www.itlg.org | www.svgpartners.com
$6.99 | €5.49 | Autumn/Winter 2013
Silicon Valley Global
O f f i c i a l P u b l i c at i o n O f T h e I r i s h T e c h n o l o g y L e a d e r s h i p G r o u p
Craig Barrett Education is the Game Changer
Global Irish Economic Forum ITLG President John Hartnett to chair working group on developing a supportive culture for entrepreneurship
Lero: Driving world class research Ambitious plans for Shannon Airport
Enter the Dragon
Cisco Senior Vice President & ITLG co-founder Barry O’Sullivan on building a dynamic, innovative and successful economy.
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A TRADITION OF INDEPENDENT THINKING
University College Cork (UCC), www.ucc.ie is a collegiate, progressive and dynamic university, built on a history of significant achievements, and strong academic and professional leadership. Founded in 1845, and situated in Ireland’s second city, UCC is the comprehensive globally-oriented research-led university of the south of Ireland providing the full range of disciplines and playing a key role in the development of Ireland’s knowledge-based society. As Ireland’s first five-star university, UCC boasts a vibrant, modern, environmentally sustainable campus and a top-ranked student experience, second to none in Ireland. We take pride in our long tradition of independent thinking in teaching, learning and research. The campus is located in the heart of Cork city, the European Capital of Culture 2005, which was cited by the Lonely Planet Guide as a top ten location to visit, for its “unshakeable self-confi dence and innate sense of pride”. A full time student population of 18,000, including 4,000 postgraduate students, is given an international dimension by the presence of over 3,000 international students from over 100 countries worldwide. UCC is currently ranked in the top 2% of universities worldwide, based on research quality and peer esteem. We take pride in being one of the best-funded research universities in Ireland, with internationally recognised programmes across the full of range of humanities, business, law, science, engineering and medicine. We host several ofIreland’s elite research centres and our researchers work at the leading edge of innovation, commercialisation, and industry collaboration. To learn more about UCC research, please visit: www.ucc.ie
In February 2013, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI, www.sfi.ie) announced details of the largest joint state/industry research investment in Irish history — a €200M state investment was matched by a €100M contribution from the industrial sector. Seven national Research Centres were funded; UCC leads four of these (including the Irish Photonic Integration Centre (I-PIC) hosted by the Tyndall National Institute), co-leads one other, and is a partner in the remaining two. Each of these centres will undertake worldleading research in its field, with applications to fundamental industrial challenges. The outcomes of the research led by these centres will have local, national and global impact. Positions available within the SFI Research Centres include PhD studentships, positions for Post-doctoral Researchers, Research Fellows, Clinicians, Engineers, Computer Scientists, Systems Biologists, Bioinformaticians, and a range of other research support staff. In the coming years, these researchers will work with world-leading teams at UCC, and at our partner institutions, undertaking research within state-of-the-art environments. This invaluable experience, including interaction with industrial partners, will provide an excellent insight into the role of research and innovation and, critically, how it can lead to development within the enterprise sector. For on-going career opportunities at UCC, please visit: www.ucc.ie/en/hr/vacancies/
The Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC, apc.ucc.ie) investigates the close link between diet, the gastrointestinal microbiota and our health status. The APC, founded in 2003 with funding from SFI, represents a seamless collaboration between UCC, Teagasc Moorepark and the Cork Institute of Technology. In the intervening decade the APC has flourished into a vibrant research centre with a 150 strong team of scientists and clinicians, with expertise across a broad range of disciplines such as gastroenterology, microbiology, immunology, nutrition, psychiatry, biochemistry, neuroscience, neonatology, geriatric medicine, cardiovascular health etc.
The Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT, www.infantcentre.ie) is a world-leading centre of perinatal research. This unique partnership between academia, clinicians and industry is led by Professor Louise Kenny and Professor Geraldine Boylan at UCC. INFANT’s primary purpose is the development of innovations and technologies in perinatal healthcare. It will address the worldwide clinical need for effective screening tests for the most common complications of pregnancy and the most significant problems for newborns. The improved detectionX of perinatal problems will lead to prompter treatments and thus improved outcomes for mothers and their babies.
The major aim of the APC is to provide the necessary scientific basis for the selection of health-promoting bacteria and novel bioactives for the development of new therapeutics to treat intestinal and infectious diseases, or for incorporation into functional foods to promote health. The APC collaborates very closely with industry partners from the food, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and diagnostic sectors. The APC has just been successful in winning an SFI Research Centre award and is currently recruiting staff at all levels, including 11 postgraduate positions. For more information, please visit: apc.ucc.ie and www. teagasc.ie/careers
Members of the INFANT team have already pioneered personalised medicine approaches and identified clinical, bloodborne and imaging biomarkers of perinatal disease. They have also exploited recent computational and engineering advances to build prototype algorithms for the prediction of adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes. INFANT will build on this expertise, serving as a hub for innovation and fast-tracking discoveries to the cot-side. The development of next generation devices to facilitate point-of-care and remote healthcare monitoring and diagnostics will transform pregnancy, neonatal healthcare and service delivery on a global level. For on-going opportunities within INFANT, please visit: www.infantcentre.ie
The INSIGHT Centre for Big Data Analytics (INSIGHT, www.insight-centre.org) is a joint initiative between researchers at UCC, University College Dublin, NUI Galway, and Dublin City University, as well as other partner institutions. It will bring together a critical mass of more than 200 researchers from Ireland’s leading ICT centres to develop a new generation of data analytics technologies in a number of key application areas.
Ireland is in one of the best locations in the world for Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) resources, but requires novel enabling science and technology to access these resources. The new €25M Centre for Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI, marei. ucc.ie) is a cluster of university and industrial partners dedicated to solving the main scientifi c, technical and socio-economic challenges related to ocean energy. MaREI has access to stateof-the-art laboratories, advanced computational models, and considerable research capability in the basic, applied and social sciences. MaREI’s scientifi c research programme is organized into four platform themes focusing on wave energy devices, marine electro-gas, informatics tools, and cost reduction. A series of targeted projects involving 50 industry partners will also be undertaken. These are organized into fi ve themes: MRE devices; novel materials for MRE systems; power take-off and energy storage for MRE; operations support engineering; and MRE decision support and data management. Being industrycentred, MaREI will develop an innovation environment that will yield intellectual property, high potential start-up companies and jobs to support Ireland’s economy. The establishment of MaREI will enable the emerging MRE industry in Ireland to grow to suffi cient scale so that it will have the capacity to supply energy and expertise to both indigenous and export markets. MaREI will employ 51 PhD students in addition to Postdoctoral Researchers, Research Fellows, and technical and operational staff.
INSIGHT brings together leading Irish academics from five of Ireland’s leading research centres (DERI, CLARITY, CLIQUE, 4C, and TRIL), previously established by SFI and the Irish Industrial Development Authority (IDA), in key areas of priority research including the semantic web, sensors and the sensor web, social network analysis, decision support and optimization, and connected health. The €70M centre is funded by SFI and a wide range of industry partners. INSIGHT’s research focus encompasses a broad range of data analytic technologies and challenges, from machine learning, decision analytics and social network analysis to linked data, recommender systems and the sensor web. Together with more than 30 partner companies, INSIGHT researchers and PhD students will address critical challenges in the areas of Connected Health and the Discovery Economy.
Supporting Start-Up’s 118 | Activating Dublin Making Dublin tops for start-ups.
122 | Start-Me-Up Living the dream.
126 | The Right Move Setting up shop in the valley.
130 | A Helping Hand Launch pad for entrepreneurs.
132 | Kingpins Ireland’s tech start-up Stars.
138 | A glimmer of greatness
11 | Welcome
40 | Planning for Success
By ITLG President John Harnett.
Building a 21st century economy.
14 | A Position of Advantage
45 | LEPD
Grant Thornton’s Peter Vale talks tax.
A vision for Limerick.
16 | Executive Visa Options
49 | Limerick 2014
Will US immigration reform change the rules?
ITLG invites you to Limerick.
18 | News
52 | A Class Act
Technology news, events and headlines.
World class research center in Limerick.
26 | Cyber & Data Liability
56 | Flying High
What’s it all about?
Shannon Airport aims high.
28 | Northern Lights
Richard Moran on what he looks for as an investor.
142 | Seeking Capital Creating a more dynamic venture capital scene.
146 | Procuring profits How purchasing adds strategic value.
148 | Digital Hub The flagship for digital enterprises.
102 | BT Ireland Helping to attract inward investment.
Northern Ireland targets technology investment.
58 | South Cork Enterprise Board
104 | Energizing innovation
Working to stimulate a vibrant region.
ESB’s innovation plans.
30 | Trend Micro
60 | Bridging the Digital Divide
106 | Analog Devices
Mobile threats go full throttle.
UPC: Supporting digital inclusion.
A belief in education.
32 | Going Global
64 | Cork of Opportunity
108 | Horner AIG
Building the supply chain.
Cork stands out.
Making parts work.
34 | BDO
66 | Eircom
110 | Powered by Excelsys
The path to global success.
The right communications partners.
High efficiency, high reliability, low profile power supplies.
36 | The Cisco kid
68 | Evolve or die
Ireland must aim for greatness says Barry O’Sullivan.
Voxpro - A European customer service story.
112 | Arthur Cox John Menton interview. Silicon Valley Global | 5
154 | Willie Duggan
71 | Tech Expo
156 | Perfect Finish
Insights from Berlin’s IFA tech expo.
Cutting edge design for high tech clients.
74 | Technology Trends
158 | Tech Titans
Rory McInerney shares his vision of the future.
Ireland’s top 30 tech titans
78 | Going Digital
172 | A Rising Star
Collaboration is vital to innovation.
Paul Kenny makes it big in the Middle-East.
94 | Follow the leader
Game time with Robert Nashak.
82 | High Finance Innovation pays for Fexco.
114 | Cool Coders
Light by design.
Education 84 | Craig Barrett
Education is key to success.
88 | Act Smart
A recipe for a smart economy.
92 | Partnership Works
178 | Food & Technology
Leadership skills can be learned.
Salinas Valley - where fresh food and technology intersect.
Opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
181 | Grand Plans
96 | ICT Industry
98 | Follow the agenda
The CoderDojo coolest projects awards.
Dublin Castle hosts the 3rd Global Irish Economic forum.
Cutting-edge technologies for education.
150 | Market Hill
188 | Africa Rises
Only the best.
Technology lifts Africa.
Learning the ropes.
100 | School of Business
NISO Supreme Safety Award Winners 2005, Gold Award Winners 2006 & @007, Platinum Award Winners 2008 Q-Mark Quality Awards: National Winner - Best New Entry, 2008; National Winner – Quality Management Systems Level 2, 2012
Roadbridge 1/2.indd 1
30/09/2013 12:16 Silicon Valley Global | 7
Itlg Core Management team Published in conjunction with Devlin Media and The Irish Technology Leadership Group SVG Accelerator 189 W. Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA 95113 Tel: +1 408.380.7200 Fax) +1 408.380.7205 Consulting Editor Cian Hughes Contributing Editors John Hartnett John Stanton Editorial Panel Helen Hartnett
Former Chairman & CEO, Intel Corporation Chairman, ITLG
Founder & President, ITLG
Executive Director, ITLG
Head of Operations, ITLG
VP Finance, SVG Partners
Richard Moran, Ph.D.
Dublin office 29 Charlemont Lane, Clontarf, Dublin 3 Tel: (01) 805 3944 California Office SVG Accelerator 189 W. Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA 95113 Tel +1 408 380 7200 Fax +1 408 380 7205 Massachusetts Office 76 Ellsworth Road, Hyannis ma, 02601 Tel 15 08 7762 897 Managing Director John Hogan Managing Editor Tommy Quinn
Chief Marketing Officer, Belkin
Nest Labs, Inc.
Director Trish Phelan Production Manager Joanne Punch Senior Contributor Lynne Nolan Sales Co-ord Supervisor Sinead Doherty Sales Team Kevin Hogan Maria Whelan Tony Doyle Martin Oâ€™Halloran Michael Dunwort Tony McCarthy Design Minx Design www.minxdesign.ie Print Swiftprint Solutions Contributors Content Kings Shane Cassells Contributing Photographer Chris Ryan Barry Cronin
8 | Silicon Valley Global
Barry Oâ€™Sullivan Cisco, Inc.
Itlg Advisory Board
Former Eastman Kodak Company
Allied Wireless Communications Corp.
Former CEO, Palm Inc.
Co-founder, Macrovision Corp.
Martina Newell McGloughlin
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
University of California, Davis
61st Mayor of San Jose, CA
Bank of Canada
Former VP Intuit
Founder Cybersource Corp.
Ireland Consul General
H. Brian Thompson
Global Telecom & Technology (GTT)
Former Secretary General to President of Ireland
Sophia, Gridstore & Cloudsmith, Inc.
Madison Square Garden
Silicon Valley Global | 9
Promoting Ireland Everyone in Ireland is a potential ambassador in helping secure inward investment. Whether you are in business, government or academia, you may have opportunities to sell the benefits of investing in Ireland to your overseas contacts. Make sure you have all the information you need by downloading your copy of Investing in Ireland at kpmg.ie
© 2013 KPMG, an Irish partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. The KPMG name, logo and “cutting through complexity” are registered trademarks of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved. (102921)
elcome to the autumn edition of Silicon Valley Global magazine which is being published on the eve of the Global Irish Economic Forum at Dublin Castle where I look forward to chairing a working group on ‘developing a more supportive culture for entrepreneurs and start-up companies in Ireland’. Those of us who wish to see a sustainable recovery in jobs and a tangible economic resurgence based on innovation, product development and dynamic entrepreneurship will acknowledge the importance of this objective. Ireland is facing significant labor market challenges and the skill set of our workforce remains out of kilter with the demands of both multinationals and the domestic export sectors. The corrosive impact of long term unemployment among older workers and the high numbers of younger people who are emigrating due to lack of opportunity highlights the importance of the task which confronts policy makers. Addressing these issues will require root and branch reform and a fundamental transformation in the manner in which we support enterprise, labor mobility and investment in education and skills. Remodeling our education system to meet the demands of a 21st century economy is no small challenge but nonetheless vital to achieving our objectives. The recent admission by Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn that Ireland’s education system is far from world class and deficiencies highlighted in the latest evaluation from the OECD shows the extent of progress required in this area. Nonetheless, there have been some welcome initiatives by Government and the decision to allocate a higher points tally for leaving certificate students who sit higher level mathematics has been a resounding success. The numbers sitting the higher level paper has increased by 58% since the scheme was introduced two years ago and the pass rate in the recent leaving cert mathematics paper was an impressive 97%. This remarkable statistic provides strong grounds for optimism in relation to our
ability to encourage a greater uptake in the number of students that pursue studies in science, math and engineering. These are the skills required by industry and they are also key to underpinning an economy in which entrepreneurship can thrive and prosper. The current issue of Silicon Valley Global addresses many of these vital themes. The topic of education features extensively and on page 84, ITLG Chairman Craig Barrett who describes education as the ‘great liberator of poverty,’ shares his thoughts and insights on the subject and the central role which education plays in driving economic growth. We also have contributions from senior personnel and education professionals from many of Ireland’s leading universities and research centers. The challenges facing new start-ups is another issue which we address and my ITLG colleague Barry O’Sullivan, Senior VP at Cisco Systems, talks extensively on the subject in a wide-ranging interview on page 36. We also review some of Ireland’s most promising startup companies and talk to young entrepreneurs who are already on the path to global success. ITLG board member, author and investor Richard Moran talks about his experiences with young entrepreneurs and the ‘glimmer of greatness’ criteria which informs his investment decisions. The world of technology is an exciting and rapidly changing environment and this issue provides an insight into the latest technology trends from coverage of the IFA exhibition in Berlin to Robert Nashak the former EVP of Digital Entertainment and Games at BBC Worldwide revealing what is happening in the world of gaming. Elsewhere Rory McInerney, Vice President of the Intel Architecture Group and Director of the Microprocessor Development Group shares his vision of the key technology trends likely to emerge in the coming years. Finally, I am pleased to report that the ITLG continues to go from strength to strength. We are moving towards a membership of 6,000 and our innovation
centre in San Jose now houses some 40 exciting young companies, all determined to make their mark on the global stage. SVG Partners continues to provide leadership, domain expertise and deep industry connections to our rapidly expanding client base. Recent success stories include the formation of the Steinbeck Cluster for the City of Salinas and our professional support of the spin out of Daybreak Technologies from Élan Corporation. In addition the ever growing number of high potential companies which have received over $5 million in funding from our investment division, SVG Ventures continue to excel and companies such as Mcor Technologies, Skillpages and Daybreak Technology have all the attributes required to achieve global success. I hope that you enjoy the current issue of Silicon Valley Global and want to thank you for continuing to support the important work of the ITLG. John Hartnett, President & Founder, ITLG Silicon Valley Global | 11
IDEAS GENERATION, SOCIAL MEDIA UCC ENTREPRENUERSHIP SOCIETY, LEADERSHIP, BUSINESS PLANNING START YOUR OWN BUSINESS, PUBLIC RELATIONS WEBSITE PLANNING & DESIGN, FOOD FORUM, GREENSHOOTS SMILE RESOURCE EXCHANGE, CORKMEET, MACROOM EIP CIT INNOVATION AWARDS, FINANCE, MARKETING, SALES NETWORKS, NICHE BUSINESSES F U T U R A L L I A , MICROFINANCE IRELAND UCC IGNITE, COMMUNITY ENTERPRISE MENTORING, NETWORK CORK, TRAINING WOMEN IN BUSINESS, SENIOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP GRANT FUNDING, MULTI-AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS SCHOOLS ENTERPRISE P R O G R A M M E
South Cork Enterprise Board, Unit 6A, South Ring Business Park, Kinsale Road, Cork T. 021 4975281 F. 021 4975287 E. email@example.com W. www.sceb.ie
Investing In Your Future
Investment, Technology & Leadership Foreword by Cian Hughes.
e are delighted to present our Autumn/Winter 2013 edition of Silicon Valley Global Magazine. It is an honor to feature the highly accomplished technologist, entrepreneur and investor Barry O’Sullivan as our cover story. As well as a Senior Vice President at Cisco, Barry is a founding member of the ITLG and is now a household name for his outstanding presence, insight and decisiveness on the RTE television series Dragons’ Den. The ITLG Global Technology Leaders Summit in Silicon Valley this May was a fantastic success. Highlights included the Female Leaders Panel which was chaired by Disney’s VP of Technology Una Fox and featured Marcia Cross, Star of Desperate Housewives. KSBW Anchor, May Chow’s spectacular interview with Andreessen Horowitz Partner, Connie Chan was inspirational. Connie’s insights into the contrasts between technology and investment in Asia and the US were illuminating. I would like to extend congratulations to our 5 excellent ITLG Irish Times Awards winners from this year’s Summit. Trustev from Cork picked up the Innovation Award 2013 at this year’s Summit. Fortress Payments won the ITLG Mobile Technology Award and Queen’s University Belfast spin out, Analytics Engines took home the ITLG Emerging Technology Award. This year global mobile giant, Digicel in partnership with ITLG are to sponsor two new fantastic award categories specifically for US technology startup companies who are planning to grow their businesses globally. The Mobile Essentials Award was won by Lookout and the Mobile Disruption award was won by Flint. This issue of the SVG Magazine coincides with the 3rd Global Irish Economic forum at Dublin Castle this October 4th & 5th. This year ITLG President and Founder John Hartnett will Chair the working group titled “Developing a Supportive Culture for Entrepreneurship and Start-up Companies in
Ireland” at the Forum. The working group will focus on scaling indigenous Irish companies to become multibillion dollar companies creating thousands of jobs. All who knew George Moore were saddened by his passing this May. George was Founder of Targus Info which he grew from its beginnings to its sale in 2011 for $650M. George served enthusiastically on the ITLG advisory board and was a stalwart supporter of ITLG and Ireland. A great Irish entrepreneur, investor and a true gentleman, he will be sadly and sincerely missed. We continue to highlight the critical need for a focus on math, science, computer studies and foreign languages from the early stages of primary education and the importance of sales and marketing for global markets at second and third level. Through our Kauffman programs we are offering entrepreneurship training to entrepreneurs striving to scale their start-up companies. We look forward to the last quarter of 2013 where we will host Mártín Ó Muilleoir, Lord Mayor of Belfast and the Belfast trade mission at the ITLG headquarters in San Jose on October 15th and to the visit of Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, who we are hosting in Silicon Valley on October 21st. Our focus on investment & engagement with mobile, cloud, entertainment & digital media technology companies will be the theme for our ITLG Silicon Valley Global Technology Forum in Limerick City of Culture, Ireland on January 28th 2014. Women in Leadership roles have a phenomenal impact on shaping the Hi Tech industry and we continue to highlight this at the Limerick Forum. This event will be an excellent networking opportunity where you are guaranteed to establish valuable industry connections and links to Silicon Valley. Discover future trends in technology & hear from Silicon Valley leaders on the latest developments in mobile, digital & cloud computing. We will shortly be announcing our delegation, speakers
Cian Hughes, Head of Operations, ITLG
and details of the Summit agenda. I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Department of Foreign Affairs for the tremendous support they have given ITLG since our foundation. I would like to thank all our members, colleagues and friends for their on-going support which allows us to continue our invaluable work providing leadership, support and investment to disruptive startup technology companies. Cian Hughes Founding Partner Silicon Valley Global Partners Head of Operations ITLG
THE ITLG AT A GLANCE Members: » 5,000+ Events: » 19 Major Events » 11 Cities » 6,600 participants Companies: » 950 Companies » 105 Finalists » 22 Winners Invested: » $5,000,000+
Silicon Valley Global | 13
Position of Advantage Ireland is well placed to benefit from any changes to the global tax landscape, according to Peter Vale of Grant Thornton.
14 | Silicon Valley Global
espite recent international scrutiny, droves of international companies continue to look to Ireland as an attractive place to do business. Indeed, anecdotal evidence suggests that interest in Ireland has never been higher than in recent months. Peter Vale, partner at Grant Thornton, says that Ireland’s story is a much more rounded tale than simply facilitating the tax planning desires of multinationals, as has been suggested by some international commentators. “It’s true that we have a benign tax regime but Ireland also offers a developed infrastructure, an educated workforce and a strong supply of available labor, amongst other attractions,” he explains. “This has led many multinationals to set up a substantial presence in Ireland, with tax being only one of the drivers behind the decisions to locate here.” In fact, Vale believes a company’s decision to remain and expand in Ireland goes far beyond a favourable tax environment. “An oft stated fact is that tax is the reason many companies come to Ireland but other factors drive their rationale for staying,” he insists. “I think this is a very positive statement and provides a compelling reason for companies to consider Ireland over other competing locations.” This optimism in the future of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Ireland has led Grant Thornton to recently open an Irish desk in New York, which is aimed, amongst other things, at servicing US groups looking to locate to Ireland as a way of serving European markets and those further afield. “This is our display of confidence that Ireland has much to offer US investors across many sectors while it will also help Irish companies that are looking to enter the US market,” Vale notes.
Moving the goalposts The recent US Senate hearings, EU developments and OECD reports all point to a moving of the goalposts in the tax world. Indeed, it is possible that there will be a fundamental shift in how taxable profits are calculated, although the timing of any such change is still uncertain. Perhaps the most pertinent question, though, is when change does come, how will it impact on Ireland? “In my view, Ireland couldn’t be better
Peter Vale, Partner, Grant Thornton.
“It’s true that we have a benign tax regime but Ireland also offers a developed infrastructure, an educated workforce and a strong supply of available labour, amongst other attractions,” placed to benefit from any changes in the global tax landscape,” Vale claims. “Much of the future focus is likely to be on the use of tax havens and the location of intangible assets that can drive a significant portion of a group’s profits. Therefore, Ireland has great potential to become a destination of choice for groups looking to onshore their valuable intellectual property away from an existing haven location. Given that there will be quite a significant focus on having real substance in a jurisdiction, this should lead to the creation of further employment in Ireland. Much of these positions are likely to be in the valueadd space, which tend to be more permanent
and less mobile than low value-add jobs.” What’s more, Vale believes that the Irish tax system has a key strategic focus towards attracting inward investment – allowing a minnow to compete with the big fish in global commercial terms. To contrast, the US tax system achieves the opposite and overburdens companies with one of the most onerous tax systems in the developed world. “To a large extent, tax strategy follows commercial rationale and Ireland tells a very good commercial story to the global market. There are some key features of the Irish tax system that play a major part in attracting US companies, none more so than technology companies. These include research and development tax credits to encourage innovation; tax relief for intellectual property transferred to Ireland; a benign tax regime for Irish holding companies with most gains and dividends exempt from Irish taxation; specific reliefs aimed at key executives relocating to Ireland with generous tax breaks for those individuals; and an open and transparent tax system. In fact, Ireland has double tax agreements with almost 70 countries and was one of the first countries to sign up to the US FATCA obligations.” All of these features should be cause for optimism that Ireland can benefit when alterations to the global regime come into play in the future, and should help to dispel the misconception of Ireland as a haven. “While there is some uncertainty as to what the future global tax landscape will look like, Ireland is very well positioned to benefit from any changes,” says Vale. “With an expected focus on tax havens, countries like Ireland, with a recognized and transparent tax regime, can expect to benefit from any changes to the rules.” Vale is also enthused by progress so far and encouraged by Ireland’s positioning to take advantage of any global shift in tax rules. However, he warns that there is still more to do. “I would expect future budgets in Ireland to further improve the tax environment for foreign investors, especially when one considers that there should be further room for the Finance Minister to manoeuvre when austerity measures ease this year,” he says. “Making further changes will be important for Ireland as other countries will also look to improve their respective tax regimes to continue to attract foreign investment.” Silicon Valley Global | 15
O’Brien and Associates
US Work Visa Options The first of this three-part series examined travel to the US for the business visitor. This second article will explore current US work visa options for businesses and professionals, and how those options may change as a result of US immigration reform. Intra-company transfer (L-1) visas The L-1 intra-company transfer visa is an extremely important visa category for managers and executives (L-1A), and specialized knowledge workers (L-1B) of foreign companies with a physical presence in the US. The applicant must have worked with the foreign company in this capacity for at least one year in the previous three. The US and foreign companies must be at least 50% commonly owned, and if the company has been trading in the US for at least one year, a visa may be granted for three years. US startups will receive closer scrutiny than established 16 | Silicon Valley Global
businesses; applicants will receive one year only, after which they must undergo the scrutiny (12 months is a short time in business) and expense of applying for an extension. For this reason, start-ups should consider whether they have any other visa options. Significantly, L-1A managers and executives may also be eligible for permanent residence (‘green card’) under a fast-track category for multinational managers/executives. In the absence of a clear statutory definition of “specialized knowledge”, the L-1B for specialized knowledge workers is a tough category with inconsistent standards applied by USCIS adjudicators. L-1B should generally
be considered only for key personnel whose proprietary knowledge of the company’s products and processes can be well documented; other options (if any) should be considered. The L-1A visa for managers and executives maxes out after seven years (initially three years, with two extensions of two years each), while the L-1B for specialized knowledge workers has a maximum duration of five years (three years initially, with a two year extension). Families of L-1 visa holders are eligible for L-2 visas, which allow them to accompany the principal applicant to live in the US. An L-1 employee is bound to the sponsoring company, whereas spouses of L-1 employees
O’Brien and Associates
may obtain work authorization to work with any US employer.
E treaty visas E treaty visas are a valuable option for nationals of countries which have relevant treaties with the US, including Ireland and the UK. Nationality of a business is determined by the nationality of its owners, not the place of incorporation of the company. Nationals of the treaty country must own at least 50% of the business. Eligible employees for E visas are managers, executives or essential skills workers who share the nationality of the company. Unlike the L-1, there is no requirement that the employee has worked with the foreign company, so new hires may qualify. Spouses are not required to share the nationality, and as with L-1 visas, may obtain US employment authorization. E visas may be issued for five years for established businesses or three years otherwise, and are renewable indefinitely so long as conditions of eligibility continue to be met. E-1 treaty trader visas are available to an individual or business which is trading substantially with the US, i.e., engaged in the frequent exchange of goods or services, including technology. In short, the foreign company must have US-based clients. The E-1 is unusual in that the existence of a US company is not required: at least 50% of a company’s trading revenues must result from trade between the home country and the US however, and incorporation of a US company may be necessary to satisfy this requirement. E-2 treaty investor visas apply where an individual or business with the requisite nationality has invested, or is in the process of investing substantially in a US business. No minimum dollar amount is required, but the amount invested must be proportionally substantial to the total cost of either purchasing an established business or creating the business under consideration. The amount will therefore depend on the type of business (think manufacturing vs. services). It is not sufficient to merely transfer funds to a US corporate business account; the funds must be committed. E visa holders may also benefit from fast track to green card for multinational managers or executives in some cases.
H-1B Visa The H-1B professional visa is for degree holders being sponsored by a US employer for a professional position (one which requires a degree). This is a very heavily regulated visa category and is subject to an annual quota of 65,000 visas worldwide (with an additional 20,000 for advanced degree holders), woefully short of demand. This year the quota was reached within one week of opening on April 1st, leaving a fatal gap in US visa options for many. H-1B visas are issued for three years initially, renewable for an additional three. Spouses may accompany the H-1B holder, but may not work. There is no fast track to green card for H-1B, though master’s degree holders enjoy some preference.
Immigration Reform The US immigration reform bill was passed by the Senate in July, and is now up for debate in the House of Representatives. While much media attention has focused on the undocumented, considerable benefits for entrepreneurs and highly skilled workers have received little press. An obsession with stemming the tide (real or imagined) of outsourcing jobs, especially IT jobs, has led to provisions in the bill restricting or prohibiting outplacement of H-1B and L-1B workers, but there are many positives for existing visa categories as well as the introduction of new ones. The Senate bill recognizes the economic benefits of immigration by including provisions that would loosen restrictions on foreign students seeking permanent residence, increase the annual cap on H-1B visas, create 10,500 visas annually for Irish nationals, create a new entrepreneur visa, and increase the overall supply of employment-based green cards. Broadly, the following provisions of the Senate bill are significant for businesses: • INVEST (Investing in a New Venture, Entrepreneurial Start-ups and Technology) visas – new three year “Start-up Visa” for entrepreneurs who have raised $100K of financing or generated $250K in annual revenue; renewable indefinitely if certain criteria are met. Unlimited number of these visas available. • 10,000 INVEST green cards made available – requirements for INVEST green cards are
more stringent than for INVEST visas. • E-3 visas – currently only available to Australian graduates. The Senate bill proposes to broaden this category to include non-graduates as well as graduates; significantly, Ireland will receive a quota of 10,500 visas per year, renewable every two years. • H-1B professional visa annual quota for bachelor’s degree holders is almost doubled to 110,000 and spouses may obtain employment authorization; advanced degree holders’ quota increased by 5,000 to 25,000 but restricted to STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) graduates. • A new category of employment based (EB) green card has been added which is meritbased (points system). The bill also favors STEM graduates in many respects. • The current per country cap on employment based green cards which has led to huge backlogs for populous countries (e.g., India) is removed. While a comprehensive reform bill faces a tough struggle in the House, it is quite possible that several, smaller bills will be passed, including some of the Senate bill provisions listed above. This may work to the advantage of foreign businesses, as employment-based visa reforms will no longer be tied to the fate of the undocumented. See our website for the latest news updates as the immigration reform story develops: http:// obrienandassociates.com/u-s-immigration-news/
O’Brien and Associates O’Brien and Associates is an energetic US business immigration law firm providing dedicated personal service to corporate clients, executives, and professionals. Established in New York City in the late ’90’s, the firm opened an office in Ireland in 2004 to better serve an expanding Irish client base, particularly in the technology sector. Our client testimonials speak for themselves; for further information please visit our website, www. obrienandassociates.com or contact us to discuss your US visa options.
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ITLG news , events and headlines from the IT world
Tribute to George Moore The ITLG has paid tribute to George Moore, an ITLG board member and one of the most successful Irish-American businessmen of his generation who passed away at his home in Virginia outside Washington DC last May. George Moore was Managing Partner of Ravensdale Capital LLC – a fund that invests primarily in early stage IT companies with a focus on consumer data analytics and decision sciences. A pioneer in the development of consumer information analytics and delivery technologies for business applications and a noted philanthropist, George made his fortune with Targus, one of the first information processing companies which he sold to Neustar Corporation for a reported $717 million in 2011. George was also Chairman of Erne Heritage Holdings that controls Belleek Pottery, Galway Irish Crystal, Aynsley China and Donegal Parian. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the New Ireland Fund (NYSE IRL) and APIphany, an API management and delivery infrastructure company. Prior to founding Targus, he was Executive Vice President and a principal of National Decision Systems (NDS), a consumer segmentation analytics company based in San Diego, California. He was also Executive Vice President with Equifax following its acquisition of NDS and served
The Digital Divide More Irish businesses need to bridge the digital divide in order to win a bigger share of global markets, according to the CEO of tech giant Fujitsu Ireland, Regina Moran who
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George Moore (2nd from right) presenting Michael Loftus, CEO, Mitamed, winners of the University Challenge Award last January in Cork City Hall pictured center with (from left) ITLG President John Hartnett, Chairman Craig Barrett and Operations Manager Cian Hughes.
as Senior Vice President with CACI International in Washington, DC. The son of a shoemaker, George was Born in Co. Louth and left Ireland with two degrees from University College Dublin in 1972 to study for Masters and Doctorate business degrees at George Washington University. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Sciences by the University of Ulster in 2006. A noted philanthropist he used his considerable wealth to support numerous causes close to his heart and donated generously towards the development of the science building at University College Dublin. He was a Board Member of the Economic Advisory Board to the Taoiseach, the Northern Ireland Trade & Investment Council, The Flax Trust
and a Trustee of the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund. He received numerous honors throughout his career and featured in the “US Top 100 in Business: 1991-2012” by Irish America Magazine and received the “Outstanding Alumnus 1991 Award” from University College Dublin in addition to several Ernst & Young entrepreneurial awards. In 2007, Her Majesty, The Queen, recognized George for his contribution to the Northern Ireland economy and for his international work on behalf of all of Ireland with an Honorary CBE – Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He is survived by his wife Angela, his daughter Kerla (34), Gareth (30) and Ashlyn (27) and by his grand-daughter Fiona (2).
believes that Ireland has massive potential as an innovation hub for Japan within Europe. She said: “Currently there are too many Irish businesses that are not online, which means they are not internationalizing their business.”
She added: “There is a huge amount of potential out there and the onus is now on all – industry and the government – to bridge the digital divide and create the infrastructure and an ecosystem that will support this.”
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Celebrating Irish Heritage
Uniquely Irish West Coast Access ITLG President John Hartnett has welcomed the decision by Aer Lingus to relaunch flights to San Francisco, California and said that the news will be welcomed by inward investment technology and pharmaceutical companies headquartered in San Francisco and American’s West coast. The airline also announced plans for a direct route to Toronto, Ontario. It’s expected the service will begin next May. Aer Lingus previously started a service between the two cities in 2007, but pulled the route in October 2009 as the airline reined in its costs amid the global economic crisis. But the carrier has now signed a deal to lease three Boeing 757 aircraft, which will join its fleet next year. Those aircraft will also be used to boost services from Shannon to Boston and New York. The additional aircraft will free up a larger Airbus A330, which can be used to service the Dublin-San Francisco route. Aer Lingus already flies to New York, Boston, Chicago and Orlando in the US. It currently provides services to San Francisco via codeshare agreements with United and Jetblue. More than 40pc of US technology companies based in Ireland have their headquarters on America’s west coast.
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The former CEO and president of Intel Dr Craig Barrett has been presented with a Certificate of Irish Heritage at the Global Technology Leaders Summit in California last May. The certificate represents official recognition from the Irish Government of Barrett’s Irish heritage and the contribution he has made to Ireland during his time as Intel CEO. Barrett joins a host of prominent recipients of the certificate, including US President Barack Obama, former US president Bill Clinton, actor Daniel Day-Lewis and more recently actor
Tom Cruise. Intel has invested more than €7bn in Ireland and in the process has transformed its facility in Leixlip, Co Kildare, into one of the most technologically advanced manufacturing plants in Europe. More than 4,500 people work at the Leixlip campus and in addition, there are more than 200 people employed at Intel Communications Europe in Shannon, Co Clare.
Spirit of Ireland The Spirit of Ireland magazine is a sister publication of Silicon Valley Global. Spirit of Ireland magazine celebrates the beauty of Ireland and its people. It showcases stunning imagery of well known and hidden locations on the island of Ireland and looks at the importance of Irish culture and heritage not only in Ireland but across the globe. Available in hard copy via Irish stores in the USA and Canada it can also be accessed online or via Facebook www.thespiritofireland.org
A Punt on Spy Hacking
Access to the Valley
Mike Lynch, the entrepreneur who built his Autonomy Group into one of Europe’s most successful technology companies has made a 20m bet on an anti-hacking firm. Lynch who sold Autonomy to HP for $11bn has established a $1bn investment firm Invoke Capital to buy stakes in high potential technology companies. The investment in UK cyber security group is the fund’s first investment. It is targeting a spend of between $10m and $20m on each investment. Darktraces technology works by luring hackers into certain parts of a company’s network where it is able to track them down. IT creates traps which act as bait for hackers before unmasking them.
In the coming months, Irish technology start-ups will be able to benefit from a program aimed at fast-tracking their entry to the US market, particularly the world’s foremost technology hub in the Silicon Valley. Enterprise Ireland announced details of its ‘Access Silicon Valley’ initiative recently which is aimed at giving Irish tech firms a strong helping hand in accessing the highly competitive Silicon Valley region. Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Richard Bruton said the practical, hands-on program forms a key part of the Government’s plans to accelerate jobs growth among the Irish technology sector and, ultimately, has the potential to create more jobs in Ireland. “A central part of the Government’s plans for jobs and growth is creating a powerful engine of Irish enterprise. We must not only continue to support strong growth in our multinational sector, but also achieve greater levels of growth among Irish companies,” Mr Bruton said. “A key part of this is targeting the
Time for Tee Celtic Golf is No 1 for custom golf vacations to Ireland from the USA with unique golf itineraries to Scotland, England, Spain and Portugal. As a company made up of passionate golf enthusiasts, whatever European golf destination you desire, Celtic Golf will make it happen. Depending on requirements packages can include multiple elements such as flights, accommodation, car-hire, chauffeurs, helicopters, pre-booked dinners, entertainment and even confirmed tee-times. Celtic Golf is the No 1 for golf vacations because they have personally visited and played each featured region not only in Ireland but also in the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. So when it comes to offering the best service and personal recommendations, nobody does it better. www.celticgolf.com
Off to a Flying Start Frequent transatlantic travel can be exhausting no matter what the comfort levels so a recent flight from Dublin to Chicago by Devlin Media Managing Director, John Hogan proved to be quite a revelation. American Airlines® has really sharpened its focus on the premium travel market offering newly designed business class cabins that provide a personalised travel experience with ample room, privacy and the means to work, rest or play. Supreme comfort is guaranteed with a fully adjustable lie-flat seat and a superb
sectors where we have attracted multinational companies and building strong Irish companies out of this base.” The program — which formally starts in September — will run twice a year and last for an initial four-year timeframe. The process includes company assessments and a mentoring ‘bootcamp’ in Ireland, before companies go to Silicon Valley for another two-week mentoring program and meetings with potential partners. Seven young Irish technology firms are currently in San Francisco, taking part in a pilot version of the program and interacting with the likes of Sony, Facebook and Apple. One of those companies has already signed a partnership deal. Enterprise Ireland hopes that between 50 and 60 firms will benefit annually from the initial stage of the program, at least.
multi-course meal is accompanied by award-winning wines. Passengers may even choose to Dine Upon Request® and conveniently dine at their leisure. For work or play on 767 aircraft The Samsung Galaxy Tablet and Bose® QuietComfort® Noise Cancelling® headphones provide hours of quality entertainment with superb audio quality while an amenity kit featuring Akhassa skin care products is perfect to freshen up. “The food quality was fantastic and the attention to detail and friendliness of cabin crew outstanding. Going forward I will always travel with American Airlines, “commented John Hogan.
