Our Time to Shine. Read and Act Please.

This morning we received the very preliminary data from Crunchbase about how many startups there are in Dublin. We’re over the 2,000 mark which per capita puts us right up there as a global player in terms of density, volume and importance. Thanks to Liam Casey and PCH for encouraging and supporting us in taking the first steps in this never ending adventure to map our great startup ecosystem.

Now, people. It’s your turn. Startup Compass are publishing a report in a couple of weeks that ranks startup ecosystems around the world. Please startups, wherever you are in the country, fill out the survey here.

I could tell you it’s time to be patriotic, I could tell you the survey will only take 10 minutes of your time, I could tell you I don’t care about “rankings” in the long run either, but…..  LETS JUST DO THIS.

Startup organizations around the country, if you represent a large group of startups and would like to get in touch with Compass directly to explore becoming survey partners, use the Contact Us section on this website and we’ll connect you.

Lets get hundreds, no, thousands of startups across Ireland included and feel really good about it.

Thanks, Niamh



Join the Policy Chorus

Aimage1t last week’s full house gathering of the Dublin Startup Leaders group in my office, someone described the government’s 2015 budget announcement last October as “so far off the mark, it was a slap in the face” to entrepreneurs and startups in Ireland. Many in the room nodded. They remembered being on the receiving end of that sting and were psyching themselves up for the next go round, on October 14th this year. In fact, that’s why we were meeting.

A relative newbie like me gets lost pretty quickly in the nitty gritty of Irish tax policy (a big issue in itself) despite great guiding documents like Sean Blanchfield‘s 2014 pre budget submission on behalf of Startup Ireland. But a simple  comparison of headlines between the UK and Irish tax code highlights how much we actively disincentivise entrepreneurship and angel investment here in Ireland. For a real life case study or 4, go to any startup related meetup or event around the country and listen.

I’m still getting used to how much government involvement there actually is in the startup world here versus the US, particularly when it comes to funding. And yet, relative to large companies and multinationals, it seems that our burgeoning startup sector has little or no political clout. Hopefully, that’s slowly but surely changing.

The Dublin Startup Leaders group is not expecting to part the seas or perform miracles between now and October. What we are planning however, under the skilful leadership of Raomal Perera, is to come together as one voice to lobby government for changes that will make our startup environment competitive for investors and PAYE employees who want to become entrepreneurs and build their own businesses. And that’s already exciting.

Whether you work for a multinational, an indigenous corporation, a startup or the government itself, we’re putting together a resounding chorus and welcome you to join us.

Thank you,

Niamh Bushnell



#GetVoting Brekkie Tomorrow

Future Belongs to VoteOn this very Friday, May 22nd, Ireland goes to the polls to vote on the issue of marriage equality. As the hum and buzz mount across the city, I’d like to remind all of our friends in the Dublin tech community to drop by Friday morning for our special #GetVotingBrekkie from 8-10 am, sponsored by Irelandia Aviation.

If you like your sausage rolls warm and your cookies specially iced I’d advise you register in advance.

And if you prefer riding to the polls for free, there are Uber and Hailo offers here and here.

See you Friday, Community!

Niamh Bushnell.

The Dublin Startup Community Fund (DSCF) Kicks into Gear

FullSizeRender-2Startup founders know better than anyone that things often appear a lot more straightforward than they turn out to be. And so it was with the setting up of the Dublin Startup Community Fund which just awarded its first three cash grants on Friday.

Securing the initial sponsors for the fund was straightforward, given that lots of people and organizations in Dublin walk-the-walk and put real money into supporting the city’s startup activity. Gina Quin from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Gerry Prizeman from Bank of Ireland, and Paul Sweetman from the Irish Software Association/IBEC all came on board and without requiring reams of paperwork or weeks of meetings.

And when we started out, the concept of the Community Fund seemed pretty well baked too: invite community members to apply for funding for their events and campaigns, and we’d vote for the best ones. All was well until the applications started flowing in and the Board members started to grapple for the first time with important issues like what qualifies/disqualifies, how much money to award; what to ask for in return? The fund was loosely modeled on a Startup Fund in Colorado, but the energy pumping out of Dublin’s ecosystem couldn’t be contained using Colorado’s more programmed approach!

So, it’s taken a couple of months plus to hone the model for Dublin, and it remains a work in progress. That said, the ask and the application are simple and make sense. We’re looking for well marketed, inclusive events, that generate valuable and reusable content, and that promote Dublin as a great startup city. Lots more information is available on the DSCF homepage.

Below in brief are the first three awardees. Congratulations to each of them and sincere thanks to our trusting sponsors and tenacious Board members: Joan Mulvihill, Patrick King, Lesley Tully, Daniel Ramamoorthy and chair, Kim Pham. You make our community shine!

Applications are now open for the next round. They’ll be reviewed in a month’s time and awardees announced by the end of June.

Fintech: Idea Starter Hackathon: http://www.ideastarter.ie/hackathon.html

Start-Ed: Legal Innovation and Education: http://www.meetup.com/Legalworkshopsdublin/?scroll=true

Recruitment: A Paperless Career Event powered by Jobbio (website not yet available).

Niamh Bushnell

Special Startups + Friends Brekkie Friday, May 22nd

FullSizeRender-2We’re holding a Special Startups + Friends #GetVotingBrekkie on Friday morning, May 22nd to nourish the tech community to go out and vote in the Marriage Equality referendum. As with all of our Brekkies there won’t be any speakers or agenda, and everyone with an interest in tech, innovation and startups is welcome to elbow in on the chow and the free flowing discussions.

Running on referendum fever, thick coffee and a mountain of deliciously sweet pastries, the May 22nd #GetVotingBrekkie will be the place to fuel up before you queue up, and the quality of the networking will help all you techies forget it’s early morning. So join us to celebrate a democratic process that’s really proven itself at scale!

Register for the #GetVotingBrekkie here.

Many thanks to our #GetVotingBrekkie sponsor Irelandia Aviation, a huge Irish success story and strong supporters of the vote, this office and the Dublin tech and startup community.

See you all on the 22nd, 8-10am.

Niamh Bushnell




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