Archive for October, 2010

Dublin Web Summit – More Please

conor 31st of October 2010 by conor

Friday was my first Dublin Web Summit and it far exceeded my expectations in every way. Paddy Cosgrove pulled off a jaw-droppingly impressive feat over the three days and I can’t congratulate him enough.

I won’t go into enormous detail on the Summit, I really wanted to highlight a few key takeaways and offer one strong criticism.

The quality of the speakers that I saw was pretty amazing. The Irish were just as impressive as their US and UK counterparts and the strong sense of community was palpable everywhere. I think we have struggled to create a tech community here and it has been quite fractured and cliquish. Paddy has managed to overcome this and get everyone together, talking, networking and buzzing.

I loved the focus a lot of speakers put on failure. The response to failure in Ireland still remains very much “oh him, he’s just a chancer, his last business went bust”. These words usually coming out of the mouths of people who has never taken a risk in their lives. So it was a joy to see everyone from Jonathan Siegel to Jeff Clavier to Niklas Zennstrom talk about failing and failing again and getting up and falling down and trying again. That message more than any has to be broadcast and baked into the DNA of this country. There are no get-rich-quick schemes, there is just hard work and perseverance and doing your best to help others in the same boat as you.

Like everyone else in the room, I absolutely loved the gaming panel on Friday. It wasn’t just the humour and smart-arsery, it was the acknowledgement, finally, that gaming is a massive success story for Ireland. Why we have had such a problem admitting this I don’t know. Perhaps Plants vs Zombies doesn’t impress Government departments as much as Microsoft Office. Whatever it is, the ideas presented for growing this sector made absolute sense to me.

And now for the criticism. I have a huge problem with the Playas vs Plebs thing that happened with the two separate conferences. In all the years I’ve been to tech conferences I’ve never encountered anything like it. I still don’t understand why it was necessary. Marissa Meyer doesn’t skip TechCrunch Disrupt because some nobody can walk up to her and have a chat. Jack Dorsey doesn’t skip Le Web because a Paddy can go up to him to shoot the breeze. So why a separate invite-only conference in Ireland? Were they afraid the players wouldn’t come unless it was “exclusive”? As for the “Davos for Geeks” line, c’mon, get real. Bitter much, of course I am :-)

A merged single summit could easily be another Le Web. The reason I go to that conference every year is because it is “flat”. From pre-launch startups to billionaires, journalists and bloggers, all of them mixing, chatting and networking. Every cup of coffee an opportunity. Of course there are private dinners and private parties but the daytime is for everyone. We need more events like this in Europe and I think Dublin Web Summit could be one of the best. But it has to be one summit.

Two more very positive notes:

First, big props to Atomico. Those guys spent the entire day meeting startups and listening to their pitches. I popped up to say hello and they were deeply apologetic. The booklet we all received made it look like you could drop in unannounced. In fact it had to be pre-booked. But rather than send us all packing, they are doing follow-ups with anyone who didn’t get a face to face meeting. My kinda guys!

Finally, congrats to DataHug. I didn’t see their pitch but even a second-hand description of what they do was enough to tell me they are on to a winner. If it works well, they will be snapped up in less than 24 months.

DrupalCampIreland on Nov 20th/21st

conor 31st of October 2010 by conor

The next Drupal Ireland event is taking place on 20th & 21st November in Trinity College Dublin.  Registration is free and you can sign-up for the event at

It will include presentations from experienced Drupal developers where people can learn more about Drupal, what it can do and how it can benefit both them, their careers and their organisation.  There will be two tracks, so participants of all levels will be catered for.

The event is being held free of charge. Lunch is also being provided, and while registration is free, they would ask people to register now so they can cater accordingly.

More information on the event, including accommodation and car pooling, can be found at

We’ve recently being doing some work with Drupal and Ubercart and I have to say it is impressing the socks off me. Just as easy as WordPress to install and configure and a real depth of modules to make it do whatever you want. As it’s a full CMS, you don’t find yourself trying to put a round peg into a square hole as you often do when pushing WordPress too far beyond its blogging roots.