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Silicon Valley Global
Global Technology Leaders Summit. Last May global business leaders gathered together to enjoy the 6th annual Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) Global Technology Leaders Summit at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.
he two day executive gathering highlighted the significant economic, political and commercial trends affecting global technology industries. It featured the most innovative companies, eminent technologists, influential investors and journalists in keynote presentations, panel debates and private company CEO showcases. On day one a reception was held at the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus where food and drinks were served and guests took advantage of the opportunity to network with Silicon Valley Technology Leaders and Investors. The highlight of the first evening was a welcome by Dr. Craig Barrett and guests were also treated to a powerful Silicon Valley Investor Panel comprising Richard Moran, CEO, Accretive Solutions, Sean Cunningham, Director of Strategic Investments at Intel Capital, John O’Farrell, Managing Partner, Andreessen Horowitz and Cindy Padnos, founder and managing partner, Illuminate Venture.
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The session explored some of the perceptions and realities of the VC world in a candid, no holds barred discussion which addressed issues such as the difficulties in securing a meeting with venture capitalists, what they are looking for from an entrepreneur, the secrets to pitching an idea and much more. The second day’s events were held in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View where a formidable line up of speakers and panelists discussed the latest trends in Mobile, Cloud and Web. In addition guests were treated to a discussion by the “Titians of Silicon Valley” on global investment and expansion’ which was specifically tailored to Technology Companies who wish to grow and scale their companies by expanding into global markets. The workshop gave advice to these companies on how to avoid the common pitfalls of globalization and how to adapt their business models for international markets. There was also an all-female panel comprising Marcia Cross, actress and
supporter of ‘Because I am a Girl’ global campaign, Jennifer Kenny, CIO, SRI International, Claire Lee, Strategic Partnerships, Microsoft Start-ups, Susan O’Day, SVP and Chief Information Officer, Disney and Nanea Reeves, CEO, Machinima. The discussion which focussed on how women are shaping the future of technology culture and innovation and the key elements for success was moderated by Emily Chang. Bloomsberg News. Earlier guests had listened in rapt attention to an insightful and thought providing address from Kim Polese, Chairman, Clearscape Inc. who is also on the San Francisco Business Journal’s list of ‘Most Influential Women’ and who previously featured as one of Time Magazine’s most influential women One of the highlights of the event was the Annual Silicon Valley Awards Gala dinner which presented awards to the top Silicon Valley Mobile companies as well as the top Irish technology start-up companies
Silicon Valley Global
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SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
The ITLG/Irish Times Silicon Valley Awards Three Irish companies were winners at the ITLG/ Irish Times Silicon Valley Awards in the categories of Emerging Technology, Mobile Technology and Innovation. Two Silicon Valley Mobile companies were winners of the ITLG Digicel Awards in the categories of Essential Technology and Disruptive Technology. ITLG Innovation Award 2013: Trustev.
ITLG Emerging Technology Award: Analytics Engine
Trustev provides real time online identification verification using social fingerprinting technology. Trustev verifies your customer’s identity to ensure they are a real live human being and not a fraudster
Analytics Engine helps customers with fast processing of business and application data. Analytics Engines makes use of high performance hardware accelerated to increase application performance for large data volumes and real time analytics. The possibility to perform fast computation allows the creation and use of new applications that provide more in-depth analysis and real time business insight.
ITLG Mobile Technology Award: Fortress Payments Fortress Payments is the next generation mobile payments service – based on the most disruptive technology available in either the mobile or online payments space. It is the total solution to all the current problems in the payments area. 24 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
ITLG Digicel Mobile Awards Mobile Essential Award: Lookout Lookout is the world leader in mobile security and provides protection against the growing threats facing smartphone users. Lookout now served 25 million people globally and the World Economic Forum recognized the company as a 2013 technology pioneer. Mobile Disruption Award: Flint Flint is the mobile payments company that is creating the easiest way for on-the-go businesses to accept credit cards and to find new customers through social marketing. The company’s first product is an IPhone app that enables merchants to process credit card payments easily and securely using only their phone – without any additional hardware. Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Redwood City, California, Flint is backed by top tier venture capital firms Storm Ventures and True Ventures.
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Bring on tomorrow. Bring tomorrow. Bring onon tomorrow. Bring on tomorrow. Bring on tomorrow.
Bring on the impossible. Bring on the white-knuckle challenges. We’re ready and waiting. Bring on the impossible. Bring on the white-knuckle challenges. We’re ready and waiting. AIG is more than 62,000 employees helping people around the world secure a brighter AIG is more than 62,000 employees helping people around the ready worldand secure a brighter Bring the impossible. Bring on the white-knuckle challenges. We’re waiting. future.on We’re global insurer serving over 88 million customers with property Bring aonleading the impossible. Bring on the white-knuckle challenges. We’re ready and waiting. future. We’re a leading global insurer serving over 88 million customers property AIG is more than 62,000 employees helping people around the leaner world secure a with brighter Bring the impossible. Bring on the white-knuckle challenges. We’re ready waiting. casualty insurance, life insurance and retirement services. We’re and more focused AIG ison more than 62,000 employees helping people around the world secureand a brighter AIG Europe Limited Bring on the impossible. Bring on the white-knuckle challenges. We’re ready and waiting. casualty insurance, life insurance and retirement services. We’re leaner and more focused future. We’re a leading global insurer serving over 88 million customers with property is authorised by the on whatAIG we do best: helping peopleemployees protect theirhelping homes and businesses, and to recover, is more than 62,000 people around the world secure a brighter future. We’re ainsurance leading global insurerhelping serving people over 88 million customers with property Prudential Regulation AIG isdo more than 62,000 around the world secure a brighter casualty insurance, life and retirement services. We’re leaner more focused on what wemove best: helping protect businesses, and to recover, rebuild and forward. Todaypeople weemployees are the newtheir AIG,homes and weand can’t waitand for tomorrow. future. We’re a leading global insurer serving over 88 million customers withmore property Authority of the United casualty insurance, life insurance and retirement services. We’re leaner and focused on what we do best: helping people protect their homes and businesses, and to recover, future. We’reforward. a leading global over 88we million with property Kingdom, and is regulatrebuild and move Today we insurer are the serving new AIG, and can’t customers wait for tomorrow. Visit www.AIG.com casualty insurance, life insurance andprotect retirement services. We’re leaner and more focused ed by the Central Bank on what we do best: helping people their homes and businesses, and to recover, rebuild and moveinsurance, forward. Today we are theand newretirement AIG, and we can’t wait for tomorrow. casualty life insurance services. We’re leaner and more focused Visit www.AIG.com of Ireland for conduct of on what we do best: helping people protect their homes and businesses, and to recover, rebuild move forward. weprotect are thetheir new homes AIG, and can’t wait and for tomorrow. Visit www.AIG.com business rules on whatand we do best: helpingToday people andwe businesses, to recover,
rebuild and move forward. Today we are the new AIG, and we can’t wait for tomorrow. Visit www.AIG.com rebuild and move forward. Today we are the new AIG, and we can’t wait for tomorrow. Visit www.AIG.com Insurance and services provided by member companies of American International Group, Inc. Coverage may not be available
Insurance and services provided by member companies of American International Group, Inc. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions and is subject to actual policy language. For additional information, please visit our website at www.AIG.com.
Cyber and Data Liability What’s IT all about?
yber crime is the second most commonly reported economic crime affecting companies in the financial sector and all the figures show an upward trend. The top three cyber-related risks to organizations are: • Operational IT risks; • Customer information theft; • Hacking. In today’s cyber dependant environment you cannot avoid society’s total social and economic immersion into the cyber sphere. But the high usage of online data puts customers at risk. As I write this article, there are two more high profile Data Breaches in the newspaper today. This arose from missing laptops containing customer details (In excess of 7000 customer details were compromised such as names and addresses, copies of proof-of-identity documents, passwords and utility bills -This potentially exposed the customers to identity theft).
What do you see as the biggest risk to business? A breach of a customer’s private data can undermine a company’s brand and reputation in a matter of seconds. This is not only costly in terms of damages, but also in maintaining customer trust and loyalty, which takes years to build up and once lost is challenging to recover. Many surveys and forums have found this is one of the key concerns and the reputational and response piece is especially critical for the larger clients.
What are AIG doing to protect you? CyberEdge… CyberEdge covers the obvious and less obvious consequences of cyber risks, enabling
companies to continue their day-to-day business, knowing that everything won’t ‘fall down’ as part of the domino effect. A summary of the core CyberEdge policy covers are outlined below.
Protection Provided Our product not only provides protection from third party and employee claims; but also provides services and first party costs to assist with the management of a data breach, including legal fees, public relations costs, notification costs to regulators and individuals and information technology forensics to analyze breaches and restore data. It also addresses hot topics such as cyber extortion and business interruption losses our client may face following a security breach.
Why CyberEdge with AIG? A crucial unique offering of CyberEdge is the speed at which our vendors can support and work with clients to manage any breach by analyzing the breach, notifying the right people and creating an appropriate crisis communication strategy. Most products of this kind only trigger notification if certain combinations of personally identifiable information is taken (such as someone’s full name and credit card number), whereas CyberEdge offers a ‘good will’ notification to clients, which allows our insured to notify their clients of any breach regardless of the type of personally identifiable information that is compromised.
How does this benefit your Client? This strategy not only helps mitigate damage to the client’s reputation but the rapid response also helps reduce the cost of the overall claim.
Who needs this cover? All businesses, but in particular companies holding confidential/personal data, with payment details, personal, medical records, etc.
Market Leading Approach Another key part of our service is educating clients, for example, depending on the country and industry of the organization (the policy provides worldwide coverage), many don’t realize that it’s their legal responsibility to report a breach. We assign clients their own breach coach who can guide them along every step of the process and help to try and ensure a seamless recovery.
Act NOW! It is critical to have dedicated coverage for Cyber to ensure not only ring-fenced capacity for cyber exposures but also to ensure claims can be handled almost immediately given the nature of cyber attacks and data breaches. Please contact your Insurance broker or AIG Europe Limited 01-2081400 for further details. Silicon Valley Global | 27
Silicon Valley Global
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Silicon Valley Global
Belfast’s Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó’Muilleoir will shortly lead a trade mission to Silicon Valley as part of his plan to attract greater US investment into the city.
he number of foreign inward investment projects into Northern Ireland has soared by 41% in the last year – helping to create 60,000 new jobs while safeguarding a further 110,000 positions. The province has also recorded significant increases in investment projects increasing from 27 projects in the period from 2011 to 2012 to 38 for 2012 to 2013. News that French-Canadian plane maker Bombardier is to invest more than £520m on making wings for the new CSeries jet in the largest ever inward investment project undertaken in Northern Ireland was greeted with delight by policymakers. The project will create more than 800 jobs at a purpose-built factory in Belfast. Other important job announcements include 650 new posts for US insurer Allstate, more than 400 new jobs for Japanese medical firm Terumo BTC in Larne, nearly 180 for business advisors Deloitte and approximately 70 each for both Merchant Warehouse and Vello. Lord Mayor of Belfast, Sinn Fein Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir who was elected to office for a one year term last June has prioritized job creation and vowed to step up efforts to attract overseas investment to the city. A graduate of Queen’s University, the 53-yearold politician is the Managing Director of the Belfast Media Group and Publisher of the Irish Echo in New York. He has stepped down from his business interests for the duration of his term as Lord Mayor. His theme for his year in office is ‘Building the future Belfast – together’ and he has pledged to continue efforts to consolidate the peace process and to ensure that working class communities enjoy a greater share of the peace dividend. In the coming weeks he is due to lead a Belfast Tech Mission to Silicon Valley where he will meet with ITLG President John Hartnett and other members of the organization who will facilitate introductions to leading technology companies, key executives and venture capitalists. “The trip is specifically designed for companies working in technology and digital
“The trip is specifically designed for companies working in technology and digital led industries and provides an opportunity for 20 local companies to showcase some of the new technologies and products being developed in Belfast to leading companies, investors and venture capitalists from the West Coast of America,” led industries and provides an opportunity for 20 local companies to showcase some of the new technologies and products being developed in Belfast to leading companies, investors and venture capitalists from the West Coast of America,” Ó Muilleoir commented. During the mission, which runs from October 13 - 18, the companies will network with other businesses in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, showcase their products and services, meet potential clients, develop partnerships and raise the economic profile of Belfast to the global marketplace. “In addition to promoting Belfast as one of the leading digitally connected cities in Europe and a prime location for international investment, the mission aims to increase the
number of Belfast technology companies selling and doing business in the US and increase the knowledge of these companies in what it takes to establish and secure VC funding in the US and improve the business networks and partnerships with companies in Belfast and the US,” Ó Muilleoir said. The Lord Mayor paid tribute to the ITLG which he said has been instrumental in building bridges of innovation and technology between Silicon Valley and Belfast over the past four years. “They have helped to provide fresh impetus to the startups emerging in our vibrant city and acting as a pathfinder to ambitious entrepreneurs targeting the US. Their leadership and positivity is the epitome of American can-do while their generosity and hospitality reflects the very best of Irish America.” The Belfast Tech Mission is part-funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Program for Northern Ireland while Belfast City Council is supporting up to 50 per cent of the travel and accommodation costs for each participating company. In a further indication of his efforts to engage with the American business community the Lord Mayor is also due to host a business mission to Belfast from New York next February – a visit which is being facilitated by the assistance of the American Ireland Fund. According to Ó Muilleoir these two key events represent the first outward or inward economic missions by Belfast City Council in recent years. Ó Muilleoir is also committed to reenergizing the Belfast Ambassadors network which brings conferences to Belfast and the first Belfast Ambassador awards have already been presented to Liam Neeson and Ground Zero artist Marcus Robinson. In addition he has undertaken to leverage the Seedrs crowd-funding network to help local start-ups. “I will invite all the Mayors of towns and cities along the eastern economic corridor to join with me to promote cross-border economic development and to position the region as Europe’s premier region for investment,” he said. Silicon Valley Global | 29
Mobile threats go full throttle
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The past year ushered in the post-PC era as cybercriminals embraced mobile malware use explains Dervla Mannion, Vice President, European Operations Centre, Trend Micro
ast year the number of mobile malware grew to the same volume that PC malware took more than a decade to reach. The number of malicious and high-risk Android apps hit 718,000 in the second quarter of this year growing from 509,000 in the first quarter. In just six months, these apps surged by more than 350,000 – a number that originally took them three years to reach. The majority of these malware were spoofed or Trojanized versions of popular apps. Almost half of the mobile malware uncovered this quarter targeted unwitting users by subscribing them to costly services. The discovery of the Android master key vulnerability was a scene-stealer, as almost 99% of Android devices were deemed vulnerable. The vulnerability allows the users apps to be modified without their consent. For example a malware called OBAD (ANDROIDOS_OBAD.A) exploited Android vulnerability. Once installed OBAD can take full control of an infected device. OBAD repeatedly shows pop-up notifications to convince users to grant permissions. It also renders detection and cleanup more difficult to do. Another example is The FAKEBANK malware which was spotted this quarter. It essentially mimics or spoofs legitimate apps. The malware displays icons and a user interface that imitates legitimate banking apps. This technique is reminiscent of PC banking Trojans that monitor users’ browsing behaviors and spoofs banking sites. The fragmentation in the Android user base has unfortunately become a fact of life. This means continuing vulnerabilities or lack
“As more users manage multiple online accounts, cybercriminals’ explored means to use this trend to their advantage.” of security features for a large percentage of users which will likely never be fixed. The major problem is the lack of a centralized means of providing security fixes for all versions of operating systems. Right now the responsibility for distributing updates lies primarily with handset manufacturers and carriers and their major motivation is often more in persuading you to buy a newer handset than in prolonging the life of your older one. As more users manage multiple online accounts, cybercriminals’ explored means to use this trend to their advantage. They abused popular blogging sites like Tumblr, WordPress, and Blogger to host fake streaming sites of popular summer movies, including Man of Steel, Fast and Furious 6 and Iron Man 3. Apple ID and well-known multiprotocol instant-messaging (IM) platforms like Digsby
were also targeted by attacks. These attacks serve as a reminder to protect online accounts and avoid using weak passwords. Users were also reacquainted with old social engineering tactics as several attacks used diverse items, including the Boston marathon bombing, the Oklahoma tornado disaster, the Texas fertilizer plant explosion and the tax season, as bait. The attack on Twitter posed an interesting case study on how social media can be used to spread false news that can have severe results. Instagram scams showed that cybercriminals are targeting SMBs and marketers who wish to increase their online presence. Such scams offer “free followers” or use professional looking sites where they can supposedly buy followers in bulk. The tactic of selling followers is not new though. Cybercriminals simply turned to different avenues outside Twitter and Facebook. Interestingly, this threat appeared while social media sites found ways to monetize the services they offered. Our threat researchers at Trend Micro have noted that these threats will continue to grow rapidly until smartphone vendors realize the urgent need to protect users the same way PC vendors do their users. Trend Micro advises that third party security software is essential to prevent malicious downloads, which are increasingly coming from users visiting fake or compromised websites. For more information on Trend Micro, please visit www.trendmicro.com
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SUPPLY & DEMAND
John Carr, VP Supply Chain Solutions, Flextronics
Building the Supply Chain
John Carr, VP Supply Chain Solutions, Flextronics discusses Demand and Supply Chain management and the need for a strong skills base.
egardless of whether your customer focus is local or global, there is no questioning the increasing role of demand and supply chain management in today’s competitive marketplace. The demand for skilled supply chain resources has never been greater and is proving to be an excellent career choice for many of today’s college graduates. Demand and supply chain
32 | Silicon Valley Global
skills are becoming increasingly sought after, in the “knowledge economy”, given the global marketplace of the 21st century. John Carr, Vice President of Supply Chain solutions at Flextronics, has worked in various senior management positions in the Electronics Supply Chain sector in Ireland, Eastern Europe and the US and advocates the growing need for manufacturing skills development in Ireland. He believes that it
is this skills base which has allowed Ireland to become a centre for global supply chain excellence for many of the Fortune 500 companies operating in Ireland. “The ability to make things is fundamental to the ability to innovate over the long term,” says Willy Shih, a Harvard Business School professor, co-author of Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance and a Flextronics Board Member.
SUPPLY & DEMAND
Inward Investment Multinational companies selected Ireland as their international manufacturing base in the early 1970’s and late 1990’s, when Ireland was ideally positioned to act as a supply base to support and develop the expanding EC market and later the emerging Middle-East, CIS, Russia and Africa regions. This inward investment brought with it the development of a world-class manufacturing skills base, which has allowed these companies grow internationally, with many of them led by Irish management. This is true of Flextronics where many of the company’s global management team were trained in Ireland. During the past decade numerous multinationals have retained and expanded their manufacturing base in Ireland and developed their innovation capabilities, primarily in the areas of product design and global supply chain management. Ireland Inc. must continue to invest in its manufacturing skills base to drive export-led growth and support the increasing number of new technology start-ups. As Chairperson for the Irish Exporters Association for the West and Mid-West, John is keenly aware of the growing requirements of SME’s for support in reaching global markets. “Startups are a wonderful thing, but it is a tedious journey from that mythical moment of creation ‘in the garage’, from prototype to mass production. This is the phase where companies scale up to meet the ever changing requirements of global markets”, explains Carr. “Increasingly, start-ups are turning to companies such as Flextronics to figure out how to make products affordably and scale their products on global markets”. Start-ups are as important to technology growth as are global manufacturing networks. Scaling isn’t easy. The investments required are much higher than in the invention phase and funds need to be committed early, when not much is known about the potential market. Flextronics has selected its Cork manufacturing facility as one of its strategic Global New Product Introduction (NPI) centers, supporting customers in a myriad of industrial sectors from Telecoms, Server, Data Storage, Energy, Cleantech to Medical Devices. Scaling is not only
about delivering affordable products, it also involves establishing after-sales services in markets quite different to the home market. Whilst emerging markets such as Mexico and Turkey are the new mass markets of the world and generate over half of global GDP, the customers in these new markets are fundamentally different from those in developed markets. Flextronics Limerick’s Services division is one of over twentyfive services locations globally, located on four continents, employing over 11,000 employees involved in providing a range of supply chain, distribution and after-sales services. Ireland should take note of the renewed focus on manufacturing in other advanced regions, such as the US. This renewed focus is partly due to increasing global supply chain risks, but also a focus on Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is highlighting that the landed cost of products produced in countries such as Ireland is significantly less than often realized. For instance, as reported in the Economist, Jan 19th, 2013 “Pay for senior management in several emerging markets such as China, Turkey and Brazil, now either matches or exceeds pay in America and Europe”. Companies who moved production off-shore during the 1990’s and 2000’s are increasingly re-evaluating the flexibility and total cost of ownership associated with reshoring production. In the US manufacturing is staging a comeback. Coming out of the recession, the US has seen its manufacturing growth outpace that of advanced nations, with some 500,000 jobs created in the past three years. From ExOne’s 3-D printing plant near Pittsburgh to Flextronics plant in Fort Worth, Texas, US workers are making products everyone, everywhere wants to buy. The Motorola Google Moto X is the first Smartphone manufactured in the US. In a partnership with Flextronics, from making the decision to manufacture in the US in late 2012, the factory was operational by August 2013. The factory currently produces 100,000 devices per week, with the possibility to scale to tens of millions of units annually. Since Motorola’s devices are designed in the US, having manufacturing close by enables engineers to make quick changes and tweaks to the design and look
of the device much faster than if it were located overseas. Flextronics has become a real advocate of ‘being in a market to serve that market’ and now employs over 300 people in Ireland, across advanced manufacturing and supply chain solutions. The Irish government’s Manufacturing 2020 report outlines the opportunity for Ireland to create 20,000 new jobs in the sector by 2016. The industry has become more sophisticated, with an emphasis on high-end ‘smart’ manufacturing across a range of sectors. There has never been a better time for Ireland to embrace the opportunity of right-shoring and the potential that the manufacturing sector currently offers for the country.
Key facts: • Manufacturing’s share of Global output is 17.4%, the highest it has been in over a decade • Manufacturing is estimated to contribute more than 15% to European value added in 2025 • Manufacturing accounts for 70% of private-sector R&D and 90% of patents issued in the U.S. • R&D needs are driving the resurgence of manufacturing in European plants • According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis every $1 of manufacturing GDP drives an incremental $1.42 of activity in the non-manufacturing economy • Germany maintains No. 4 position globally, in terms of Manufacturing GDP • European Electronics Manufacturing services generated $45.8B in 2011 • According to SCM World 8 out of 10 companies have been hit by supplyand demand-side disruptions during the past two years • The Boston Consulting Group estimate that within five years, as many as 3 million manufacturing jobs could come back to the U.S.
Silicon Valley Global | 33
Doing Business in Europe BDO is the worldâ€™s largest European based accountancy network, with 1,204 offices in 138 countries. Stewart Dunne leads BDO Irelandâ€™s Outsourcing team and specializes in assisting international companies manage their accounting, tax and other compliance obligations in Ireland and across multi-jurisdictions. Stewart talks to Silicon Valley Global magazine.
or a large US company ready to grow beyond its North America borders, setting up a European outpost typically in the form of a shared services operation is often the next strategic step forward in a growth plan. In spite of the economic turmoil of recent years, Europe continues to represent a myriad of opportunities for technology driven companies thanks to its large, sophisticated and affluent consumer base. Since its formation in 1993 the Single European Market has vastly simplified 34 | Silicon Valley Global
internal access among the 27 Member States of the European Union. However, access to markets is not the same as regulatory hegemony and even the best-resourced companies will find that entry into Europe
and more broadly the EMEA region requires careful planning and foresight. Across the EU, there are hugely differing compliance cultures and distinct banking, tax, employment law, company law and accounting regulations to
Ireland is one of the best places in the world to do business from â€“ despite the current economic downturn
Senior people running US companies in Ireland are very accessible so use them!
Europe can be a complex regulatory environment yet there are good experienced business partners that will help you navigate this
be considered. On top of this are the 20 or so European countries outside the EU and depending on your definition, the more than 120 countries that make up EMEA as a whole. Add in the various cultural, historical and linguistic issues for good measure and the complexity of a ‘single European growth strategy’ becomes blatantly apparent.
Experience All this might sound reasonably obvious when spelled out, but the experience of some of the most sophisticated IT businesses who have set up European shared-service operations over the last decade has shown that the level of complexity can be surprisingly easy to underestimate. Indeed, feedback from established companies reviewing their original set-up process, as well as new entrants still at the coalface of it, shows considerable agreement around a number of ‘pain points’, as illustrated in these examples: • The breadth of difference between compliance and business cultures in the US and Europe (and, as already noted, the diversity within the EU and across EMEA); • The overriding importance of understanding tax structures and of addressing the complexities of customs, local tax laws, transfer pricing and internal pricing correctly from the outset; • The importance of building scalability into the set-up; and, • Selecting partners who understand your business, can anticipate the likely issues and offer the most cost-effective solutions to them.
Ireland as a base For all the challenges Ireland has faced, it has proven itself a location of choice for major companies such as Google, Facebook, Symantec, Apple and PayPal have chosen to locate their EMEA financial shared services
centres in Ireland. The country’s widely acknowledged ease of doing business and the attractions of its 12.5% corporate tax base are important selling points but the ability to attract the requisite international skills base and the pool of world-class expertise around shared service operations and outsourcing have also been important considerations. In terms of working through the nuances that can emerge, those who have been through the process also tend to stress a number of key action points. They include: establishing clarity around the reporting requirements for investors and key stakeholders from the start; selecting the right operations and finance staff preroll out; recruiting from the right talent pools and managing the employment and infrastructure costs effectively during roll out and with regard to the finance function, selecting a reporting platform that can manage complexity while being capable of handling greater volumes and higher-level responsibilities as the business grows.
Advice options Drilling a little deeper, the value of expert advice and guidance through these processes becomes self-evident. Outsourcing all or part of a shared service function to a trusted adviser may well be one of the most important decisions a company makes when setting up in Europe. Whatever the service field (accounting, finance, law or HR) the
following are some broad check boxs any provider should be able to tick: • Relevant expertise in your sector (do they speak your language?); • International experience (do they understand the market you are setting up in and do they have the ability to extend their expertise credibly across others?); • Credentials and references (how do other companies find working with them?); • The capacity to service dynamic businesses (do they offer the scalability to grow as you grow?); and, • Good working relationships with your other partners and stakeholders (are they team players as well as leader in their field of expertise?)
Consequences In the finance function in particular, the correct answers to these questions are critical. Tax collecting authorities offer no period of grace or ‘fool’s pardons’ to start-ups and mistakes made in the beginning invariably prove expensive to correct later. Hastily made decisions in effect can have unexpected consequences and impact on the business’ ability to grow further down the line. All of this may suggest a great deal to ponder in advance of setting up in Europe but underscoring the complexity, a simplest rule of thumb applies: critical to your success will be engagement with partners who are prepared to invest their time into understanding your business needs fully and who have the proven capacity to develop with you as you grow. www.bdo.ie
Silicon Valley Global | 35
Scaling the Heights A high quality education allied to strong support for enterprise and business startups is key to developing a thriving 21st century economy explains Barry O’Sullivan.
s a child Barry O’Sullivan was a maths prodigy but was not someone who tinkered with gadgets or passed his time reassembling machines from assorted components. However, the man who rose to prominence as a Senior VP at Cisco running multibillion dollar businesses, 36 | Silicon Valley Global
a cofounder of ITLG and a Dragons’ Den investor clearly remembers, a car journey when a friend’s father – a careers officer at UCC – told him that a single American Corporation had hired the entire class of engineering graduates and flown them over to Silicon Valley. “That was it for me, I was hooked,” he says. “From that point on I knew I wanted to pursue
a career in engineering, it seemed so exciting to a young person, the opportunity to travel and to be involved in the design of the future and to be creating things that make a real difference in the world.” Capturing the attention of young people and encouraging an enduring interest in science and technology related subjects is a key factor in
creating a dynamic, knowledge based economy which can thrive in an increasingly competitive global market. However, today’s technology driven society is markedly different to that of the 70s and significantly more conducive to attracting the elusive attention of younger people. “Young people today are using technology widely and it holds no fear for them,” says O’Sullivan. “Years ago the most sophisticated device in the home was the television and that was a mystery to many. Nowadays things are totally different and it’s part of a positive cultural shift which is really going to help things in the longer term. To make products and design software we need people who are trained as engineers and in computer science so it augurs well for the future that young people today will have a much wider grounding in technology and hopefully science related subjects won’t be such a select pursuit “Technology is essentially about the future and it’s a great area for anyone who wants to be involved in business. Technology is always changing and you never get stuck in a rut as long as you keep changing and keep educating yourself. It’s about continuing to learn, acquiring new experiences and trying new things, that’s what it’s all about and there isn’t just one route to success.” O’Sullivan acknowledges that the perception of entrepreneurship in technology has shifted significantly as a result and the cultural impact of figures such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg as well as initiatives such as CoderDojo and Dublin’s annual web summit. “These are role models which people can identify with but we need some more Irish role models and we need the big Irish technology success stories as well. If you look at what the Collinson brothers are doing with Stripe - just two brothers in their 20’s from Limerick who built a company which is heading towards a billion dollar valuation, they’re the kind of role model for our young people that we want to see more of.” For O’Sullivan the quality of our education system is the vital ingredient in determining Ireland’s ability to become the European digital and technology hub of choice and greater progress is required in addressing the glaring skills gap identified by multinational corporations which are increasingly struggling to source suitably qualified personnel for key positions.
“Technology is essentially about the future and it’s a great area for anyone who wants to be involved in business. Technology is always changing and you never get stuck in a rut as long as you keep changing and keep educating yourself. if you continue to learn and grow, you can be part of shaping the future” “The biggest challenge that we face right now is the deficit in the numbers of computer science and technology graduates,” he says. “We need around 2,500 per year to sustain the industry and we’re currently producing about half that number. So we clearly need more students choosing engineering and science as a profession when they get to third level which means that we need a greater focus on maths and science subjects in secondary school. We also need to ensure that our maths teachers are suitably qualified to equip students with a proper grounding in the subject and unfortunately this has not always been the case.” In this respect he remains concerned in relation to the new project maths curriculum which he believes is ‘dumbing down the subject’ and he is particularly disturbed by the proposal to get rid of vectors and calculus from the honors maths curriculum which he says constitute two basic engineering components. “They are the foundation of engineering and if
that foundation is not there it’s hard to build a strong engineering leader, so it’s certainly something which is of concern,” he says. However, he has high praise for the decision to award bonus points for honors maths in the Leaving Certificate which is the kind of innovative, low cost, high impact proposal which he keenly supports. “I think of education as a long term investment in the future,” he says. “We need to continue to invest but we also have to look at ways of being more productive and examine different teaching methodologies. There is considerable scope for greater use of technology in the delivery of education, both in the classroom itself and in online tuition which has significant potential. We have to be innovative in how we deliver education and it’s not all about pouring more money into the sector. “The bonus points scheme for leaving cert honors maths is a case in point and it’s been a fantastic success. The number taking honors maths this year is up 58% on 2 years ago and 97% of those who sat honors maths passed, so that gives us a much wider pool of people coming into engineering and science degrees. I would like to see this scheme applied to some of the other science subjects in the leaving cert as well, perhaps physics and applied maths. I think if we are going to encourage people into technology that is what we have to do.” While the long term focus must be on producing more home-grown talent, in the short term O’Sullivan believes that access to Ireland for skilled foreign workers needs to be less prohibitive. Together with the rest of the ITLG core management team he firmly supports the ‘Open Ireland’ initiative pioneered by entrepreneur and investor Sean O’Sullivan who also sits on the Dragons’ Den panel. “I think it’s essential to encourage an open immigration policy for high skilled engineering and computer science graduates from all over the world which is the model which the US has used in Silicon Valley where over 40% of new companies are started by immigrants. If smart people come and live here it will result in huge deliverables for the country and allowing graduates from one of the top 250 universities a “green card” to relocate to Ireland can help to make the country a magnet for the world’s top technology talent,” he says. Further progress can also be achieved by Silicon Valley Global | 37
pursuing greater engagement with Ireland’s diaspora and he cites the example of Israel which has prioritized engagement with the global Israeli community to excellent effect. Israel has a huge government funded technology program for military purposes and in the 1980s began to focus on building links with the worldwide Israeli diaspora and linking US based investors with the country’s top engineers. The success of this approach is apparent from the fact that Israel has hundreds of companies listed on NASDAQ. O’Sullivan believes that a similar emphasis on engaging the diaspora can deliver significant benefits for Ireland. “Ireland is not leveraging the diaspora sufficiently and there needs to be greater engagement,” he says. “The decision making bodies who run policy in Ireland, whether they are advisory or state boards should have more representation from the global Irish diaspora and there should be formal links established between the diaspora and young Irish companies with a view to helping structure investment into those companies and in order to facilitate mentoring and networking with young entrepreneurs. The positive impact of an effective networking organization is apparent from the progress achieved by the ITLG which had fewer than 50 applications for its first ‘Innovation Awards’ when they first hosted the event five years ago. Today it receives hundreds of entrants annually and has established a successful innovation center in San Jose which has assisted numerous Irish start-ups to break into the US market. SVG Ventures, an investment fund was subsequently established and has invested in multiple Irish companies since its inception, says O’Sullivan who is excited about the caliber and potential of the companies which it has funded to date. “For example, we have invested $2m in Louth-based Mcor which is achieving global success and creating jobs here in Ireland, it’s a fantastic company which is set for a great future. It’s not necessarily just about the investment but also about the connections that we can bring to Irish companies and the mentoring and expertise which we can provide. Israel’s model whereby a front office responsible for driving sales and establishing the necessary connection is located in the US while a back office for product development 38 | Silicon Valley Global
and support is maintained in Israel is increasingly emulated by Irish companies such as PCH, Dreamscape, Datahug and others. It is a model which O’Sullivan clearly supports. ‘You have others such as the Collinson Brothers who have relocated lock, stock and barrel to the Valley but generally speaking, I think it makes sense for Irish start-ups to have their headquarters and front office in Silicon Valley and to maintain their engineering team in Ireland where they can benefit from a talented, reasonably priced workforce and enjoy the varied supports provided by Government. But the valley is where the majority of venture capital is invested so if you want to grow and you want investment, that’s where you need to be,” he says. The drive, energy and ambition which typifies entrepreneurs in the Valley is also a noteworthy lesson for Ireland’s aspiring entrepreneurs although O’Sullivan points out that the caliber of people he encounters in both Dragons’ Den and in the ITLG pitching sessions has improved dramatically. “Entrepreneurship is the driving force in Silicon Valley and it takes time to build up that culture. Generally speaking Californians have more confidence and greater ambition and in the past I have found some Irish entrepreneurs a bit tentative. But they have improved greatly in recent years and I’m glad to see them being a bit more aggressive. “The big difference for me is the scale of ambition. In previous years the summit of
ambition was the UK market and start-ups were looking for meager sums of money which is a deterrent for investors who are looking for a strong team, a great idea and a big market. Now we are seeing companies which have a global view, they are not thinking of just Ireland and the UK as their primary markets and instead of trying to raise $15k to $20k, they are now trying to raise hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. So, the scale of ambition and the quality of ideas has unquestionably advanced considerably and that is to be welcomed.” Despite the considerable challenges facing the country, O’Sullivan remains confident in the future and in our ability to establish Ireland as a vibrant global technology hub. “I think the ingredients are coming together and things are a lot better now than they were 5 years ago in terms of technology. The focus on skills and education is hugely important and if we are to progress to the next level we need to continue that focus and come up with new and innovative ways to make things better. Ireland is a good place to start a tech company and there is ample support available from both Enterprise Ireland and from organizations like the ITLG. There is also a strong eco-system forming and invaluable collaborative initiatives being established between large multinationals, the education sector, start-up companies and venture capital funds. So, I believe the fundamentals in Ireland are strong and we can look to the future with confidence.”
Building a 21st Century Economy Irelandâ€™s reputation as a location for inward investment remains highly positive. The statistics are impressive and the steady stream of good news continues. Planning for future success is a national imperative writes Shaun Murphy, Managing Partner of KPMG in Ireland. 40 | Silicon Valley Global
resolute commitment to tax stability, transparency and certainty has underpinned Ireland’s economic policy for decades and will continue to serve us well. Forbes magazine credits Ireland as the best country in Europe to start a business. The IBM Global Location Trends Report names Ireland as being first in the world for inward investment by quality and value. The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012 ranks Ireland first in the world for availability of skilled labor, flexibility and adaptability of workforce and attitudes towards globalization. Total investment by US companies into Ireland is greater than that made into Brazil, Russia, India and China combined. In fact, American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland figures show that in the past half-decade, U.S. firms have invested more capital in Ireland than in the previous half century. We deliver a winning combination of tax, technology, talent and track-record and this has proven very attractive for both established businesses and innovative start-ups. Yet experience shows that there are risks in appearing to stand still. Ireland must continually re-assess what we offer to business and how it compares with other locations, not just in Europe – but worldwide. The topic of tax has been well covered but it bears repeating. Our business taxes are competitive and transparent. We need to ensure that our personal tax code equally encourages mobile, skilled talent to see Ireland as the location of choice.
Education We are fortunate that we succeed in educating our young people to a very high standard. There is a social value put on education and it is one of our most powerful selling tools in encouraging others to see Ireland as a great place to locate. As the largest recruiter of graduates in the country, we are exposed to the huge wealth of talent available to employers and we are fortunate that we get to recruit so many of them. We benefit hugely - as do the businesses of our clients. However we need to keep our educational system under permanent review and importantly – make the necessary changes to stay “fit for purpose.” For example - whilst English is the language of business in so many parts of the world, there are undoubted
The German system – concentrating on apprenticeships and not just academic study – to prevent the emergence of a “lost generation” provides some pointers for consideration. Germany’s tried-and-tested dual system – a mix of classroom learning and work experience – is worth serious assessment when so many under-25s in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe struggle to find work. Ireland is now reviewing our approach to our current 26 trades and one might reasonably expect that this review (the first in 20 years) will yield a new approach that recognizes, as is the case in Germany, that there are at least a couple of hundred specialized skills worthy of a dual system. Given the emergence of a plethora of technology based skills in various sectors - it has the potential to pay real dividends for both employers and job seekers.
further opportunities for our young people if they learn additional languages. The markets of Germany, China and Latin America for example are all of huge further potential and we can secure additional competitive advantage by reinforcing the importance of other languages. The same applies to technology. Coding is the basic foundation of the digital economy. So we need to teach the basic principles to all of our students. Proposed changes to aspects of the curriculum are welcome in that they will encourage coding skills. Let’s be clear - a knowledge of coding in secondary school does not mean the student is destined to become a computer whizz with no other options. In the same way that teaching an understanding of science doesn’t force anyone to be a scientist. However as the popularity of initiatives such as CoderDojo highlight, such knowledge has the potential to provide future career opportunities that may otherwise be unavailable. What of apprenticeships? For many Irish people there may be a suggestion that this is a route to employment now outmoded.
