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Propeller 3.0 Huge International Interest

December 29, 2012 2 comments

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By Terence Bowden

Once again DCU Ryan Academy’s, Propeller Venture Accelerator, ranked 7th in Europe, is off to a flying start.  Over 140 companies applied from around the world,  An amazing 47% of them are internationally based including 8 from India and 3 from New York, other countries include Togo (which is always interesting), Nigeria, Israel, New Zealand and Malta but to name a few.  The map below gives a good illustration.

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So far we held over 115 meetings including a lot of Skype calls around the world. Discussing items such as their business model, pricing structure, team development,  lowest hanging fruit and gaining traction with the market.

One of the goals I wanted to achieve this year was to help the general start-up eco system. While space is limited on the accelerator, the decision was taken to invite the mentors to get involved in two ways;

  1. By reviewing the applications and completing feedback forms.
  2. Providing feedback during the company presentations.

We had an amazing number of mentors volunteer to help and I would like to thank them for their time in doing so.  This feedback will be given to the companies in the New Year.

Presently Propeller has been nominated for a Europa award.  Over €3.2 million euro has been raised by the 12 Propeller companies. In addition, during Christmas week alone, over €1 million ($1.32 Million USD) has been secured in funding, a sign of the momentum Propeller is gathering!

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Why Ireland for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups?

August 16, 2012 2 comments

Ireland has a healthy Angel and VC network with over €250 (330 USD) million available in seed funds through organisations such as HBAN and also a healthy VC community such as ACT Venture Capital, Bloom Equity, Kernel Capital, Enterprise Equity but to mention a few.

The government is very much helping start-ups through one of its agencies Enterprise Ireland (EI) with seed funding where they will co-invest with V.C.’s and Angels in Startups. Not bad considering the population of Ireland is only 4.5 million!  Ireland is also one of the best locations in Europe for R&D through tax incentives, grant aid and a corporate tax of only 12.5%

In a report prepared for the Commission’s Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs for Europe, it found that Ireland was the top European country which recruiters found were producing the “most Employable” graduates.  The government also wants to double the amount of college graduates in Software, proving Ireland is long term when it comes to R & D software.

With headquarters for some of the internet, software and hardware giants having their European head quarters based in Ireland such as PayPal, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Intel, LinkedIn and Dell, Ireland has a great technical, knowledge based community and willing to help start-ups.  This is great if you are planning to use the platforms for your products/services.  No wonder Ireland is one of the largest producers of software in the world.

3 of Europe’s top 8 Accelerators are based in Ireland of which one is the Propeller Venture AcceleratorDogPatchLabs has also set up is first non-US Location, setting up its European lab in Dublin.

As a location Dublin is one of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant cities in the world.  Within 2 hours you can fly to anywhere in Europe and yet we are the closest European country to the U.S.

By Terence Bowden

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Propeller Venture Accelerator features on Nationwide Friday 25th of November!

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

On Friday the 25TH of November, DCU Ryan Academy’s inaugural Propeller Venture Accelerator Demo Day presented on RTE One’s Nationwide at 7.00pm.  The show will also be streamed live on RTE Player.  Programme Enquiries to: nationwide@rte.ie

The Propeller Venture Accelerator aims to accelerate early development stage of technology start-up companies, both Irish and international, in Dublin. The Propeller Accelerator has taken the successful US accelerator model and adapted it to the Irish context. In early 2011 the Propeller Venture Accelerator became a charter member of the Techstars Network, only one of five outside of the US and only one of three in Europe.

The Propeller Venture Accelerator has an emphasis on software, Web 2.0, applications, informatics and cleantech start-ups. The accelerator programme is a mentor-led, three months incubation with free space and services and an additional €30,000 cash investment in each company.  This is in return for 6.5% equity stake.

The first Propeller Programme which started in February 2011 had an initial six companies – who were:

This year the programme has received a total of 135 applications.  Aside from a healthy number of Irish start-ups, the programme has also received applications from 20 countries, including Germany, Finland, the US, Australia, Iran, India, Israel, South Africa, Brazil, Rwanda and China. It is no surprise that people from all around the globe are showing a huge interest in participating in this award winning accelerator, recently ranked 7th in Europe.

The chosen companies will enter the Propeller offices in January 2012 in Citywest, Dublin.  Waiting are over 60 mentors with a formidable amount of experience to help the companies on a path to success.