Ireland to Exhibit at Le Web 2010!

conor 23rd of October 2010 by conor

I’ve been finding it hard to keep this news under my hat since the idea was first floated a few months back. There will be an Ireland Pavilion at Le Web in Paris this year! This is just an absolutely brilliant idea and huge kudos goes to all of those in Enterprise Ireland who conceived the idea and then got full support for it both internally and from the IDA.

Le Web is the most important conference about the web in Europe every year. You will not see a more impressive collection of heavy hitters in one place anywhere else. It’s the kind of place where you can meet people like Marissa Meyer or Niklas Zennström or Fred Wilson. My trivial claim to fame is that I think I’m the only Irish person to attend every year since 2006 and I’ve watched it getting better and better.

This year some of the speakers on December 8th and 9th include Dennis Crowley, JP Rangaswami, Toni Schneider and Carlos Ghosn.

The importance of Ireland having its own stand at Le Web cannot be underestimated. The first country ever to have a pavilion like this at the show. One place where global businesses, VCs, other European/US start-ups and leading tech bloggers can see the best of Irish web start-ups. One place where you can point people to in the coming weeks and say “we’ll be there, pop on over for a coffee”.

A problem with giant events like Le Web is that co-ordinating meetings can be a nightmare. People are being pulled in every direction and we are all vying for our own little bit of attention. This stand solves that problem in one fell swoop.

I am convinced this genius move will get a ton of coverage from all the attending press. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by this? After all the relentless bad news about Ireland in the global press where we allowed a cabal of innumerate imbeciles to rape our country, this gives journos a totally new, positive growth story to tell. “Ireland may be screwed now but these start-ups are re-building it from the ground up”.

So, interested?

The EI package is as follows:

  • A full LE WEB pass, giving you access to all the seminars, networking events and competitions over the two days
  • Use of a dedicated 18m² meeting place/demo area which your company can use to meet with key contacts and demo your solution.
  • A drinks reception on the Irish pavilion on the evening of 8th December for EI clients and your guests.
  • In the run up to LE WEB, EI overseas offices will endeavour to link your company in with influential people from overseas markets that will be coming to LE WEB.
  • Your company's profile and contact details in Enterprise Ireland's Internet marketing materials designed specifically for the event

EI is providing this at a totally knock-down price.

There is really only one limitation which is that you must be an EI client to apply to be on the stand. There are only 14 slots so not everyone is going to get through. To apply, simply contact Karen Hallez in the EI Paris office at and she will send you an application form and details on the cost etc. They really need to get this wrapped up in the next few days so apply now.

Also don’t forget that this is the last weekend where you can enter the Le Web Startup Competition.

I know I’ve been lauding Enterprise Ireland a lot recently, but with good reason. Of all the state and semi-state bodies I’ve dealt with since the country went to hell, EI and all its staff are the ones that more than rose to the challenge and they are impressing me with every single encounter. Right now, the way EI operates shows the best of what the public sector and private sector working together should be about.

Make sure your start-up is nominated for a TechCrunch Europas Award

conor 22nd of October 2010 by conor

The Europas, the TechCrunch Europe Awards 2010 for European tech companies, will be held on November 19 in London. Entrants have been initially populated from their startup database,  Crunchbase, but everyone can vote in all the categories here.

If you want to suggest a company, including your own, that you think should be included, then leave a comment in the relevant category. Unlike many Irish awards, it isn’t pay to play.

This is a really great opportunity to get your start-up some visibility with the heavy hitters in Europe.

HeyStaks raises €1m

conor 22nd of October 2010 by conor

HeyStaks Technologies, the NovaUCD-based social web-search start-up company, has just announced that it has secured €1 million of equity funding from The Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund, which is managed by NCB Ventures.

HeyStaks delivers community-enhanced search results that are more personalised and relevant than conventional search engine results.

More details on the NovaUCD site.

Web2Ireland Startup DemoBar & Guardian Tech Weekly in Dublin

admin 21st of October 2010 by admin

We are hosting the second Web2Ireland Startup DemoBar, which brings together entrepreneurs, techies & investors dedicated to showcasing, educating and helping the next generation of internet startups. Signup Here for event on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 from 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM (GMT) at the Ely Gastro Pub, Dublin.

For the November event, we’re also delighted to have the Guardian Tech Weekly team in Dublin.

They have been to Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle and Bristol – and now they are bringing the Guardian’s Tech Weekly podcast to glorious Dublin.