In terms of start-ups, Enterprise Ireland recently reported that 19,000 people started new businesses in Ireland in 2012. The most recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report highlights that new business start-ups in Ireland are increasingly innovative and that the majority expect to find customers in export markets. However credit is still a challenge for many businesses and comparative rates of entrepreneurship in some other markets are more impressive. Inevitably for many this boils down to the challenge of risk versus reward. On the reward side for example, we pay high rates of personal tax in Ireland at a relatively early stage regardless of employment type and self employed, who number over 300,000 are already paying a marginal tax rate of 55% compared with 52% for employees. This is an anomaly which makes little sense in terms of encouraging entrepreneurship. In conclusion, whilst most statistics and comparative measures deal with the inanimate - the human story behind living and working in Ireland is perhaps one of the most positive reasons to choose Ireland. Highlighting Ireland’s unique European appeal for mobile talent, the most recent UN Human Development Index (HDI) shows the quality of life in Ireland is significantly higher than in countries such as the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Denmark. Silicon Valley Global | 41
Xanadu builds on success Software development, operational support and consultancy services reach new heights with this rapidly expanding Cork based company
ased in Cork with a branch office in London, Xanadu Consultancy was launched in 2011 and currently employs 52 people in its southern Irish base. Xanadu provides software development, operational support and consultancy services to companies, predominantly those involved in the online gaming sector. They have assembled a cross-discipline team with industry leading skills in Java development, Big Data and cloud computing. Combined with the management teams 50+ years of operational and business experience and backed by a 24/7 operations support office, Xanadu is well positioned to deliver cutting edge technology solutions and support. Amongst their impressive list of clients is Matchbook.com, one of the world’s leading betting exchanges. Matchbook. com currently processes 20 million real time transactions a day and handled $2.5 billion in betting volume in 2012. Xanadu 42 | Silicon Valley Global
are responsible for the ongoing maintenance and development of Matchbook’s real time systems – including the launch of a brand new platform in June 2013 and 99.8% uptime in the last 18 months. Xanadu updated Matchbook’s betting platform to use the latest technology stack using a RESTful API, harnessing the Backbone framework for the new UI and delivering instant updates to the end user via a WebSocket Protocol which enables twoway communication. Another major project on the horizon is the development of an advanced Content Delivery System. Starting with the clustering of users based on key metrics using analytic methods such as K-means clustering and incorporating changing user behavior through Markov chain theory, Xanadu will use an algorithmic powered recommendation engine and a NoSQL database, to deliver highly relevant, personalized content, to the end user, in real-time.
Xanadu provides full end-to-end solutions on all projects, including business analysis, UX/UI prototyping, project management and software development. They also scope, build and manage the hardware infrastructure for clients platforms. Every project is managed in close collaboration with clients on both Business to Customer and Business to Business platforms. With experience in the building and maintenance of highly resilient, highly scalable and highly redundant environments, Xanadu’s work is in demand and they have recently announced that they will be creating up to 40 new technology jobs at their office in Cork in the near future. The new roles are primarily in IT with vacancies in software engineering, business analysis, application support, data analytics and system architecture. These roles will include research and development of new software as well as ongoing maintenance and upgrading of current software and hardware systems.
DQS Certification DQS is a Notified Body for Medical Devices. For ISO 13485, DQS is accredited by the German authorities ZLG and ZLS, as well as the Canadian SCC. DQS was appointed and listed official CMDCAS recognized Registrar by the Canadian healthcare authority Health Canada in October 2003. With a CMDCAS certificate to ISO 13485 recognized by the Canadian authorities, manufacturers may receive authorization to enter the Canadian market with their medical devices hazard class II, III and IV according to Canadian MDR (Medical Devices Regulations). A DQS certificate to ISO 13485 – assures complete compliance evidence of conformity with laws and regulations Manufacturers of medical devices need to fulfill exacting demands,
particularly in respect of safety and effectiveness of products and services as well as the mitigation of risks associated with their products. The same is true for organizations that develop, manufacture, maintain, sell, or use medical devices. Significant input therefore comes from
European Directive 93/42/EEC, and Medical Device Act (German MPG), and various requirements from Canadian, US, and Japanese regulations. Customers as well as national authorities expect documented evidence of such conformity.
DQS Certification Ireland Ltd DQS certification Ireland is accredited and authorized to carry out assessments and certifications to more than 100 national and international approved standards and a large number of sector/or customer specific regulations.
Assessment, Evaluation and Certification of management systems and processes to over 100 Standards in different business sectors eg Automotive,Aerospace,Food,ITSecurity Risk Management and many more..... ISO 9001, 13485, 14001, 27001, 31000, 26000, TS 16949, 22000:2005, 20000-1 BS OHSAS 18001 Medical ISO 13485 Food HACCP (Food Hygiene) BRC Global Standard – Food, BRC/IoP-Global Standard – Packaging, BRC Consumer Goods (for manufacturers of non-food products), IFS (International Food Standard), CD (EC) 1760/2000 (for the labeling of beef) Aerospace AS/EN 9100 (Design and manufacture) Aerospace AS/EN 9120 (Stockist distributors) Aerospace AS/EN 9110 (Maintenance organizations) BS 25999, SA 8000, EMAS - VO (EG) 1221/2009
For more information contact Brendan Mc Keon 022 22102 E Mail :email@example.com DQS 1/2.indd 1
27/09/2013 18:54 Silicon Valley Global | 43
LEDPâ€™s vision for Limerick Limerick Enterprise Development Partnership has stitched itself into the fabric of Limerick and committed to achieving the economic, social and educational vision for the city.
n one guise or another, the site currently occupied by Limerick Enterprise Development Partnership Ltd (LEDP) has been an integral part of the economic landscape of Limerick city since the early 1960s. The 16-acre site, located at Roxboro Road, was home to Krups, a German-owned manufacturer of kitchen appliances, for nearly 40 years. In fact, Krups was one of the first Foreign Direct Investment companies to locate in the city, providing steady
employment to a predominately female workforce until its closure in 1999. The announcement that the kitchen appliances company was set to close wreaked considerable devastation on people in the local area, with job losses and a major blow to the local economy, however within a year however Limerick Enterprise Development Partnership purchased the facility and committed itself to establishing a Development Park on the site. The objective of the Park was to provide training, education
and community development. In recognizing the strategic importance of the site to the city and its future development, Limerick Enterprise Development Partnership Ltd (LEDP) was formed as a Charitable Trust Company with seven partners in a unique Public Private Partnership. Its founding principles of Supporting Community Development, Influencing Education Delivery and Encouraging Employment became the driving force behind the partnership Silicon Valley Global | 45
purchasing the complex after Krups’ demise. LEDP’s progress has been steady, with each year building on the previous one. Now operating debt-free, the site is home to in excess of 600 jobs with 300 training places also available. The company itself owns and operates a 50-place crèche and partners with LIT, UL, FAS, VEC and Salesians of Don Bosco in education provision on-site, while providing support to a myriad of other education projects across the city. The Park plays host to many major brand names including communications company UPC, who have located its Customer Service Call Centre at LEDP, as well as ALDI Stores, the University of Limerick’s AccessCampus and Maldron Hotels, who operate Limerick’s largest hotel with 200 rooms within the campus. Over the 14 years since its inception, LEDP has stitched itself into the fabric of Limerick, forging partnerships and often bringing together disparate groups. It has never been afraid to express opinions, even presenting a Regeneration Plan for the City five years before the Irish Government recognized the need. LEDP has provided novel and effective solutions to seemingly intractable social and educational problems with the park, supporting and playing host to many diverse social initiatives. Having supported projects including Scratch Programming, St Enda’s School, First Tee Ireland, Mental Health Ireland, Moyross Community Companions, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish Development Group and AK Ilen Boat Building School, LEDP brings organizations and bodies together in a spirit 46 | Silicon Valley Global
These cutting edge areas – Clean Technology, Sports and Medical Sciences, Building and Transportation – will be the catalyst to developing long-term employment and sustainable economic development for the City into the future. of cooperation. Limerick Enterprise Development Park has proven to be a catalyst in Limerick City South. It has given the area added impetus and has helped realize some of the undoubted potential that City South has, both in terms of people and location. For all of the social and educational supports that LEDP provides, there is an underlying understanding of the basic principle of ‘It’s all about the economy,’ and
in that respect LEDP sees itself as being a critical cog in the development of the Limerick 2030 vision. LEDP takes its responsibility as signatories of The Limerick Charter very seriously, where in partnership with Limerick Institute of Technology, the University Of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College, Shannon Airport Authority, Limerick Local Authorities and Shannon Foynes Port Company the company is committed to cohesion and Convergence with the goals of cherishing its citizens, rebuilding the local economy, creating an outstanding cityscape, upholding the value of learning, enhancing mobility and connectedness, recognizing and fostering the rich diversity of Limerick’s communities, while providing a welcoming environment for visitors. Liam McElligott, CEO of LEDP, points out that as part of that commitment, the partnership is dedicated to working with all of its other partners towards the achievement of the economic, social and educational vision presented in the Economic and Spatial Plan in summer 2013. To that end, the company is looking to the future, with plans to develop an innovation hub to allow for the development of the growing Clean Technology, Sports and Medical Sciences, Building and Transportation sectors. These cutting edge areas will be the catalyst to developing longterm employment and sustainable economic development for the city into the future. These fine words are backed up by a cursory visit to the facility, located as it is about a kilometer from the city center and central to the motorway, providing arterial access to all the major cities and positioned within a 15-minute drive of Shannon Airport . The alterations to this 1960s-built Industrial unit is startling. The car park is bustling with more than 20,000 people per week visiting the site. The offices are bright and airy and a glance at the plans for the future point to a transformation that will see a state-of-theart modern office space that will allow for creativity and entrepreneurship to flourish. If the record of the past 13 years is anything to go by, there is no doubt that the space currently earmarked for development will be highly sought-after and become the benchmark for similar facilities.
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Limerick to Host ITLG Summit Global Technology Leaders convene in the 2014 City of Culture
imerick is bubbling with excitement in advance of its designation as Ireland’s first National City of Culture in 2014. The city will celebrate this prestigious award with a high quality, exciting program of events starting with the arrival of global technology leaders for the ITLG Global Technology Leaders Summit on January 27th and 28th 2014. Now in its sixth year, the summit will see leaders from a range of different
businesses gather at the Limerick Institute of Technology. President and founder of the ITLG John Hartnett says of the event, “This summit will be a unique, once off opportunity for technology companies to tap into the ITLG’s powerful and influential Diaspora business network.” This is the second time that the ITLG has brought the event to Limerick, the previous time being 2010. “We are looking forward to seeing Ireland’s most innovative and disruptive technologies at the ‘fast pitch’
sessions. Entrepreneurs interested in pitching for investment from the global business leaders and investors should embrace the opportunity of the ITLG Summit and get in touch with us immediately”, said John Hartnett, Founder & President, ITLG. He continues, “Attendees will be exposed to thought leaders exploring economic, political and commercial trends that will shape the fast-paced technology sector over the short to medium term. Ultimately our goal is to identify the most promising Silicon Valley Global | 49
entrepreneurial opportunities and investments in the global technology industry. Participants will have an opportunity to meet and network with some of the most innovative companies, eminent technologists, influential investors and purchasing decision makers in the technology industry today.” Among the key elements of the twoday event will be Fast Pitches by 50 Irish Technology companies for potential investment. These 50 companies will be shortlisted to 20 finalists with significant investment potential and for the ITLG Silicon Valley Awards in Silicon Valley later in 2014. This event is one of a series of initiatives to foster the recognition of Limerick as a de facto European technology cluster and is being developed in collaboration with local industry. Limerick Institute of Technology, University of Limerick, Limerick Chamber, 50 | Silicon Valley Global
Limerick Local Authorities and Shannon Airport have partnered with the ITLG to bring this international event to 2014’s City of Culture. Speaking on behalf of the local stakeholder group President of Limerick Institute of Technology Dr Maria Hinfelaar urged tech companies across the country to grab this unrivaled opportunity. “There will not be another opportunity like this in 2014 for technology companies to secure investment or grow their business. The ITLG Global Technology Leaders Summit has a phenomenal record for partnering companies with investment and helping them win new business. All you have to do is look at the €50m plus in funding that has been raised by companies that attended summits over the past six years.” She continues, “Having the event back in Limerick is an endorsement of the city and
wider region as a hotbed for emerging smart technology companies. It’s no coincidence either that the event is being held here in the year that Limerick is being celebrated as the country’s first City of Culture. Being selected as Ireland’s capital of culture as it were, says a lot about the creativity of this city and region and creativity is of course a key element in technology.” The January summit will be truly global with technology leaders attending from Europe, China, Russia, India and across the Americas. Speakers will include Limerick native John Herlihy of Google, Barry O’Sullivan of Cisco and Rory McInerney of Intel. Submissions are being invited from organizations all over the island of Ireland for a chance to pitch to the international investors on 27 January 2014. A Global Technology Leaders Summit, University Challenge Award and a Gala Networking Dinner will take place on Tuesday, 28 January 2014.
Software Engineering Research Centre
World Class Research
It is appropriate that Limerick will host the annual ITLG Global Technology Summit on January 28th, 2014. Amongst other things, Limerick is headquarters to one of the most respected software engineering research centers in the world. 52 | Silicon Valley Global
Software Engineering Research Centre
The Tierney Building
Prof Mike Hinchey, Director, Lero - the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre.
ero, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre (www.lero.ie), is a global leader in software engineering research. It brings together researchers in the University of Limerick, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, NUI Galway, and Dundalk Institute of Technology and is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and other Irish and international funding agencies. Ireland’s standing in global software research is reflected in the fact that Lero speakers were invited to present nine papers at the prestigious International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2013), in San Francisco earlier this year. ICSE is the premier worldwide forum for professionals involved in all aspects of software engineering research. Over 1,000 academic, industrial and governmental researchers from dozens of countries attended. Lero researchers presented papers covering many aspects of software engineering including agile methods, medical devices and adaptive privacy. “This is the primary event or World Cup for software engineering and it is a tribute
to the quality of our research team that Ireland was so well represented,” commented Professor Mike Hinchey, Director, Lero which is funded by SFI.
Lero raised additional funding of €3m in 2012 During 2012 Lero announced funding of €22.4m over five years through Science Foundation Ireland and technology firms such as IBM and Intel. Lero raised an additional €3m in research funding in 2012 according to its annual report issued in early September. New projects included research contracts with the European Space Agency, United Technologies Research Centre and several EU-funded research consortia. Lero also reported that it was awarded five new patents in 2012 covering areas such as self-sacrificing spacecraft swarms and methods of protecting autonomous systems. Forkstream, a spinout company, was established and it has recently been acquired by Openet, a leading Irish transaction management software and services provider. 170 Lero researchers recorded a 47% increase in journal papers and a 41% increase in Silicon Valley Global | 53
Software Engineering Research Centre
Nexus Innovation Centre
Lero researchers Dr Hui Song and Dr Vivek Nallur of Trinity College Dublin (Photo - Paul Sharp)
conference papers during the year. “Our researchers are in demand globally,” commented Prof Mike Hinchey, director, Lero. “The work which is being done in Ireland is world leading across a number of areas including medical devices, agile, cloud and space flight software.” He said the prolonged Ulster Bank and RBS outage in 2012 was a reminder of what can happen when critical software systems crash due to badly managed changes. In the United States a recent report by the US Food & Drug Administration showed that 20% of the medical device recalls in the US in 2012 were due to software faults. “Today it is almost impossible to lead a software-free life. Software is the enabling factor in smartphones, smart cities, smart homes, smart health and just about smart anything.” He added, “Because software can be easily changed, it is often changed badly. Lero specializes in Evolving Critical Systems research which aims to develop methods, techniques, tools and processes for the development and evolution of highly reliable software systems that maintain or improve, their reliability as they evolve.” Lero’s Centre HQ is in the Tierney Building at the University of Limerick. Lero HQ hosts Lero’s Director, Chief Scientist, administration, industry and education and outreach officers, as well as Lero’s UL-based academic staff. The Lero front office should be the first port of call for any enquiries relating to Lero.
Firmly focused on developing smart connected start-ups, the Nexus Innovation Centre at University of Limerick is rapidly creating methods that challenge traditional notions of new business, based on the concept of leveraging knowledge and expertise through smart connections and enabling continuous learning. Nexus, drawn from the Latin (nectere) means a connection or series of connections and inspires the strong, highly interconnected community of entrepreneurs at Nexus. At Nexus entrepreneurs are encouraged to strike the balance between the protection and sharing of their idea. They are highly collaborative, engaging with experts both internally and externally. They embed the customer or end user into their iterative development cycle, getting their ideas out fast. Collaboration is fundamental at Nexus with students, peers, academics and entrepreneurs actively engaging on design and development processes. The focus is on learning agility, the ability to find creative solutions. Nexus encourages start-ups to move past conventional business development and to become highly connected, acting with a community of vibrant young business people who support, advise and share their knowledge and experience. Located in the Tierney Building, Nexus offers start-ups a quality environment to pursue their ambitions with plenty of natural light and designed to maximize the collaborative atmosphere. It offers individual offices, shared desk space, collaborative workspaces, small intimate meeting rooms, an impressive boardroom, high specification bio-labs and a reconfigurable lobby/exhibition space. Businesses must be committed and contribute to the Nexus ethos of open innovation, connection and collaboration.
For further details contact Lero - the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre,
For further details contact Ms. Andrea Deverell, Nexus Manager, Nexus
Tierney Building, University of Limerick. Tel: +353-(0)61-233799 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Innovation Centre, Tierney Building, University of Limerick. Tel: +353-(0)61-
518-370 Email: email@example.com www.nexusinnovation.ie/
54 | Silicon Valley Global
CONNECTING WITH INDUSTRY AT POSTGRADUATE, UNDERGRADUATE & RESEARCH LEVELS
Flying High Making Shannon Airport the “centre of the world” has become the new agenda at the re-vitalised and newly independent facility in Ireland’s mid-west region according to Chairman Rose Hynes.
t may seem a bold statement but it is very much in keeping with the change in attitude around the facility and the aim to rebrand the airport as a place that was on the edge of Europe to one as a key commercial conduit between the Chinese and American markets. With a 37% increase already achieved in transatlantic business at Shannon by the end of the third quarter in 2013 the optimism around the airport is tangible. Leading the charge in this revitalization has been the new Chairman Rose Hynes 56 | Silicon Valley Global
and making sure that Shannon is now at the fore when it comes to working with global technological firms is one of her ambitions. Hynes is a dynamic and results drive chairman who through collaborative work with her board and new CEO Neil Pakey has taken this airport from its knees to being a prime example of one of the green shoots in the Irish economy. For Hynes there is a clear agenda here in order to ensure that Shannon not only retains the business it has but more importantly grows its market share and importance in the
global arena. She is focused on making sure the prestige associated with the name of Shannon Airport is expanding into the boardrooms of the emerging market places and for her technological advancement is a key component in that game plan. Hynes focuses on three specific areas where she believes Shannon holds a competitive edge and can grow its business which in turn will lead to increased growth in the region’s economy. These three areas include technology, logistics and energy.
A History of Innovation As Hynes explains there is a history of innovation in these particular spheres for Shannon to build on. At the heart of everything Hynes speaks about is a desire to offer the commercial customers of Shannon the opportunity to do their business in a smarter and more cost efficient way. In that respect her technology game plan is critical to the success of the airport. “We’re establishing an International Aviation Services Centre (IASC), a global aviation industry cluster building on the success of 40 aerospace firms with 1600 people who are already benefiting from their location in Shannon,” explains Hynes. “The aviation business is a highly regulated one, and many aspects are ripe for disruptive innovation and cost saving through technology, whether that’s in paper-based aircraft technical records, old-style operations planning and fuel management, inefficient airline back-office systems, or 1950s-vintage pilot training syllabi which fail to draw on modern instructional technology. “IASC will be a natural home for technology firms seeking to develop opportunities in the fertile global airline marketplace.” That desire to see technological firms play a critical role in both the development of the airport and wider region is a prime example of the appetite that now exists at the newly independent airport. It is a theme that continues in the area of providing logistical solutions for the commercial customer base and that work is critical in attracting business from global firms. “Once upon a time the name of the game, for passengers and cargo, was minimizing distance,” explains Hynes. “Now, especially for cargo, it’s about making supply chains as short and as efficient as possible, finding the right trade off between cost and speed. “That can mean intermodal transport, fast customs clearance, or tax free export processing zones. Shannon was the first customs free zone in the world and the inspiration for the Chinese Special Economic Zones, as well as being the only airport in the world with US Customs and Immigration preclearance for both airline and corporate-aircraft passengers. We’ll be keeping up the innovation in the coming years.”
And in the area of energy she is again focusing on tying in this aspect with the work of the International Aviation Services Centre. “Composite materials - design, manufacture, repair - are increasingly important in aerospace and are a key focus of IASC,” explains Hynes. “There’s extensive crossover between aerospace composites and wind turbine technology, and we believe Shannon is set fair to be a center for alternative energy development.” This very clear road map which Hynes has for Shannon Airport is exactly why there has been such an upturn in fortunes again at the mid-west facility.
Regional Development As well as having a clear three pronged attack for technology firms and commercial customers Hynes and her board are working closely on the ground with the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and local chambers in Ireland’s western region as well as developing close synergies with the Foreign Direct Investment firms present in the area. It is very much a case of everyone recognising that the advancement and development of one major player, such as Shannon Airport, has a direct benefit to the further growth of the region and its businesses as well. Such collaborative work would have never been possible under the old regime where Shannon was part of the Dublin Airport Authority. “Everyone needs to pull together for
Shannon to succeed,” enthused Hynes. “Our CEO Neil Pakey and his team will be supported by a very strong Board, which draws from the private and public sectors across the Midwest region as well as bringing important international experience. We’re also committed to further reinforcing the airport’s relationships with local stakeholders. “We would see another part of our growth coming from better responding to the needs of Shannon’s “natural” catchment. Businesspeople in the Midwest need connectivity and would welcome a wider choice of routes direct to main European cities. “Having those direct services is not just a time saving for business people, it’s a way to enhance the business attractiveness of the whole region. “The airport is part of the jigsaw but it’s not all of it. Part of our mission is the development of a global aviation industry cluster, the International Aviation Services Centre. “I passionately believe in the potential for Shannon to be not just a successful and sustainable airport but also a major global aerospace industry cluster, attracting jobs which would otherwise not come to Ireland. “Our job is to articulate the vision and to build on the existing expertise in Shannon and create the momentum to make that a reality. That means that over the coming months we need to be out there “selling” Shannon. We need to be attracting businesses, attracting airlines, giving people a reason to fly to and from Shannon, and making aviation entrepreneurs think about setting up in Shannon.” It is a philosophy that is already reaping huge rewards and for Hynes and the Board at Shannon Airport the selling point of Shannon being at the “center of the world” is a tagline that is starting to catch on. Silicon Valley Global | 57
Incubating Change The South Cork Enterprise Board is working to stimulate a vibrant regional economy. Silicon Valley Global speaks to CEO Sean O’Sullivan for a local perspective.
ean O’Sullivan is kept busy incubating the success stories of tomorrow. As CEO of the South Cork Enterprise Board (SCEB), he heads an organization which often provides that first crucial dose of support to promising businesses in a vibrant area. Niche micro enterprises from all sectors can avail of the supports of the SCEB. “We have a core staff of four for the South Cork Region. South Cork would be a strong vibrant economy having most of the major industry within the region based in South Cork. That in itself stimulates a lot of spinouts,” he explains. “South Cork is a bit of a misnomer as it also covers East Cork. We cover from the Waterford boundary to the Kerry boundary and a channel up the middle of the county, so it’s a big area: it’s
58 | Silicon Valley Global
not too far short of two hundred thousand people. Within South Cork we would have a significant amount of industrial parks and enterprise areas, some of which are quite large such as Little Island. Many of these are located close to the larger FDI based industrial areas and many of our clients would operate is close association with these. Of itself, in terms of the National County & City Enterprise Board network, it would be right up there in terms of business start-ups and business development and growth.” Part of that continued industry is down to the natural advantages of Cork which, as a county, can boast world-class facilities and a supportive environment for small businesses. “Cork is essentially a region in itself. We have a great infrastructure,
“There is tremendous cooperation between all the different groups, which is very heartening. It is getting stronger all the time and, as a small organisation, we need that; we have to be able to tap into it.”
international air links, we have a great port and good roadways and railways connected to the other major cities in Ireland. We have a county that has a superb agri-food sector, it has tourism, it’s very self contained – if we want to sell it, it’s there to be sold,” says O’Sullivan.
Weathering the Storm It’s little wonder then, that the region has fared better through the downturn than many others, helped by strong, large companies – particularly those in the pharmaceutical sector. “They give us a better springboard to help us really get through the downturn. I would have expected to have seen a lot more fire fighting in the last few years with our own client base. We did see a certain amount of it, and there have been closures, but in the main the work we have been doing has been with young companies looking to grow, while there has also been a huge amount of start-up opportunities passing through our door in the last two years,” O’Sullivan notes. “We are continually going back to our parent Department [of Enterprise] (Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation) for more resources in order to satisfy the demand that exists.” That demand stems from a plethora of entrepreneurs, many of whom are seeking early-stage support for potentially exciting businesses. “Many of the business plans coming in to us are solid ideas, where the opportunity can be demonstrated. Typically, there would be something coming from the promoter’s side as well in terms of funding, whether they have raised it themselves, had help from family or friends, or they have a bit from redundancy from a previous position. If the plan is strong enough we have not found funding to be the main barrier,” he notes.
Helping Technology Perhaps unsurprisingly, IT and technology start ups make up a large proportion of companies using the SCEB’s services, and the organization caters especially to this promising sector. “ There are special programmes available to help companies in this sector advance a bit faster than they might otherwise – things such as the New Frontiers programme which is funded by
manner. We are getting more involved in
“We’re providing grants communities and with business and actually starting things ourselves,” reveals O’Sullivan. of up to €20k to some “Bear in mind that we’re not dealing with multi-million Euro enterprises from the businesses – we might outset so we’re providing grants of up to €20k to some businesses – we might do this up to three times over a number of years depending do this up to three on the development of the business. We like to get businesses eligible to enter the times over a number Enterprise Ireland portfolio. To do so we help of years depending on them develop their initial markets while also assisting them in becoming the entrepreneurs the development of the they aspire to be,” he adds. Cooperation business.” Enterprise Ireland and based in the Rubicon Centre of Cork Institute of Technology. We see people coming through our doors who we would immediately ear-mark for the New Frontiers programme,” says O’Sullivan. “In other cases, we can use the Cork Business Innovation Centre, where there is a wealth of experience in tech. There is a great willingness among all these organizations to help entrepreneurs and exciting start-ups.”
Incubating Business It’s clear that support from small businesses goes beyond simply seed funding. While this is offered to micro-enterprises in certain circumstances, much of the SCEB’s work consists of guiding and mentoring earlystage entrepreneurs. “We stimulate, we head up things, we start up various different initiatives in various different areas to support enterprises and create opportunities. We try to bring a bit of innovation ourselves. We try to look at ourselves and ask ‘how can we innovate rather than wait for something to come in through the door?’ Examples of such initiatives would be Ireland’s largest Business Networking Forum CorkMEET of which SCEB is a founding member and originator and this year which catered to almost 650 businesses at the 3 day event in April. Another initiative which SCEB has lead, and with significant funding from the EPA, is the SMILE Resource Exchange Network in which we now have over 1000 active enterprises working together in a sustainable
With that goal in mind, there’s an obvious impetus for the SCEB and other agencies to link up and co-operate. Indeed, O’Sullivan argues that close cooperation is essential. “If people start empire building there is a huge waste of resources and we’re not tapping into all the skill sets these organizations can offer and bring to bear. (Co-operation) broadens the whole scope of what you can support business with... when someone comes to our door, we generally know where these resources are and how to access them,” he insists. “There is tremendous cooperation between all the different groups, which is very heartening. One of our strongest allies locally in the overall economic development brief we champion, aside from our neighboring CEBs, is the local authority and in our case Cork County Council. These partnerships are getting stronger all the time and, as a small organization, we need that; we have to be able to tap into it. To be effective, we have to be able to punch above our weight.” If Ireland is to carve out a real slice of the smart economy, using it to drive recovery forward, then state agencies will need to adopt that pro-active and openminded mentality. The SCEB does this not only in the business environment but also from very early stages within our schools and third level colleges as the development of a progressive culture of entrepreneurship will be critical to the long term health of our economy. By closely working together, and continually innovating, Ireland’s business incubators can deliver truly impressive results. Silicon Valley Global | 59
Bridging the Digital Divide
Magnus Ternsjö, the new CEO of UPC Ireland discusses the company’s commitment to supporting digital inclusion and economic growth
PC is the leading provider of TV entertainment, information and communications to consumers and businesses in Ireland. The company is also a significant employer, providing employment to over 800 people directly and over 700 indirectly nationwide. According to CEO Magus Ternsjo UPC is committed to building a sustainable business and playing its part within the communities in which it operates. UPC forms part of Liberty Global, the largest international cable company with operations in 14 countries. “Our market-leading triple-play services are provided through next-generation networks and innovative technology platforms that connect 24.5 million customers subscribing to 47.5 million television, broadband internet and telephony services as of June 30th this year,” explains Magnus. Liberty Global’s consumer brands include Virgin Media, UPC, Unitymedia, Kabel BW, Telenet and VTR. Its operations also 60 | Silicon Valley Global
include Chellomedia, a content division in addition to Liberty Global Business Services, a commercial division and Liberty Global Ventures, an investment fund.
Strategic Investment According to Magnus UPC has invested significantly in Ireland and is a strategic, long term investor in all markets in which it operates, “In that regard, I am pleased to say we are one of Ireland’s top foreign direct investment partners and that is in monetary, employment and service terms. “To date, we have invested in excess of one billion euro in our operations in Ireland. Right now, we are delivering superfast Internet access to Government departments, major hospitals, schools, multi-nationals and to businesses the length and breadth of the country. “While we employ directly over 800 people in Ireland, approximately 45% of our total workforce is situated here in Limerick
in our national contact centre. We have had a strong link and presence in Limerick since our arrival back in 1983. Furthermore we have built up strong links with the many communities and citizens that have become our customers over the past thirty years. As well as that we have become a major employer in the region.” This Summer UPC announced the creation of 30 jobs in its national contact centre. Some of these positions were created to support UPC setting up a new European Competency Centre in Limerick while other positions filled were to support the company’s dedicated resources in technical support. UPC is a tenant and part of the Limerick Enterprise Development Park where it has been located since January 2001. Its National Call Centre hosts a number of departments to include Telesales, Customer Care & Billing, Technical Services Desk, Customer Loyalty, Engineering, Networks, Revenue Assurance.
Horizon TV A key milestone took place in August when the company launched its revolutionary new Horizon TV service to the Irish market. Horizon TV changes the boundaries of Irish television providing a range of exciting new services which will delight TV lovers using UPC’s Horizon product which comes all packaged in a clever new set top box. This followed the introduction last April of UPC’s new Irish Horizon TV App and Horizon TV Online service which offers customers unique access to 45 channels across multiple devices and addresses the growing viewership of TV content on PC’s, laptops, mobiles and tablets for free in-home. Magnus is also excited about the expansion of the company’s retail outreach with the opening of its new Customer Experience Centre in Curry’s Mahon Point Retail Park. Central to the consumer’s experience of Horizon TV is UPC’s revolutionary new service which brings TV to life in extraordinary new ways and sets the new gold standard for TV, broadband and phone services
Horizon TV: Bringing Irish consumers closer to the TV they love with: • 19 HD channels as standard – HD channels at no additional cost. This includes all the major HD broadcasters including RTE, TG4, Sky and the BBC • Record up to four programmes at once and watch a fifth • Programme suggestions for shows you might like based on your viewing • Access your favourite TV across multiple devices (laptop, iPad and iPhone) And Horizon contains all your services in one clever box: • 100Mb broadband as standard as part of the Horizon Essential Bundle – faster than any other provider on the market • All your TV, broadband and phone in one box
which are far beyond what competitors can provide in Ireland. Delivered through UPC’s fibre power network, Horizon lets you watch TV, surf the web and call family and friends, all through one clever box including superfast broadband. UPC’s broadband service has always led the market and despite attempts by our competitors to match us, UPC still maintains the lead. Now Horizon extends this advantage to the TV domain. The significant investments undertaken by UPC illustrates the company’s commitment to supporting digital inclusion and economic growth in Limerick by providing superfast broadband services to homes and businesses throughout the City. “Over 32,000 homes today in Limerick are now able to receive our range of Horizon products and services everyday using our fibre powered network,” says Magnus. “On a national front over 745,000 Irish households can now access superfast broadband reinforcing the resilience and quality of the network and setting us apart from our competitors. In fact I know we deliver exceptional customer care from our national call centre in Limerick as I learn of this everyday first hand and I am delighted to drop into my piece that recently we were also recognized by a national radio station for the great care on social media the company adopts. “I think that for a knowledge based economy like Ireland, having a first class infrastructure, people and investing in one’s company is crucial for success. And in terms of the lifeblood of that economy, our next generation network is carrying massive amounts of vital business information, global accessibility and content for hundreds of thousands of our customers across the country. “It is important to note that our investments are enhancing business competitiveness for our customers. And we are providing an important stimulus for businesses locally here in the MidWest and nationally across all sectors of the economy. “The vision that we have for UPC is one where we will continue to drive all of these developments - promoting economic renewal and digital inclusion for everyone locally and throughout Ireland. Our presence and offerings enhance the lifestyles of so many customers combining attractive packages with highly innovative state of the art products together with exceptional customer service.”
Magnus Ternsjo, CEO, UPC Ireland Magnus Ternsjö is CEO of UPC Ireland and is responsible for overseeing the strategic planning, operational management and corporate development of both UPC’s residential and business divisions in Ireland. Previously, Magnus was Managing Director of UPC Broadband’s DTH business (UPC DTH S.a.r.l. in Luxembourg), a premium Central European DTH operator covering 4 countries, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. UPC Direct operates via the Telenor 1 degree west satellites. UPC Broadband (UPC) is the European division of Liberty Global, Inc., the world’s leading international cable operator. UPC brings television, broadband internet and telephone services to approximately 13 million customers throughout 11 European countries. Magnus has during the last 20 years been active in the PayTV business field covering several European countries via working for companies such as Nethold, Canal+ and UPC. His activities and area of experience include company management, development and start up activities, operations, project, personnel and change management, company restructuring and closure/liquidation tasks, customer service, IT and logistics, all within the Technical Broadcast/ PayTV-arena. Magnus holds a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Management.
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Committed To Excellence A welcome message from Managing Director, Mr Denis Cahalane.
ituated in the center of Limerick, Barringtons Hospital is a well known and respected medical institution. Over the last few years we have been working hard to build our concept of what the hospital, as an independent medical provider, can provide to the people of the city and the Mid-West Region. Our core ethos here at Barringtons Hospital is to complement our consultant led expertise with a respected international based model of medicine, augmented by the best in modern medical technology. We have invested heavily in technology and will continue to do so as, along with our medical professionals, it is at the core of how we see the hospital developing into the future. We deliver, and consistently seek to improve our model of ambulatory, patientcentered healthcare. Barrington’s Hospital was awarded the Joint Commission International ( JCI) standard of accreditation in 2009 and was re-accredited in 2012. During 2013 the hospital secured Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB) approval for our laboratory services at the hospital. Quality and impeccably high standards are at the center of everything we do at Barringtons Hospital and receiving this independent, international standard of accreditation demonstrates our commitment to patient care of the highest standard. All our personnel and our systems at Barringtons are centered around excellence in patient care and this is built upon
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adherence to quality and maintaining standards at all times. Quality is not an achievement; it is a constant process which we rigidly maintain. It is a fundamental part of the job of each and every person working at the hospital.
“All our personnel and our systems at Barringtons are centred around excellence in patient care and this is built upon adherence to quality and maintaining standards at all times. Quality is not an achievement; it is a constant process which we rigidly maintain.”
We are exceptionally proud of the caliber of staff that we have at Barrington’s Hospital. Our Consultants are amongst the finest in their respective disciplines and underpin the system of high quality, good value healthcare that we have here. For 2014 we are seeking to broaden and improve our range of services to include the provision of enhanced orthopaedic surgical capabilities including joint replacement. Barringtons is an independent medical provider which is fortunate to occupy such an iconic building in the heart of Limerick City. We constantly seek to change the common perception that independent hospitals are not affordable and we provide an excellent outlet for diagnostics, minor to intermediate level procedures and top quality post-operative and aftercare assistance and support. As medicine evolves there are many challenges for Barringtons despite the huge advances we have made over recent years, however we are confident that we will continue to evolve and manage the challenges as they present. We would like to thank our local medical community for their loyalty and support and our patients also for their trust in what we provide here at Barringtons Hospital. The highest standards of patient care is what is ultimately most important, and we are confident that we will continue to provide the best independent healthcare in the Midwest, using the most modern technology, backed up by the skills of our experienced medical professionals.
City of Opportunity
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Cork city is proving
players like Cork Chamber and business support organizations, all of whom have the same interest in providing the necessary supports for companies that choose this city as a location for investment and growth. University College Cork (UCC) and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) also play a key role – there are superb business supports and research and development activities within both institutions. Companies will find the necessary facilities and people that are ready and willing to help.”
itself to be one of the most attractive business and lifestyle destinations in Europe.
ver since Cork City was twinned with San Francisco in 1984, Cork City Council has been making strides to capitalize on an association with one of the most innovative enterprise bases in the world. The relationship has proved fruitful for both parties and now Cork’s affiliation with the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) is cementing the reputation of Ireland’s second city as one of the most creative and favorable business hubs in Europe. “One of the challenges for Cork in the future will be to balance a very strong foreign direct investment cohort with indigenous enterprises,” says Director of Services for Economic Development and Strategic Planning at Cork City Council, Pat Ledwidge. “This includes everything from start ups to companies that are at further stages of growth and development. Our link with ITLG has helped us to do that – in fact, four Cork-based companies were invited to travel to the ITLG Conference in California in May 2013, which was a significant boost for the city’s profile. Activities like this also help us to continue to develop links between our city and the west coast of the United States, which is rightly viewed internationally as one of the hotbeds of entrepreneurship and innovation. We see very positive ties developing there and there are huge advantages in showcasing Cork in front of companies who might want to set up operations here.” Global players like Apple, McAfee and EMC have already been convinced of Cork’s allure as a business destination and many have, and are, following suit. When they arrive, Ledwidge notes that they’ll find a very flat communication structure to assist them in any way that it can. “We are very proactive in terms of cooperation between IDA Ireland, local government and local
Pat Ledwidge, Cork City Council.
“University College Cork (UCC) and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) also play a key role – there are superb business supports and research and development activities within both institutions. Companies will find the necessary facilities and people that are ready and willing to help.”
