Archive for December, 2007

The Valley Wows the Paddies

conor 5th of December 2007 by conor

They are halfway through their week in Silicon Valley and the Paddy’s Valley crew are receiving an incredible welcome. It’s not often that a bunch of start-ups get to meet and talk with the following in the space of three days:

  • Robert Scoble
  • Loic Le Meur
  • Facebook
  • SocialText
  • Ning
  • Marc Andreessen!
  • Biz Stone

And they are not finished yet. Salim Ismail has invited them into the Yahoo Brickhouse and any of the Paddy’s Valleyers can pitch to them tonight.

They may even have a soccer match against Facebook and Yahoo.

On Tuesday night, five of the start-ups selected by Enterprise Ireland for the EI/ITI VC Forum got to pitch to some local VCs and invited guests. You can see all of them in video action on the Paddy’s Valley Blog. The winner of the night was Nubiq with their mobile web offerings. Here is their CEO Hélène Haughney’s pitch:

I just know the PV guys and gals are going to pull a few more rabbits out of the hat before the week is over.

[UPDATE] And I wasn’t wrong. Who did they meet yesterday? Jerry Yang! This trip blows any trade mission ever held completely out of the water. I’m in awe.

Company Index: Nubiq

CreativeCamp in a Castle

conor 5th of December 2007 by conor

The best news I saw this week is that CreativeCamp 2008 is to be held in Kilkenny Castle on March 8th. I love seeing the BarCamp idea pushed forward and I’m so excited by the venue! I grew up down the road from the castle and spent many happy hours trying to find the secret tunnels that must exist.

Kilkenny Castle

The idea behind calling it CreativeCamp is to extend the reach beyond the core BarCamp audience of early stage start ups and tech entrepreneurs. This worked out very well for PodCamp which was also held in Kilkenny and where I was amazed to find that I knew very few of the attendees. This is as it should be; BarCamp should be about learning new things and meeting new people, not hanging out with your clique.

I really think Kilkenny City (yes it is a city!) is a perfect venue. Ignoring the touristy aspects, it has been transformed from the dour midlands horror I left in 1986 to the star of the south-east with a big creative community and tons to see and do.

Now to think of something to talk on!

Comment posted by Ken McGuire
at 12/5/2007 4:45:01 PM

Rumour has it the mohawk ninja is keeping an eye on how this develops as well.

I’m delighted we’re pushing ahead with the creative theme, especially around the time of year. With Spring hitting Kilkenny, the opening of more galleries, the interest being reported from the local Arts Office and creative types amongst Kilkenny business and tech circles it should make for a great day!

It’s nice too that that the entire castle will have about 90% wireless coverage (6 floors, 3 wings), we should have no problem reporting from CreativeCamp on the day.

Comment posted by Walter Higgins
at 12/6/2007 3:34:57 AM

I’m really excited about this one. I’ll probably pass on giving a talk this time and just soak up the creative atmosphere. Looking forward to it. Keith did a great job of organising the Waterford barcamp earlier this year so this should be a great one too.

Comment posted by keith bohanna
at 12/7/2007 1:53:45 AM

Thanks for the nicely put write up mention Conor – expectations are running high for this one :-)

Appreciated Walter. Got to say that Tom Corcoran of WIT ( did more for Waterford than I.


MashupCamp – Some fun bits

admin 5th of December 2007 by admin

Chad Dickerson did a quick video when in Dublin – do check it out – brilliant stuffWhat is a mashup? Fun on the streets of Dublin. Chad also has slides from event. Also check out John Musser at Programmable Web

New Start-up Programme Announced.

admin 4th of December 2007 by admin

Many Irish tech entrepreneurs have come through start-up programmes such as Hothouse, M50, Transform etc etc which give context and support to 12 months of start-up activity.

The new Midlands and West Enterprise Programme (MWP) will commence early next year. The MWEP is a one-year programme that provides entrepreneurs with the business skills, networks, facilities and supports necessary to help them in establishing and running their own businesses. Participants may receive a training grant of €6,600 and may also apply to Enterprise Ireland for CORD funding which could provide up to 50% of the previous year’s salary up to a limit.

To find out more please contact Maria Staunton at +353 94-9043198

Castlebar Incubation Centre Open Day

admin 4th of December 2007 by admin

Just received a mail from Maria Staunton who manages the IiBIC Incubation centre at the Castlebar campus of the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. For anyone interested in checking out the centre, she is holding an open day on Thursday 27th December from 2-4pm.

Coming as I do from down the road, I may be biased, but the centre in Castlebar has a great vibe about it. Currently 80% occupied, entrepreneurs have cottoned onto it including Julian Ellison of Tablane. You can reach the centre on +353 94-9043198.

eBay calls Bull on Broadband in Ireland

conor 3rd of December 2007 by conor

Finally someone in big business has stuck their head over the parapet and called the broadband situation in Ireland a joke. John McElligott, Managing Director of eBay in Ireland, wrote to several Irish politicians and described the broadband infrastructure as at developing world levels. He said that he embarrassed to tell his peers in other countries about Ireland’s connectivity problems.


Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin, an ex-teacher, immediately launched the standard smokescreen defense. Nearly up to European average, blah, blah. Issues, blah, blah. Fault of private industry, blah. blah. I’m sure “knowledge economy” was mentioned at some point too. As McElligott said “We claim the 4th highest per capita GDP on Earth. And we want to be average?”.

I’m very impressed to hear this coming from eBay. They are one of the few multi-nationals based here who also advertise their service here. Bad broadband has no effect on their internal fibre connections but it does reduce the number of people who can potentially use the eBay service effectively.

