Two Years Ago with Dublin Globe

Two years ago this week we launched our newspaper Dublin Globe with Ambassador Dan Mulhall in London. Those were some sweet - and hectic - times!

Now Dublin Globe has more than 13,000 weekly subscribers, and pretty much everyone I meet knows about it and reads it. DG's first editor Derek O' Connor, and now Irina Dzhambazova, have done a brilliant job. I bow low and deep to them both.

Here's a reprising of the fun launch announcement - The Dublin Globe Rocketship has Launched!

Niamh Bushnell

Female Founder? Yes!

Almost two years ago we launched the Wonderful Women’s Speakers list, a public Google doc to encourage women all over the country to register their interest in judging and speaking at events. The Wonderful Women’s list remains one of the Office's most popular documents.

Today, on International Women’s Day, we’re encouraging the promotion of women once again by adding "Female Founder/CEO” as a new field for companies on TechIreland.

Never again will I sigh when asked for a well rounded list of female founders! TechIreland is proud to track and profile these companies, but first we need to gather the data.

So, if you’re a female founder, cofounder or CEO of one of the 1200+ companies on TechIreland, just email your name to Ciaran today and he’ll add "Female Founder/CEO: Yes" to your company profile.

Once the new version of TechIreland goes live (in a couple of weeks) all of this data will be easy to find and filter. We'll also publish insights and observations on the data over time - who’s funding female founders, where they’re based, their employees, sectors, and the technologies they’re building. No doubt these insights will be important and illuminating.

Female Founder Yes's have been added to a small number of TechIreland companies already - Beats Medical, Restored Hearing, Sales Optimise, Axonista, Pharmapod, Opening and Soapbox Labs, but there are at least hundreds more of you out there and we want to make sure you're all included.

Female founders, cofounders and CEOs, more power to you! You and your companies deserve recognition and a great place to start is TechIreland.

Niamh Bushnell

Sparks Will Fly

Dublin City Council published a press release yesterday about the transition of projects from the Commissioner's office. Our publication Dublin Globe, The Brekkie and the Tech Concierge service will all move to the Digital Hub. Our monthly Mentoring for Scale program will become part of the DCU Ryan Academy.

Positive developments all, I know these well oiled machines will continue to scale and contribute to Dublin's great startup and tech community from their new homes.

Meantime, another office project, TechIreland, will become a more full time focus for me. It's an ambitious and nationwide exercise to map, track and connect the dots around innovation in Ireland - startups, multinationals, investors and hubs.

It sounds painstaking and manual and, believe me, a lot of the time it will be, but when you connect disparate pieces of data together sparks will fly.

Fiach Mac Conghail, my successor at Startup Dublin is on a similarly exciting mission. He’s got the vision and the energy to enhance and deepen the work we've started - and a winning team to boot, with Irina Dzhambazova continuing as Editor of Dublin Globe, and Sarah Leahy as Tech Concierge and Community Manager.

The Brekkie this Friday will be my last and I'll be doing lots of thanking, so bring your best bows and applause. It thrills me how willing people are to invest in the success of Dublin’s tech community and during the last two and half years our office has received a generous share of your time and goodwill.

If you can’t make the Brekkie - and it’s already looking pretty crowded - feel free to pop into the office before April 1st when myself and Ciaran Casey, TechIreland's Head of Research, hightail it to Dogpatch Labs and turn into full blown data geeks.

Last year the Brekkie actually fell on April 1st so myself and DC Cahalane played a joke on everyone about how the office was moving to Cork. I cried with laughter writing the press release for that one.

Niamh Bushnell

Kudos DTS!

Last week was Dublin Tech Summit week, and for a first time conference with big plans for the future I thought they delivered a triumph.

DTS had all the ingredients of a young conference full of promise - international headline speakers, spin-off evening events across the city, and entry queues to the venue and the stages that you wished were shorter and faster.

For sure, teething issues were visible here and there at DTS, but so was energy and positivity. I’ve probably never met a nicer bunch of volunteers at any conference anywhere.

I had meetings with journalists from the UK and the US, investors from China and Berlin and startups from Australia and Dubai. I got a huge amount of work done over two short days and it felt easy and enjoyable.

At every turn at DTS I also bumped into startups and investors from across Ireland, and it was so good to see them there, supporting the new kid on the block in impressive numbers.

Companies who had done their homework no doubt benefitted from DTS in spadefuls, from renewing connections to expanding their networks, and learning some new perspectives.

They said it could be done, and it turns out, they were right. Congratulations to Noelle and Ian and Ben and all the team.

The space is already blocked off on my calendar - roll on DTS 2018!

Niamh Bushnell

Women, Tech and Hell

This week two years ago I wrote what became one of my most popular blog posts as Commish - about women, tech and funding. Since then we've seen female founders like Nora Khaldi of Nuritas and Patricia Scanlon of Soap Box Labs break previous records for female funding levels in Ireland. And both of these ladies, along with many others, are just getting started. Here's the piece from Feb 2015. Enjoy!

I presented last week to the government’s Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on Women in Tech and my role as Dublin Commissioner for Startups. I told them (and George Hook later that evening (starting @9.23min)) that the statistics around female entrepreneurs in Ireland are headed in the right direction: Since Enterprise Ireland started offering female specific programmes in 2012, funding for women led businesses has jumped from 7% to 23% (HPSU and CSF) in three years.  This is impressive by any standard and well above European and US averages.

Clearly, the end goal here is a time when female specific programs are no longer needed, but that level playing field is still a long way off.

While women led private technology companies achieve 35% higher return on investment new research in the US and UK shows that men are still 40% more likely than women to get approved for a bank loan. I’m guessing the picture in Ireland is no different in our banking or VC sector. We’ve only 5 female venture capitalists in the whole country, which is a concern in itself.

Women entrepreneurs are also known for being more deliberate, risk averse and conservative than their male counterparts as I found out for myself a couple of years back: I asked a mentor of mine at MIT for feedback on my investor deck. When she said I needed to increase my revenue projections by some serious multiples I got defensive and explained that these were the projections I was comfortable with. Her response was blunt and uncompromising: “Niamh, be like a man and pull the figures out of your ass!”.

There’s a wonderful new crop of female tech role models growing up in Ireland today. People like Leonora O’ Brien of PharmaPod, Emer O’ Daly of Love and Robots, Rhona Togher and Eimear O’ Carroll of Restored Hearing, Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical, Sonya Lennon of Frock Advisor,  Jayne Roynane and Helen Flynn of Konnect Again and so many more.

These ladies run some of the hottest startups in the country and while they’re building global markets overseas they’re breaking down barriers at home for themselves and for the generations of smart, sassy women that will follow in their footsteps.

So, whether Madeleine Albright's famous quote "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other" is right or not, I’m chuffed to be out there supporting and cheerleading for them!

Niamh Bushnell

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