As with the very best commercial destinations around the globe, the development of links with other major European cities has helped Cork to establish itself among the elite. Heathrow in London is just 55 minutes away, while daily flights to Amsterdam and Paris have made the continent, North America and Asia very accessible from Cork. “Today, businesses will find world-class connectivity with other parts of Europe from Cork and while Cork does not suit every business, those who do choose to come here will find an environment that is conducive to getting things done quickly and efficiently. The city has also benefited greatly from improved internal transport links – Dublin is a little over two hours away via new motorways – while Cork itself suffers very little traffic congestion, making it easy to move around.” While Cork boasts many attractions for successful commercial activity, perhaps its greatest asset of all is its educated workforce. With 22,000 students at UCC and a further 10,000 studying full and part-time at CIT, there is no sign of a talent shortage coming any time soon. “The workforce that is available here is one of the reasons why companies like Apple chose Cork as the destination for its European headquarters,” explains Ledwidge. “There is a huge wealth of talent here – in fact, it is also very noticeable, especially in recent years, that the profile of people in the city has changed. There are now over 18 languages spoken regularly and people coming here find it a very hospitable and welcoming place to live and work. Maintaining that sense of vibrancy and hospitality will be central in our continued efforts in attracting the most talented people here.” Silicon Valley Global | 65
eircom Excels eircom is the principal provider of fixed-line and mobile telecommunications services in Ireland with approximately 2 million customers. As the industry sees rapid growth in technology, CEO Herb Hribar talks to Trish Phelan about this fast paced industry. Can you give us a background to eircom in Ireland and how the company is faring in today’s competitive market? eircom Group is the principal provider of fixed-line and mobile telecommunications services in Ireland with approximately 2 million customers. The company has the most extensive network in Ireland both in terms of capacity and geographic reach. eircom is currently constructing Ireland’s largest fibre broadband network that will reach more than one million premises on an open access basis as well as rolling out high speed 4G services across the country under our Meteor and eMobile brands. The Group provides a comprehensive range of advanced voice, data, broadband and ICT services to the residential, small business, enterprise and public sector markets. It is also the largest wholesale provider of telecommunications in Ireland. The Company is a major contributor to the 66 | Silicon Valley Global
Irish economy spending €1.3 billion annually, equating to a daily spend of €5 million. To what extent has eircom contributed to the roll out of broadband infrastructure in the country? We have been at the forefront of driving broadband availability and take up in Ireland and we are currently constructing Ireland’s largest fibre broadband network. The network launched in May and represents the first part of eircom’s €1.5 billion strategic investment programme. It will provide speeds of up to 70Mb per second. On average, customers using the network will see a six to ten time improvement in their current broadband download speeds, transforming their online experience. By the end of this year, eircom aims to reach more than 600,000 homes and businesses, bringing over 10,000 additional premises online
each week. When completed in early 2015, the network will reach 1.2 million homes and businesses across Ireland, representing 60% of all homes and businesses in the country. We also recently confirmed that we will deploy a cutting edge broadband technology called vectoring on our fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) network that will deliver broadband speeds of up to 100Mb. eircom will be one of the first operators in Europe and the first in Ireland to use vectoring on a commercial basis. Vectoring is a noise canceling technology that delivers higher broadband speeds to customers. The technology will be deployed early in 2014 across the entire next generation access (NGA) fibre network and will be included as new cabinets are added to the network. As a result, broadband providers that choose to use eircom’s NGA fibre network will be able to offer their customers a top
speed of 100Mb per second. The deployment of this technology has been agreed between eircom and its industry partners. To what extent has eircom contributed to development and growth of the telecommunications sector in Ireland? Investment is at the heart of our company strategy and we absolutely believe that continued significant investment in our infrastructure will not only contribute to the competitiveness of the country and a return to economic growth but will also position eircom as a leader in the telecommunication sector. 2013 continues to be an exciting year for eircom. This year alone we have announced details of our fibre rollout strategy, we were the first operator in Ireland to launch 4G services, which is a big deal for our residential and business customers and we will shortly announce details of a very exciting TV offering. In addition, we continue to deliver the best value services and bundles in the market. Give an overview of the investment eircom has committed to infrastructure. Over the course of our five year strategic plan which is built upon €1.5bn in capital expenditure, we will invest more than €1m every working day in infrastructure. We have committed €400m to the rollout fibre broadband services to 1.2 million homes and business by June 2015. We will invest €350 million over the next five years to enhance 3G and deliver 4G services. How important is high quality broadband to the economy? There is no doubt about it, high quality broadband is critical to the success of the Irish economy. Businesses rely on it and for those companies looking to locate in Ireland, good quality broadband is high on their list of priorities. Put simply, broadband is an enabler to business. For our part, eircom is committed to delivering the best quality service that we can and we genuinely believe that we have the best network to do business on. We are investing in and delivering broadband services across our fixed network through the deployment of our eFibre products which deliver uncontested broadband meaning businesses get the same consistent speed regardless of what time of day or night they use it. Additionally we were
recently first to market in Ireland with our 4G services which will result in faster speeds for business users on the go. We also have the most extensive WiFi network with close to 2,500 hotspots across the country. This includes large scale sites such as Dublin Airport, but also multiple retail operations such as cafes, petrol stations and more than sixty locations across the Irish Rail network. We are enabling business to do what they want, where they want as efficiently as possible. To what extent has up-skilling of employees and demand for people with IT skills made a contribution to your product and services? We have spent a considerable amount of time in recent months modernizing our work practices and fundamentally changing our systems. Our current management plan is built upon change. Change in capabilities to offer new services, but also changes in the way we work and changes to the skills sets that are required as an organization. We are one of Ireland’s largest employers with 4,500 staff on our books. Training and up skilling is a key part of our business. The telecommunications market is a dynamic and fast moving sector and we fundamentally believe in ensuring our employees are fully equipped with all the skills they need to keep up with the latest developments. What are the key challenges facing the company? We currently provide services to every customer segment in Ireland from youth
consumers to families, sole traders to SMEs right up to enterprise customers and Government departments. We are under no illusion that the market in which we operate is a hugely competitive one and that means that in order to continue delivering excellent service to those customer segments we need to be top of our game. The reality is that every business in Ireland is finding it difficult and there are enormous challenges for many of them, eircom included. Our financial results demonstrate the real challenges that we still must overcome. While we remain profitable, we have witnessed a very real impact on our business. The market in which we operate constantly changes. For example, the traditional voice service revenues of the telecoms sector are in rapid decline. Media companies are now competing in the traditional telecommunications space and IT companies are increasingly expanding services and solutions. This has caused the blurring of traditional market segments and has significantly increased competition. What are the future objectives for eircom? 2013 has so far been a busy one for eircom. Our vision is to provide customers with an ‘always on’ seamless experience to super fast broadband by offering unique and compelling products and propositions. Underpinning this vision, we are utilizing the largest asset we have – our network. It is what we call ‘The Network for a Nation’. We have worked hard to build a reputation in the whole area of ‘cloud’ building on the back of our partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Cloud will continue to be a key focus area for us going forward and we plan to maintain our position as a leading provider of cloud services to our business customers. We will launch our TV service shortly meaning eircom will be the first provider to launch infrastructure based ‘quad play’ bundles that will offer broadband, voice, mobile and TV from one provider which we believe will be very attractive. Finally, our ultimate objective is to continue delivering real value and the widest range of services to customers that we possibly can. Silicon Valley Global | 67
Evolve or die A European Customer Service Story.
oxpro are a business that operates somewhat behind the scenes of over 300 organizations, both indigenous and multinational. They are the voice at the end of the phone or the contact at the end of the email, SMS, or webchat. Voxpro is the unseen link connecting businesses to their clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, in 12 languages. But it wasnâ€™t always like that.
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Over the past 6 years, Voxpro has successfully made the transition from a national paging and call answering service provider to a business process outsourcer (BPO) that specialists in highly complex multi lingual Customer Management solutions for blue chip clients. Flipped from a transactional point to point service provider to a full circle customer management solution: From a service where
every call escalates to the client, to one where it rarely does. And in the course of this evolution, become Irelandâ€™s leading exporter of the service. Each re-incarnation of the Voxpro brand however, shares the common theme of identifying opportunities as their customersâ€™ businesses and needs evolve and a passionate drive to continuously reinvent and make the company relevant to its customers. Their
“We need to deepen our management talent pool with a conscious bias to bring in people with diverse backgrounds to enhance our ecosystem” corporate mandate reflects this and is instilled in the company’s culture.
Entrepreneurial Spirit Dan and Linda Kiely, Directors and founders of Voxpro and finalists in this year’s Ernest and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, have proven their self-belief and entrepreneurial spirit by investing heavily in Voxpro’s continuous evolution. They have put in place and aligned an elite team with the capabilities to secure business with multinationals. In addition, they are continuously updating their skills and technology in order to develop the company both nationally and internationally. They continue to tackle head on the challenges and opportunities associated with growing the company from an SME to a medium to large sized company. The culture, the look, feel and atmosphere is different to that of any other customer service environment or contact center with a warm open and interactive experience between staff. New and innovative ideas are encouraged, rewarded and above all recognized by management. There is clear evidence of Voxpro’s success: A growth rate in turnover over the past three years of approximately 50%. In 2009, 8% of turnover was international and the top ten clients made up 22% of revenue. Today, 80% of turnover is international and the top ten clients make up 92% of our revenue. Voxpro has grown its business dramatically whilst seeing a higher caliber customer base develop.
Dan and Linda intend to continue the rapid sales growth and plan to do that with a multi-faceted approach over a 5 year horizon; “The company needs to be built on a backbone of operational and process excellence. This is a journey and not a destination. It is part of our DNA and we need to ensure that these remain a core capability within the business. We need to deepen our management talent pool with a conscious bias to bring in people with diverse backgrounds to enhance our ecosystem,” says CEO Dan Kiely, “We are pleased with progress so far. We have opened an office in San Francisco this year and plan for a presence in Eastern Europe in 2014. Longer term, we will have a global footprint with a presence in Asia Pacific by 2018 a key element of our strategic plan.”
New Products Voxpro differentiates itself from the competition by working with each individual client in order to continuously improve the customer experience. “Customer journey improvement is an on-going challenge we set for ourselves. This point of differentiation often results in the team developing in-house solutions including software innovation, process and tools for our clients. It’s never a case of taking a blueprint and staying to plan. If the customer service delivery is the same today as it was a year ago – someone has been asleep at the wheel,” says Kiely. The strength of the in-house technical team gives the company the flexibility needed to react and adapt quickly to change. This flexibility has been instrumental in helping Voxpro establish a hard won reputation for being able to manage the support needs of technology companies in different verticals and with varying business models. According to Commercial Director, Karl Llewellyn the company’s flexibility is proving to be increasingly important to customers. “Adapting and designing support models as their business needs change in scale and complexity is vitally important. While undoubtedly some of the work that is undertaken on behalf of existing customers is bespoke to their business, other core elements are not. Voxpro has identified an opportunity to leverage existing process IP and how to commercialize the insights it has gained over the years. Differentiation will be achieved
by moving away from ‘me too’ solution offerings. Productisation of solutions is the immediate future for Voxpro. It’s about simplification of offer, engagement and mobilization. New smart companies don’t want a master class in how to outsource a five year plan. They want a solution for their needs today, that they can change tomorrow if needed,” he says.
New markets Continuous monitoring of new hubs in the USA has led to a new product offering called ‘5x5’; this product offers US companies the opportunity to enter the European market without major capital investment. US clients can avail of Voxpro’s multi lingual team to deliver customer support in five languages for a fixed monthly fee of five thousand Euros. Since its rollout in May 2013 this new product has already resulted in three new North American clients with a projected seven more by year end. These new accounts, which are forecast to start relatively small, are an important part of the growth accounts of 2014. Ultimately it is these new accounts which can launch the company on the road to being an employer of up to 1,000 people within the next five years “We are very excited about the market reaction to 5X5, both here and in the States. All indicators are this will be a winning solution for us in the immediate future. It is, as one delighted new customer said in San Francisco last June, ‘like customer service in the Cloud, I can turn it on and adjust it as I grow and test new markets without serious penalty’ we liked the expression so much, we’ve started to use it!” Says Karl Llewellyn. “It’s yet another great example of listen to your potential customers – they’ll tell you what they want”. The next step for Voxpro is the creation of yet another product, similar to 5X5 but design specifically for the online pre-sales market. “We’ve identified a requirement to help online businesses migrate their users from freemium subscriptions to premium plans. We are currently trialling a number of sales contact cycles to see if we can crack this, significantly improving the conversation rate. That’s going to be the next product and I believe it will be a game changer” One thing is for sure, the team at Voxpro can never be accused of standing still. Definitely, one to watch for the future. Silicon Valley Global | 69
Tech Insights The recent IFA exhibition in Berlin provided a glimpse of the future.
espite the mood of uncertainty in the markets around the world exhibitors and retailers will be returning home from the giant IFA tech exhibition held in Berlin earlier this month with a sense of optimism. 1,500 exhibitors displayed their vast range of products and innovations on rented display areas covering 145,000 mÂ˛ and around 240,000 visitors attended IFA 2013. Orders were placed totaling almost four billion euros, Large numbers of orders were placed for the latest UHDTV sets and consumers at
IFA were clearly impressed by the pin-sharp resolution of these TVs, so that retailers are confident of their market success. In the telecoms sector the public showed keen interest in new mobile data and wireless services. Among the high-ranking speakers at the event were Pieter Nota, Vice President of Philips, Alan Mulally, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ford Motor Company; Turan Erdogan, Chief Executive Officer of Vestel Group; Colin Angle, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of iRobot, and Noel Lee, founder and CEO of Monster, Inc. Silicon Valley Global | 71
Trend Selection Smartwatch: Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch stole the headlines and features a microphone and speaker and is designed to work with other Galaxy devices, including smartphones and tables. It also runs apps and has fitness related tech features including a pedometer, accelerometer and gyroscope. It even has a camera. Goodbye compact cameras: Sony launched a new smartphone at the expo – the Xperia Z1 with a 20 megapixel camera and the same sensor used in many of its compact cameras. It also revealed a lens camera that can be attached to any high end smartphone. 4k is the new 3D: 4k is short for 4,000 and has twice the resolution clarity of existing high definition TV. Most of the manufacturers already have models but the key problem is that a 4k formatted movie is around 100 times the size of a current Blu-ray movie which rules out downloading. Robotic pals: Fancy a ‘Caring Robot” as a friend– a droid that will talk to you and encourage you to use their large touchscreen to play a game, call a friend or get down to some study. The avatar faced Furo-S model from FutureRobot’ could be the answer and will set you back around $3000.
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A Vision of the future
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Silicon Valley Global speaks to Rory McInerney, Vice President of the Intel Architecture Group and Director of the Microprocessor Development Group.
ory McInerney and Intel, share a vision for the future laced with exciting ambition. Speaking at the CASPA Summer Symposium of 2011, an influential event in the Silicon Valley calendar, McInerney set out the goal of creating and extending computing technology to connect and enrich the lives of every person on earth by the end of the decade. By McInerney’s own admission, Intel’s vision is an ambitious one, but major strides towards it have already been made. “I’ll give you some examples, such as the growth of mobility and what’s now called ultra-mobility. Just look at the growth of phones, high-end and lower-range smartphones around the world. They’re growing at a tremendous rate and the emerging markets are where most of the volume growth is. For many people, access to the internet and social media comes first through a mid-or-low-range smartphone or tablet. The industry in general has been making inroads in expanding the footprint of computing and Intel is playing a role in that. It’s an area that we’re investing in,” he points out. “Another side of the spectrum and one that I’m more personally close to, is the data center. We see a continued high growth rate in areas like cloud computing, high performance computing, big data. Those themes are continuing to blossom and, if you’re looking to see how highperformance computing touches the lives of people around the world, you just need to look at the area of medicine and scientific discovery. If you see the rate at which high-performance computing is being deployed in healthcare, oil and gas and a number of different areas where they’re solving challenging problems, the benefits are being felt broadly,” adds McInerney. “We’re making great inroads in some areas and less in others, but it’s a vision that we’re going to continue to drive and push to be successful.”
A Finger on the Pulse Staying in tune with this revolutionary vision is a major part of McInerney’s role. As Vice President of the Intel Architecture Group, he’s responsible for the development of all
about, from an Intel business perspective, will
affect the type of products that we develop. It’s ”If you step back a in response to direct customer feedback, where little and link big data, more of a certain type of product is getting sold, or it’s our own intuition or knowledge, where we want to lead the market in a direction and will high performance take a risk in developing a particular product,” he explains. “The intersection of my work is in the computing, cloud definition and building of the microprocessor products that we see growth in.” computing and communications, those Big Data Microprocessors and other computing four major areas, the breakthroughs have had a major impact on theme that links them medicine, discovery and other productive industries, with a huge increase in data is the massive growth production and transmission an overriding trend. “If you step back a little and link big data, in data. That growth is high performance computing, cloud computing and communications, those four major areas, enormous, exponential the theme that links them is the massive growth in data. That growth is enormous, exponential in nature. And that data is coming from an in nature. And that explosion of mobile devices – smartphones, data is coming from an smart cars, all this mobile technology that’s being deployed. That’s creating and generating an ever more rich set of data. That data can be explosion of mobile real-time, it could be pictures, many things. But devices – smartphones, the essence of it is that you need to mine that data for information,” McInerney explains. “You can look at Facebook, people looking at election smart cars, all this trends, or companies in advertising, where they’re trying to mine this data. If you want to mobile technology mine this massive amount of data, you need that’s being deployed. high-performance computing to do it, because of Intel’s microprocessors for the data center market, including the microprocessors that go into high-performance computing, cloud computing, communications, storage and enterprise computing. Moreover, within that brief, McInerney must look to the future and make major calls based on what he sees. “The timeline I operate on is that there are products just launched in the market all the way to products that might be coming to the market in 2018. So the trends that I’m talking
you can’t do that analysis quickly otherwise. And when you go into high-performance computing, you want to do it in an affordable manner and that’s where cloud computing helps,” he continues. “It’s a spiral that connects, from the generation of the data to the communication of the data, the analysis of the data and the benefits you get from that. You can see that in healthcare. Across the world, there’s a huge push to improve the effectiveness of healthcare and you can analyse huge amounts of data to see certain trends – where are
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treatments successful, where are they not so successful. Or you can personalize individual treatments so, instead of a prescription that’s tuned for the mass population, you’re getting a prescription that’s tuned directly to you. In order for that to happen, the volume of data that the medical system needs about you becomes quite detailed. You can imagine the doctor or nurse taking your notes, but where do those notes go? They’re stored somewhere in medical records and they need to be accessed more broadly, in a secure fashion, so that the benefits of that data are being extracted, analyzed and leveraged,” McInerney points out. “This dynamic feeds itself, because the richer the data you generate and the more analysis you do on it, the more productive that data is and the more willing you are to invest in it.”
The ITLG Intel is known for its generous investment in education initiatives and McInerney has been personally generous to the Irish entrepreneurial community, giving both time and expertise to the ITLG. A member of the Management Team, he is a regular speaker and attendee at events and was key to the group’s formation. The vision shared by McInerney and the other ITLG founders, he says, remains intact. “It started with the recognition that there are a significant number of Irish or members of the Irish Diaspora that are senior in their fields and that there wasn’t a network pulling those people together on an area of common interest. I think the ITLG provides that and, specifically, the interest to help companies and entrepreneurs in Ireland with access to customers, capital and expertise,” he says. “The ITLG achieves that through various mechanisms, be it SVG Ventures that many people have partaken in, the innovation center, or the networking events that occur in the US and Ireland.” Like Intel, the ultimate vision of the ITLG boils down to helping people and companies achieve their potential and it’s clear in conversation that McInerney is profoundly excited when this is achieved. With both organizations going from strength to strength, McInerney remains key to realizing their bold visions. 76 | Silicon Valley Global
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As gaming continues its rapid march to digital platforms, it does so in the context of the huge explosion of original TV shows and video content produced for web distribution, according to Robert Nashak, the former EVP of Digital Entertainment and Games at BBC Worldwide.
obert Nashak’s impressive career history reflects his relentless passion for keeping up with trends in the gaming industry. “The trajectory of my career has been really trying to hit all platforms and gravitate to the new platforms as they emerged and became relevant to gaming, for example mobile and online and very much focused on mass market games,” he says. Currently working on a digital media start-up production company focused on direct to web short-form live-action content
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tied to gaming franchises, Nashak comments: “The possibilities for building entertainment franchises across a number of digital platforms, such as web, mobile and console from the ground up really excite me.”
Developing Opportunities As the former EVP of Digital Entertainment and Games at BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, Nashak oversaw its gaming strategy and developed new opportunities across a wide range of gaming platforms. He led the company over three and half years in
broadening the digital entertainment business and gaming initiatives and setting up teams in Los Angeles and London. Nashak joined BBC Worldwide from Electronic Arts (EA), where he was VP with strategic and operational responsibility for EA’s social gaming group, “where I also led the casual studios, including the Harry Potter franchise, brought out on PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS.” Prior to working at EA, Nashak was VP and General Manager of Yahoo! Games, one of the world’s largest online gaming portals. “At the time, this was before Facebook really
hit, Yahoo! Games was the largest gaming portal in the world with 35 million monthly active unique visitors.” He also worked as SVP for mobile entertainment publisher, Glu Mobile, with responsibility for creative direction and product development, “back in the feature phone days when you’d have to do 2000 versions of any game to make sure you were covering all the combinations of handsets and operating systems.” Earlier in his career, Nashak held key positions at Acclaim Entertainment, Vivendi Games and Disney Online, where he gained the essential skills required to produce online, mobile and retail games on multiple platforms. He is a long-time adjunct professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema and Television and is a long-time supporter of IndieCade, the world’s best known independent games festival. “Overall, the trajectory of my career has been really trying to hit all platforms and really trying to gravitate to the new platforms as they emerged and became relevant to gaming, for example mobile and online and very much focused on mass market games,” he says.
Hollywood Entertainment “Throughout my career, I have focused in on how Hollywood entertainment and film and TV entertainment in general, translates into the gaming space and interactive experiences. For me, that’s taking a piece of intellectual property (IP) and moving it across multiple platforms, that’s really what I love to do most of all.” Nashak claims that gaming and digital media is undergoing a revolution in terms of how content is financed, produced and distributed. “The independent gamer has never had an opportunity like this to raise money, produce low-cost quality products and get their games distributed on mobile, online and PC,” he says. “This is part of larger trend where you’ll see that more and more regular Joes go Hollywood and start building out the next generation of entertainment products from basements and garages all around the world. This includes Ireland, which has a huge base of talented games and tech talent who don’t necessarily need the big publishers anymore to succeed.” Sony and Microsoft have made attempts
to assure independent game developers that they are welcome on their systems as publishers. “Microsoft and Sony have been very strong about outreach to independent developers as they get ready to launch their new consoles.” With Apple and android systems, “there’s virtually no barrier to entry,” he says, while Steam and Amazon have also been very supportive to independent game developers. It’s possible that there will be more fallout from the shifting games marketplace, he says, adding that THQ was not the last big games publisher to fall. While working at BBC, Nashak had the opportunity to work closely with the creative of TV shows. One of these was Torchwood, a spin-off from the revival of the science fiction program Doctor Who, produced in Los Angeles. Even before the first script was written,
Nashak’s team was coming up with a digital strategy and developed an app for iPad and iPhone, a motion comic and game hybrid, that launched simultaneously with the TV show. “As each episode aired on TV, we would release our new episode. The directors from the TV show wrote for us, the talent from the show voiced the characters for us and it was a rare moment to have this collaboration with the creatives from the TV side and the creatives on the digital side and be able to extend the story onto other platforms,” he enthuses. “That, to me, is rare, certainly in Hollywood and around the world. My hope is that this becomes more crucial moving forward and I suspect it will. A lot of TV production houses are moving straight to online distribution. With the possibilities of distributing television across digital platforms, there’s no reason not to have other digital properties living side by side.” Silicon Valley Global | 79
Engaging the Audience Enthusiastic about the exciting possibilities transmedia offers to engage fans, he imagines that in the future, “when you’re creating a TV show or a movie, you’re thinking about that world having story extensions onto all other platforms as well. That way you’re reaching fans where they are, you’re engaging them. Games engage people like no other medium.” “In the game show sector, we’re seeing a lot of movement right now in terms of trying to incorporate digital platforms into the very show itself and engage the at-home audience in an interactive way,” he says. With the Dancing on the Stars’ game at BBC, Nashak made the decision to go off Facebook with it, to “be able to bubble the game up to international broadcasters’ sites and basically launch in territories where Facebook may not be as relevant to players. For us, it was a way of owning the community more and managing the community better.” “You give Facebook 30% of all your revenues. If you can actually get the game off Facebook you have a better chance of a bigger revenue stream. There are players who just will never play a Facebook game, but will perhaps play a game that’s browser-based.” Despite the massive technological breakthroughs over the years, Nashak comments that the latest Facebook and social games operate similarly to the early quartereating arcade games. “While the technology has shifted over the years, the mentality of getting hooked on a game and having to put a quarter in to keep playing remains. That’s exactly the methodology on social games like Facebook, where you have a certain amount of energy, for example and if you want to keep playing, or you’re addicted, you can pay a small sum of money to keep going.” The shift to the freemium model of gaming means that success entails a volume play, he explains and since the conversion rates of turning free-to-play gamers into paying customers is so low, “you need millions of eyeballs on your games and this in itself will force the development of more and more truly global games franchises that travel East to West and West to East.” Smartphones have been the most disruptive thing to happen to gaming in 10 years, he believes. In general, the proliferation 80 | Silicon Valley Global
“I’m very encouraged by what’s happening in Northern Ireland and Ireland in terms of new technology and new games companies.” of smartphones around the world has made global development truly possible for the first time and it’s still early days with that, he says.
The Global Picture In China, the mobile games market, revenues will be US $1.2 billion in 2013. That’s out of a global video games business which will be worth something like $80 billion in total by 2016. “There are 80,000 game developers doing mobile games in China right now. There are hundreds of app stores. It’s a very fragmented market, but customers are really gravitating to smartphones. By the end of 2013, there’ll be about 500 million smartphones in China. In 2012, there were 100 million, so you can see the exponential growth in that market right now.” “The jury’s out in terms of how big the market can get, but in terms of mobile gaming that seems to be where the big action is right now.” In the US, video games sales in 2012 (excluding hardware) was about $15 billion, he says and digital downloads of PC games and console games is on the rise. “Not only downloading games directly off the internet but also streaming games, also games made just for the Internet and mobile devices are going to be more and more of a dominant force. That’s a macro trend that’s on-going.” Looking at the real barriers companies face in creating global games, he says: “The cultural barriers to entry are real, but some game IPs will overcome them. It’s already happening.” “Behemoths like TenCent from China are having huge success in China and other markets. The march West has already begun and we’ll be seeing a lot more activity.” In the West and the US, a huge
fragmentation has emerged in terms of gaming platforms so the average gamer is splitting their time between one or two devices, whether that’s a console and mobile, or handheld devices like Nintendo 3DS and mobile, PC and console. “People have multiple devices and you find that’s not always the case in other countries where smartphones really dominate,” he says. There is “a lot of heat right now around virtual reality technology” he says, mentioning California’s Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset for immerse gaming. With the support of top video game companies including Valve, Epic Games and Unity, the Kickstarter was an enormous success, raising more than US $2.4 million in funding from project backers and supporters around the world. “Whether or not it’s going to become mass market is hard to tell yet, but what it does indicate is that if you can release a product that’s at a low enough price point, people are really interested in having new types of experiences around games. Sony announced for the PS4 that they’re also doing a virtual reality headset.”
Silicon Beach Although Silicon Valley is the tech hub in the US, “what you’re seeing down in Los Angeles is a phenomenon called Silicon Beach, where tech companies are being funded, some of which are linked to the entertainment space.” “The big gaming companies and console manufacturers are building offices in LA, to have a presence there. My suspicion is that California, in general and not just San Francisco, will continue to be a leading hub of innovation around technology.” Game development is truly global, however, with teams distributed around the world and Brazil has become very important, he says. Companies based in Ireland doing interesting work include Inlifesize, NeverMind Games and Pixel Wolf Studios, he says. “I’m very encouraged by what’s happening in Northern Ireland and Ireland in terms of new technology and new games companies. The big disrupter in all of this is the rise of the independent game developer.” Nashak can be reached at Rnashak@gmail.com or @ nebraskaroth
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EXCO is one of the world’s leading specialist financial services companies. Since its inception in 1981, FEXCO has pioneered a range of innovative services in Cross Border Payments, Foreign Exchange Services and Tourism Related Financial Services. Through its commitment to innovation, service delivery and customer care, the company has built an extensive and enduring network of partners and customers worldwide. FEXCO’s core values of innovative partnership, teamwork, diversity, integrity and trust are at the heart of the organization’s culture and underpin every aspect of their activities. FEXCO’s unique portfolio of products has positioned the company as a market leader in the provision of financial services to 82 | Silicon Valley Global
a wide variety of industries, sectors, corporates and individuals. A key business within the portfolio is Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) which the company pioneered and brought to market. Today FEXCO offers DCC through 70,000 acquiring customers, processing transactions at a rate of one every second on behalf of its clients who access the company’s secure financial service from all over the globe. FEXCO employs over 1800 people across its global network of operations in Ireland, the UK, the USA, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Australia. Over 3,000 customers globally use FEXCO’s Corporate Payment services which enable clients to issue outbound payments and receive inbound payments quickly, accurately and
cost effectively. Customers who wish to make overseas payments can transact either online, using a secure web portal, or through File Direct by uploading a file generated from the clients’ systems. The service is flexible, easy to use and provides clear information on fees and relevant exchange rates before payments are made. Full customer service backup ensures that any queries that customers have or problems that may arise are properly handled quickly and efficiently by experienced staff. Speaking about the need for internationally trading companies to effectively manage their exchange and International payments and receipts, Tony Wilson, FEXCO’s Head of Strategic Development, Commercial Foreign Exchange
Choosing the right service provider is key to the effective management of a company’s Foreign Exchange and International Payment requirements Services, says “The thing that keeps most business owners awake at night is the profit line and having sufficient cash flow to manage their business on a day to day basis. FEXCO provides valuable support to these business owners through its team of trained consultants who work with clients to learn about their business, understand their specific requirements and develop bespoke solutions to meet these requirements.” He continues, “Our goal is to help clients drive maximum efficiency from currency payment, and protect against foreign exchange risks. For example, many businesses who trade internationally invest time and money participating in trade missions. They view the quality of the goods they are purchasing and negotiate a price. At a practical level, the key thing that a business will often forget is the purchase order cycle. So from the time of actually placing the order to the goods being produced, dispatched and shipped – it could be 30, 60 or 90 days. The rate of exchange that prevailed at the time of contract may have changed when it comes time to make the settlement, so the company may lose money because the goods end up costing more. By using efficient, constantly updated foreign exchange tools, the customer can fix the price now to take delivery of that currency later on. This is where expert information from companies like FEXCO can make a real difference to
the client’s profit line.” Wilson concludes, “FEXCO’s team of Irish and UK based Foreign Exchange experts are always available to meet
with clients who would like to gain a better understanding of the range of specialist FX services which are available to them”. www.fexco.com
Silicon Valley Global | 83
Education is the Game Changer
Craig Barrett, Chairman, ITLG.
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Former Intel Chairman and CEO, Craig Barrett, says that improving and maintaining high standards of education will be at the heart of economic success in a century where knowledge and innovation rule the roost.
TLG’s chairman, Craig Barrett, has a history of telling it like it is. His straightforward, no-nonsense style of advice pulls no punches and offers some hard truths at a time when clarity, transparency and good, honest counsel can be something of a rarity. As Intel Corporation’s former chairman and CEO, he has been well placed to offer his views on how companies and countries can thrive in the 21st century where innovation and knowledge are the undoubted kings. “I’ve always looked from a very high level at what corporations and countries can do to be successful and it occurs to me that there are three levers available that can promote success,” he says. “The first is education because the quality of a country’s workforce generally determines its ability to generate value. The second is ideas and investment in R&D because ideas create next generation products, services and companies. And the third is creating the right environment whereby smart people can come together and do something great. All three levers, in my view, are critical to developing successful economies.” Of the three though, Barrett believes that pulling the education lever is what most states and companies should focus on to create a position of sustainable competitive advantage. “If your education system is not at a high level, you cannot add value and therefore cannot compete on the international scene,” says Barrett, who often describes education as ‘the great liberator of poverty.’ “An organization or company that has the best workforce in the right environment is going to win every time – that’s the message I push when I go to Ireland and talk to people in the business community. In fact, it’s the same message I push in the United States too.” “What we’re seeing is that the international measures of education have become much more pronounced in the last 10 or 15 years in terms of one country’s ability to compare educational accomplishments, standards and systems with those of other
“There must be competition with the public monopoly, which should focus on success and doing things in the best possible way without the constraints of history or bureaucratic infrastructure.” countries around the world. So, rather than living in a dark cave like most of us had done for almost 50 years, all of a sudden it’s pretty clear that if you’re going to compete, you’re going to have to go up against the best from China, Eastern Europe, Brazil or Scandinavia.” “In the US, and indeed in Ireland, we haven’t done too much comparison with other countries and systems. When we do get faced with it, we tend to come up with all the excuses as to why we shouldn’t do it or why we shouldn’t have to do it. The reality is, though, that comparisons like this have to be done across the board.”
Intervention Needed In comparing education systems with other international jurisdictions and standards, Barrett believes that certain interventions will be required if the systems themselves are going to change to meet the needs of the commercial world. “In the United States, we have an educational challenge – the established bureaucracy and localisation of
education means that there are 15,000 school districts across the country that get to roll the dice as they see fit. If you expect to see change in a system like that, it will be a very long and slow process. However, now there is a discussion in America centered on the fact that maybe the government control system is incapable of changing itself. To drive change, some sort of catalytic action must be imposed – things like school choice, charter schools and/or competition, for example, will help. Indeed, it’s quite amazing how fast the system can and will respond to that as opposed to a top down demand that says you have to change. Also, unless there are some consequences of not adjusting, then change will not happen quickly, if at all.” The ramifications of not modifying and transforming the education system, particularly in the US and Ireland, will be severe according to Barrett. “Without change we are faced with losing our customers, and consequently, our sources of revenue. When that goes, you lose control.” And so to avoid such a scenario, he praises the Irish government for maintaining some level of investment in education despite the pressures of austerity measures as the country struggles to recover from a deep and bruising recession. “I think the fact that Ireland is talking about this and that the government, even in the throes of a horrendous collapsing bubble, saw fit to continue to invest in organizations like Science Foundation Ireland and innovative research is a very positive sign. Countries around the world that are doing this correctly invest large proportions of GDP into R&D and they take education very seriously. They consider the necessary factors that form the foundations of a stand-out system – good teachers, high expectations and some form of tension. Countries like Finland and Korea are probably leading the way here, but when it’s broken down, the issues that Ireland and the US face are not too difficult to overcome. Simply introducing some form of accountability where all Silicon Valley Global | 85
Barrett, frequently describes education as ‘the great liberator of poverty.’
stakeholders realize that if you don’t perform, you lose, is necessary. To do this there must be competition with the public monopoly, which should focus on success and doing things in the best possible way without the constraints of history or bureaucratic infrastructure.”
Finite Resource Creating the right schooling environment becomes more pertinent when one considers that importing talent has its limitations and is, in all probability, a finite resource. “I like to think that governments are realizing that they have to do something with their indigenous workforce – bringing people from overseas to fill positions of importance will only work for so long. In my home country of the US, we talk a lot about the great middleclass jobs of the 21st century, but we do precious little to create the workforce to take advantage of those roles. It’s always easier to sit back and have armchair discussions about what needs to be done as opposed to doing something about it. But fundamentally, decision makers at the very highest level need to understand that if we don’t have a competitive workforce then there’s little 86 | Silicon Valley Global
point having any debate at all because quite simply, the game is over. Most governments don’t like to acknowledge that, especially when their system is not working so well.” However, the responsibility, while lying principally at the door of national legislators, should also be shared by business, who,
“Decision makers at the very highest level need to understand that if we don’t have a competitive workforce then there’s little point having any debate at all because quite simply, the game is over.
says Barrett, can be the strongest voice to instigate change in educational systems where it is most needed. “Businesses should be demanding the best workforce possible and leaders in the business community are in the very unique position of being able to let governments know whether they are doing a good job or not. After all, business is the ultimate consumer of education so its support is vital to national changes or movements. In fact, I believe that without the voice of business, you usually find that governments won’t have the backbone to make difficult decisions when it comes to far reaching policies in areas like education. The business community in the US is starting to stand up and say that as the consumer of the system’s output, it is unhappy with the quality of what it is receiving. The message is that as a community, they believe that the fundamental aspects of education need to change and that they will stand behind any political leader that wants to achieve that. This is hugely significant because business leaders too are beginning to realize that without the best equipped workforce, the game is most definitely up.”
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Ireland’s call As multinationals arrive on Irish shores, industry experts tell Lynne Nolan how Ireland is forging ahead in tackling the skills demand and creating a smart economy. Barry O’Dowd, Head of Emerging Business, IDA
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n 2010 IDA Ireland embarked upon its Horizon 2020 strategy, setting up a new Emerging Businesses division focused on early stage emerging companies. Within three years, the division has established an international team across the US and Europe, attracting more than 60 companies that have moved or are in the process of moving to Ireland.
Inward Investment Barry O’Dowd, Head of Emerging Business, IDA, says the firms that have decided to launch operations in Dublin including marketing automation software provider Marketo, Platform as a Service (PaaS) company Engine Yard and cloud-based customer support software firm Zendesk are expected to grow quite significantly. Riot Games, the Californian games developer behind the popular League of Legends video game, web publishing company Squarespace, the eCommerce site for handmade, vintage items and art and craft supplies Etsy and Serbian game developer Nordeus have also all chosen Dublin as the location for their European or EMEA headquarters. “Looking at who has located here reads as a who’s who of the world’s top internet companies: Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and now Airbnb and Indeed.com.” Ireland has developed a strong multilingual capability, with more than 110,000 native Polish speakers, almost 10,000 native German speakers and more than 1,200 native Swedish speakers, who also speak English, proving a major draw for Indeed.com, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and PayPal. “At PayPal’s new project in Dundalk, some of the first recruits are Russian-speaking and the company has found they can find that language skill locally,” he comments. Frankfurt-based gaming localisation and testing provider CULTURETRANSLATE is among the companies to locate a multilingual operation in Dublin, enticed by the city’s skills ecosystem, with plans to expand. “They would have found it a big challenge to recruit that multilingual skills base over in Germany, whereas they have witnessed great success here,” O’Dowd comments. Squarespace currently has 20 people in Dublin after their first three months and is
expected to have up to 35 people by the end of this year, with O’Dowd predicting it will have 100 employees within two years. “Productivity at Squarespace’s Irish operation equals and exceeds that of the mother ship. That’s a very good accolade regarding what’s going on here.”
The Role of Education According to O’Dowd, colleges and universities have adapted well to market needs, developing programmes in analytics, business intelligence, robotics, cloud and other fast growth areas. For example, Ireland has staked out a leading
position in Europe in Inbound Marketing, with leading names including Hubspot, Zendesk, Indeed, Facebook and LinkedIn using the skills in their Irish operations. Ireland is good at “riding the waves within the technology spaces,” he believes. We can move fast and be nimble in moving our education system around. Some of the bigger economies can be slower to move in that type of environment.” Paul Sweetman, director of ICT Ireland and the ISA, Ibec, concedes that Ireland is head and shoulders above other tech jurisdictions around the world in addressing what he identifies as a skills demand, rather than a skills deficit, issue. Silicon Valley Global | 89
“I firmly believe that investment in education, innovation and a ‘Grow our Own’ culture will be key to opening up new and emerging opportunities for Ireland as one of the world’s innovation hotbeds.” The ICT Action Plan, offering initiatives including the introduction of bonus points for higher level Maths and addressing the need for conversion courses and for industry and Third Level academia to work together, “sent a strong message to investors that Ireland was very serious about addressing the skills demand issue by launching a plan specific to the technology sector,” Sweetman believes. “We now have the highest number of students sitting the honors Maths papers in the history of the State. The increase in higher level Maths uptake due to bonus points is 50% over the last two years. That’s a very important signal for companies in terms of the potential pipeline of graduates.” Smart Futures, a national campaign promoting careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), to secondlevel students, was another successful example of collaboration between industry and Government. “After the first year of the campaign, there was a 20% increase in applications for techrelated courses nationally, with some colleges witnessing a 60% increase.” According to Sweetman, the Action Plan for Jobs crucially states that Ireland is set to become the most attractive location in the world for ICT skills availability. “We now have more than 100,000 people employed in the sector in Ireland, 90 | Silicon Valley Global
with 75% employed in foreign-owned companies and 25% employed in the indigenous sector. That represents about 6% of national employment,” he says. Successful conversion programs with industry involvement have included the MA in Applied Software Technology developed by Ericsson and ICT Ireland Skillnet. “On successful completion of the program, every successful graduate was offered a full-time, permanent job. It’s been running for two years and there have already been 150 people through that program,” he reveals. Other initiatives have included a Cloud Careers program, focused on more entry level positions, developed with companies including Dell, VMWare and EMC, with 90% of people who have completed the program now working at top companies in Ireland,” he enthuses.
Visa Reform Open Ireland recently led a strong campaign for visa reform, making it easier for companies to bring in talent from abroad, while Springboard, Momentum and JobBridge are among the programs bringing unemployed people into the tech sector. Martin Murphy, Managing Director for HP Ireland, believes Ireland must take urgent action to re-skill and re-train people on the Live Register. HP recently piloted an initiative to reskill JobBridge interns by providing them with training in software programming, development and testing, with the program resulting in 90% of interns progressing into employment.