“The Propeller Venture Accelerator has been a great experience one that has truly accelerated our company by at least 2 years if not more in only 3 months.  With easy access to a number of experienced mentors we were able to achieve results so much faster.”

Tom Byrne, CTO & Founder, HealthComms

The application process will open again for Propeller 3.0 in the Spring of 2012.  Keep an eye on the Ryan Academy’s website.  

Propeller start-ups have access to and advice from mentors, which is a key part of the programme; the mentors are senior corporate executives as well as seasoned entrepreneurs in the technology area. Another benefit of the programme is the package of corporate and service support including marketing, accounting, legal and intellectual property advice.  Companies such as Sage, Arthur Cox (largest law firm in Ireland), Tomkins IP (intellectual Firm of the Year in 2010), Enterprise Ireland, Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME), the HALO Business Angels Network, the Irish Technology Leadership Group and Arizona State University in the US have agreed to partner on the programme.

€10m international start-up fund to attract entrepreneurs into Ireland

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

A €10m international start-up fund, aimed at encouraging overseas entrepreneurs to locate their businesses in Ireland, was launched today by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton.

While the fund will be open to company promoters all over the world, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said it “will be targeted particularly at the Irish diaspora, international expatriates, the ‘new diaspora’ (people from overseas who have previously worked or studied in Ireland), as well as serial and mobile entrepreneurs”.

The fund, which will be administered by Enterprise Ireland, will target investor-ready projects seeking between €200,000 and €500,000. Its target geographies will include North America, the UK, Europe and Australia, while sectors will include internet, games, cloud computing, medtech and financial services.

Funding will be in the form of an equity stake taken by the State in the company.

The Department said Enterprise Ireland will be appointing a number of high profile, successful Irish entrepreneurs to act as international start-up ambassadors to help market the fund overseas.  Dylan Collins, who has founded a number of online gaming companies, is one of the first to accept the role of fund ambassador.

Collins described the fund as an excellent way to build on Ireland’s position as one of the leading start-up hubs in Europe. “If you’re in a start-up anywhere in the world which has international ambition, you need to come and talk to us right now,” he said.
“One key strand of our new industrial strategy will be to create a genuine indigenous engine of growth,” said Minister Bruton.

“As I have said before, our ambition must not only be to attract the next Google or Microsoft to Ireland, but we must also seek to grow the next Google or Microsoft in Ireland. Indigenous companies provide proportionally more than three times more benefit to the Irish economy than multinational companies.

“Today’s announcement is a direct intervention by government to create more start-up companies here. Across the world, many of the start-up companies which go on to succeed and create jobs are driven by people within a small class of mobile, innovative, serial entrepreneurs. What the Irish Government is saying very clearly today to the international technology community gathered in Dublin is – come and start your company in Ireland, we are open for business, and we will support you”.
‘The addition of the €10m fund provides a core offering around which the rest of our overseas entrepreneurship marketing and promotion efforts will be centred,” said Frank Ryan, Enterprise Ireland chief executive. “The attraction of overseas entrepreneurs to Ireland is an important opportunity to expand our start up activity and they will significantly add to the diversity and skill-base of the Irish start up community’.

SFI Researchers Pitch for Success at Demo Day Final

The final day of the Science Foundation Ireland’s TIDA (Technology Innovation Development Awards) took place in the DCU Ryan Academy, with researchers pitching to a panel for the prize of a week in Silicon Valley. This was the culmination of over 2 months of intense training in commercialisation and entrepreneurship for the researchers, as part of the SFI’s TIDA 2010 programme.

The visit to Silicon Valley will be hosted by the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) and provide an opportunity for the winning researchers to meet members of the venture community and leading technology companies. The panel for the TIDA Demo Day included representatives from the ITLG, Enterprise Ireland, DCU Invent, and Paddy Power.

“All of the presentations were of a very high quality demonstrating a good understanding of business concepts.” said Director of Enterprise and International Affairs at SFI, Dr Ruth Freeman. “In the end it was quite difficult for the panel to decide on a winner so we have awarded not one but two prizes to the researchers” she added.

The winners were announced at the event and were named as Dr Jerry Reen who is based in the BIOMERIT Research Centre in University College Cork (UCC) and Doctor Patricia McGowan who works in the Molecular Therapeutics for Cancer (Ireland) based in St. Vincent’s University Hospital and University College Dublin (UCD).