They want to meet techies, gamers, developers and entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes. They want to hear all your ideas and your thoughts about the local scene – the rising stars and ones to watch, as well as the problems holding the tech community back.

Jemima Kiss, Charles Arthur and Scott Cawley from Guardian Tech Weekly podcast will be attending.

Thanks to Enterprise Ireland who will be sponsoring the evening

Ideal Binary’s eBook Apps spreading like wildfire

admin 21st of October 2010 by admin

Ideal Binary is a hot Irish startup, creating interactive entertainment content for mobile platforms. They have their own proprietary PopIris enhanced ebook engine which powers their recent ebook /Grimm’s Rumpelstiltskin for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

From their blog

After one week on the App Store, Apple decided to feature it in New and Noteworthy and Staff Favorites in several countries. But the following week, things began to heat up. Fourteen days after release, we appeared front and centre on iTunes as iPad App of the Week in 19 countries, including the UK, France and Germany. We also appeared as a main feature in three countries, including the US and Canada.

A company to watch in the mobile entertainment space.

Irish Web Awards 2010 Winners

conor 18th of October 2010 by conor

A fantastic night was had by all in The Mansion House in Dublin on Saturday. Lots and lots of new sites and apps to check out. Well done to all the winners and well done to Damien Mulley and his team of elves for putting together a superb event. The full set of winners from the Web Awards blog:

News and Media

Best Online Publication Sponsored by 3 Ireland.

Best Web Only Publication Sponsored by

Best Radio Website Sponsored by Wirecard Payment Solutions

Best Independent Podcaster Sponsored by Edgecast Media

Best Videocaster

Entertainment and Arts

Best Sports Site

Best Music Site sponsored by Poll Daddy

Best Entertainment Website sponsored by bVisible

Best Arts Website Sponsored by DirectEbooks

Technology and Social

Best Technology Site Sponsored by BH Consulting

Best New Web Application/Service Sponsored by Red Cardinal

Most Innovative Website Sponsored by iQ content

Best Mobile Application Sponsored by O2

Best Social Media Campaign Sponsored by Cybercom

  • Bulmers

Best Facebook Page for a Business or Organisation Sponsored by O'Leary Analytics

Best (Guerrilla) Social Media Campaign Sponsored by ebow

Government, Education and Community

Best Discussion forum Sponsored by KRO IT Solutions

Best Microsite Sponsored by

Best Government and Council Website Sponsored by Exigent Networks

Best Education and Third Level Website Sponsored by Olive Media

An Suíomh Gaeilge is Fearr Sponsored by PatentNav


Best eCommerce / Services Website sponsored by

Best SME/Small Business Website sponsored by Pivotal Communications

Technical Awards

Best Practice Sponsored by

Most Beautiful Website in Ireland Sponsored by RedFly Online Marketing

Most Useful Website in Ireland Sponsored by

Most Accessible Website

Best Website in Ireland Sponsored by Realex Payments

Dublin Web Summit October 29 2010 – Top Speakers, Great Networking

admin 18th of October 2010 by admin

Paddy has pulled together a great line up of speakers, including old Web2Ireland friends Dave McClure, Jeff Clavier and others.

Last of the Early Bird Tickets on sale with a few opportunities to sponsor at event by calling David on +353 1 4429284

Seedcamp winner from Ireland – Profitero

admin 8th of October 2010 by admin

Profitero, a Dublin HQ startup, was one of the recent winners of SeedCamp

Profitero is an easy-to-use solution that monitors competitor prices for online retailers, benchmarks their prices against competition and suggests activities to make their price competitive.

The founders, Kanstantsin Chernysh & Alex Usikov are both originally from Minsk, Belarus. Profitero founders are serial entrepreneursin online retail and SEO with strong mathematical backgrounds and expertise in high-performance algorithms, product classification and data mining.

The team had the following thoughts on Seedcamp:

We have worked a lot with Seedcamp mentors in July – September. On one hand, we experienced excitement from investors and mentors about our ideas and technology. On the other hand, we found some good advice on retail problems and product areas to focus on.

The team are working with a variety of UK retailers that have already signed up for the service, like Debenhams, Warehouse Express, The Hut Group, House of Fraser, CleverBox and others.