Paul Sweetman, director of ICT Ireland and the ISA, Ibec
“There is no silver bullet solution to Ireland’s economic recovery. I firmly believe that investment in education, innovation and a ‘Grow our Own’ culture will be key to opening up new and emerging opportunities for Ireland as one of the world’s innovation hotbeds.” With 50% of all FDI jobs requiring STEM skills, the challenge is to ensure school leavers are seriously considering engaging in degrees in these subjects, he says. “I believe we need further reform of our second level education curriculum to place more emphasis on science, languages and entrepreneurship.” Murphy believes there is significant potential for further growth in the FDI sector and Ireland’s ability to compete for new waves of investment is dependent on a strong supply of talented graduates. “If the IDA’s 2014 ambition is realized, then vacancy figures in the ICT sector are likely to continue to grow.” “With some forward thinking and quick action across Government, we can tap into the immense opportunity in the growth sectors by building intellectual capital over the short-term and ensuring that Ireland has the competitive edge to achieve its ambitions.”
Innovation hub For Ireland, innovation as an engine of sustainable prosperity requires Government, universities and industry to work together in partnership, supported by the right mix of policy and investment, Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin, tells Lynne Nolan Has the Government made progress in creating a smart economy, and how has Trinity College Dublin played its role? It is not solely Governmentâ€™s responsibility to create a smart economy. There are many players involved, including Government, the private sector, industry and the universities. Government has an enabling role and has taken positive steps, not least continuing 92 | Silicon Valley Global
its commitment to fund research through Science Foundation Ireland and new ventures through Enterprise Ireland. Universities like Trinity play a critical role by providing education and skilled graduates as well as providing knowledge and innovation that translates into spin-outs and technology transfers. Specifically in the high-tech area, computer science at Trinity is involved
in leading research such as CTVR, the national telecommunications research centre, the CNGL Centre for Global Intelligent Content, and Learnovate. It has also increased its numbers of PhD students and has strong ties with industry such as Google, Intel among many others. Additionally, Trinityâ€™s Innovation Academy educates PhD students to recognize the innovation
potential of their research and to exploit their ideas in a competitive world. We are also shortly going to launch Trinity’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategy that will further embed a culture of innovation entrepreneurship throughout the University reflecting our commitment to playing this pivotal role for Dublin and for Ireland. For Ireland, innovation can become the engine of sustainable prosperity. This can only happen if Government, universities and industry work together in partnership, supported by the right mix of policy and investment. Dublin, with Trinity located in the city centre, is developing a global reputation as an innovation hub. The high-quality, highproductivity jobs in the innovation sector, whether in multinationals or indigenous companies, have a strong multiplier effect because they generate knock-on jobs in the non-traded, services economy. So, innovation can be the rising tide that lifts all boats. That’s where the future is for Ireland – creating vibrant, jobs-rich economic clusters. Trinity can be at the heart of that endeavor. What are the most sought-after ITrelated courses at TCD? There is huge take up of IT courses at Trinity. Students recognize the career opportunities within the industry and we continue to provide capacity building programs to meet that demand, from undergraduate level to postgraduate to graduate programs and evening courses. There are six undergraduate degrees, including computer science, engineering, and management science and information systems studies. At postgraduate level there are a range of taught masters in computer science as well as health informatics, technology and learning and interactive digital media. Just to note it is not all about technology and the creative arts are also strong in this area with courses such as music and media technologies. We know that employers attend the annual MSc Showcase and jobs fair with job offers being made on the spot. What are the latest trends in relation to interest in IT-related courses? The latest trends include mobile apps, web apps, intelligent content, big data, data analytics, software engineering techniques (SCRUM) for large-scale programming development and
graduates and research outputs. Here at Trinity our IT graduates have gone on to establish many successful companies, Havoc, DemonWare, to name but a few. The experience gained in these companies has led to a strong infrastructure for the next generation of entrepreneurs. We are also helping to identify, encourage and educate young people to follow computer science and engineering related careers. One example is the recent Google supported initiative involving our computer scientists, Bridge21, and Trinity Access Programs, to educate current and future teachers in the more problem solving teaching methodologies that will further increase interest in computer science. Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin
formal verification of parallel systems. The demand is high and the numbers of graduates have accelerated in the last few years. Have there been advances made in addressing the skills gap? A critical advance in addressing the skills gap has been the introduction of a masters level qualification with industrial internship. This has meant an overall upgrading of the quality of education provided. Industry indicated that companies required graduates trained to masters level. Our School of Computer Science and Statistics addressed this issue by adding a fifth year to their existing accredited computer science and computer engineering degree programs. The additional fifth year confers them with a Master in Computer Science in addition to great experience that they gain from their six month industry internship. This has proved to be very popular with industry from small indigenous start-ups to large multinationals. We also got Springboard funding for a small number of students aimed at reskilling existing graduates. How has the education system’s focus on upping IT-related skills contributed to economic growth? Ireland’s economic growth is very dependent on the success of the IT related sector. The Irish education system has contributed greatly in providing training, skilled
Are we responding appropriately to the requirements of multinationals? Multinationals have been able to source skilled graduates for employment with the appropriate training. I am getting this positive feedback from leaders of industry that I meet. Here at Trinity College we are actively engaged in dialogue with leading IT multinationals, directly and through industry bodies, providing the best educational outcomes for our graduates and the sector. But I think it is also worth noting that it is not just the role of universities to train our graduates for one single multinational. We provide them with an education for a career for life. They are skilled for employment and will adapt to any single multinational on entering employment there. We must remember that the IT skills gap is not just a function of the multinational sector. Our indigenous IT companies are a key part of Ireland’s innovation platform. The indigenous software technology sector has over 600 companies, employing more than 10,000 people, and contributing €1.4 billion to the economy every year. Trinity has a strong role to play in equipping graduates with the skills they need to get jobs in the broad-based IT sector. And we can also help to foster a new generation of job creators through our new innovation and entrepreneurship strategy and the emphasis we place on bridging academic research and industry through open innovation strategies. Silicon Valley Global | 93
Follow the leader Leadership skills, essential for the success of any organization, can be taught and learned, according to Dr Mary Hogan, Registrar at the Irish Management Institute (IMI). 94 | Silicon Valley Global
he only Irish business school globally ranked by the Financial Times for the provision of customized executive education for the fifth consecutive year, the IMI in Dublin exists to raise the standard of management practice in Ireland by engaging with the wider business community and offering best practice business education through all of its programs building leadership and organizational expertise. “Through IMI’s links with both indigenous and multinational business operation in Ireland, we have developed unique insights into the skills and capabilities required by today’s leaders,” comments
Dr Mary Hogan, Registrar at the Irish Management Institute.” Dr Hogan joined the IMI in October 2005 as Program Director for the Henley MBA and the IMI BA in Management, having spent 20 years living in Hong Kong where she directed the Henley program in Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and across Asia. She has lectured for such prestigious institutes as Syracuse University, the University of Hong Kong and Murdoch University. First established in 1952, most of IMI’s programs are for participants with at least three years management experience and who are practicing managers, attracting
participants from across the spectrum of business both public and private in Ireland. The IMI also works with participants who are returning to work through Skillsnets’ programs, as well as specific graduate groups. Having partnered with Kerry Group to deliver island-of-Ireland graduate development for over a decade, in 2012 IMI was appointed Kerry Group’s global graduate development partner. In 2013, almost two hundred Kerry Group graduates from across the world will participate in IMI graduate development programs delivered in Ireland and overseas. Also, at the beginning of 2013 IMI won a major multi-year contract with Enterprise Ireland for the delivery of its prestigious ‘Graduates for International Growth’ program, which will commence in Q3 2013. IMI work in collaboration with the Judge School of Business , Cambridge University on behalf of Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start Up Clients on an Accelerated Growth Programme. The IMI manage a panel of Business Coaches , who have all been CEOS of successful technology companies and bring their significant experience helping them to raise finance, develop their value propositions, build their teams to ultimately turbo charge the company’s growth. IMI also play a key role in Enterprise Ireland’s Leadership 4 Growth Programme , again collaborating with an international partner – IMD to help ensure learning transfer into the companies. According to Dr Hogan, the majority of the IMI’s programs are, in one way or another, appropriate for entrepreneurs involved in start ups. “We have entrepreneurs on various programs who have been involved in startups over a period of time. These are people who want to learn best practice structure for their organizations and to achieve a more structured way of thinking about their organizations as they move to generate future start ups. We work with them from a strategic and innovative perspective.” “Through IMI’s links with both indigenous and multinational business operation in Ireland, we have developed unique insights into the skills and capabilities required by today’s leaders. All our diplomas require individuals to review their leadership potential within the context of various core
Dr Mary Hogan
business frameworks,” she comments. “The MSc in Management Practice is centered on a change initiative in an organization, and as such requires that the participants are leaders in order to develop and implement the change,” Dr Hogan explains. The Henley MBA focuses from the starter module on Leadership and returns to that theme in the latter stages of the program to ensure that participants are well-positioned from the program content to take up positions of leadership. Strong leadership skills are essential for the success of any organization, she stresses. “For a startup in the early stages of development, the leader needs to have a focus on the product or service, which does not necessarily require strong leadership skills. The leadership skills come into play as the organization begins to grow and develop.” “There is an innate ability to lead, but this in no way means that leadership skills cannot and should not be developed and honed. Leadership skills can be taught and learned, and should be continually enhanced.” While there are some standout examples of young people leading innovative entrepreneurial companies in Ireland, Dr Hogan comments: “I think we have a long way to go in providing an environment in which innovators can hone their business leadership capabilities while simultaneously developing the innovation itself.”
“While there are some standout examples of young people leading innovative entrepreneurial companies in Ireland, I think we have a long way to go in providing an environment in which innovators can hone their business leadership capabilities while simultaneously developing the innovation itself.” Setting unrealistic or unachievable goals is the most common failing among young entrepreneurs in terms of leadership skills, she believes. “Many good ideas fail because of lack of clear direction, not having a clear strategic direction and following it.” For those who are intent on improving their leadership and management skills, Dr Hogan would encourage them to consider what executive education could mean to them and for them in furthering their careers. “The Psychology of Learning has shown us that adults learn through open and interactive dialogue that constantly requires them to relate the topic of discussion to their own context and apply best-practice techniques to their work through classroom exercises, case study analysis and debate, rather than being lectured to,” she comments. “When this type of action learning is applied in the context of a business, I have seen it achieve truly transformative results.” Silicon Valley Global | 95
Leading ICT Innovation VP for Research & Innovation at WIT and founder of TSSG (Telecommunications Software and Systems Group) Dr Willie Donnelly talks to Silicon Valley Global magazine
he explosion in start up companies across the wide spectrum of the ICT industry in Ireland is purely startling and the rate continues to accelerate with each passing year. Naturally it is slightly easier to have that confidence with such a business in an environment where ICT firms are one of the shining lights in our economy. Turn the clock back 17 years ago to 1996 when there was certainly not the same swell of confidence amongst investors and entrepreneurs and the gamble taken is all the more laudable. Back then one man in particular could see the huge gains to be made in the ICT area and not just for the individuals concerned but rather for 96 | Silicon Valley Global
the good of the country. That man was Dr Willie Donnelly, Vice President for Research & Innovation at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), whose passion to see investment and growth come to Waterford and to Ireland in general led him to establish the Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG). TSSG is an internationally recognized center of excellence for ICT research and innovation. They carry out a wide spectrum of industry-informed research in Information and Communications Technologies, particularly technologies enabling communications and information
services. TSSG’s four key prioritized technical research areas include Mobile Platforms and Services, Security Privacy and Identity, Data Analytics and Social Computing, Adaptive Networks and Services The TSSG was formed as part of Waterford Institute of Technology in 1996 by Dr Donnelly along with Dr Mícheál Ó Foghlú and Eamon deLeaster, with Barry Downes joining the promoters to create the Innovation and Commercialization Division in 2006. It has generated more than €80m of research funding from National and European funding agencies and employs 120 full-time research staff.
According to Dr Donnelly the role of academic research in global economic development is changing rapidly. There is a requirement for a greater balance between traditional definitions of academic research and new models of innovation driven by the needs of a rapidly evolving knowledge society. This requires greater connectivity between knowledge creators (researchers), product developers (industry) and consumers (the citizen). The academic research community needs to expand its partnership base to incorporate this broader community. Paramount to the realization of this vision is the concept of co-location of traditional research and innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups sharing a common work space. This drives the free flow of ideas leading to exciting new products and services. TSSG’s research and innovation is defined by this philosophy and is based on promoting a lifecycle model, incorporating basic and applied research with a strong commercialization ethos. The strength of the TSSG is its ability to collaborate strategically with industry partners in order to accelerate the transfer of knowledge generated through its research activity into new products and services. The group has created strong strategic partnerships with some of the leading ICT multinationals such as Cisco, EMC and IBM as well as working closely with indigenous ICT companies and High Potential Start-up. The makeup of the TSSG workforce includes traditional postdoctoral researchers and students complimented by experienced software engineers and service design usability experts. This enables the group to engage with industry at a technical and academic research level providing a better understanding of the context and potential impact of its research outputs. Companies have varying capacities to absorb the outputs of the research activity into their product line and the TSSG engages with each company to customize the transfer of knowledge in a format which can optimize its impact for that company. The engagement with industry can range from collaborated research activity supported by postdocs and students, product redesign through to the design and development of new products and services. Reflecting back to 1996 when Dr
Dr Willie Donnelly
There is a requirement for a greater balance between traditional definitions of academic research and new models of innovation driven by the needs of a rapidly evolving knowledge society. Donnelly established the TSSG he admits that the steps taken then were not the norm but proved to be extremely successful for both the Institute and the economy of the region. ”Because of the lack of a cluster of ICT industry in the South East it was essential from the outset that we started to create our own spin outs. TSSG and its spin outs attracted a critical mass of highly qualified engineers and researchers which in turn attracted other established ICT companies. The TSSG’s DNA in now clearly visible across both multinational and indigenous ICT companies who have come to the South East”. Over the past five years, TSSG has
delivered innovative solutions to over 110 Irish companies and has created 11 spin out companies in the South East including the award winning FeedHenry, a groundbreaking mobile cloud platform company and ZolkC, a leading provider of mobile technology for international visitor attractions. TSSG has also engaged with over 425 partners across 35 countries worldwide, on collaborative research projects. These partners include Nokia, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent – as well as Tier 1 operators including Telefónica/O2, T-Mobile, T-Systems (a division of Deutsche Telekom), Telecom Italia, Vodafone, Telenor Group and Portugal Telecom. The TSSG has now expanded its sphere of influence and is working on research, innovation and new product development with industry partners in Silicon Valley and Japan. Barry Downes the CEO in TSSG has established a strong presence in the Silicon Valley area. The TSSG has completed a number of product development projects for companies in the Valley and see this as an important area for developments going forward. During the summer a very significant announcement was made that will see TSSG work with Kilkenny Local Authorities on the transformation of the historic Brewhouse and Maturation Building on the old Smithwick’s site in the city into a national Research & Development and Enterprise Campus and a hub for highperformance start –ups at a cost of €3.5m. “We will locate the TSSG/Arc Lab Kilkenny facility in this new campus in a joint venture between ourselves and Kilkenny Local Authorities,” explained Donnelly. “Agriculture is our greatest natural resource and this facility will be a hub for next generation internet development for companies in the whole agri-business sector.” Yet another prime example of the innovation and vision that Dr Donnelly and his team have displayed in the region and a project which has the capacity to transform the city of Kilkenny, the South East and inject further confidence into the wider Irish economy. For further information: Contact Mr Barry Downes, CEO, TSSG www.tssg.org
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Mary Immaculate College
Immaculate strategy Access to education for students from non-traditional routes and joining forces with companies developing cutting-edge technologies for education are high on the agenda for Professor Michael A Hayes, President of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.
ince being appointed as President of Mary Immaculate College (MIC), Limerick in October 2011, Professor Michael A Hayes has channeled his formidable experience and discipline into producing graduates “who are not only highly skilled and ultra-competent in their specific academic disciplines, but also highly literate, socially conscious and intellectually curious, with a very broad general knowledge base.” Nominated by the colleges of education in Ireland to the Teaching Council of Ireland in April 2012, Professor Hayes is an internationally respected academic in the field of Pastoral Theology and qualified Psychotherapist. He holds a BD from the Pontifical University of Maynooth, an MA from the University of London, and a PhD from the University of Surrey. In May 2013, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane letters (L.H.D) from De Sales University, Pennsylvania. MIC’s reputation for attracting the cream of the crop is equally impressive. This year 40%
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of first year students achieved more than 500 points in the Leaving Certificate, while 25% of students starting the hugely popular B.Ed. in Education and Psychology obtained more than 600 points, Professor Hayes enthuses. “The program within the College which attracts students with the highest points on the CAO system is the B.Ed. in Education and Psychology, as the degree is recognized and accredited by the Teaching Council and is also recognized by the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI). The graduates of this program are qualified to teach in primary schools or pursue postgraduate studies in a psychology field of their choice. Drawing very bright students to its four undergraduate degree programs; the Bachelor of Education, the Bachelor of Arts, B.Ed. in Education and Psychology, B.A in Early Childhood Care & Education and a host of postgraduate programs to doctoral level in Education and the Liberal Arts has also resulted in an extraordinarily low attrition rate of less than 2% at the college, he comments.
As one of the largest employers within the city of Limerick, the college currently has 3200 students and provides 40% of the state-funded primary (elementary) teacher education programs, while the Liberal Arts program alone has 12 departments and recruits quite widely in the region, he says. Professor Hayes is keen to point out the college also offers numerous access and inclusion pathways for entry other the CAO points system into the Liberal Arts and Education programs through a year-long Foundation route for those who may not have completed the Leaving Certificate. “I just noticed someone who came on that program 10 years ago is now getting a doctorate. We take people who are capable of high achievements from non-traditional routes,” he says. MIC’s first ever Strategic Plan started in 2012 and will run until 2016. Bringing a sense of diversity to the system, providing a high quality and holistic learning experience and best practice, efficiency and effectiveness
Mary Immaculate College
in governance, leadership and management are among its seven pillars into which the Plan is divided and are the basis by which the institution is organized. Many of the pillars are aligned to the Higher Education Authority’s own overarching priorities, including teaching, learning and research Professor Hayes explains. The College is academically divided into two faculties, which are a faculty of arts and a faculty of education. “We’re an institution that was founded in the late 19th century, initially for teacher education but we now call ourselves a College of Education and Liberal Arts,” he explains. Students on the Liberal Arts program study four subjects in the first year, then specialize in two subjects. The four-year Liberal Arts program also includes a year where students have an opportunity to engage in practical work in industry or study abroad. Asked about the college’s commitments to providing skills to create a smart economy, Professor Hayes stresses: “We prepare students not just for a smart economy, but also for a just economy. “ “We have a lot of research-based projects in Maths and Science Education, so it’s about using technology in education. We are part of the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL), based at the University of Limerick.” Since 2007, Lero – the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre – has been running an Education and Outreach Program to encourage students to discover and learn about computing and software development, developing Scratch lesson plans, to teach software development to students. Scratch is a visual programming language that makes it easy to create interactive stories, animations, games, music and art and share these creations on the web. Professor Hayes explains that two of his MIC colleagues are currently working in partnership with Lero, which brings together leading software engineering (SE) teams from Universities and Institutes of Technology, and they are looking at rolling out a Scratch program in Mathematics and ICT education in primary (elementary) schools. With MIC operating a number of learning development units focused on the
We’re interested not just in the acquisition of skills for employment, but also in the formation of the person, so they’re really ready for employment. Professor Michael A Hayes
shift in how higher education is delivered and the rise in blended learning, Professor Hayes comments: “We are very keen to develop informal links with and talk to companies developing cutting edge technologies about how they might be used for teachers and preservice teachers and how they might bring them into classrooms in their work.” “We would like to look at how companies would work with us as an educational partner to develop their technology, particularly for use in primary education, but also in how you would use it in the delivery of higher education.” “We have a big program on professional development and how we would be supporting existing teachers in the development of technology, particularly in the classroom,” he adds. Discussing the prospects for graduates, Professor Hayes explains: “All our education programs have a huge practical component with placements and they’re based on the link between theory and practice. In that sense, all our programs in education are vocational-driven. People will have a professional qualification.” “We know that our graduates are highly sought-after. We’re interested not just in the acquisition of skills for employment, but also in the formation of the person, so they’re really ready for employment.” The biggest challenge faced by MIC, he says, is “always to maintain excellence in quality, the anchor of our work. In order to maintain quality, you need to have appropriate funding resources and the
challenge is to do more with less. There is real evidence of a decrease in public funding for higher education, with rising costs.” Education is fundamental to social cohesion, he believes and “social cohesion creates conditions for employment. What we pride ourselves on doing is being involved for more than 120 years in the educational projects which gives people self-confidence and a sense of preparation for lifelong learning, including employment.” Under the new landscape of higher education, MIC is working closely with the University of Limerick and Limerick Institute of Technology as a consortium “to highlight the role of higher education in the Mid-West region and to give access to those who come from non-traditional routes. We have a big commitment to accessing higher education.” “We’re committed to working together in a smart way, in delivering the best that we have, as well as recognizing ourselves as autonomous institutions. It gives us an opportunity to jointly bid for funding and to use our limited resources as creatively as possible,” he comments. Limerick is expected to become a leading center for commercial investment after the unveiling of Limerick 2030, a ‘once-in-a-generation’ Plan to guide the economic, social and physical renaissance of Limerick City Center and the wider County/Mid-West Region. With capitalizing on the strength of its higher education institutions (HEIs), including Mary Immaculate College, a core part of the Plan, the future looks bright. Silicon Valley Global | 99
Kemmy Business School
Getting down to Business Recently awarded Best Business School at the InBusiness Editorâ€™s Choice Awards, the Kemmy Business School (KBS) is a dynamic and innovative business school with a reputation for providing a first class business education.
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Kemmy Business School
Kemmy Business School
he Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick is one of the largest business schools in Ireland with a student body of almost 2,700. Formed over thirty years ago, it is a full-service school offering programs and qualifications across the full range of levels and business disciplines, from Aircraft Leasing to Human Resource Development; from Relationship Marketing to International Tourism. With such a strong regional and national footprint, the school draws students from a wide geographical base within Ireland and it is increasingly active in the international market with students from China, India and Brazil now a regular and expected feature of most courses. A distinguishing feature of what KBS offers is extensive engagement with industry, whether through the pioneering co-operative education placement system for students or links with representative bodies and industry leaders. The result is a faculty that are responsive to business needs and a student body that is aware of how business works. This is reflected in an employment rate amongst UL graduates that is 16% higher than the national average.
No surprise then that students are voting with their feet to make KBS the location of one of the largest undergraduate business program in the country. KBS had the first Chair in Entrepreneurship in Ireland and this entrepreneurial approach is reflected in the strong emphasis on entrepreneurship in many of the programs. It is also evident in a strong commitment to online and blended learning, with initiatives in Project Management and Supply Chain Management that are allowing the school to access students across the world. The Kemmy Business School was the first business school in Ireland to open a Trading Floor, a state of the art facility that allows the school to prepare students in a â€˜real-lifeâ€™ environment for a variety of high value jobs and functions. While Kemmy Business School have a strong record of contributing to community and national development, the current environment presents some very difficult challenges and there is no doubt that the scale and nature of change needed over the next five years will be significant. In part this reflects the fact that the future of the Irish economy will more than ever depend
on international factors. For instance, Irelandâ€™s indigenous businesses must become more focused on expanding by securing export earnings as they face an outlook of continuing constraints on domestic demand. In addition, Ireland must also continue to be a premier location in Europe for international manufacturing and service investment. Skilled graduates will increasingly be based in organizations dependent on international markets or investments and many will seek at least for a period, to work and experience international opportunities. Increasingly the school sees graduates as global citizens enabled by technological developments to meet new responsibilities and new horizons. So, just like business, education is responding in ways that could not have been imagined when Kemmy Business School was formed a generation ago. As the school work with industry partners and other stakeholders they will continue to produce quality graduates, to respond to the business needs of communities and to ensure that the lessons learned from the current crisis are put to good effect. www.ul.ie/business
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It’s more than just data BT Ireland’s head of Data Centre Services, Mark Fagan, speaks with Silicon Valley Global about how the industry is playing a central role in attracting FDI to Ireland and how BT are staying ahead of its competitors.
ne of the essential items of quality infrastructure in any jurisdiction that intends on attracting foreign direct investment is its data centers. As more and more companies, not just webbased or transactional firms but businesses from all sectors, consider data centers as a fundamental requirement in running and
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growing their organizations, ensuring that the hubs themselves are up to speed with modern day market requirements is a necessity to maintain competitiveness. “If I was considering locating a business to Ireland, one of the key considerations for me would be whether or not there were state-ofthe-art data centers available,” says Mark Fagan, head of Data Centre Services for BT Ireland.
“As well as the number of centers available, growth and expansion of data centers is also a concern because one of the key mandates of a data center is to ensure that its clients are growing and expanding on the back of the services that it provides. Ireland, certainly the greater Dublin area where most of the demand for this type of service is, stands up well to international standards and scrutiny in this regard.”
Global Leader BT is, of course, a global leader in the provision of data center services. Multibillion investment in its own worldwide infrastructure has benefited its regional players, and BT Ireland has taken advantage of the international expertise. “BT’s global reach is a USP of particular note, as is the company’s ability to drive the market around accreditation. In fact, BT has been at the forefront internationally of introducing what is now, or what should be, the benchmark means of operation in a data center environment, which is reflected in ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 standards. As opposed to providing services where individuals within an organization are accredited, BT’s approach has been to ensure that the commercial entity itself is accredited so it becomes an intrinsic part of the DNA make-up of the business in question. Today, we are not selling the footprint of a data center; rather we’re all about providing the services that reflect the needs of our customers.” BT Ireland, in its effort to maintain its position as one of the market leaders in the provision of data center services, has invested heavily in its operations here. In the past
18 months, €3 million has been devoted to developing efficiencies, increasing capacity and functionality – an additional 5,500 sq ft of footprint has been added to the company’s inventory, as too has another megawatt of power, all of which has been determined by demand – or the anticipation of demand – in a growing and thriving market. “I truly believe that if you stand still, then it is inevitable that you move backwards,” Fagan says. “Any business that has been selling services of this type and has not invested significantly in the last three years has almost certainly lost pace. It is absolutely essential that we can demonstrate that we are efficient in our operations, that we are future-proofed in terms of capacity, that we are cost effective, and that we have the functionality in line with what our customers need and demand.” “Further, we have to show that we are agile too. Our agreements related to data center services are not about tying customers to long term contracts – we work in partnership with our clients so when their requirements change, then the services we provide for them also shift in line with what they need, irrespective of what was agreed prior to that. To date I believe that our approach has worked well – our customers generally go beyond their minimum contract terms and indeed, we are delivering very different services to most of those clients today than when our working relationship with them began.”
“It is absolutely essential that we can Challenges Ahead demonstrate that we Fagan says that despite the leverage and advantage that tapping into the resources of a global network brings, BT Ireland still faces are efficient in our challenges in remaining competitive. “We always need to stay relevant and where possible, identify operations, that we future trends that will affect the market and our customers,” he explains. “We are also aware of the are future-proof in need to understand our customers more and how terms of capacity, that the solutions we deliver can fit with their specific requirements. One of the fundamental aspects of our business is investing in relationship-driven we are cost effective, engagements rather than an order taking process. To achieve this, our business management team and that we have the are responsible for identifying new market functionality in line with tendencies and developing an intimate and indepth knowledge of how each of our customers operates. By taking this approach, we quickly what our customers become trusted advisors, not just in data center services, but in all aspects of a business where our need and demand.”
Fagan says that new players offering data center services have helped BT Ireland to continue to push its level of service much higher. “With the advent of newer and greater data centers in terms of efficiency, the established providers like BT Ireland must maintain investment – we need to show our customers that they are not paying for inefficiencies where they occur, and while that proves a challenge in terms of balancing the company P&L each year, it’s essential in sustaining our competitiveness and providing a world-class service, which is what we have built our reputation on.”
BT’s Data Centre Services BT Ireland’s data center offering comprises state-of-the-art services conveniently wrapped up in the BT Compute package. Its co-location service offers customers a highly efficient and secure data environment, with power and cooling systems that are second to none. Critical systems are given the highest availability in a 24/7, always-on environment. BT Managed Compute offers dedicated and shared infrastructure, all from highly secure and environmentally controlled facilities. All platforms are fully managed and monitored while clients are also granted access to BT Ireland’s 24/7 service desk. BT Private Compute is popular with customers that prefer a dedicated platform while also achieving total cost of ownership savings of up to 40 per cent that virtual servers offer. This dedicated, private cloud solution includes visualization, server management, network storage and security management. BT Cloud Compute delivers a smarter IT system that is flexible to meet the ever-changing needs of our clients. This ready-to-use solution includes visualization and management of servers, networks, storage and security.
expertise is relevant.”
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Energising Innovation John McSweeney talks about ESBâ€™s innovation plans for the future.
John McSweeney, ESB
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ohn McSweeney was appointed head of Innovation at ESB just over a year ago. The vision for his department was to ensure that Ireland’s main energy supplier was always in a position to identify and take advantage of new products, ideas and potentially disruptive technologies within the industry well in advance of any mainstream activity. “Pat O’Doherty, chief executive of ESB, decided that he needed something other than traditional networks and generation businesses and so he put in place the Innovation Directorate at the company,” McSweeney explains. “In the past year the focus has been on modernizing ESB and the electricity industry in Ireland as a whole. With that in mind, ESB’s non-core activities were placed within this special unit, which now has responsibility for bringing together innovations from companies like ESB Telecoms, ESB International, electric vehicles and the Novus Modus venture capital fund. When Mr. O’Doherty appointed me to my role, he had in mind that all of these businesses would operate profitably in their own right but that innovation would act almost like a hook for ESB as a whole. There is already a huge amount of innovation taking place in all of these entities today but our job is to try to maximize it so it benefits the entire company.” As well as having a positive impact on ESB, the innovation department is helping to ensure that Ireland maintains its reputation as forward-thinker and leader in terms of energy supply and provision. “ESB has always played a very important role in the development of Ireland Inc and will continue to do so,” McSweeney says. “We work closely alongside the IDA, which has a tremendous track record of attracting inward investment. Of course, it is impossible to attract companies such as Google, Microsoft, Intel, eBay or Amazon unless there is a world-class electricity network in place and so it is testament to our efforts and development that the top 20 technology companies in the world choose to locate here, and indeed continue to thrive and expand.”
Fibre to Home As well as supplying the power necessary to run major operations in an always-on economy, ESB, and McSweeney’s team in particular, has been working a ‘Fiber to Home’ initiative that the head of Innovation says will revolutionize remote working throughout the country. “We are in the final stages of negotiating a joint venture partnership with a major telecoms player to develop this project, which will be rolled out on our existing networks at some point next year,” he notes. “We will put fiber on our overhead lines and underground ducting from our low- and medium-voltage networks, which we are in a position to do as a result of the considerable investment that has been made in our infrastructure in the past decade. The project will take some time to roll out completely and it will have to be commercially-viable. But I believe that we will be able to deliver fiber to homes in mid-sized towns throughout Ireland in a way that is so much faster than could be done otherwise. When it is in place, it is my view that it will revolutionize home working.” McSweeney has developed a long-term vision for his own role, an integral part of which will be to collaborate with many of the major multinationals and large indigenous corporations in a more formal and structured way. “ESB has obviously been collaborating with these companies for many years – my job now is to formalize communications because I believe that by working together we can achieve an awful lot. In many ways Ireland is a small country; one that has a single transmission and distribution network. This, however, can be of significant advantage
“I believe that we will be able to deliver fibre to homes in mid-sized towns throughout Ireland in a way that is so much faster than could be done otherwise.”
in that we can use the power supply grid as a test bed for new innovations. In the UK for example, with so many industry players, testing at that level wouldn’t be possible or feasible – we can use various parts of our grid because it is a single network.”
Maintaining Competitiveness Continuing to test, refine and deliver a more competitive offering and new services is central to Ireland’s ability to compete on an international stage. Such activity, however, is crucial to the future of the company itself in maintaining its market position as the country’s leading supplier and innovator of energy sources. In this regard, it is McSweeney’s responsibility to stay on top of and be aware of radically innovative new products and energy sources as and when they arise throughout the world and to ensure that ESB is in a position to be a leader in their development. “Almost every other industry has been affected by some form of disruptive technology. There are varying degrees of impact, of course, but in some cases, entire sectors have been wiped out,” he says.”More or less, nothing like that has happened to the electricity generation and supply businesses – the possible exception is the advent of wind energy. However, the rate of change is happening so quickly that there will undoubtedly be a disruptive force in electricity and energy supply at some point in the future. Solar power is perhaps next on the horizon. I believed up until a short time ago that the technology in solar power generation was a decade away but it has become very clear that it is much more advanced than that. In fact, it probably has parity with on-shore wind energy in terms of efficiency right now, which is a remarkable feat. Our job is to remain vigilant and aware of new developments like this and play our part in developing them to ensure the future of the company.” The Innovation Directorate at ESB – encompassing the considerable skill and expertise of the company’s international, networks and venture capital arms – allows the company to identify the next big breakthrough in such a way that it can react decisively. In doing so, ESB has primed itself as an organization that has more than one eye on the future. Silicon Valley Global | 105
Class act Investing in education across the Mid-West region since 1976, Analog Devices has earned an exceptional reputation for engineering innovation and retaining graduates, as Lynne Nolan discovers.
etting up its operation in Limerick in 1976, Analog Devices (ADI) was one of the first US high tech companies to establish a presence in Ireland. Building the first semi-conductor fabrication plant complete with its own design center and marketing wing in a country then lacking wafer fabrication engineers, integrated circuit designers or specialized marketing personnel appeared at the time to be an unreachable dream. Quickly establishing links with the developing third level sector in the region, Hank Krabbe, the founding Managing Director in Ireland, participated in the work of the fledgling NIHE (now the University of Limerick), which was initiating programs in electronic engineering. Krabbe was a full member of the Course Development Committee for this discipline and 106 | Silicon Valley Global
his work helped shape the required programs through curriculum development, project supervision and the general work of tutoring and mentoring the students. ADI currently employs more than 1000 people at its Raheen campus in Limerick, home to ADI’s European-based semiconductor wafer manufacturing facility and R&D for analog technologies, including industry-leading data converters, as well as mixed-signal and RF (radio frequency) integrated circuits.
Investing in Education The University of Limerick and ADI in Ireland continued to grow up together and collaborate through the years, with the company remaining committed to investing in education in the Mid-West region. Analog Devices has been a strong
contributor and partner of the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering at the University of Limerick. “The result has been many joint initiatives to improve second and third level student awareness of the exciting and diverse career opportunities available in the areas of ICT and Microelectronics,” comments John Nelson, Head of the Electronic and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Limerick. These initiatives include Analog Devices’ Scholarships, the Hank Krabbe medal, student work placements, project sponsorship, course development, and funded research at the Circuits and Systems Research Centre. “The result is increased numbers of undergraduate and postgraduate students undertaking highly relevant programs to address the Irish and worldwide skills deficit,” Nelson comments.
focused on both its Third Level Program promoting career opportunities in technology and the Second Level Program, aiming to foster interest in Science and Maths in the region and increase participation in the Young Scientist and Technology competition. Links to schools are critically important to the company’s future success, according to Real. “Through our engagement with secondary schools, we aim to inform and educate students about semiconductors and the various applications which our products end up in, such as cars, medical imaging equipment, and portable electronic devices,” he explains. “We encourage students to select and stay with Science and higher level Maths right through to the Leaving Certificate. In fact, the recent changes whereby extra points are awarded for higher level Maths have helped greatly in this regard. All of this activity helps to feed the various college programs which we consistently recruit from.”
ADI’s operation in Ireland has a wellestablished record for engineering innovation and discovery, as evidenced by the 287 US patents granted to ADI inventors based in Ireland, which is nearly 20% of the total US patents held by the Promoting Engineering company. Asked how the company benefits from links with the education sector, Peter Real, Vice President High Speed Products and Technology, Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) comments: “ADI’s operation in Ireland has a well-established record for engineering innovation and discovery, as evidenced by the 287 US patents granted to ADI inventors based in Ireland, which is nearly 20% of the total US patents held by the company and the highest number for technology companies based in Ireland.” “We have built our success over the years by hiring top graduates from Ireland and abroad. It is critical that this supply of world-leading talent continues to be nurtured by our schooling system and by the Irish universities,” Real comments. According to Real, “as an innovationfueled organization, ADI needs a constant supply of highly educated engineers,” with Ireland’s microelectronics industry in Ireland currently employing more than 8000 people in over 55 companies. The sector shows a strong demand for engineering graduates with estimates showing these firms have an on-going requirement for more than 200 graduates on an annual basis. ADI’s strategy aimed at helping in the development of the high tech economy is
ADI employees continue to engage in the promotion of engineering as a study route for students through activities including University of Limerick Open days attended by 4000 secondary school students and University of Limerick science week aimed at primary and secondary schools in the Munster region. The company facilitates co-operative education placements for more than 60 college students, mainly from the science and electronics disciplines, as well as bringing in an additional 30 students for summer placements. For a city like Limerick, this job creation has a significant economic impact. ADI has developed a strong reputation of retaining graduates for many years and this can only be a positive trend for the Mid-West region in general, he says. ADI hires more than 25 graduates annually from the University of Limerick, University College Cork, Waterford Institute of Technology, National University of Ireland Galway, GalwayMayo Institute of Technology, Limerick Institute of Technology, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Cork Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Carlow. The company is particularly interested in linking up with courses in Electronic Engineering, Computer Engineering, Applied
Physics, Maths & Physics, Production Management, Biochemical and Chemical Engineering and Computer Systems, Real says. As an ADI Fellow, Michael Keaveney explains that one of the specific roles as a Fellow is to foster academic relations, enabling ADI to leverage off the talents of the local academics and their best students. In turn, they obtain funding and support for advanced research, the publications from which leads to increased recognition and status of the researchers and the university. “ADI are supporting a number of the projects within the MCCI (Microelectronics Competence Centre Ireland) framework, a body we helped set up with the aim of increasing the competence of microelectronics circuits research within the Irish universities,” Keaveney comments. Two of the projects operate out of University of Limerick with a further three out of University College Cork/Tyndall National Institute. Serving on the Technical Review Board of MCCI, Keaveney reveals that “one of the primary goals we have set is to bring the level of microelectronic research up to the level that the work gets accepted at leading microelectronics design conferences such as the ISSCC (International Solids State Circuits Conference). “ Along with acceptance in other IEEE publications, this increases the international standing of the universities and attracts the better students. It should help build an ecosystem for leading microelectronics research and development in Ireland, he says. “Analog Devices holds an internal engineering conference (ADLEC) each year in Limerick where our engineers showcase leading work in the areas of circuit design and development as well as Wafer Fab process development and manufacturing.” “Inviting a selection of professors and lecturers from the Irish universities along, the company views the event as “a great opportunity to demonstrate our latest technical innovations to the local academic community in the hope of inspiring new ideas and opportunities for collaboration in leading research.” At this innovation-driven company where new product ideas are constantly envisaged and created, Peter Real believes «the constant learning created by the infusion of new graduates has allowed the Ireland site to grow into a center of R&D excellence within the corporation. Silicon Valley Global | 107
Horner Automation Group
The Logical Step Horner Launches XL7 High Performance Logic Controller
orner Automation Group (APG) announces the launch of the XL7, its newest addition to the XL OCS series. The innovative XL7 provides original equipment manufacturers (OEMs,) integrators and automation end-users with a powerful high performance logic controller and twice the connectivity of all other products in its class. The XL7 was designed around a highresolution wide aspect ratio 7” WVGA color touch screen with 1000 units of brightness. The innovative display provides high outdoor visibility and allows the XL7 to be used in a wide variety of ambient condition applications. The backlit LED display enables a higher pixel resolution granting endusers the capability to view more in-depth information on screen. In addition to its exceptional display performance, the XL7 contains a powerful logic engine with built-in digital and analog I/O for online programming – a valuable feature for machine commissioning. Also featured are two 500 kHz high-speed counters and dual 10/100 Ethernet ports. This adds flexibility when linking to factory networks like Modbus/TCP and Ethernet/IP, while performing standard functions such as web serving, FTP file transfer, e-mail and protocol support. The XL7’s dual CAN Ports put your applications into motion. One port utilizes CsCAN for Distributed Plug and Play I/O over a 500m distance. The second port provides support for CANopen and J1939 for mobile applications. “The XL7 combines the X-Product family functionality with the speed and graphics
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capability of a 10” controller. Already designed to fit in any previous 6” HMI location, the added Dual Port capabilities give customers flexible networking capabilities at a considerable cost advantage,” states Eric Broyer, Global Product Manager, Horner Automation Group. The XL7 OCS also provides customers with USB 2.0 ports for programming and flash drive support and 32GB micro SD™ slot for virtually unlimited data logging.