I live about 2.5km from the local exchange. 2 Mbs on DSL is the fastest I can get. 3Mbs doesn’t work reliably. So talk of 8/16/32 or even (hah!) 100Mbs annoys me ever so slightly. We have these wonderful mythical MANs around most of our big cities now but people down the road from me are at 56kbs.

Broadband in Ireland remains a joke and those who justify the current situation are either clueless or shills. I’d love to see the MDs or SVPs of Amazon Ireland, Google Ireland, Intel Ireland and Microsoft Ireland back John McElligot in calling bulls*** on the current situation. Maybe if they all threaten to move to Bejing, some strategic planning execution might occur?

Comment posted by Ernest Tab
at 12/10/2007 5:02:09 AM

Isn’t BT an option for you guys? –

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 12/5/2007 2:55:09 PM

Nice of you to fully analyse this company knowing nothing about them or their history. They’ve been waiting since 2001 for a leased line…….. “Please hold, an operator wil be with you soon”.

Last month I visited another company that can only get ISDN. No DSL, no 3G data, no wireless. They are not part of this magical “vast majority”. Funny how most of the people I know down here outside of the big towns are also not part of the vast majority. But as long as you are alright jack.

Comment posted by seanwal111111
at 12/5/2007 2:10:20 PM

They’re rolling out 15mbps for internet video. That much bandwidth is ten times more than what’s needed for high quality music and webpages.

You say the company in West Cork is close enough to the phone branch exchange that it has a working DSL line. You don’t explain why it can’t get a second phone line installed. The company in this situation is probably guilty of dim foresight and bad management in not ordering more phone lines before it became 30-person, and/or not realizing the benefits of the internet before now. Yes and I suppose they whinge now that their situation is the phone company’s fault if phone company tells them to wait a month for an install.

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 12/5/2007 1:39:52 PM

I spent the afternoon with a 30 person company in West Cork that has one 3 MB/s DSL line for the company. That’s the best they can get and 384 Kb/s up!

If 2 Mbs is adequate, why are they rolling out 15 Mbs in the UK? I’m sure paraffin lamps were adequate at one stage too.

Comment posted by seanwal111111
at 12/5/2007 1:22:22 PM

The price of broadband in Ireland today is not more expensive, and actually a little cheaper, than in most OECD countries (including the US and Australia for example). The broadband infrastructure reaches the vast majority of the population today too, though the vast majority are choosing to not sign up for it. I believe two megabits per sec is adequate for anyone, except for the people who want to waste their time watching television.

Whereas that whinger from eBay spoke about the physical infrastructure, the Minister for Enterprise in his reply spoke about the market uptake by consumers. Two different things. However the industry has been creating the infrastructure with high confidence that market uptake will inevitably happen sooner or later.

Comment posted by Fantastico
at 12/4/2007 9:42:20 AM

The only reason Ebay have come out whinging is because they are having little impact on the Irish marketplace.
It hasnt took off not becuase of broadband but becuase of the ripp-off merchants that populate it.
Why would anyone bother buying products from when they can be sourced half the price on or dot com?
The rest of us seemed to have got on with the current broadband infrastructure!

Comment posted by Matt
at 12/4/2007 7:39:17 AM

We have one of those mythical 12Mbs connections where I work. The actual speeds in the middle of the day aren’t quite as advertised:

About 4meg down, and about 800k up. I daresay if I did a test in the middle of the night it might be a bit faster, but not much.

The exchange is roughly 50m away from our router.

Comment posted by Jonathan Hill
at 12/4/2007 5:04:35 AM

Here here! Well said Conor. Us small indigenous companies have been complaining for years to no effect.

7 Days in the Valley

conor 1st of December 2007 by conor

The Paddy’s Valley tour of the Bay Area is finally here. Tomorrow morning, a mixture of great Irish start-ups and tech tourists will land in SFO for a week of networking, pitching, sparkling conversation and sparkling Calistoga :-)


The week’s agenda has filled up incredibly well over the past week and all the travellers owe a major debt of gratitude to organisers Damien Mulley and James Corbett and to those of their peers who contributed to the arrangements.

  • Sunday – Depart Ireland. Arrive Palo Alto
  • Monday – Meet Robert Scoble, Maryam Scoble, Loic Le Meur, Halley Suitt and others.
  • Tuesday – Visit Facebook and SocialText
  • Tuesday Afternoon -Enterprise Ireland event, opened by the Irish Ambassador in Mountain View where some of the PV companies will pitch in front of invited VCs from the Valley. Those companies are Tourist Republic, Putplace, Nubiq, Spoiltchild and
  • Wednesday – Visit the Microsoft Campus with some to Google for lunch
  • Wednesday Afternoon – Computer History Museum
  • Wednesday Evening – Possibly attend the WorkIT networking event and meet some people from Twitter
  • Thursday – Meeting Meebo. Some may visit Sandbox Suites co-working facility and United Layer hosting facility
  • Thursday Evening – Irish Network social event in San Francisco

If you are in the Valley and would like to hook up with the guys and gals, drop a line to paddysvalley AT gmail DOT com. Everyone is welcome to attend the Monday and Thursday social events and they are wide open on Friday and Saturday to hook up and talk business and tech.

The hope is that this will become a regular trip where new and upcoming Irish start-ups get a chance to see how SV operates and meet their international peers.

Have a blast y’all and let the rest of us know what you are up to on Twitter and the #paddysvalley channel on Jaiku.

Comment posted by Paul M. Watson
at 12/2/2007 7:00:29 AM

Have a good time guys and I hope you bring back some know-how to Ireland.

Comment posted by Walter Higgins
at 12/1/2007 8:00:12 AM

I’ll be there in spirit. Have a great time.