Irish Startup scene – some thoughts….
The Irish government always take the opportunity to talk up the “startups” in Ireland – this is a great example – 76 New High Growth Potential Start-Ups in 2006.
“Enterprise Ireland Start Up’s to Create 1,260 Jobs and Generate Exports Worth â‚¬110m over the next 2 years. Companies to Invest Over â‚¬47m with Support from Enterprise Ireland.”
As an Irish entrepreneur, I’ve been one of those “High Growth Potential Startups” or HPSUs.
We’ve had great support from Enterprise Ireland – Thanks mainly to our Development Advisor Brian O’Malley [Brian is primary champion within EI on web2.0 - and the shift to "long tail" businesses - because he know that if Ireland, and his area, the North west/West of Ireland is to build great businesses it has to be over the internet, and the "business model" does not need 15 expensive sales people based in the US].
The one bug bear I have with EI is the rigid focus on “numbers” – how can startup businesses predict with any accuracy their numbers – and you are held to those figures for three years.
So it’s with a grain of salt that i consume figures like “1260 jobs”, “â‚¬110m in exports” – and finally â‚¬47m investment.
I’d love to know where the â‚¬47m investment is going to come from. Joe Drumgoole always comes up with great posts – and this Joe hits the nail on the head for the â‚¬47m – “175 million euros sits in escrow?”
To be honest Enterprise Ireland and the government need to look at alternate ways to build the indigenous startup scene in Ireland, and to create the next Google/Yahoo/youtube/etc.
Now onto the prescription….
“Companies used to waste millions of dollars of VC money â€“ and entrepreneurs used to waste years of their lives â€“ working on a failed hypothesis. Now, the cycle is much shorter.”
â€œIt is very difficult to build up a semiconductor company or an enterprise software business. You need to invest $40m to $50m before you know if you have a product that works,â€ Mr Maloney said. â€œWith web 2.0 companies you can find out after three or four million dollars whether it will work.â€
Now back to Joe’s idea
“carve out 50m of that fund (or 75m or 20m) and just give it away in chunks of 100k to any Irish startup who meets .. criteria”
I would take it a step further – EI uses â‚¬25m – and gets Index, Benchmark and perhaps even Google [see what they are doing in India] to build the 1st “Y Europe” – helping Irish entrepreneurs and attracting entrepreneurs from around the world to Ireland.
Do you think we would do more that “76 Startups a year” ? Do you think with advisors like Saul and others that we’d increase the chances of buiding the next Google.
Let me know what you think ?