About Horner Automation Group Horner Automation Group, a subsidiary of Horner Electric specializes in the global automation market serving original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), integrators and end-users from various industries. Being the leader in providing all-in-one control, Horner Automation Group offers the widest range of integrated control products in the world. www.horner-apg.com
a powerful high performance logic controller and twice the connectivity of all other products in its class
Powered by Excelsys Excelsys is a leading designer and manufacturer of High Efficiency, High Reliability, Low Profile power supplies for a variety of specialist markets including Industrial, Medical, Hi-Rel and Lighting applications.
eadquartered in Little Island, Cork, Excelsys Technologies brings over 20 years experience to the design and development of superior power supply solutions for a wide variety of high end engineering applications where there can be no compromise in reliability and performance. An uncompromising commitment to maintaining technology leadership and exceeding customer expectation is present in every facet of our business from Product Design, Technical support and On Time Delivery.
Global Reach Excelsys has built an international reputation as the power supply company of choice for customers seeking the most reliable power supply solutions, with sales in North America, 110 | Silicon Valley Global
Europe and Asia (over 40 countries worldwide). Excelsys serve the world-wide customer base from their head office in Cork and from additional sales offices in the USA and China together with their global network of international distributors and representatives.
Market Segments Excelsys products are found across a globe in the widest variety of end user applications, which demand the highest safety, reliability and performance standards. Some of the industries and applications where Excelsys has demonstrated success include: Medical Electronics including: • Medical imaging (MRI, CT, X-Ray) • Surgical lasers
• Dialysis equipment • Aesthetic lasers Industrial Electronics such as: • Industrial lasers • Optical inspection equipment • Semi-conductor/wafer fabrication • Electron Microscopes Hi-Rel Electronics including: • Radar systems • Data acquisition equipment • Test and measurement • Power systems Communications Electronics such as: • Base stations • Wireless telephony equipment • Data communications • Bulk Power systems
Unique Flexibility: A Key Competitive Advantage Excelsys Technologies Xgen Series of power supplies are the only user configurable power supplies available in the market. The innovative plug and play architecture allows system designers to build a custom power supply in a matter of minutes that meets the exact voltage and current requirements of their application.
Reducing Time to Market is a challenge for every system designer. With Excelsys power supplies, prototype power supplies can be configured in a matter of moments permitting the designer to review the power supply without any delay and de-risk design early in the project. Pre-series units can be ordered and delivered in 1 week when the power requirements are completely defined, with volume shipments just a matter of weeks later. System design changes and system upgrades can be incorporated instantaneously by simple addition or exchange of the standard modules. In essence, as the system design evolves, the power supply can evolve in parallel. As Excelsys power supplies carry full international safety agency approvals, this significantly reduces the end user costs of certifying their equipment and as importantly, the time associated with these securing these approvals. Manufacturing benefits include the virtual elimination of inventories of custom power
supplies, reducing the risk of carrying obsolete material before it can be used. The shorter production lead-times associated with Excelsys power supplies allow customers to be more reactive to market needs, with minimal inventory investment and disruption to their production.
Recognition Excellence is aspired to in all areas of the Excelsys. Most recently, Excelsys has been shortlisted for the prestigious Ernst and Young, Entrepreneur of the Year. Excelsys has also been recognized as one of the fastest growing technology companies in Ireland receiving successive Deloitte Fast 50 technology awards. Excelsys looks to continue this growth, through continuing to set the highest standards throughout every aspect of the organization, in customer support and innovative product design. For more information visit: www.excelsys
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Tax in the Spotlight With Ireland’s corporation tax policies coming under the spotlight in recent months, John Menton and Fintan Clancy from Arthur Cox address some of the key issues which are generating controversy.
he Irish corporate tax environment has been subject to quite an amount of recent comment and speculation as well as misinformation and political spin. Certain U.S. Corporations (with very substantial operations in Ireland) who avail of the low Irish corporate tax environment have been criticized about the tax strategy they deployed and have become embroiled in a game of political football that has much more to do with U.S. Politics, the complexity of the U.S. tax code than Irish corporate tax rules.
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an active and substantial business and makes no apology for adopting this approach. This has been a consistent feature of Irish tax policy for over 50 years. The low corporate tax environment is designed to encourage growth, innovation and entrepreneurship in Ireland. This low corporate tax approach has worked and continues to work – particularly among high tech companies. Ireland is not, however, a “tax haven” as suggested by certain US politicians. For example the OECD which doesn’t regard Ireland as a tax haven has set out four key indicators of a tax haven: having no taxes or only nominal taxes; a lack of transparency; an unwillingness to exchange information with tax administrators; and finally an absence of a substantial activity
requirement. None of these criteria applies to Ireland. Ireland has a comprehensive taxation system covering income, capital and indirect taxes using concepts and rules that will be familiar to most international tax practitioners. The rules are defined in legislation and the Irish administrative taxation authority (Revenue Commissioners) must comply with them (i.e. they have no power to issue “rulings” to derogate from them). The extensive Double Treaty network (69 signed), EU Directives and the Inter-Governmental Agreement with the US on FATCA all provide for full information exchange. Finally, to avail of the 12.5% rate of corporate tax, a trade (or active business) with employees and substance must exist in Ireland. The facts support this as certain groups
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that have been criticized maintain real and substantial operations, far removed from the “brass plate” operations of tax haven countries. For example Apple currently employs over 2,500 employees in Ireland.
The Effect of US Tax Policy Like the U.S., profits earned by an Irish resident corporation are taxed. Ireland respects the fact that operations in other countries are taxed there and does not generally seek to impose tax on the profits of non-Irish resident corporations unless they have operations in Ireland or the profits are brought back to Ireland. The U.S., by contrast, through the wide controlled foreign corporation (CFC) rules, in many cases seeks to impose U.S. Federal income tax on worldwide profits whether remitted to the U.S. or not. This approach is out of step with most OECD countries which have limited CFC rules and a participation exemption for dividends from profits earned abroad. Along with the highest corporate tax rate in the OECD, this U.S. tax policy encourages American corporations to invest outside the U.S. and to keep their overseas profits outside the U.S. That is a “direct and foreseeable consequence of the U.S. tax code”. Bearing in mind the duty of a corporation to maximize profits for its shareholders, corporations often seek to deploy corporate tax structures that minimize the amount of tax that they will ultimately have to pay generally and, for US corporations in particular, in the U.S. on their “non US” profits. The U.S. tax code gives U.S. corporations a variety of choices of international tax planning corporate structures (that are otherwise not open to corporations from other jurisdictions) which can reduce significantly their “effective tax” rate on profits from non U.S. operations.
Global Tax Planning Competition The reality is that there is real competition among countries to attract international mobile foreign direct investment (“FDI”) – particularly in the technology space where corporations can deploy intellectual property rich assets, capital and other assets across borders with ease. Many countries compete aggressively for
these FDI projects including Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Puerto Rico and Singapore. Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate is a real rate and is calculated using OECD transfer pricing rules. It applies equally to all corporations with a taxable presence in Ireland. Ireland, however, does not do special deals on tax rates. Some countries (including some EU member states) do not operate in this manner. For example, one can agree in certain European countries, sometimes through secretive rulings, a series of arbitrary adjustments (such as administrative concessions etc.) and applicable tax rates. A large risk with an arbitrary approach is that the EU member state may have granted illegal “State Aid” to the corporation and this aid is repayable by the corporation receiving the illegal “State Aid”. Also, certain patent box/innovation boxes are in use around the EU and these provide for a lower rate of tax on income earned within the box. In addition to the State Aid risk, at least one of these innovation boxes will be tested at EU level to determine whether it amounts to unfair tax competition (which is not permitted in the EU). Press reports have suggested that some corporations have reduced their effective tax rate below 12.5% within their Irish overall structure. This perception arises from a different understanding of the basis of taxation in Ireland and in the U.S. In the U.S. corporations formed under U.S. law are taxed in the U.S. whether they have any other connection with the U.S. or not. In Ireland tax is charged primarily on a residence basis, i.e. if a corporation is resident in Ireland it will be taxed there; but if it is not, it generally won’t be. Tax residence and incorporation are different concepts (i.e. a company can be tax resident in Ireland but not incorporated there and vice versa) The error arises as the profits of Irish incorporated but non-Irish resident companies (which are not taxable in Ireland) are included in the calculation of effective tax
rates which lowers the overall effective tax rate. This approach works in the U.S. as it is this class of corporations that are subject to US tax. It does not, however, take account of the system in Ireland and most of the rest of the OECD. In any event, a low effective tax rate on the profits of a corporate group does not arise from an administrative concession or other arbitrary decision of the Irish tax authorities, but rather due to the sensible use of legitimate international tax structures that are within international norms.
Using tax to promote Innovation The existence of a broad based, low corporate tax rates (when combined with other Irish government measure such as R&D Tax credits, R&D grants, depreciation for the cost of acquiring intellectual property) promotes innovation. The system is designed to be fair, stable, reliable whilst promoting innovation generally, and in particular among the technology and life sciences industries. The low corporate tax environment in Ireland is based around substance (i.e. “boots on the ground” rather than “brass plates”) fairness and transparency. This has been the basis of the Irish approach for more than 50 years and will continue to influence our tax policy into the future. John Menton, Head of Technology and Intellectual Property, Arthur Cox (Irish Lawyers) john.menton@ arthurcox.com Fintan Clancy, Partner Tax Department, Arthur Cox (Irish Lawyers) Fintan. firstname.lastname@example.org
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The CoderDojo coolest projects awards featured projects from young people in every corner of Ireland and revealed the impressive levels of energy, innovation and creativity which exists among Ireland’s next generation of tech leaders.
oung people from across the country descended upon Dublin City University recently to showcase a range of cool projects as part of the second year of the CoderDojo Coolest Project Award. The award which is sponsored by Intel recognizes the achievements of Ireland’s young coders and rewards the creative side of programming with entries ranked according to a ‘cool’ factor assessment criteria. There were 60 projects entered in this Awards, including four online from the USA
and more than 50 young coders ranging between the ages of eight and 17 were on hand to exhibit and explain their projects to the 500 assembled guests. There was a particularly strong field this year with projects ranging from a website to help primary school children learn Irish in a fun manner and an app which shows all the best places to skateboard in Dublin. Another project which attracted attention was a pickup line app by eleven year-old Adam, which generates random chat-up lines if you happen to be stuck for one.
Other cool projects included a driving test game created by 12 year old Joel from Dublin while an app to help kids learn how to bake earned eight year old Lauren a coolest project award. A robotic arm which can be used to control a computer was showcased by thirteen year old Michael and for GAA lovers there was an online GAA pitch booking system. Meanwhile eleven year old Niamh won plaudits for her websites for people who want to learn how to code and there were other apps to encourage more planting of trees and to store your medical information in case of an accident. Silicon Valley Global | 115
Projects by Lauren Boyle, Hollis KeatingO’Connor, Alan Panayotov, Robert Ellis and Joshua Murray won the top prize in their respective categories and prizes from Intel were awarded to all the winners and runnersup. Intel representative Paul Phelan said he was amazed by the standard of submissions. “This event is great recognition of the progress and contribution that CoderDojo has made across the country. The skills these kids have demonstrated today are the skills that Ireland and companies like Intel need more of,” he said. Families which attended were treated to exciting showcases and speeches by top technology leaders in Ireland including teenage coding prodigies, Harry Moran, Crain Moran and Shane Curran. There was particular excitement around the remote control hovering Drones and workshops on creating your very first web app or hacking a computer. James Whelton who co-founded CoderDojo together with tech entrepreneur Bill Liao celebrated his 21st birthday at the event and congratulated the children on their achievement, “It’s a true milestone in CoderDojo and seeing kids from the ages eight up to 17 building an array of apps and websites and games and even working 116 | Silicon Valley Global
robotic arms and all sorts of things - it’s truly incredible,” he said. “I am incredibly humbled by all of these brilliant kids. This is a wonderful opportunity for the CoderDojo community across Ireland to come together and celebrate their achievements. If you are interested in technology you should definitely get involved in your local CoderDojo.” Coolest Projects Awards Founder and organizer, Noel King was in awe of the projects presented and the inspiration and creativity which was visible in abundance. “I was blown away by seeing kids from the age of 8 create a project, then with confidence and ease, present it to judges and other young CoderDojo members. These kids should be immensely proud of what they achieved delivering advanced projects at such a young age. The project presenters we saw yesterday are Ireland’s future tech leaders and innovators. What a future we have to look forward to. Well done to all and we look forward to seeing the next wave of projects at Coolest Projects Awards 2014,” he said. Anyone interested in finding out more about CoderDojo can locate their nearest club at http:// coderdojo.com and start working now on their ideas for next year’s Coolest Project Awards.
The highly successful Irish led CoderDojo, global network of computer clubs is a place for young people to learn to code, develop websites, apps, games and more. Since the first Dojo opened its doors only a year ago, CoderDojo has come a very long way with thousands of CoderDojo members learning valuable skills. The number of CoderDojo members is growing rapidly each week as new Dojos open up all over the world. As well as already having a number of clubs in Ireland, CoderDojo has recently seen a club open in Silicon Valley in California. Mentors volunteer to help young children learn important skills. Many of them are learning key web and coding skills that will equip them with the talent to build their own website and enhance their online presence. Already members of CoderDojo have received national and international recognition for the development work they are doing. Minister of State Ciaran Cannon, who hosted a special CoderDojo class in Leinster House, said: “CoderDojos give our children the start they deserve. It is my hope that we can build on the success of CoderDojo to a point where we will have one in every parish throughout the country in the not too distant future. This movement is a fantastic example of community activism for the 21st century. It costs nothing and relies on the goodwill of our people, something we have always valued in the past. The CoderDojo model could also be used to provide our children with opportunities to acquire many new skills; opportunities that might not be available during normal school hours.
Activating Dublin Minister of State for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock pictured with ITLG President John Hartnett
Plan to make Dublin Europe’s Number 1 Tech Startup City
ublin City Council and Dublin Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to formulate an ambitious plan aimed at making Dublin the premiere tech start-up city in Europe and in the process create a further 2,800 jobs per year and an annual economic dividend of some €200m. Activating Dublin, the title of the joint initiative is also supported by prominent individuals from the private public and social sector. As part of the plan a report was produced entitled ‘best place to start’ which features proposals aimed at generating growth and employment in the Dublin region. The report found that Dublin is already ahead of many European cities and home to a thriving startup ecosystem which has the potential to grow even further. Amongst the strengths
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highlighted in the report were the fact that Ireland currently has three out of Europe’s top eight start-up accelerators. The report draws frequent comparisons with the US where companies less than five years old created 44 million jobs over the last three decades and accounted for all net new jobs created over that period. In 2007 alone 8m of the 12m new jobs created were from young firms. Scaling to Ireland’s population for that same period would be equivalent to creating 630,000 jobs. The report identifies a number of further actions that key stakeholders should take to achieve their objective. One of the first relates to the need to coordinate the marketing and promotion efforts in place to attract tech companies to Dublin. At the moment this is being done without the necessary degree of coordination which can result in confusing
messages being disseminated internationally. However, improved co-ordination should result from moves to bring a number of enterprise functions coming back under the control of the City Council. The integration of the Docklands, Enterprise Board and the Digital Hub as well as the recent Dublin Digital Master plan should also facilitate better coordination of the country’s digital assets. Another key step is helping start-ups find the services they require such as office space and legal and accounting services so they can focus on starting and growing their businesses. The report also suggests that the potential to be an international hub for tech startups lies in making it easier for international entrepreneurs to locate in Dublin and cites research from Silicon Valley which found that immigrants are responsible for establishing over 50% of new start-ups.
“The potential to be an international hub for tech start-ups lies in making it easier for international entrepreneurs to locate in Dublin and the report cites research from Silicon Valley which found that immigrants are responsible for establishing over 50% of new start-ups.” Describing the report as a blueprint not only for Dublin but for the tech start-up sector throughout Ireland, Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock T.D. said that it comprehensively maps out the opportunities and challenges for turning good ideas into jobs. “I believe this report is important for other regions as well in that it acts as a blueprint for a way forward for those in the start-up community outside of Dublin,” he said.
John Moran, Secretary General of the Department of Finance and chair of the group said that the report confirms the huge potential in the tech start-up community “The energy and excitement of the people working in this sector is unrivaled internationally. The key is not to try to take control from them. The objective of this report is to build upon these strengths and develop a supportive strategy to make sure they can focus on developing their ideas, grow their business and create jobs,” Moran said.
In the US, companies less than five years old created 44 million jobs over the last three decades and accounted for all net new jobs created in the U.S. over that period. In 2007 alone 8m of the 12m new jobs created were from young firms. Scaling to Ireland’s population for that same period would be equivalent to creating 630,000 jobs. Ireland is amongst the top three European countries for VC investment per % GDP (European Venture Capital Association 2012). 9 of the top 10 Global Software Leaders and 8 of the top 10 US companies are in Dublin. Pro-business with ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rank in top 15 of 185 countries (World Bank). Dublin is also home to three of the top ten tech accelerators in Europe (TechCocktail, 2012). Younger firms are the largest contributors of new jobs (The Central Bank (Ireland), 2013). In Silicon Valley, there is a ‘doctrine’ that firms need to be within 20 minutes of their investing firm. (It’s Not the People You Know. It’s Where You Are, The New York Times). Strong clusters contribute to the survival of start-ups and can significantly increase the incidence of start-ups and their durability over time (33%-50%) (Delgado et al., Clusters and Entrepreneurship, Center for Economic Studies, 2010) From 1995 to 2005, immigrants founded 52.4% of the start-ups in Silicon Valley. “The proportion of immigrant founders in the Silicon Valley has declined since 2005 which should raise questions about the United States’ future ability to remain economically competitive in the international market.” Kauffman Foundation.
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5 To Watch Connor Murphy, Datahug Connor Murphy is CEO of Datahug, a highly regarded enterprise founded in Ireland and based in Silicon Valley. By filtering through all the communications data coming in and out of a business, Datahug builds up a dynamic database of company-wide connections and uses an analytics engine to show who knows who. The company has won numerous technology and business awards and secured over $5 million in Series A funding.
Richard Barnwell, Digit Games Studio When Jolt Online was closed by parent company Gamestop, its CEO Richard Barnwell and a team of seasoned gaming industry veterans established Digit Games Studios. The company recently closed a US$2.5million Series A funding led by Delta Partners (US$2.1 million) and ACT Venture Capital taking the total amount raised by Digit to US$3.75m. This Summer Digit launched its first game, Kings of the Realm (KotR), a multiplayer strategy game that works across any connected device - an approach CEO Richard Barnwell calls “Seamlessly Cross-Platform.” Maurice Roche, General Partner at Delta said that he believe “Seamlessly Cross Platform” games will be a transformational development in the games industry and the Digit management team has the experience and drive to be a global leader in this segment.”
Siobhan King-Hughes Siobhan King-Hughes is founder and CEO of Sensormind, an ambient assisted living solution which employs a network of discreet sensors placed in the home that are connected to a web-based central monitoring service. An ideal solution for elderly people or infirm people living at home, Sensormind works by monitoring daily activities and raising an alert if any unusual or unexpected behavior occurs. In addition to rolling out the Sensormind to healthcare clients in Ireland and the UK, Siobhan is also examining other potential applications for the technology. One sector which stands to benefit is staff management and logistics space and it is a perfect tool for organizations which place staff in people’s home or in multiple location.
Peter Cahill, Scream Technologies Big things are expected of Peter Cahill, head of UCD’s CNGL group and founder of Scream Technologies which develops a high quality, natural sounding text-to-speech engine that learns it’s voices off recordings of real people. Being able to procedurally generate speech in the voice of famous actors and personalities has valuable applications in areas as diverse as video games and advertising.
Cliodhna McGuirk, Saadian Cliodhna McGuirk is CEO of Saadian, an innovative developer of market leading software solutions for large private sector, public sector and law enforcement organizations in the UK, Ireland and the USA. The company provides innovative information delivery solutions, designed to optimize organizational efficiency with the vision of helping organizations transform business through the better use of information.
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Power Solutions of Choice for Mission Critical Applications AC/ DC Power Supplies and LED Drivers Xgen Applications • Medical Electronics • Industrial Electronics • Hi-Rel/MIL-COTS • Communications
LED Drivers Features • 200W to 1340W • High Efficiency • High Reliability • Single and Multiple Outputs
Applications: • High Bay Lighting • Street Lighting • Refrigerator Lighting • Digital Signage
Europe/Asia Excelsys Technologies Ltd 27 Eastgate Drive, Eastgate Business Park Little Island, Cork Ireland
North America Excelsys Technologies 519 Interstate 30, #309 Rockwall, TX 75087 USA
Tel: +353 21 4354716 e-mail: email@example.com
Tel: +1 972 771 4544 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Features • 25 to 300W • High Efficiency • High Reliability • IP67 Waterproof
Start-Me-Up The facts on the ground contradict claims in the latest GEM report that there are relatively low number of people aspiring to be entrepreneurs in Ireland.
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ome 19,000 people started new businesses in Ireland last year but the aspiration to become an entrepreneur remains low according to the recently published Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (Gem) report which - widely recognized as a key barometers of entrepreneurial activity worldwide. The report found fewer people currently planning on starting new businesses in Ireland and that the majority of new businesses have no aspiration for growth. As GEM research has been carried out in Ireland for nine of the last ten years, the latest report contains a ten year perspective. It finds that the earlier period from 2003 to 2008 was characterised by high levels of entrepreneurial activity and a positive perception of the opportunities for starting new businesses. The overall culture was very supportive and entrepreneurship was considered a good career option However, mirroring the changes in the economic environment, an overall decline in the rate of early stage entrepreneurial activity, particularly among men, is apparent in the latter period from 2010 to 2012 - as is a rise in the proportion of those starting a new business out of necessity. On a positive note the report finds that new business start-ups are increasingly innovative and export driven and for the first time growth aspirations among women entrepreneurs have increased considerably. In addition, significant improvements in the overall entrepreneurship ecosystem in Ireland have ensured an increasingly supportive environment for those intent on starting a new business. Advances in access to seed and venture funding, international incubator supports, access to top level mentoring supports, and Enterprise Ireland’s and the City and County Enterprise Boards’ wide range of supports for start-ups, have all contributed to making Ireland a highly attractive location in which to start a new business venture. Improvements in the degree of perceived innovation and intended internationalisation among those starting new businesses in the more recent period are also very positive and suggest an improvement in the quality of the new enterprises being started. Successful entrepreneurs continue to be held in high regard.
The GEM report indicates that Irish early-stage entrepreneurs have a stronger focus on international markets and exporting than their OCED and EU counterparts. This focus of entrepreneurs on developing innovative products and services for export is essential for growth and economic recovery. The increase in the level of ambition and export focus among women entrepreneurs is also welcome. Responding to the report, Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said that support for entrepreneurs and business startups was critical to addressing high levels of unemployment. “Two thirds of all Pictured at the launch of the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor new jobs are created (GEM) Report is Enterprise Minister, Richard Bruton, with (left) Elaine by start-ups in the Coughlan, Founding Partner Atlantic Bridge and Paula Fitzimons, report first five years of co-author and National GEM Coordinator. existence and that economic recovery. ““Ireland has always been is why we have placed entrepreneurship at a place full of dreamers and doers and that’s the centre of our plans for jobs and growth,” essentially what entrepreneurship is, a blend he said. “Through the Action Plan for Jobs, of the two. As citizens, we must take on the we have put in place a series of measures responsibility of creating our own jobs, and to support greater levels of start-up activity figure out how to be more efficient, working across the economy including a range of new at greater speed with higher innovation and credit measures and world-class supports for reduced cost. small business through the Local Enterprise “If we can field world-class rugby players, Offices. Now we are taking advice from world artists, and scientists, why can’t we also experts and taking views from the public on field world-class, fast-growing indigenous the next phase of our plan to support more businesses? An Ireland that restores economic entrepreneurs and start-ups, and ultimately growth is an Ireland that expands opportunity create the jobs we need.” and quality of life for all its citizens. One of the ‘world experts’ referred to by “After the battering we’ve endured in the Minister is entrepreneur and investor recent years, we’ve got a long road ahead Sean O’ Sullivan who has been appointed of us to return to being number one in Chairman of the Government’s new Entrepreneurship in Europe. As Taoiseach Entrepreneurship Forum. The entrepreneur Enda Kenny has made it clear, however, agrees that economic recovery will be key to Silicon Valley Global | 123
Ireland is “open for business”. Our challenge is to seize this opportunity, move quickly and boldly and go beyond where we have ever been before.” Despite the recent setbacks in the economy Richard Moran, CEO of Accretive Solutions and member of the ITLG management team believes that Ireland is an increasingly entrepreneurial economy. Dublin in particular, he says has all the factors required to be a leading European technology center. “The right ingredients are largely in place and there have been discernible improvements in terms of promoting and supporting entrepreneurship across the country. The caliber of early stage entrepreneurs has also improved dramatically and this this has been apparent from the fast pitch sessions hosted by the ITLG in recent years. The proposals which we are seeing and the quality of the entrepreneurs in terms of their vision, energy, drive and focus has improved considerably there are growing numbers of start-ups which have the potential to make a real impact. He believes Dublin has certain characteristics in common with San Francisco in that it is a vibrant city with a strong mix of global tech companies and start-up businesses and ambitious young technology entrepreneurs from around the world see the city as an attractive proposition. “Creating an environment where likeminded people can
exchange ideas, receive the necessary support and develop and grow their business is key to developing a startup ecosystem which has real substance. If the Government remains committed to creating an environment which supports entrepreneurship and continues to provide the right support I think Dublin could well emerge as one of the leading technology hubs in Europe.” There is little doubt that the government has identified support for start-ups as the best means of establishing a fast-growing sector which will create thousands of muchneeded domestic jobs and, at the same time, fuel the exports, which are necessary to drive the country’s economy. The key agency responsible for the Government’s strategy to boost small business is Enterprise Ireland which has an annual budget of €350 million and offices in 30 countries around the world. Boosting the country’s startup ecosystem requires a range of initiatives involving everything from incubators and accelerators to direct investments in start-ups and financing venture capital funds. This includes an annual budget of about €30 million to invest in 50 “high performance” startups, and 100 early-stage startups that receive €50,000 as part of an incubator program. Enterprise Ireland’s investment activity consists of two programs – a “high potential” program that invests €200,000 to €1-million in “high potential” startups that have sales and
and his investment successes have and Harmonix, creator of Guitar Hero. O’Sullivan was a key instigator of the advocacy and awareness campaign Open Ireland aimed at attracting people with relevant qualifications and skills to relocate to Ireland. He also strongly supports the introduction of a technology visa for workers from outside the EU. “We have great talent in Ireland but we don’t yet have enough of it. Commenting on the new forum, O’Sullivan said: “Entrepreneurship is about creating something from nothing, about growth and change and the kind of disruption that improves people’s lives. It is effectively a kind of magic that impacts the entire economy. We need
As well as being a well know member of the Dragons’ Den panel, Sean O’Sullivan, the investor and entrepreneur appointed by Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton to chair the Government Entrepreneurship program is co-founder and managing director of Avego, a 55-person cloud technology firm with offices in the US and Ireland. He is also managing director of SOSventures International, a venture capital and investment management firm with headquarters and offices in the United States and China. His first company, MapInfo, grew to a US$200m public company, and popularized street mapping on computers
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are looking to accelerate their growth. These investments are done based on a matching basis with outside investors. Enterprise Ireland also has a “Competitive Start Fund that provides €50,000 to some 100 companies that are pre-revenue or still developing a product. More than 3,000 start-ups a year apply for the program. In addition the agency has also raised €175 million to make fund-to-fund investments in venture capital firms focused on seed and early-stage investments. In a further initiative aimed at advancing the start-up ecosystem, Enterprise Ireland has also created a €10 million fund a year ago to attract and provide funding to entrepreneurs from other countries. This is a tactic being pursued by other countries, including Chile, which offers $40,000 of equity-free seed capital to international entrepreneurs. Another important part of Ireland’s start-up ecosystem is the support from the large multi-nationals such as, Twitter, Zynga, Facebook and Google which have established international headquarters in Dublin. These multi-nationals not only employee thousands of people who serve the European market but they provide people with much-needed experience, as well as important connections which can prove invaluable for those who later leave to pursue their dream of building the next Twitter or Facebook.
Sean O’Sullivan pictured at the fifth annual ITLG Global Leaders’ Summit at City Hall in Cork.
to look at what the government can do to draw out this magic, to support it and develop it, and where necessary to simply stand aside and let people get on with it themselves. I am expecting we will deliver some substantial recommendations out of this forum and consultation process.”
The Right Move Silicon Valley has long been a magnet for technology entrepreneurs from around the world and increasing numbers of Irish technology start-ups are being drawn to locate in the world’s premier location for innovation and technology
rowing numbers of Irish entrepreneurs are making the move to California to embrace the competitive and highly driven culture of Silicon Valley and target the opportunities which arise from being in the centre of the world’s premiere technology and innovation hub. The Collison brothers from Limerick, John and Patrick, started their payments technology company Stripe in Silicon Valley and other Irish companies making their presence felt include Skillpages, PCH, Swrve, Datahug, Avego and the Now Factory. Other companies which have been making headlines in Ireland including as Trustev, Soundwave, Voxpro and Cleverbuy are also actively considering a move. From the outset the ITLG’s key mission has been to forge closer connections between Ireland and Silicon Valley and it provides a comprehensive range of services and support to high potential start-ups. The Irish Innovation Centre in San Jose is a Silicon Valley launch pad for international technology companies and provides an environment for like-minded entrepreneurs access to venture firms, bankers, customers, suppliers and employees that will facilitate the rapid growth and development of their company. There are currently 35 companies using the Centre either as a permanent base or as outpost office while 126 | Silicon Valley Global
traveling back and forth. Working hand in hand with the Innovation Centre is the Irish Technology Capital Fund which provides resident companies with access to funding options whether venture capital, angel investment, corporate investment and private equity. The fund has invested over US$10m in a portfolio of different technology companies, including McCord, Skillpages, Intelesens, Digital Jet, RAPT and Daybreak Technologies. Companies which have enjoyed success at the annual ITLG Innovation awards have attracted total investment of over $50 million since the awards were launched in 2008. According to ITLG President John
“The presentation is a critical aspect of selling a company and great technology is no use if it can’t be explained clearly and succinctly to potential investors.”
Hartnett, many of the companies Innovation Centre retain their core development team in Ireland while locating sales offices and a support team in the Centre which will make contacts and close the deals which result in rapid growth. He warns that there is a degree of acclimatisation required for many companies moving to Silicon Valley and new arrivals need to be prepared to move quickly. “It’s a much faster paced business environment, the focus is on getting your product out quickly and scaling as rapidly as possible. People don’t sit around ruminating on ideas, the focus is on getting things done, so a positive, can-do attitude is critical for companies that want to succeed here.” However, he says there is no better environment for start-ups because they can immerse themselves in a culture where innovation and creativity flourishes and get a clearer sense of the true potential of their product. “The ability to network is vital and entrepreneurs seeking investment need to focus on their pitch and make sure that they are able to clearly articulate their company’s technology and vision. “It’s an extremely competitive market and thousands are looking to meet the same investors and CEO’s that you want to meet, so you have to have an attractive proposition and you must be able to communicate what it is that makes your company special.
Gateway to Silicon Valley
“The quality of pitches we’re seeing from Irish entrepreneurs has improved but there is still a tendency to waffle. It’s something that Irish start-ups in Ireland need to work on, the presentation is a critical aspect of selling a company and great technology is no use if it can’t be explained clearly and succinctly to potential investors.” Having the right foundations in place to facilitate and manage rapid scaling is vital for start-ups and recruiting the right candidates for key positions is essential. The ITLG can help source the best talent available and it also provide companies with a head start by making the right introductions and helping to guard against the most common mistakes made by start-ups. With networking a key component of the Silicon Valley landscape, the ITLG can facilitate access to some of the biggest venture capital investors in the world for high potential start-ups. To convey a sense of the scale of opportunity that exists in Silicon Valley, Hartnett points out that 40pc of the US’s venture capital is concentrated in the region, an estimated US$2.5trn.
The Irish Innovation Center (IIC) in San Jose California was opened in the spring of 2010 and originated from an action plan developed by the ITLG during the Global Irish Economic Forum six months previously. Since then the center has assisted over 1,000 companies to realize their ambition of setting up a company in Silicon Valley and there are currently 35 companies operating from the center. The IIC offers technology companies a wealth of resources as they make the transition across the Atlantic – including office space, conference facilities, legal, administrative and PR support together with access to capital and talent. “There are a number of significant reasons why Irish companies need to set up operations in Silicon Valley,” says John Staunton, President of IIC. “Firstly, it’s the top destination in the world for technology talent. Second, every major technology company is either headquartered or has a significant presence in the valley which allows for significant exposure for our clients. Silicon Valley is also the number one source of venture capital in the world with over $7 billion invested annually, representing some 40% of all US investment. Not only does the IIC provide private offices and cubes, they have
also adopted the new era of coworking, allowing for co-working and networking. More and more entrepreneurs are adopting the new working fashion because of the many benefits it provides, especially to new entrepreneurs setting up their company. One of their member offers which they have dubbed ‘flexspace’, starts at $150 and gives entrepreneurs access to a center with the ability to immediately plug in to the Silicon Valley tech community. While the IIC was originally opened for Irish companies needing a base in Silicon Valley, companies from other countries the world over have continued to express interest in connecting to the valley through them. They remain an open organization to all and welcome the diversity this bring to their residents. This move now provides residents with a richer and more collaborative co-working environment.
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Guide to the Start-up Scene For anyone wishing to get more insight into Ireland’s technology start-up ecosystem, Dublin-based venture capital (VC) firm Frontline Ventures has come up with a new guide that depicts everything from new tech ventures to incubators, co-working spaces, investors and networking groups. Frontline Ventures is a new Dublinbased VC firm that invests in start-ups 128 | Silicon Valley Global
operating in the areas of big data, cloud services and payments. It’s being headed up by investors Will Prendergast, Shay Garvey and William McQuillan. The presentation-style guide, titled The Irish Tech Start-up Guide, created by Frontline Ventures, illustrates a plethora of Irish start-ups operating in areas such as e-commerce, health tech, mobile and gaming, as well as depicting some Irish
start-up success stories. There’s a section that lists people who could be useful contacts for those starting businesses. The guide also lists incubators and accelerators, angel networks and VC firms. There’s also some information on Irish centres for science, engineering and tec hnology that can link up with companies to help develop their products and services.
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Launch Pad For Entrepreneurs There are a substantial number of incubator programs in Ireland but the fact that the majority are oversubscribed points to a blossoming entrepreneurial culture in Ireland. Competitive Start Strictly speaking Competitive Start is not an incubator program but it provides funding for start-ups and offers €50,000 for 10% equity in the start-up. To be eligible firms must be less than six years old, not have received funding of €100k or more. They should also be in a position to employ a minimum of 10 people and achieve revenues of €1 million euro in three to four years.
National Digital Research Centre (NDRC), Launchpad Run by the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC), Launchpad is primarily funded by the Government and has worked with more than 80 digital ventures to date. All successful applicants are offered a place on NDRC LaunchPad with an accompanying micro-seed investment of up to €20,000. Investment is provided as €5k per start up founder (minimum two founders; maximum three founders), plus €5k project costs. Competition for places is intense. 130 | Silicon Valley Global
The NovaUCD campus at Belfield Applicants must be less than three years old, in a knowledge intensive business and have a desire to collaborate with UCD. The state of the art complex on the Belfield campus provides office space and specialized bio incubation units. The program provides mentoring, free legal, tax and marketing advice and helps start-ups securing funding from angels and venture capital.
Dogpatch Labs Located in Dublin’s ‘T hub’ on Barrow St. Dogpatch Labs also has three international sister offices in New York, Palo Alto California and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The project aims to create “open source entrepreneurship”, where entrants share space, ideas, referrals, and networking contacts. There are currently more than 100 businesses based in the four locations and Dogpatch boasts more than 300 graduates.
Startupbootcamp Startupbootcamp is the international affiliate of the American start-up incubator Techstar and has opened an accelerator program in Dublin to add to its programs in Copenhagen, London, Madrid and Berlin. IBM and Citi have partnered with Enterprise Ireland and Dublin City Council to create the program which is oriented towards the application and commercialization of specific technologies developed by the entrants. Offering start-ups mentoring, €15,000 funding, six month’s office space on Barrow Street and the opportunity to pitch to investors.
Wayra Last year the Dublin docklands became the 10th location for international incubator Wayra, which is backed my telecoms giant Telefonica. Up to €50,000 funding is provided in exchange for a 10% stake and the right of first refusal on the products and services that come out of the projects. Wayra first started in South America and now is located in Ireland,
have to provide the remainder. The training provides start-ups with the practical tools needed to formulate aggressive international growth plans and scale their businesses.
the UK, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Barcelona and Madrid.
DCU Ryan Academy DCU Ryan Academy is a non-profit, joint venture between Dublin City University and the family of the late Tony Ryan (Ryanair). The Propeller Venture Accelerator was established in 2010 with funding of €1 million from Irelandia Investments. In return for a 6.5% equity stake, participants receive mentoring, three months incubation with free space and services and a €30,000 cash investment for their business.
UCC Ignite Ignite is the incubator program at University College Cork (UCC). The college does not take an equity stake in the start-ups. On completion of the program businesses get a further six months office space free-of-charge at the National Software Centre in Mahon in Cork.
Smart Start From a group of 250 applicants Smart Start selects two businesses which attract VC investment. The 250 attend a three hour boot camp from which 50 are invited to pitch their business ideas. 10 of these are chosen to start the program, five get investment and then the two best projects go on to attract VC investment. The program is based at Dundalk Institute of Technology and participants must give up 6% equity.
Enterprise Ireland Internet Growth Acceleration The six-month-long Internet Growth Acceleration Program (iGAP) provides training for start-ups in the internet/games industry. Enterprise Ireland provides 70% of the €10,000 program fee and applicants
DIT’s Hothouse is perhaps the best known program running EI’s ‘New Frontiers’ scheme. It is a national entrepreneur development program launched in February 2012 that is delivered at a local level by the Institutes of Technology around the country. Start-ups in the program get a €15,000 grant as well as facilities and mentoring and training.