UCD Researcher Patricia McGowan - one of the winners of the SFI TIDA Demo Day in the DCU Ryan Academy

The BIOMERIT Research Centre was established to promote, co-ordinate and develop key biotechnology research activities in the thematic area of Environment and Health by targeting strategic research funding to sustain and develop research in this area. The Molecular Therapeutics for Cancer, Ireland (MTCI) is a SFI -funded Strategic Research Cluster that aims to discover and develop new anti-cancer drugs.

SFI is facilitating the visit to Silicon Valley, which will be hosted by the ITLG. The visit will be an opportunity for the winning researchers to meet members of the venture community and leading technology companies.

These researchers now have a solid grounding in entrepreneurship that they can bring back to their research centre to examine the potential for commercialisation of their research” said Ann Horan, CEO of the Ryan Academy.

SFI had partnered with the DCU Ryan Academy to provide entrepreneurship training for postdoctoral researchers at research centres in Universities across Ireland. SFI is working in partnership with Enterprise Ireland on TIDA to realise a greater economic impact from the state investment in oriented basic research. The programme aimed to teach business skills to university researchers and scientists.

For further information please contact: Niamh Collins at niamh.collins@ryanacademy.dcu.ie

SFI Researchers Commercialise with DCU Ryan Academy

April 25, 2011 Leave a comment

DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship develops entrepreneurship programme for Science Foundation Ireland-funded researchers

 Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has partnered with the Dublin City University (DCU) Ryan Academy to provide entrepreneurship training for postdoctoral researchers at research centres in Universities across Ireland. This is part of SFI’s TIDA (Technology Innovation Development Award) 2010 programme.

SFI is working in partnership with Enterprise Ireland on TIDA to realise a greater economic impact from the state investment in oriented basic research.

The programme aims to teach business skills to university researchers and scientists.  The key objective is that successful TIDA awardees will start to develop a base of commercially-relevant, applied research skills that can then be built on with Enterprise Ireland support in order to produce tangible commercial outputs.

Director of Enterprise and International Affairs at SFI, Dr Ruth Freeman said: “Manifesting and nurturing a twinned culture of innovation and commercialization within the scientific community is a cornerstone of SFI’s TIDA programme. Identifying and bringing to fruition the commercial potential of any research concept are critical steps in the journey from idea to industry, and these are encouraged and facilitated by TIDA’s mechanisms.”

The programme, which is delivered in the iconic Ryan Academy building in Citywest Business Campus, culminates in a Demo Day for the participants.  During Demo Day, they will get to pitch their idea to a selected panel that includes a representative from the Irish Technology Leadership Group in Silicon Valley. SFI is facilitating a week-long visit to Silicon Valley for the winning presentation, which will be hosted by the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG). The visit will be an opportunity for the winning researchers to meet members of the venture community and leading technology companies.

“These modules in the SFI programme are delivered by practitioners in the various fields that are vital to an entrepreneurial endeavour,” said Gordon McConnell, Deputy-CEO of the Ryan Academy and director of the SFI programme. “The objective is to give the researchers a real idea of what they need to do to start a technology company tomorrow,” he added.

The SFI programme is modeled on best practice programmes in the US and a variation of a similar programme that the Ryan Academy is delivering in collaboration with DCU Invent for researchers in Dublin City University.

Cameron Declares War on ‘Enemies of Enterprise – Will Enda Kenny?

This is not the first time that Conservative leader and PM of Britain has referenced entrepreneurship, but his weekend speech seemed to signal a hardening of the focus. The speech was to his faithful members at the conservative party’s spring conference, where he declared war on the “enemies of enterprise.”

He also promised a very pro business budget, which will include 10 new enterprise zones to boost some of the most deprived areas of England. Mr Cameron also promised to open up government procurement processes to small businesses, something that is an issue in many countries including Ireland. For too long smaller or startup companies were seen as ‘high risk’ for technocrats in the civil service, preferring a variation of the old ‘no one gets fired for buying IBM’ attitude when it came to large contracts.

Despite being seen as a ‘pro-business’ party, it will be interesting to see if the Fine Gael part of the new Irish government will do anything about the pressing issues for Irish companies, from credit availability to cost structure (energy, rates being two major issues) and what of the continuation of the development of a funding environmental akin to our more successful European neighbours? Will this government also take the plunge and look at merging Enterprise-Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and IDA Ireland into a powerhouse for this so-called ‘Smart Economy’ they keep going on about? We will wait and see.