Consultants, DCU, the Irish India Council, Exportise, AIB and TCI China.

There are additional details at http://techspectations.org/conferences/get-started-2011-18-february-2011/While the event is free, places are reserved only for those who register. So please register ASAP at http://techspectations.org/event-registration/get-started-2011-event-registration/

If you have any questions or queries, please email: techspectations@gmail.com or contact Sean Donnelly on 01 700 8609.

Is there a Need for Non-Tech Startup Funds?

February 13, 2011 Leave a comment

After spending the day in Croke Park at the RTE Pop Up Bank event, which highlighted early stage funders in profit and non-profit sectors, one thought struck me – where do you get funding if you are not a high tech startup?

There is no doubt that getting the unemployment level down in Ireland will come from further development of the SME and startup sector – Google and Facebook, welcomes as they are in the Dublin ecosystem, will not save us. The BES funds do tend to get involved in some non-tech or at least non-traditional tech companies, but at the event last week I saw some entrepreneurs trying to talk to investors about for example food products or manufacturing products. They didn’t get too far, as most funds, like our own Propeller Accelerator fund, tends to focus on technology companies.

Yes, with so many large organisations of Irish origin like NTR or CRH or the larger food companies, there would be seem to be a pool of potential acquirers for successful startups in other sectors. The arts, crafts and music industries are others that we have excelled as a small country.

For example, an early stage fund supported and mentored by leading lights in the food industry would seem to be a no-brainer for Ireland. We know the ‘Ireland’ brand for food is very strong and that we haven’t even yet tapped the potential in this area. Of course fast-moving consumer goods like food have a very high failure rate, but our combined expertise in this area would seem to suggest we could do well in this area. There are plenty of other niche sectors that we have been world leaders, from cleantech to building material to low-cost airlines.

If we are create growth oriented companies in areas outside of high-tech we are going to have to do some serious thinking about the kinds of early stage funding we want and need to have in Ireland.