Guinness Enterprise Centre The Guinness Enterprise Centre is a dynamic community of high potential businesses. The center is a hub of entrepreneurial enterprises and business and investment support services. The Guinness Enterprise Centre is located close to the Guinness Storehouse off Thomas Street, close to the Luas Line, Heuston Station and Motorway. Total floor area is 6,000 square meters with enterprise space for 70+ businesses, four conference rooms, café and reception. The center is suitable to a wide range of businesses but in particular multimedia, software development for mobile phone, computers, games, tourist and all international traded services. The center offers a range of services including high-spec telecommunications and internet connectivity, supported by wireless connection. The Guinness Enterprise Centre also offers a virtual office facility for companies that require an address without the expense of office space. Business support is available to all clients of the Guinness Enterprise Centre. In addition, clients are encouraged to participate in an extensive network of business and commercial events and contacts. • The center has been a foundation for many businesses that have graduated and gone on to be highly successful • 265 businesses have graduated through the Guinness Enterprise Centre • 17 Companies have expanded since graduating with sales of €70 million employing 474 with an equity investment of €46 million • 508 people are employed in the 77 companies that graduated through the center
ITLG & DCU: Teaching Entrepreneurship In December 2011 the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) and Dublin City University Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship joined forces in a drive to promote entrepreneurship through the teaching of Kauffman FastTrac entrepreneurship and innovation programs. Based in Kansas City, the Kauffman Foundation is a world authority on entrepreneurial innovation. Set up in the 1960s, it was the brainchild of Ewing Marion Kauffman, the late entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded the pharmaceutical company Marion Laboratories. According to the Kauffman Foundation, 40% of new job growth are created by start-ups. It is approaching two years since the ITLG and the Kauffman Foundation first announced a diaspora innovation strategy to deliver entrepreneurship programs and policies to Irish start-ups. The program is delivered in partnership with the DCU Ryan Academy which is a non—profit, joint venture between Dublin City University and the family of the late Tony Ryan the founder of Ryanair. The Kauffman FastTrac TechVenture has been designed to give technology or science based entrepreneurs a framework to innovate ideas while the GrowthVenture programs is aimed at businesses that have already been launched.
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Irelandâ€™s future success will be determined to a significant extent by the caliber of its entrepreneurs and their ability to create dynamic and successful businesses with a global reach. The following entrepreneurs are responsible for some of the countryâ€™s most exciting tech-start-ups which are making a big impact in Ireland and around the world.
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John and Patrick Collinson: Stripe The success of Limerick brothers John and Patrick Collinson has been described by experts as a statistical surpassing of all expectations having secured funding which is above and beyond the norm for Silicon Valley start-ups. The Two brothers who became millionaires while still at school have seen their latest venture Stipe, a new online payment form, raise some US$18m million in venture capital – raising its value to an estimated $1oo million. Stripe is a simplified online payment system that allows retailers to accept payments without having to store customers’ credit card details or set up merchant bank facilities. This allows retailers to avoid having to comply with anti-fraud and data protection requirements. The company will be in competition with the likes of EBay’s PayPal and a host of other start-up companies which are trying to capture the online payments market. This is the second successful internet company that the Collisons have started. They sold their previous company, Auctomatic, to Canadian firm Live Current Media in March 2008 for more than €3m before they had completed their Leaving Certificates. Patrick Collison, is a past winner of the BT young scientist award, and studied mathematics at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology while his brother John studied psychology at Harvard.
Brendan O’Driscoll, Soundwave Dublin start-up Soundwave managed to convince Stephen Fry, the English actor followed by almost six million people on Twitter, to launch its ground-breaking music discovery, sharing and analytics app, in London. As if that was not enough the software start-up founded by Brendan O’Driscoll, Aidan Sliney, and Craig Watson recently earned plaudits from Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak who described it as “a music product that fits my life so perfectly”. Many believe the software has the potential to completely revolutionize the global music industry. Soundwave works by allowing users see what their friends or favorite bands or celebrities are listening to in real time. It also allows the music industry see which songs are being played most. The music app was launched simultaneously in 14 different languages on both android phones and iPhones. Nor is the company relying on advertising to generate money. If users discover new music and decide to purchase it on the iTunes or Google Play stores, Soundwave will receive between 5% and 10% of the purchase price. The company is also aiming to become the Google Analytics for the music business and provide analytics to artists and record companies about what is performing well in different territories. “Bands, music agents, consumer brands can log on and find out what music people are listening to and where. What songs they listen to and what songs they don’t. That is information people are really looking for right now,” he said. “They have no visibility of what people are listening to,” explains Brendan. He points out that while the music industry knows when you paid for a song – that is the extent of the information they collect. “They don’t know if you’ve listened to it 10 times for a year or never again. You might have shared it with a 100 people or not, you might have liked it or disliked it. This is a real-time way of seeing what is playing when and how often.”
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Kevin Barrett: Daybreak Information Technologies
Paul Cobone: Cobone.com Galway native Paul Cobone took a less traveled road to success when he set up Conbone.com in 2010 and developed it into the largest daily deals website in the Middle East. Cobone. com has now grown its registered user base to more than 2m customers and earlier this year the company was acquired by international investment firm Tiger Global Management. The deal will see Irish entrepreneur Paul, the founder and current CEO of Cobone.com, maintain his position along with other members of Cobone’s leadership team, including Warrick Godfrey and Pieter Sleeboom - while leading Cobone.com to greater market share and regional expansion. Cobone.com was founded in August 2010 with backing from the Jabbar Internet Group, and quickly developed to become the Middle East’s leading group buying site and one of few daily deal sites to possess the potential to compete on a global level in a highly competitive market. Last year, Enterprise Ireland appointed Kenny as start-up ambassador for the Middle East and he also won the Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year for his success with Cobone.com.
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Despite being a relative newcomer Daybreak Technologies, a new IT company headed up by the former CIO of Elan, Kevin Barrett and chaired by ITLG President John Hartnett has announced plans to create 50 new jobs in Dublin. Daybreak offers a full suite of IT managed services for the biotechnology industry and the team has extensive experience in implementing superior cost-effective solutions that are unique to biotechnology, as well as supporting corporate activities including mergers, acquisitions, product acquisitions, divestments and business restructuring.” Kevin who was formerly CIO of Elan which has now entered into a services agreement outsourcing all of its IT functions to Daybreak. According to ITLG President and Chairman of Daybreak, John Hartnett, the global biotech market is a US$500bn industry which is ripe for outsourcing technology services. “Daybreak offers unique end-to-end technology solutions for major global corporations like Elan as well as scaling biotech companies, and the company has a great future,” he said.
Sean Blanchfield, ScaleFront Ltd. Founder & Investor at ScaleFront Ltd., Sean Blanchfield is a highly regarded Irish technology entrepreneur, investor, mentor and startup community organizer. He is best known as a founder of DemonWare, an online technology firm that serves over 300 million gamers, including those of Call of Duty, the world’s most successful video game franchise. He co-founded a mobile solutions company, Phorest, in 2000 as an undergrad. In 2003 he left his Ph.D. to co-found and invest in DemonWare, providing online technology to video games publishers. After DemonWare’s acquisition by Activision Blizzard in 2007, Sean served as CTO of Jolt, a social gaming publishing house, and later founded and invested in Front Square, creating “serious” games to teach operational excellence. In 2011 Sean co-founded Scale Front, a startup lab that creates and accelerates new startups. Aside from his own ventures, Sean works with other entrepreneurs and startups in an investment and advisory capacity and he is also the founder and organizer of Techpreneurs, an invite-only monthly gathering of over 100 of Ireland’s leading technology founders.
Iain Mac Donald, Co-Founder & CEO, SkillPages Iain Mac Donald, CEO and founder of SkillPages, a social networking hub for jobseekers and an ITLG innovation award winner in 2011 has been described by ITLG President John Hartnett as a ‘superb leader’ with all the characteristics necessary to create a truly global company. Mac Donald graduated from University College Dublin with a degree in Economics and Information Studies. He began his career managing business development within Intergraph, a technology services provider and went on to manage business development at eHost Europe. In 2002 he became Head of Operations at Solar Marketing. In 2003 Iain founded Perlico, the home phone and broadband supplier, which grew to become one of the leading alternative providers of fixed-line telecom and broadband services in Ireland. In 2007 Iain sold Perlico to Vodafone for €70 million. He established his next company, SkillPages in 2010 and is the
Hugh Reynolds’s & Steve Collins, Swrve In 1998 Hugh Reynolds’s and Steve Collins co-founded Havok which went on to became the leading real-time physics and animation solution provider to the game industry and was later was sold to Intel in 2007 for $110 million. The proceeds were used to start Kore Virtual Machines, which was sold to Havok for an undisclosed price in 2010. Their new company, Swrve provides analytics solutions to games on the web and on mobile, and is rapidly becoming an industry standard. Hugh and his co-founder Dr. Steve Collins have built an intuitive, easy-to-use content management system for deploying sophisticated A/B testing scenarios within a live mobile game environment. This 25+ person start-up is revolutionizing the mobile app and gaming industry by providing a low-cost method to make constant game improvements. It provides the tools to enable mobile app game creators to make changes and test user behavior hypotheses without constantly having to bring in engineering or IT teams to help. It also provides a dashboard that turns enormous amounts of data into relevant and actionable information that provides instant feedback. Swrve’s platform has been put into service by some of the top grossing Apps on the iPhone and has the capacity to scale up to five million daily users.
company’s CEO. SkillPages is a skill-based social network which helps people with useful skills to find those who need them and currently has over 9 million members worldwide. SkillPages currently employs over 30 people, a large number of whom graduated from UCD, and has offices in Blackrock, Dublin and Palo Alto, California. SkillPages has raised $9.5 million in a Series B round of funding from Irish VC firm ACT Venture Capital, private angel investors and the company founders. To date it has raised over $18 million in funding.
Trustev In May this year Cork technology start-up Trustev took first place at the ITLG technology awards at the Global Technology Leaders Summit held at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus. Trustev has previously been nominated as one of the top four new start-ups in Europe at the London Web Summit and more recently as one of the Top 30 emerging start-ups in the world at Techcrunch Disrupt New York. In June the company was named Europe’s best young start-up as part of the Tech All Stars Awards 2013. Founded in 2012 and headed by serial entrepreneur Pat Phelan and co-founder Chris Kennedy Trustev has developed a “social fingerprinting technology” that verifies customer identity in order to fight online fraud. The proprietary online service confirms identity by analyzing and matching the user’s unique online presence while maintaining the individual’s privacy. With just a few lines of code, Trustev adds a new social verification layer at the beginning of the checkout process that pre qualifies potential customers through analysing social data from a wide number of sources - including Facebook. It then combines this with behavioural data and a proprietary analytical engine to confirm to a merchant that their customer is who they claim to be.
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Conor and Fintan MacCormack, Mcor Technologies Finalists in the Irish Technology Leadership Group’s (ITLG) company of the year awards in 2011, McCor Technolgies, the Louth based 3D printing company headed up by brother Conor and Fintan MacCormack subsequently secured $2 million investment from the Irish Technology Capital Fund, an angel investment fund headed by ITG President John Hartnett. John Ryan, Irish CEO and founder of copy protection giant Macrovision (now Rovi) was appointed Chairman having been introduced to the brothers by the ITLG and leading salespeople from US rivals were also recruited to the team. The brothers have not looked back and towards the end of
Brian and Eamonn Fallon, Daft.ie Daft.ie, the property website established by brothers Brian and Eamonn in 2006 as part of a school project has now captured over 90% of the Irish property listings market and is an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to rent or purchase a property. Daft has revolutionized how consumers in Ireland find property. Daft has four main property sections - sales, lettings, commercial and overseas. Today tens of thousands of customers in Ireland and across the world regularly advertise their properties on the site Today Daft.ie is part of Distilled Media - Ireland’s largest online publisher. Distilled Media includes websites as daft.ie, and property.ie, among others. Further success has followed with thejournal.ie, which has been displacing leading newspaper
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2011 they secured a major $25m deal with US office supplies giant Stables. Using Mcor’s IRIS – a 3D printer with the highest color capability in the industry, Staples are now consumers, product designers, architects, healthcare professionals, educators, students and others access to low-cost, brilliantly colored photorealistic 3D printed products. Until the Staples deal 3D printers had been selling their services almost exclusively to skilled designers, large architectural practices and major players in the engineering sector. The deal dramatically increases the products market penetration and in an industry which many believe could be a harbinger for the next industrial revolution (allowing start-up entrepreneurs to prototype future products at a dramatically reduced costs) McCor Technologies are setting the pace.
websites with a blend of comprehensive, intelligent, witty and web-savvy content, delivered in a constantly updated stream throughout the day. With the subsequent addition of boards.ie to their portfolio they now clock in with more than six times the monthly page impressions of the Irish Times. Collectively, this group of sites attracts 3.65 million unique browsers each month. Among it’s many accolades, Daft.ie was recognized as the fastest growing technology and media company in Ireland at the 2009 Deloitte Fast 50 Awards and “Best Online Trader” at the 2008 Irish Internet Association’s Netvisionary Awards
Pitch perfect As entrepreneurs prepare to present their ideas, conveying how their venture can disrupt the market or change the world is crucial, advises San Franciscobased venture capitalist Richard Moran. 138 | Silicon Valley Global
ichard Moran is unequivocal about what he looks for as an investor and draws a comparison between making an investment and getting married to illustrate the extent to which the investor will be involved with the entrepreneur in growing and developing the company. “If the entrepreneur appears to be disagreeable and someone who is not prepared to listen, then they are not going to get any investment. It’s a combination of both, but I would bet that if you speak to ten investors they would say they invest in the person first and the idea second.” As well as being a venture capitalist, bestselling author and an evangelist for organization effectiveness, Moran is a member of the ITLG’s core management team and CEO and Vice Chairman at Accretive Solutions, a professional services firm with a focus on accounting, IT and outsourcing. Credited with starting the genre of ‘Business Bullet Books’, Moran started his career in Silicon Valley at Atari and is best known for his series of business books including Never Confuse a Memo with Reality. He has been a partner at companies including Venrock and Accenture, Chairman of the Board at Portal Software and served on the Boards of Glu Mobile Games, Winery Exchange and Mechanics Bank. Such an impressive career history has
“The is always the sense of anticipation and the chance that each entrepreneur I come across will have what I call ‘a glimmer of greatness.’ I like to see a glimmer of something that can become a larger idea that could disrupt the market or change the world.” clearly instilled in him the ability to be decisive about who and what he should invest in. Moran looks for someone who is zealous about their idea and willing to work exceptionally hard. “I look for someone who is going to work hard themselves and not rely on others to work hard around them,” he says. “It helps if a person is an electrical or agricultural engineer because that indicates their competence in a key area. But first and foremost, they must be able to listen to advice and ferret through it and decide what is going to make the company successful. There is a bit of voodoo in the assessment in that it is based on evaluating the personality of the entrepreneur as well as the nature of their proposal and the expertise they possess. It is definitely an inexact science.” Asked whether the economic downturn has impacted the mood among investors he says that there is still a strong appetite for proposals with good potential but investors are seeing an increasing number of propositions which don’t have the requisite growth potential. “The mood and climate today are as frothy as ever, but it is also confusing. There are a lot of great ideas that are worthy of investment, but there are a lot
of great ideas that are too small for investing.” “There is confusion among entrepreneurs that if they have a new app that can flush the toilet remotely, they are going to get US $20 million.” On what drives investors, he says that despite having listened to countless pitches he still gets excited while listening to presentations from entrepreneurs seeking investment. “There is always the sense of anticipation and the chance that each entrepreneur I come across will have what I call ‘a glimmer of greatness.’ I like to see a glimmer of something that can become a larger idea that could disrupt the market or change the world.” “The glimmer of greatness is when a company is looking for a US $4-5 million investment and they can make me believe that it will become a $100 million company. People involved in technology investments say it’s not hard to build a $10 million company, but it is really hard to build a $100m company,” he says. The actual presentation is very important and entrepreneurs pitching for investment need to provide a clear and concise explanation of their idea and why is it special. “Investors will also want to know who’s in the team, how much money is needed and how big can it be?” he says. Moran recently advised a young man from Dublin, who had just graduated from university armed with a great idea. “I have heard people say that there is more innovation in the world today than there ever has been and I believe that.” Although Irish people are known for the gift of the gab, Moran warns that this can lead to an excess in presentation, and a strong Silicon Valley Global | 139
pitch should effectively be a recipe comprising 21 pages with the person speaking for 2-3 minutes on each page. “I have seen Irish entrepreneurs speak for 30 minutes and they are still on page one. In order to be successful, people need to understand how important the presentation is.” “An entrepreneur’s pitch is about telling a story and no one can tell a story better than the Irish.” When turning down companies despite them having impressive pitches, he typically advises them to prove the concept further by generating more revenue. “There is a phrase in the investment world ‘there is an infinite demand for the unavailable.’ It may be a good idea, but I’m not sure, so come back to me with more proof that it really is a good idea because Apple is a channel partner or you now have €1000 a month in revenue, or something that will show me the dog is eating the dog food.” 140 | Silicon Valley Global
In the same way that an artist should be encouraged to visit renaissance Florence, Moran says that Silicon Valley is equally inspirational for young entrepreneurs in order to make contacts, attend meetings and soak up the ideas and atmosphere. Asked whether there is something unique in the American perspective and character that builds successful businesses, Moran says he often gives speeches that mention how Irish people should stop saying sorry. “Americans never say they are sorry. Think about how many times today you will hear the phrase ‘it’s a pity or ‘it’s too bad’. We would not say that and we would certainly never say it when pitching for investment. While it’s a broad generalization, American entrepreneurs tend to be more ambitious and to aim higher.” “It’s easy to be a $10 million company, it’s a lot harder to be a $100 million company and typically, the Irish build a $10m company then stop and say I’m done or they sell it.”
“Ireland is a small country and to build a big company it needs to be global, whereas in the US you can build a big company without going global. In the Pharma sector, you have one or two global companies but in general there needs to be more of a global outreach and I think that is starting to happen.” Silicon Valley has grown to encompass the city of San Francisco where Moran is based and it’s an attractive proposition for companies because it has all the benefits of a big city. The city has much in common with Dublin he believes saying that the vibrancy and lively culture of Dublin and the availability of a highly educated workforce is hugely appealing to foreign companies. The reason big companies are flocking to Ireland is because of the educated, creative, hardworking and fun-to-be-around people, he says. “People like Ireland and people cheer for Ireland and that is a big advantage going forward”
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The Government is committed to building a stronger and more dynamic venture capital industry in Ireland. 142 | Silicon Valley Global
he first €100 million of the Government’s new seed and venture capital scheme totaling €175 million has been put in place and the initiative has been applauded by The Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA) which said that the fund could be leveraged to some €800m and make a significant contribution to employment creation - while also helping to bridge an expected future decline in availability of capital. Under the scheme, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, through Enterprise Ireland, will make funding available for investment in private venture capital funds. These funds will invest in high-growth Irish companies in fast-growing sectors including ICT, life sciences, high-tech manufacturing and the green economy. Describing the announcement of the latest tranche of funds by Minister Richard Bruton as timely and vitally important for job creation, Dr Manus Rogan, chairman of the IVCA said that the association had consistently warned of a potential shortfall of €1 billion over the next five years. “Based on historic evidence and an awareness of where VC funds currently stand within their investment cycles, we expect the current availability of capital to decrease in the coming years,” he said. “However, together with the support of the private sector and syndicated funds from abroad, it should be possible to leverage the Government Fund up to €800m and this will be critical in offsetting any future decline. Irish SMEs have raised approximately €250m per annum over the last five years. Since the onset of the credit crunch in 2008, €1.5bn in venture capital has been raised by 764 Irish SMEs and has supported the creation of up to 20,000 jobs. It has attracted over €450m of capital into Ireland and geared up the State’s investment through the seed and venture capital program by almost seven times. In the first quarter of 2013 Irish technology companies raised €52m in funding according to the latest IVCA VenturePulse survey. This is a similar figure to last year and according to Rogan represents a highly satisfactory performance particularly given that activity in international markets is experiencing significant volatility. “For example
US quarter numbers are down 6% as the global credit crunch continues to bite,” he said.
Warning Signs However, the report finds that first round funding in the first quarter of this year was 14% of funds raised compared to 20% in 2012 and Stephen Keogh, a corporate partner in William Fry, which acted as legal advisers in over half of the funding rounds in the first quarter, said that the data could be an early warning sign. “Seed funds supported by the banking sector and Enterprise Ireland’s seed and venture capital program of 2006-2012 will be fully invested in the near term. These funds will need to be renewed if entrepreneurs are to be supported as actively as in the last five years,” said Keogh. Last year 189 technology companies raised €269m from investors while €274m was raised by 159 Irish technology companies in 2011. The IVCA survey finds that while software companies continue to head the list of firms with 26% or €68.9m of the money raised in 2012, there has been a big increase in support for medical device and drug delivery firms which raised €47.9m or 18% of funds raised. Other technologies such as nano, fiber optics and phototonics raised €54.6m or 20%. Medical software and service raised €26.6m or 10% of total finds in 2012. “It suggests that Ireland’s indigenous tech sector is becoming more broadly based and developing new technologies. This may partly reflect funding through the Government and Science Foundation Ireland into the third level sector,” commented Rogan. Stephen Keogh, believes the positive perception of Ireland as a pro-business environment which is supportive of startups will ensure that Irish companies are well positioned to attract further funding in the coming years. “Through the promotion of a wide variety of seed capital funds and a user friendly company set up environment, Ireland’s policy makers and the VC community have combined to make Ireland a very attractive place for entrepreneurs to start new business ventures.” The Government is also committed to building a stronger and more dynamic venture capital industry in Ireland, according to Minister for Enterprise and Innovation,
Richard Bruton. Commenting on the launch of an Enterprise Ireland Seed & Venture Capital Program 2012 Report launched this summer, the Minister said that International experience from Silicon Valley and elsewhere shows venture capital can play a key part in
Irish Opportunities David Farquhar, a Scottish venture capitalist and President of the 2013 British and Irish Tech Tour believes that Ireland is performing strongly in terms of technology based start-ups. A venture partner with US firm Rock Spring Ventures and also executive chairman of two Irish companies, David believes there are good investment opportunities in both Ireland and the UK. “There is now a strong venture capital community in Ireland,” he said. Enterprise Ireland have been smart in choosing to put energy into attracting investors from abroad which effectively has a multiplier effect on their own investments. Having closely monitored Ireland’s technology sector he says that the influx of US tech giants has had a significant impact. If you go back to the amount of foreign direct investment in the 80s and 90s it was focused on software,” he said. “While manufacturing moved East, software is not about cost savings, it is about getting the best minds. It was a good move from the IDA, with most major tech companies in Dublin, it has created an ecosystem. One of the things that impresses me is the mutual respect between investors, entrepreneurs, academics and the public sector.
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ensuring access to mentoring and networks as well as the funding that supports the growth of these companies. According to the report Enterprise Ireland supported venture capitalists who invested €54m in 135 Irish-based companies in 2012 under the Enterprise Ireland Seed and Venture Capital Programs. The figure represents an €11m increase (26pc) on the amount invested during 2011. Overall Irish venture capital firms supported by Enterprise Ireland made 159 investments in 105 companies with a total value of €81m in 2012. Total funds under management by seed and venture funds under Enterprise Ireland’s Seed & Venture Capital Programs reached €636m by the end of 2012 “This report shows that, with the right supports from Government, the seed and venture capital industry in Ireland continues to grow, supporting more dynamic Irish companies with the potential to grow quickly, build exports and create the jobs we need. I am determined to ensure that we not only support the continued development of a strong multinational sector but also create a powerful engine of indigenous business and these results show that we are making major progress in this area”.
Enterprise Ireland Seed and Venture Capital Programs: • In 2012 these funds made 135 investments with an investment value of €54 million in Irish-based companies, representing an increase of €11 million (26%) on the amount invested in 2011. • Overall, Irish venture capital firms supported by Enterprise Ireland made 159 investments in 105 companies with a value of €81 million in 2012. • The total funds under management by seed and venture funds under Enterprise Ireland’s Seed & Venture Capital Programs reached €636 million by end 2012. • The venture capital sector plays a vital role in supporting innovative companies to grow, expand internationally and create jobs. A strong feature of the past 18 months has been the continuing
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“Since the onset of the credit crunch in 2008, €1.5bn in venture capital has been raised by 764 Irish SMEs and has supported the creation of up to 20,000 jobs, attracted over €450m of capital into Ireland and geared up the State’s investment through the seed and venture capital program by almost seven times.” increase in venture capital funding being made available to meet the urgent need for capital. • 2012 saw the launch of the €150 million Development Capital Fund to assist in closing the ‘equity gap’ experienced by established SMEs seeking development capital in excess of €2 million. • The drive to bring additional capacity to the market continued with a €20 million call for expressions of interest under the 3rd Program of the Seed and Venture Capital Program and we expect to make announcements on this in Q3 2013. This is targeted to drive the total funds under management to €690m by the end of 2013. • In May of this year the new €175 million Seed and Venture Capital Program 2013-2018 was launched, aimed at leveraging a total of €700million to provide additional funding for
high-growth Irish companies with the potential to generate significant additional exports and grow jobs. The first call for expressions of interest has been announced and will see Enterprise Ireland committing up to €100 million to venture capital funds targeting investment in the wider information and communications technologies and life sciences sectors. Other Government finance schemes for business put in place over the past two years include: • €850million through three SME funds from the NPRF • €450million credit guarantee scheme • €90million micro-finance scheme • €10million international start-up fund • €120million second call under Innovation Fund Ireland
DCU Business School
Procuring profits Faced with rapid environmental and internal changes, businesses are turning their attention to how purchasing adds strategic value, explains Dr Paul Davis, program director of the MSc StrategicÂ Procurement and the MSc InternationalÂ Management at DCU Business School. 146 | Silicon Valley Global
DCU Business School
ith the increasing demand for general supply chain management courses throughout the third level sector in the last few years, DCU led the way by being the first university to introduce an undergraduate module for supply chain management in Ireland. Des Crowther, CEO of the Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management has stated: “Education and training are the basic building blocks of any professions. By education, I mean any formal program leading to a recognized qualification.” DCU Business School responded to this drive towards education in a profession with the development of an innovative Masters program in Strategic Procurement. “The first of its kind in Ireland, the program builds the capacity for strategic thinking in an area that has an important contribution to make to all organizations,” comments Dr Paul Davis, Program Director of the MSc Strategic Procurement and the MSc International Management, DCU Business School. Currently board member of both the International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management and the Global Standard in Purchasing and Supply, Dr Davis is leading a research team in Ireland investigating Micro Enterprises and Public Procurement. As well as being the chair of the forthcoming International Public Procurement Conference in Dublin in August 2014, Dr Davis has been on the Procurement for Innovation working group and was responsible for the delivery of the research that led to the publication of the 10 Step Guide to Smarter Procurement. “DCU Business School has also been long associated with the delivery of the Irish Production and Inventory Control Society (IPICS) professional programs and as such it is recognized as having experience in the area of supply and materials management,” he explains. DCU’s move to identify national needs and the emphasis on procurement by both Public and Private sectors set up the opportunity to offer a program that addresses both current and future industry needs, Dr Davis explains. Now in its eight year, the Masters in Strategic Procurement has established itself as the premium program, offering strategic
Top management now recognize the value of having highly skilled and experienced purchasing personnel within their organizations and the important contribution they can make to overall profitability. procurement skills for senior management and CPO’s. “Graduates from the MSc in Strategic Procurement now occupy senior management positions across both public and private sector. The network of alumni has strengthened the profession of procurement by creating a high caliber graduate who has the long-term interest of their organization at the heart of their work.” This long-term interest enables graduates to focus on sustainable initiatives that have brought benefits not just to their own organization, but also the wider economy.
As business organizations are going through rapid external environmental and internal organizational changes due to increasing globalization, e-business and outsourcing, increasing attention is being paid to the issue of how purchasing fits within business organizations and how it adds strategic value and contributes to corporate success. There is a distinct need for senior managers to understand the role of supply chain management philosophy in the overall business improvement process, Dr Davis believes. There has also been considerable growth in DCU Business Schools’ programs offered in both the professional accounting and financial fields and in the offerings to public sector professionals within the last few years, he says. “The students from these courses have expressed interest in the area of procurement and have looked for further education in this area. These historic and current demands indicate that DCU Business School has a strong reputation in areas that would be strongly associated with procurement.” The past decade has witnessed purchasing and supply chain management finally achieve the widespread recognition it deserves as a key strategic function, he says. “Top management now recognize the value of having highly skilled and experienced purchasing personnel within their organizations and the important contribution that they can make to overall profitability.” Silicon Valley Global | 147
Con O’Donoghue Photography
The Digital Hub
Office space at The Digital Hub
Digital Hub Celebrates The Digital Hub – the Irish Government’s flagship project for clustering digital enterprises – celebrates its 10th birthday this year. Here, Edel Flynn, CEO of the Digital Hub Development Agency reflects on its future priorities and achievements to date.
he Digital Hub is an Irish government project, which was established in 2003. Based in Dublin’s inner city, its aim is to develop a world-class cluster of growing digital enterprises capable of competing with international success stories such as London’s Tech City and Israel’s Silicon Wadi. At this stage, Ireland’s capacity to attract major global tech brands has been proven. Ireland is home to almost all of the leading names in technology including Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – as well as more recent additions such as Etsy and Airbnb. The influx and impact of these global brands is to be welcomed however, one challenge that persists in the sector 148 | Silicon Valley Global
is developing indigenous brands with the capacity to develop into major global players.
Supporting Domestic Digital Talent to Scale Ireland has a vibrant start-up scene and numerous innovative programs providing tailored supports for start-ups including commercial providers such as Wayra, Dogpatch Labs and StartUpBoot Camp. However, it is widely acknowledged both in Ireland and internationally that in order to succeed and grow, companies need specific supports once they have ‘graduated’ from the start-up phase. The focus of the Digital Hub is on the next step of a company’s journey to success.
Edel Flynn, CEO of the Digital Hub Development Agency
The exterior of The Digital Hub
Fostering a combination of domestic and international digital talent and ensuring digital enterprises are supported to develop beyond the start-up stage is a priority for The Digital Hub. Through our links with the many startup support programs currently in operation, we aim to attract the brightest and best fledgling digital enterprises to locate on our campus. We then work with these enterprises to help them grow and attract investment.
The Perfect Environment for Growing Global Brands The Digital Hub provides an ideal space for international companies looking to test the Irish and European markets. We offer flexible office space; flexible lease arrangements and the type of ecosystem digital companies looking to explore new markets expect (i.e. links to and the potential for collaborations with industry and academia; a pool of young and highly-skilled workers; a culture of ‘competition’ where cooperation and competition combine). As a result, companies such as Amazon, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Riverdeep) and Gala Networks Europe all chose The Digital Hub as the starting point for their entry into the Irish and European markets. They were able to test these markets, deploying small teams at first and then rapidly scaling their teams as their business models developed. The flexibility and environment offered at The Digital Hub perfectly suited their needs. More recently, Etsy – the US-based online marketplace for creative goods – has chosen The Digital Hub as the location for its EMEA headquarters and plans to significantly expand its workforce here over the coming years.
Sean & Yvette Photography
Con O’Donoghue Photography
The Digital Hub
‘Networking’: Employees from some of the companies based at The Digital Hub chat outside the Digital Court building.
Opportunities for Investors at The Digital Hub For venture capitalists and traditional financial institutions there are exciting opportunities for investment at The Digital Hub. Throughout 2014, we will run regular events aimed at introducing VCs to the high-potential enterprises in our cluster. Furthermore, for strategic investors, property development in the vicinity of The Digital Hub could prove lucrative. The Digital Hub Development Agency manages a campus of nine acres, comprised of seven office blocks operating to full capacity and a number of undeveloped sites. The fact that we are constantly having to turn prospective new tenant companies away – because demand for office space at The Digital Hub far outstrips supply – should be testament in itself to the potential our project has for strategic investors.
Achievements over the Past 10 Years This year, The Digital Hub turned 10. One hundred and sixty-seven companies have progressed through the project over the past 10 years. During their time at the Hub, these companies generated 2,000 highly-skilled jobs, making a significant contribution to the Irish economy. Of the top seven companies to have left our cluster, on departure they held a combined total of 340 employees; this has now grown to in the region of 4,700 employees. At present, there are over 70 companies at The Digital Hub, employing almost 900 high-value workers. Since 2003, we at The Digital Hub have acquired an in-depth understanding of what digital enterprises need to not only survive
but to grow and scale. Government agencies such as Enterprise Ireland and the IDA have frequently showcased our project as a model of best practice for international delegations looking for leadership in digital clustering. Most recently, for example, we welcomed high-level delegations from China and Mexico, who were aiming to discover how the story of The Digital Hub could influence projects underway in their own countries. Over the past decade, we have excelled at spotting new and emerging digital trends and facilitating the growth of these trends. In the mid-2000s for example, we became home to a number of companies from Ireland’s nascent computer games industry. These companies – the likes of the aforementioned Gala Networks Europe, as well as Havok and Goa Games – have since gone on to achieve major global growth. As Ireland’s computer games sector has become more established meanwhile, The Digital Hub has moved on to explore and support new trends such as e-learning and e-health.
The Future The next few months will be an exciting time for The Digital Hub: the Government announced last year that we would transition into Dublin City Council as part of the program for public sector reform and this transition will take place soon. Our new home within the City Council will allow us to broaden our geographic reach, replicate successful digital initiatives across the city and contribute in a truly meaningful way to maintaining Dublin’s reputation as a leading city for technology. We will relish this opportunity. Further information about The Digital Hub is available at: www.thedigitalhub.com.
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The Marker Uber chic and perfectly located at the heart of Dublinâ€™s Silicon Docks, The Marker Hotel sets the benchmark high for quality city hospitality. Trish Phelan talks to Kevin McGillycuddy about Dublinâ€™s hottest new property. 150 | Silicon Valley Global
The Marker is the first 5-star hotel to open in the heart of Dublin’s Silicon Docks. What was your rationale for this investment? One could say that we looked at the development and delivery of The Marker Hotel very much the same way a venture capitalist looks at investing in a tech company. First we needed to ensure that we had a unique offering, which is evidenced by our prime location and the hotel’s striking architectural design and quality of finishes. Second, we needed to build a high quality team from the ground up and we were fortunate to attract the likes of Charlie Sheil as the General Manager, Roisin O’Sullivan as our Director of Sales and Marketing and 180 new employees, as well as partner with the well established Interstate Hotels and Leading Hotels of The World. Last, we developed a confidence that our potential customer base would continue to grow out of the nexus of the Silicon Docks, the IFSC and the world-class cultural venues in the area (the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, the O2 Concert Hall and the Dublin Convention Centre). In the few months that we have been open, we are delighted with the positive market feedback and we will continuously look for ways to improve and refine our offering.
the growth and vitality of the Silicon Docks and we look forward to doing so.
You mention the importance of being located in the Silicon Docks. How important is the technology employment base to your business? We are very fortunate to be located in close proximity to a diverse set of industries that include the technology sector, the legal sector and the financial services sector. That being said, with the anticipated arrival of Facebook’s new European Headquarter literally adjacent to the hotel, we expect that the technology employment base is going to dramatically grow. We recognize that we are in a privileged position to serve and support
When you were finalizing the plans for The Marker, did you make any major design decisions that were specific to the technology sector? We certainly did. When I lived in New York during the first Internet revolution, I saw first hand how many of the startups fostered their ideas in some pretty cool and inspiring buildings. I see an obvious parallel with our hotel as a great place to foster ideas and there is no better place to do it than in our meeting and conference spaces. Naturally we have a full compliment of state-of-the-art audio-visual and conferencing accoutrements for meetings and off-site sessions. We also believe that great art helps stimulate the mind and we were committed to featuring memorable art throughout the hotel. In fact we recently received an award from Allianz Business to Arts as the best commissioning practice in the country. We also made sure that we had simple but important offerings such as complimentary wifi and guest rooms have everything and anything you need on the television including the full room service menu. For those that don’t know of our desk lamp designed by Philipe Stark, it not only looks cool, it also serves as a place to Silicon Valley Global | 151
charge your iPhone. Of course it is not all about technology, as when someone is feeling a bit weary from the computer, tablet or smart phone, we have a technology-free zone in our spa and wellness area where they can get some deserved and peaceful relaxation treatments. Last but not least, if there is a need for a blue-sky thinking session, we can bring you that much closer to the clouds with our rooftop lounge which has the first green roof in the Silicon Docks and stunning views of the surrounding area. There is a lot of chat in Dublin about The Marker since it arrived on the Dublin hotel scene. How do you keep the hotel relevant going forward? You only stay relevant in business by understanding and listening to your clientele. We are located in one of the most dynamic business and leisure areas in Dublin with great vitality at our front door, so we are able to listen and embrace new ideas. Over the summer we were very pleased to host the Business and Finance Tech 100 annual awards where the best Irish-based companies were recognized and they kept us in touch with the best ideas from the industry on a first-hand basis. We recently sponsored the Tedx Dublin event, which serves as one of the most recognized virtual think tanks exploring all aspects of the future. We also believe it is important to embrace the strengths of what we have and concentrate on engaging the community around us. The architecture of the hotel is certainly a hallmark of The Marker and this has led the hotel and Brehon Capital Partners to sponsor the Irish Architecture Foundationâ€™s Everyday Experience Exhibition at the re-launch of the Irish Modern Museum of Art in November. We were also selected by the Irish Architecture Foundation as one of the top 100 buildings in Dublin for their annual open house in October that will bring hundreds of new people through our doors. We recognize that technological changes are fast moving and we need to constantly assess where it can enhance our customer experience. For example, we are focused on improving our mobile website and reservation systems and we have a dedicated employee to focus on our social media strategies. Due to the popular demand of our rooftop lounge, I could even see us developing an enhancement to the mobile website to help us manage our clienteleâ€™s timing and deliverability of access to the rooftop. 152 | Silicon Valley Global
Lastly, as an investor, what things are you looking out for in the future? There is real sense that Ireland has turned a corner and that we are slowly but assuredly on the road to recovery. The Irish government continues to manage us out of a very difficult economic situation and naturally needs to preserve the corporation tax here in Ireland that is attractive to both local and foreign investors. The Government initiative of a lower VAT rate for the hospitality industry is still critically important for the hotel industry and should be supported, and The Gathering proved critics wrong regarding the positive effects of reaching out globally to the Irish diaspora. Brehon Capital Partners remain
very positive on the hotel and property industry and we have recently acquired the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow due to its beautiful surroundings in the Irish countryside yet its close proximity to Dublin. We are delighted to have acquired this hotel, which will soon be known as The Powerscourt Hotel and we will continue the tradition of luxury and quality that has always been synonymous with the property. Kevin McGillycuddy is Managing Director of Brehon Capital Partners, who in partnership with Midwest Holding, own The Marker Hotel. www.themarkerhoteldublin.com www.brehoncapital.com
Light by Design If we change our mindset and make lighting an integral part of any build, the results will not only be functionally better but will add an atmospheric element that cannot be achieved by any other
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ighting is a fundamental part of living but is often overlooked in the design process. It is usually an afterthought behind considerations such as colour schemes, furnishings and flooring. This is often to the detriment of a project. If we change our mindset and make lighting an integral part of any build, the results will not only be functionally better but will add an atmospheric element that cannot be achieved by any other medium. This is and has always been the philosophy at Willie Duggan Lighting. Willie Duggan Lighting is an Irish family run business now in its third generation and approaching its 75th year. In 2010 a new sister company was formed, W.TWO lighting design consultants, run by Willie Duggan Jnr who is a chartered engineer and lighting designer. Willie cut his cloth as a lighting designer in London and worked on projects such as Western Concourse Kings Cross Station where he was lead designer. During this time, his design proposal for the lighting of London’s Tower Bridge was awarded a highly commended at the Lightmongers Associations Lighting design awards. Together Willie Duggan Lighting and W.TWO bring a wealth of experience and knowledge unrivalled in the lighting industry. In 2013 Willie Duggan Lighting was awarded the Public Sector Magazine, Excellence in Business Award for Best Commercial Lighting Supplier and Lighting Solutions. The company were delighted with this recognition and saw it as a sign that the core philosophy works. Design work extends across all industries, evident in the diversity of recent projects such as Google Foundry, The Marker Hotel, JFK Visitors Centre, European Conference Centre, Cobh Cathedral and World Cruise liner (Private Apartments). Customer service is a key part of this business, whether the client is an Architect, Engineer, International corporate company or an Interior designer - the same level of service is extended to all. With the skills in house to advise, design and animate any project, Willie Duggan Lighting listen to the needs of each project and create a lighting solution to reflect it. Once work has started the company liaise closely with the electrical contractor to make sure the client’s needs are met.
“I went into Willie’s one day looking for a bulb for my bicycle lamp. I came out two hours later with 3 lamps, 4 shades and 6 kitchen chairs. I don’t know what happened but the lights are lovely, the shades are hypnotic and the kitchen chairs are so comfortable that I have put on three stone. I’m still looking for a bulb for my bicycle lamp.” Christy Moore Musician
“I worked with W.Two Lighting Design Consultancy and Willie Duggan Lighting on a high-end house in Hampstead Heath. We chose to work with them as they provide an end-to-end service that is not found in the UK. They made our job so much easier as we had just one point of contact for the lighting design and supply. They were always available and went above and beyond for us,” Niall Bracken,
Shipshape Construction, London. There is no finer recommendation than word of mouth and Willie Duggan recognises the value of his client’s referrals. With a client list that reads like the ‘who’s who’ of Ireland, it seems lots of people are talking about this particular light sensation. www.williedugganlighting.com www.wtwodesign.com
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David James Interiors
Perfect Finish Cutting edge design for high tech clients
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David James Interiors
here is something about young Irish companies that sets them apart on an international playing field. Some might say they are cut from a different cloth and perhaps this is true; it certainly applies in the case of David James Interiors. David James Interiors is a fully serviced interior design and fit-out company that has been blazing a trail on the domestic and international interiors scene. Perfectly poised to deliver on the current trend to espouse flexible work spaces that encourage productivity, Google and Twitter are typical of the calibre of client that demand exceptional interior design for ambient and effective workspace. Established in the teeth of the recession in 2009, the Dublin based firm leads the way in providing cutting edge graphic design and computer generated imagery for clients. With a young MD David Clarke at the helm the company has rapidly established a reputation for excellence. This is based on a very personal relationship with clients and the ability to offer competitive rates based on an all in one package, bringing every aspect of moving into a building under one umbrella. David James Interiors provide a full turnkey service – Clarke explains, “all the client needs is to have staff show up on the morning of handover, plug in their laptops and enjoy the new surroundings.” The company steers clients through all aspects of establishing their workspace from property searches, lease negotiations, architectural interior design, program planning and turn-key fit out. Another crucial aspect is that DJI work closely with financial solution partners to help companies grow by reinvesting money back into their company while providing solutions to funding the fit-out process. In effect DJI are the “painkiller” in the daunting prospect of sourcing, fit out and relocation to new office space. “What we emphasize at all times is personal attention to detail and flexibility in our approach to deliver what the client needs,” remarks Clarke. “The fact that we are able to manage everything from conception to implementation makes us very competitive. He continues, “We have recently worked with an entrepreneur who had a fantastic idea for a new restaurant chain. He had worked with
consultants for over 14 months without getting the result he was after yet in the space of three hours we charted out a plan for that business that encompassed the client’s vision and a blueprint to translate the concept into a reality.” Clarke’s own personal work history brings with it a bank of world class industry contacts. Prior to establishing DJI he worked in New York for over six years working with major brands including Ralph Lauren, Saks, Macy’s and Century 21. As a result Clarke brings not only a wealth of ideas and experience to the table but a contacts book that opens doors to elite suppliers in the design world. He explains, “It really is all about product selection and my experience on the global stage allows me to source the very best for our clients. It doesn’t matter to us whether you are a start up with a handful of employees or an FDI with a workforce of thousands, we offer the same detailed service to all.” Clarke continues, “Our design team meet with the client and discuss the concept then we help the client visualize the project by translating this into a 3D computer generated image of how things will look in terms of the finished product. This CGI is produced to the highest possible specifications. Indeed they are so good that one client actually thought he was looking at the finished job such was the quality of the CGI,” laughed Clarke. With an extensive portfolio of work in Ireland and in the UK, David James Interiors is now expanding into the French and German markets and the upturn in the European economy is certainly having a positive impact on business. Indeed looking
at things on the home front Clarke is confident that the continued investment and confidence of major firms in Ireland is paying dividends and things are looking up. Clarke concludes, “The amount of enquiries we are receiving about our work from FDIs is amazing and just last month we had contact from a major oil company looking at a long term project in Ireland. There is a huge upturn in commercial sector work and we are going all out to win this business. We have a terrier approach to our work and clients appreciate that determination to achieve perfection.” We may not live in a perfect world but David James Interiors can deliver the perfect interior. www.davidjames.ie
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Irish Technology Leaders The following leaders of the biggest technology companies in Ireland have made a significant contribution to the development of the sector in Ireland. Displaying all the characteristics necessary to manage successful global operations, they are an example to aspiring entrepreneurs and are also playing a key role in driving economic recovery in Ireland. 158 | Silicon Valley Global
Top 30 CEOâ€™s in Technology
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Cathriona Hallahan Cathriona Hallahan was appointed Managing Director of Microsoft in Ireland in February 2013 and is responsible for driving Microsoft’s commercial and consumer business in Ireland. She originally joined the company in 1986 having held a variety of senior roles in both Operations and Finance. Large teams have been managed by Hallahan with regional and global responsibilities across a broad spectrum including
Cathy Kearney Cork born Accountant Cathy Kearney, Senior Director of European Operations for Apple, is the computer giant’s highest operator in Ireland and has overseen the explosive success of Apples operations in Cork responsible for selling iPads, iPhones and MacBooks to countless markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
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global responsibilities for MBS and Enterprise Services as well as directing Supply Chain Management, Customer Care, IT & Financial support and Logistics for EMEA. In addition to her Microsoft responsibilities, she also sits on the boards of Vhi Healthcare, the American Chamber of Commerce and of Kanchi Network. She is a member of the International Women’s Forum, the Institute of Directors, the Institute of Accounting Technicians (IATI) and is a fellow of ACCA.
No less than $22bn of Apple’s profits – two-thirds of the total for the group – came from Kearney’s Cork companies in 2011 alone. Back in the United States, Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has described this international success as unprecedented. The Irish Independent name Cathy Kearney one of the 20 most influential women in Ireland in 2011 referring to her as “The Tech Queen”. 0
Holding one of the most senior positions in Ireland’s technology industry, Dublin based John Herlihy, Vice President of Google’s global ad operations joined the company in 2005 and built its online sales and operations channels in new and existing markets across EMEA. Presently a team of over 1,100 people in both sales and operations working worldwide in over 45 countries are led by Herlihy. As site leader for Dublin, he also has a 200-strong engineering team and a further 200 employed in back office functions including legal, financial and HR. In addition to expanding the Dublin operations, he has also overseen the establishment of Google’s operations in Wroclaw, Poland. Previously, Herlihy held senior management positions at several global technology companies including First Data, PeopleSoft, Adobe Systems Inc. and Oracle Corporation. He has been a vocal champion in the success of Googles operations in Ireland which is now paving the way for the country to become a global leader in the new media sector and online advertising.
Top 30 Tech TITANS
Dick Meaney Limerick born Dick (Richard) Meaney, Vice President of Analog Devices has worked with the company for over 33 years. Since joining the company he has held a variety of business leadership and engineering positions. In his leadership roles within the company, he has encouraged ADI’s engineers to understand customers’ problems and challenges and so develop the insights that enable their imaginative use of ADI technology to develop the most innovative products. Meaney’s early design work included the development of ADI’s first switched capacitor-based data converters. ADI has been operating in Ireland for 35 years and currently employs over 1,000 people in Limerick, which is home to ADI’s European-based semiconductor wafer manufacturing facility and R&D for analog technologies, including industryleading data converters, as well as mixed-signal and RF (radio frequency) integrated circuits. The focus of Analog’s Irish operation is to produce quality precision products through precision manufacturing while exploiting costefficiencies.
Eamonn Sinnott Eamonn Sinnott is Vice President, Technology and Manufacturing Group and General Manager of
Gareth Lambe Gareth Lambe, acting head of office for Facebook Ireland describes Ireland as “a great hub of international tech talent” speaking after the company’s recent announcement of 100 positions to be added to its Dublin workforce. He went on to say that the jobs reflect growth in markets across Europe but also the Middle East and Africa. Lambe held the previous title of Managing Director of Pigsback in Ireland, UK and Canada before joining Facebook in 2011 as Director, Advertising Operations EMEA. Dublin is the largest Facebook office outside its headquarters in California in incorporating its EMEA headquarters. From the initial hiring of 40 people the company has expanded fourfold. It has been reported that more than half the population of Ireland are on Facebook the majority being in Dublin.
Intel in Ireland. He is responsible for all operational aspects of business in Ireland including Fab24, Intel’s first 300mm wafer fabrication facility outside of the United States. Eamonn joined Intel in 1991 and has held multiple positions within the Technology and Manufacturing Group which included several multiyear assignments to Intel locations
Stephen McIntyre Named by the Sunday Independent as one of Irelands “Top 40 Under 40’s Business Leaders”, Stephen McIntyre joined Twitter in 2012 to set up its EMEA Headquarters in Dublin having started his career as an engineer in the mobile industry with Ericsson and Nokia. Previously he worked in Google where he spent almost seven years in a variety of EMEA positions including Director of Online Sales and Director of Media & Platforms and was a member of the team responsible for turning Dublin into Googles largest international office. Twitter originally created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey has now worldwide popularity, with over 500 million active users globally as of 2012 and it is now one of the top 10 most visited websites on the internet.
in the United States. Prior to joining Intel, Sinnott worked as an engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation and as a manufacturing manager at Nuvotem. He is a board member of the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), Trinity College Dublin and Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland.
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Barry O’Sullivan Barry O’Sullivan is Senior Vice President in the CTO and Strategy group at Cisco having joined the company in 2002. In this role he is responsible for strategic initiatives in the area of business and technology partnerships. Previously at Cisco, O’Sullivan led the Collaboration and Unified Communications businesses leading Cisco’s six major solutions in this sector to the number one market share position worldwide. He also ran the Customer Contact business unit. Before joining Cisco, O’Sullivan spent 18 years at Nortel Networks as Vice President and General Manager of the company’s contact center business and as Vice President of Enterprise Voice for Nortel Networks Europe. O’Sullivan is a founding member of the Irish Technology Leadership Group and serves on the board of Cope, an Irish charitable organization focused on reducing isolation and homelessness.
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The |County Laois native, Louise Phelan became Vice President of Global Operations for Paypal in EMEA in February 2012 bringing with her more than 22 years’ experience in the management sector. Working out of the company’s satellite office in Dublin, Ms Phelan manages the dayto-day global operations for EMEA and well as maintaining relations with merchants. She has become the first woman to receive the prestigious Sir Michael Smurfit Business Achievement Award. The award was given in recognition of the important role Phelan has played as a business leader during one of the most challenging economic periods in Irish history, and her success in securing significant jobs and investment through PayPal’s operations in Ireland. Between 2012 and 2015 ebay announced plans to create 1,000 new jobs in Ireland and has already established a new operations center in Dundalk, Co Louth.
James Wildman Managing Director of Yahoo UK and Ireland since 2011 James Wildman has overseen profound change within the business. This includes the launch of Yahoo! Studio, a significant investment that marries commercial ad content for the benefit of the customers.
James is focused on providing Yahoo!’s 26 million monthly users with best-in-class digital content and advertisers with high-impact campaigns that utilize Yahoo!’s combination of targeting capabilities and best-in-class data together with engaging editorial channels across multiple platforms. James has over 15 years working in senior sales and management in the media business including GMTV and Universal Networks and most recently Ids. Weldon has said that “To ensure we continue to meet user and advertiser needs, we are focusing on our products to continue to build highly personalized experiences that connect people to what matters most to them, across devices.”
DJI DAVID JAMES
INTERIORS Design & Construct
Full Turnkey Fit Out Interiors.
Top 30 Tech TITANS
Bob Savage Bob Savage is Vice President and General Manager, EMC Ireland Center of Excellence in Ovens, Co Cork, EMC’s largest manufacturing facility out the US currently employing nearly 2,000 people. Bob took over as General Manager in 2008 and has been with EMC Corporation for over 22 years. Savage leads the COE’s team of highly skilled information technology professionals, working across engineering, advanced manufacturing, software development, finance, customer service, sales and marketing, and research and development divisions serving the global market. EMC Ireland is increasing its market share and has recently announced new business deals that include Boylesports, Ordnance Survey Ireland,
Tyndall Institute, and C2K Services for Schools, a public sector cloud project with the department of education in Northern Ireland. The company is accelerating the journey to cloud computing for customers and partners, helping IT departments to store, manage, protect and analyze their most valuable asset – information – in a more agile, trusted and cost-efficient way.
Liam Halpin Liam Halpin had been General Manager of Dell Ireland since February 2013 and is in charge of the Company���s commercial business in Ireland, leading the Dell teams that deliver innovative and pragmatic technology solutions to its customers in small and medium businesses, public institutions and large enterprises. He has worked as Sales & Marketing Director for PFH Technology Group and been Managing Director of Fujitsu Siemens Computers Ireland. Dell first began manufacturing in Limerick in 1991 and is now the second largest foreign investor and one of Irelands largest exporter of goods. The Cherrywood campus is now Irelands largest Dell office with over 1,200
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employees since the Limerick plant ceased assembly in 2009. Athlone is Dells other manufacturing site in Ireland and belongs to its Alienware subsidiary.
Paul O’Riordan Paul O’Riordan has been Country Leader of Oracle Ireland since 2006, where he oversees a broad range of public sector and commercial customers in Ireland. He joined the company in 2002 as Director of its Consulting Business, during which time it saw significant growth, as well as diversifying the group’s strengths and capabilities to reflect its expanding product portfolio. He established the Consulting Center of Excellence in November 2004, which allowed 30 highly skilled Dublin and Belfast based consultants to be deployed throughout the entire EMEA region to support Customer demands. Oracle is shifting the complexity from IT, moving it out of the enterprise by engineering hardware and software to work together—in the cloud and in the data center. By eliminating complexity and simplifying IT, Oracle enables its customers—400,000 of them in more than 145 countries around the world—to accelerate innovation and create added value for their customers.
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Martin Murphy Martin Murphy was appointed Managing Director for Hewlett Packard (HP) in Ireland in June 2000 after joining the companies consulting organization in 1986. He is responsible for driving HP’s business growth in the in the Irish market and more recently has been setting out the stall for HP as a key driver for innovation and job creation in the Irish economy. He is also responsible for
Adobe Adobe announced recently that it was proposing to expand its Dublin facilities by basing the European side of its new cloud-based service in Ireland. Citywest in
successfully steering the Irish operation through the Compaq merger -one of the largest in the history of the State spearheading many other global acquisitions including the acquisition in 2008 of Electronic Data Systems, representing one of the biggest acquisitions ever made by a global ICT company. HP Ireland currently employs over 4,000 people, across five divisions countrywide and the company has created over 550 new jobs in Ireland since 2009.
Dublin is currently their Irish headquarters employing 94 people. Its Irish-registered Adobe Software Trading Company, which acts as a holding company for many international subsidiaries, reported pretax profits
Dublin born Peter O’Neill, IBM’s Country General Manager, formerly Director of IBM Sales and Distribution in Ireland, began his career with IBM in 1981. During his career he has held a series of sales and finance leadership positions in both Europe and America, including Financial Controller of the IBM Technology Campus, Mulhuddart. . Mr O’Neill has previously served as a Board Member of the Irish Research Council and of the Board of the Dublin City University Trust. O’Neill is also the current President of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland. As one of the country’s leading manufacturing companies IMB provides support for initiatives in the areas of education, environment and employee volunteer efforts. In 2011 IBM contributed technology, grants and expertise to a host of causes across Ireland resulting in IBM employees volunteering in excess of 15,000 hours to local communities and over $250,000 of grant funding being awarded.
last year increase by 2% to $540.5mn (Euro417.7mn) with revenues above $2.3bn. For the year end December 2011 Adobe worldwide revenues recorded profits of $4.2bn, 55% of which was accredited to its Dublin operations.
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Kevin Eyres Kevin Eyres, Managing Director of LinkedIn Europe is focused on developing, leading and delivering LinkedIn’s strategy and growth initiatives in Europe. Eyres started his career as an engineer with Compaq Computers then became the European Managing Director at SideStep, now Kayak Travel. Eyre’s was previously the General Manager of AltaVista International, prior to the acquisition by Overture, and a Director at Shopping.com. LinkedIn opened its new International Headquarters in Dublin in March 2010 which operates through a range of activities including sales, marketing, customer service and finance supporting the growth of the companies
Colm Delves Colm Delves, joined Digicel in May 2004 in the role of Group Chief Financial Officer before taking up his current role as Group Chief Executive Officer in June 2005. Since joining the company, Colm has overseen a fourfold increase in the number of markets Digicel serves and has been instrumental in taking the Digicel brand of best service, best value and best network mobile communications across the Caribbean and Central America. Prior to his role in Digicel, Colm provided consultancy services to a number of companies, including O’Brien Cellular Ltd., owned by Denis O’Brien. From September 1993 to October 2003, Colm held the position of Chief Financial Officer of Hibernia Foods plc, a Nasdaq-quoted company in the food manufacturing industry. In January 2013 Digicel Mobile Money announced world’s first smart phone app for International Mobile Payments.
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EMEA operations. Around a tenth of the company’s global full time employees are based in their Dublin offices.
Patrick Cullen Patrick Cullen, is Senior Vice President at Flextronics Industrial & Emerging Industries at Flextronics which is one of the longest serving electronics manufacturing providers in the country. The company provides a complete range of Manufacturing and Supply Chain solutions for some of the largest global companies who maintain operating headquarters in Europe. Flextronics primary focus is on complex low volume/ high mix manufacturing positioned to enable Customers to deliver competitive and innovative solutions for their respective global markets. The Flextronics strategy is to leverage their proprietary global platform across the entire supply chain and deliver differentiating services including Design Engineering, New Product Engineering, product assembly with build-to-order and configure-toorder options. Additionally, Flextronics provide logistics and transportation services including warehousing, vendor managed inventory, product fulfillment and distribution with after-market support
for their client base. The facilities in Ireland have a wide range of ISO certifications, including ISO13485, TUV, UL, CCC/CQC, CSA, supporting a Global customer base that operates in over 50 countries and 4 major continents.
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Aengus McClean Irishman Aengus McClean, Vice President & Managing Director, AOL Global Operations Ltd joined AOL in 2000 charged with helping the company towards a more integrated development organization. He has held various positions at AOL, including Director of the Bangalore Development Center in India and most recently as Vice President of Search Technologies and Managing Director of the Dublin software development center. AOL is an international Internet
Jason Flynn holds the position of Country Manager with Avaya, based in Galway. He leads Avaya’s operations here driving the company’s growing business. Previous to this position, Flynn was sales manager with Avaya Ireland and worked in management roles at GE Finance and Ericsson. The company provides Unified Communications, Contact Centers, Data solutions and related services directly and through its Channel partners to
leading businesses and organizations around the world. Enterprises of all sizes depend on Avaya for state-of-the-art communications that improve efficiency, collaboration, customer service and competitiveness. Flynn has said that Avaya’s commitment to Ireland is evident as they continue to invest here and also feels other multinational companies would invest in the Galway area in the near future following the launch its Galway based customer experience center.
company that helps people discover and share the stories that color their lives. AOL is a leading provider of digital content, advertising solutions and services through a wide variety of online. The company recently announced plans to create 40 new software engineering roles over the next 12 months at its Dublin Development Center - McClean said the new jobs will help the company expand its products in display advertising into “a comprehensive, world-class
offering that extends across the whole digital ad ecosystem and will set a benchmark for others to follow.”
Gert-Jan Schenk Gert-Jan Schenk, President, EMEA is primarily responsible for leading McAfee business operations in EMEA. With more than 20 years of experience in global sales and marketing in the security space, Schenk is focused on propelling growth in EMEA and continuing to develop opportunities in emerging markets. He has vast knowledge of network security and looks to leverage that expertise to grow the McAfee network business throughout Europe and the Middle East. Before joining McAfee, Schenk
was senior vice president of EMEA at Juniper Networks where he managed 900 employees throughout EMEA and grew revenues from $600 million to $1.2 billion over three years. Before Juniper, Schenk was vice president, channels at Unisphere Networks (acquired by Juniper Networks in 2002). Previously, he was director of channel sales, EMEA at Redback Networks and regional sales director, Benelux and Central Europe for Madge Networks. The company delivers proactive and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world.
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Matt Ellard Matt Ellard, Senior Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa with more than 13 years in the IT industry is responsible driving Symantec sales, operations and business development across the region. Ellard joined Symantec in March 2003, through the acquisition of VERITAS. Since then he has held a number of sales and sales leadership positions, including global account manager, director of the UK telecommunications practice, senior director of Symantec’s UK and Ireland public sector business and has also led Symantec’s UK enterprise business. Most recently, he held the position of Regional Vice President of Northern Europe, giving him extensive experience of the company’s products and sales operations and a deep understanding of the challenges that Symantec’s customers face. Symantec helps consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Their software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored.
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Colm Lyon Colm Lyon is the Founder and CEO of Realex Payments. He founded the company in 2000 and has since led the business to its current position as one of Europe’s largest and most successful payments business. Colm has worked in financial services related businesses for over twenty five years and a regular speaker at payments and internet industry events across Europe. In 2009 he founded the “Internet Growth Alliance”, a business led initiative to support the international growth ambitions of Irish Internet
Suzanne McArdle Suzanne McArdle, Director at Zynga Game Ireland, joined the company in 2011 as their Customer Support Manager. She has previously worked for Paypal, Shopping.com, Creative Labs and Hewlett Packard. Zynga’s biggest European office and multilingual operations center in based in Dublin. The company, which is behind such popular games as CityVille and FarmVille, had already established its Dublin office in 2010. It now plans to recruit additional talent to service the international players of its games
businesses. This led to the creation of the highly acclaimed Enterprise Ireland iGAP development. Realex Payments processes payments for businesses selling online – among its 12,000 clients are some of the world’s leading international brands – Virgin Atlantic, AA, Vodafone, Motor Tax, Aer Lingus, notonthehighstreet. com and Paddy Power. Over the past decade, Colm has received numerous accolades acknowledging his contribution to the internet industry most recently Awarded UCD Smurfit Business School “Almnus of the Year 2012”
with customer support and community management in multiple languages. The Irish government through IDA Ireland has worked closely with Zynga to attract this investment to Ireland and assisted the company with the establishment of the office. It’s the world’s leading provider of social game services with more than 240 million monthly active users playing its games
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Dr Brian Byrnes
Maurizio Carli Maurizio Carli, General Manager EMEA joined VMware in 2008 bringing nearly 30 years of IT industry experience with him. His role is to manage the EMEA region to drive growth overseas and oversee strategic planning, business operations and the management of key functions including sales, channels, services and marketing, bringing nearly 30 years of IT experience. Previous to working for VMware Carli worked for Google, Business Objects where as Senior Vice President and General Manager, EMEA, was responsible for sales, pre-sales, marketing finance, customer support and global services. Until 2002 he spent 19 years at IBM, most recently as Vice President of Software for IBM EMEA. The company last year announced the creation of 250 jobs in their site at Ballincollig, Co Cork to be rolled out over the next three years. VMware empowers organizations to innovate and thrive by streamlining IT operations. By visualizing infrastructure from the data center to the cloud to mobile devices it enables IT to deliver services from any device, anytime, anywhere.
Dr Brian Byrnes is Vice President of Operations at Seagate located in Springtown, Co Derry. Seagate Technology is the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of hard disk drives for a wide range of applications. The Springtown facility in Derry was established by Seagate Recording Head Operations division in 1994. The facility has undergone a series of expansions since then, the most recent of which being the establishment in 2010 of a significant research and development organization to supplement the existing volume manufacturing charter of the site. According to Dr Byrnes “Springtown is benefiting from Seagate’s global policy of establishing R&D within its manufacturing facilities and will play a vital part in the company’s corporate strategy to maintain technology leadership.
Technical innovation is the cornerstone of our success and the decision to locate this important strategic R&D investment in Northern Ireland is a measure of our confidence not only in the Springtown operation, but also in the wealth of intellectual talent available here.
Regina Moran Regina was appointed CEO of Fujitsu Ireland in May 2009 and leads a 350 strong team focused on delivering ICT services to the Irish marketplace. Regina’s career began as an Electronics Engineer with Amdahl, a computer mainframe manufacturer progressing to become a co-founder of the services and consulting group there. In 1997, Regina was co-founder of DMR Consulting Ireland where she held the role of Director of Operations responsible for Project Delivery. From there she moved to DMR Consulting, which became Fujitsu Consulting and subsequently merged with Fujitsu Services in April 2004. Regina was appointed CEO of Fujitsu Services in August 2006. Fujitsu in Ireland is part of the global Fujitsu Group, delivering IT-
based business solutions to customers in 70 countries through a workforce of 170,000 employees. Their regional structure enables customers toshare in best-practice approaches, knowledge and re-use from around the world whilst local operationsensure that solutions are delivered in line with local customer requirements.
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Liam Ryan Liam Ryan is Managing Director of SAP’s operations in Ireland, employing over 1,200 people across three sites in Dublin and Galway. Ryan joined the company in 2001 having previously held many senior positions within the company. The Dublin organization focuses on the provision of Global Support, Research and Development, Inside Sales, and IT Shared Services. SAP’s operation in Galway is a Service and Support Center, with teams involved in Cloud Computing, Multilingual Support, Technical Writing, Media Development, Translation, License Auditing, and Partner Services Last year the company announced the creation of 250 jobs in both Galway and Dublin. The German multinational is investing €110m in the IDA Ireland-supported initiative. The company is the largest software company in Europe and the third largest in the world. Ryan said the investment is about gearing up for the next wave of technology innovation, especially in the areas of cloud computing mobile applications and database technology.
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Darren Cassidy Darren Cassidy is the newly appointed Xerox Managing Director for UK and Ireland overseeing the expansion of the company’s large enterprise organization, and is exploring growth strategies that support Xerox’s transformation into a services-led, technology driven company. In his previous role, Cassidy was instrumental in the successful launch
and global roll out of Xerox’s managed print service offering among its channel partners, accrediting 600 partners globally in just three years. He said Xerox is committed to helping customers determine what the future of work will look like as the digital and paper worlds collide through developments such as big data, BYOD (bring your own device), cloud computing, enterprise mobility and the growing importance of security.
Delivering deals As daily deals website Cobone.com prepares to enter another space with Tiger Global, CEO and founder Paul Kenny discusses how he pursued his vision to be at the forefront of the Middle East’s eCommerce industry.
ince its launch in August 2010, the Tiger Global-backed company Cobone.com has clinched eCommerce Business of the Year and Online Business of the Year awards, in recognition of the significant growth which the company has achieved in three short years. Gulf Business’ Middle East Entrepreneur of the Year and Ernst and Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, Galway man Paul Kenny, 28, has achieved great success as CEO and founder of Cobone, the result of an idea which first came to him during a family holiday. While studying a B. Comm .at NUIG Galway, Paul was working for his family’s business Kenny’s Bookshop in Galway, doing everything from cleaning windows to lifting boxes and hanging paintings. During a Christmas break he traveled to Dubai for the first time with his parents and the first glimmer of an idea for an eCommerce business began to take hold. “Something struck me while I was there. You could not buy anything online. This was a realization for me and I went back to Galway believing there was a huge opportunity in that market.” After completing his degree in 2005, Paul recognized that it was a good time to enter the workforce as “house prices were increasing, everyone was getting big bonuses
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and graduates were coming out of my course earning forty grand,” However he decided to further his education and started a two-year masters in ECommerce at NUIG. In his second year of the program, Paul worked full-time as Business Development Executive for Kenny’s Bookshop and Art Galleries Ltd. “I was completing my dissertation, I was struggling. I realized I needed to get a proper job as I was due to finish up my masters soon. I started applying for jobs in Ireland and Dubai.”
Moving to the Middle-East Following a successful interview with luxury hotel and hospitality management company Jumeirah Group in October 2007, Paul moved to Dubai the following month to work as an intern with the company. At just 22 years of age he continued to harbor a vision of building one of the largest eCommerce businesses in the region. “The reason I was attracted to the market is that three years previously I had searched online to see if I could buy something and it just wasn’t possible. I knew the eCommerce industry would take off at some stage and I wanted to be at the forefront of it,” he says. “I dropped out of college, I didn’t complete my masters and I still haven’t. I got on a plane and the only person I knew in
“Business in Ireland is more relationshipdriven, he feels. “The good thing about the Middle East is anything is possible. If you set your sights on something, you can definitely achieve it. That is what excites me about this region.”
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Dubai at the time was the person I met at the interview,” he recalls. “Basically, at that time, Ireland collapsed. Two months after I moved over, the Celtic Tiger was dead. The media just went wild. Everything started going wrong and there was panic. I felt lucky that I was in Dubai and everything was fine there. Then two months later, Dubai collapsed. I was lucky though, I was working for Jumeirah, the largest hotel group at that time.” When Paul moved over, he was earning less than US $1,000 per month. “I wasn’t an ex-pat that went over there with money. I thought of it as an opportunity to build a knowledge base.” In March 2008, Kenny was selected as one of seven of 1,000 entries to join Aspiro Jumeirah Group’s Future Leaders Program. While working for Jumeirah, Paul’s responsibilities included heading the online Marketing division for Jumeirah Group including Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, Jumeirah Collection, Talise Spa, Sirius, Jumeirah Living and Education, as well as overseeing the day-today site operations of jumeirah.com. 174 | Silicon Valley Global
After spending his life savings on a Jeep Wrangler, which he needed to buy four new tires for, Paul resigned from Jumeirah after being refused a pay rise. “I thought, if I’m not going to move up, I’ll move out. This was when Dubai was in dire straits. I got a job with a large media company and I got a big increase in salary. I thought, wow, this is awesome. I can start living the life here!” As Marketing Manager at AMEinfo. com and MEED, Paul was unable to handle someone else managing him and he resigned after six months, joining Emirates Group as Online Marketing Consultant in December 2009, with responsibility for revenues in excess of $500 million per year through their online marketing division. “I signed up to be a consultant. I thought what a cool job. I am consulting at such a cool company and assisting them with how they handle the internet and I am 24. I resigned again after six months.” “I wanted to understand from three of the most recognized businesses in the region what makes a customer tick and I definitely took a lot from them in that regard.”
Building a Company His time spent working for Jumeirah, AMEInfo.com and Emirates Group in the UAE helped Paul to understand the intricacies of a new and emerging market before approaching investors with his idea to build the biggest internet company in the Middle East and North Africa. “I might have been young and foolish, but I said I was going to create a billion dollar Internet Company. That was my line. You go big or you go home. A lot of people listened to me,” he says. “I was bullish about the market. In the course of two months, I had raised US $1 million. I was 25. Then all Hell broke loose. We agreed on a financial plan and they said ‘go run!” “It started happening very quickly. I started hiring people within my own network. We built a team and I had 10 employees. The business in the first 10 months was growing 30% per month. There was no better way for me to learn how to run a business without being thrown in at the deep end,” he recalls.
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ACCELERATE YOUR BUSINESS! Office Space Starting at $150 per Month
Silicon Valley Global Innovation Center offers an ideal work environment with flexible workspace options at affordable rates. INCLUDES: •High-tech loft space in a historic building •Open collaborative work space and fully equipped private offices •Meeting rooms with video conferencing •Kitchen facilities, catering and event planning •Access to discounted parking in a nearby secured lot
Contact Us Today!
Flex-Space: $150/Month – Open Workspace Cube-Space: $350/Month – Dedicated Cubicle & Shared Receptionist Office-Space: $600/Month – Furnished Private Office & Shared Receptionist
Silicon Valley Global Innovation Center 189 W. Santa Clara Street San Jose, CA 95113
* Each membership level includes: Business mailing address, high speed Internet, conference room access, discounted parking and more…
Located at the corner of W. Santa Clara St. and N. Almaden
For more information call 408.380.7200 or the Ireland Office at + 353 87 2610420
“We launched in six countries within the first six months. We were the biggest eCommerce company in the Middle East and North Africa within 12 months and we had a rollercoaster journey over the last two and half years. Two months ago, we were acquired by Tiger Global in New York,” he adds. Setting out to “become the largest eCommerce business in the region and go down in history for changing the way people consume in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) market,” Paul found that his inability to speak Arabic was a major challenge. The fact that Cobone was one of the first internet companies to trade on the internet in the UAE also presented obstacles. “We originally had no idea how to setup a company in Dubai. There is a whole sponsorship system here in relation to getting people visas; we had to figure that out. There was literally no talent here. Nobody knew how to do eCommerce,” he says. “We had to hire fresh graduates and train them up. I hired a lot of my executive team from abroad. The average age is 26. I am 28. In our headquarters now, there are 50 people 176 | Silicon Valley Global
and 26 different nationalities. It hasn’t been easy,” he admits. The biggest challenge the company faced was that no one wanted to use their credit card over the internet. “To overcome this, we hired 100 guys on motorbikes. If someone wanted something delivered, we would deliver it to their door and pick up the cash at their house.” Paul enjoys doing business in the Middle East, as the first thing they want to know is ‘how can we do business?’ The second question is: ‘Who are you? Where do you come from?’ Business in Ireland is more relationshipdriven, he feels. “The good thing about the Middle East is anything is possible. If you set your sights on something, you can definitely achieve it. That is what excites me about this region.” Asked about his future plans for the business, he reveals: “We have some massive, exciting changes coming in the next 12 months. We are going to enter another space with Tiger Global and we are very excited about that.”
Paul has been selected as the 10th most influential person under the age of 30 in the Middle East and one of the 25 most important people in technology in the region. An investor in companies including Box of Awesome, Stupeflix and Carve Cases, Paul is also an advisor to Valadoo, an Indonesian social commerce website that provides a onestop solution for holiday seekers. As Enterprise Ireland’s Start-up Fund Ambassador, the consummate dealmaker holds responsibility for building brand Ireland in the Middle East and North Africa and driving potential startups to set up in Ireland. He recently visited Saudi Arabia with the Minister of State for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon TD, signing an agreement between Irish companies and the Middle East. “Ireland exports one billion euro worth of products to Saudi Arabia alone. The opportunity to export Irish products to the Middle East is significant. I would recommend getting in touch with Enterprise Ireland, because there are trade missions out to the Middle East and this market is growing quite quickly,” he adds.
At Royal Rose we believe health and innovation go hand-in-hand. Our president started in tech and helped bring the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Steinbeck Innovation Foundation to Salinas. He knows innovation. Now we’re bringing one of Old World Italy’s favorite vegetables to America as the newest addition to the SuperFood family. Try our radicchio
. You’ll love it.
www.radicchio.com | 831.758.1957 | facebook/RoyalRoseRadicchio
Valley of Innovation Immediately south of Silicon Valley, Californiaâ€™s Salinas Valley has a long history of innovation in the worldâ€™s oldest industries: food and wine. Now the regionâ€™s innovative spirit is moving beyond the farm, the ranch, and the vineyard, leading the Salinas Valley north to Silicon Valley where fresh and tech intersect. 178 | Silicon Valley Global
he Salinas Valley has a history of post-harvest innovation. This picturesque “salad bowl of the nation” just south of Silicon Valley lives and breathes fresh, from it’s strawberry and artichoke fields, to its endless rows of romaine and grapevines. Salinas is powered by a countywide $4 billion agricultural industry, an industry that is rooted in the region’s rich natural resources but thrives on technology. What has made this region’s agricultural industry so successful is the incredible technological prowess that takes fresh Salinas produce around the world. Technology and innovation have been the watchwords for Salinas Valley agriculture for more than a century – from the top icing rail cars first took fresh produce across state lines in the mid-19th century, to the permeable films and the changing product mix that has now made California the global leader in fresh. All told the Salinas story is a story of entrepreneurial spirit. In real terms, the Salinas Valley grower-shippers and processing interests are controlling a significant majority of fresh commodity items and touching a like percentage of value-added agricultural processes through a small number of companies. Salinas’ agriculture sector is a key innovator of technology, from fresh produce processing to new harvesting technology. This is truly the “fresh nerve center” of the world. Family corporations grown through hard work, and from small plots of private land, are now changing the way America eats salads and helping more of America bring fresh produce to the table. SuperFoods like kale, radicchio and berries are fast becoming a staple of what we consider to be a healthy diet, and vegetables are moving to the center of the plate. This region has re-invented itself over and over again, through post-harvest leadership from seed to table. Salinas builds value where best of family farming meets post-harvest efficiencies and openness to the use of new technologies. From cooling, to packaging, harvest technologies and advanced farming techniques, Salinas grows the ability to create value from the earth. Proximity to the world’s leading innovation epicenter the Silicon Valley - is changing the way local grower-shippers think and do business. The newly seeded collaboration structure,
built through a collaboration between ITLG’s Silicon Valley Gateway Partners and the City of Salinas, promises an accelerated ag-tech explosion. This region’s great climate, rich and unique soils, coastal resources, and unmatched culture of technology and innovation serve as the foundation for the Steinbeck Innovation Cluster in the heart of Monterey County. Simply put, Salinas’ regional identity is expanding to include the Silicon Valley to the north, inviting mutual benefit through knowledge sharing and investment. The term “fresh,” over the years, has evolved from those top icing rail cars in the early 1900’s which turned Salinas from a regional into national player, to the introduction of Tectrol technology that virtually every pallet of strawberries is shipped with thanks to the former Bruce Church company’s acquisition of Whirlpool technology. Fresh is now breather films introduced into the marketplace from companies such as Dupont and Landec, which are now evolving to include investigating the use of nanotechnology in films that incorporate living organisms to kill pathogens such as e-coli. Fresh is an expectation every consumer in America takes to the grocery store daily, and the inspiration behind agriculture’s
long relationship with tech. Food-plus-tech will take the agricultural industry into new sectors of the economy. New tech not only builds consumption of fresh edibles, but is also coming to mean innovations in sustainable viticulture, enhanced efficiency in waste management and water usage, and streamlined data collection for food safety. New memoranda of collaboration between the Steinbeck Innovation Foundation (the nonprofit founded to build the Steinbeck Innovation Cluster) and institutions from UCSC to ASU, Hartnell, Cal State Monterey, Cal State San Jose, and growing discussions with major Irish universities, that are setting the stage for global research in precision agriculture, viticulture and aquaculture. For decades lettuces and other commodities represented the Green Gold rush of the Salinas Valley. Today the fields and vineyards of the Valley are the seeds for a new Green Gold rush that provides the structure and investment opportunities to continue to put health and flavor on the world’s table, while also seeding the great innovations that will solve the world’s challenges. The opportunities of the coming decades will be limitless, as the Salinas Valley and Silicon Valley come together. Silicon Valley Global | 179
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The above price is based on a minimum of 4 golfers utilizing double or twin occupancy and is subject to availability. Travel must be completed by October 31st 2013.
Global Irish Economic Forum
Engaging the Diaspora The Global Irish Economic Forum which takes place in Dublin Castle on 3rd and 4th October will bring together some 270 leading Irish and Irish-connected figures from round the world together with the Government of Ireland, to give their perspectives on some of the challenges facing Ireland.
he Global Irish Economic Forum which takes place in Dublin Castle on 3rd and 4th October will bring together some 270 leading Irish and Irishconnected figures from round the world together with the Government of Ireland, to give their perspectives on some of the challenges facing Ireland.
The heads of key State Agencies, such as Enterprise Ireland and the IDA, Ireland’s higher education institutes and leading Irish companies will also participate. The Forum will address topics such as technology, education, job creation, industrial development, the growth of SMEs and Ireland’s trade strategy. The topics to be
addressed are closely aligned with Ireland’s Action Plan for Jobs. This is the third Global Irish Economic Forum. The 2009 and 2011 Fora transformed the way in which the Government and its agencies do business with leading Irish connected international business figures. The Global Irish Economic Forum is Silicon Valley Global | 181
Global Irish Economic Forum
now a model of engagement that has attracted widespread international attention and established Ireland as a world leader in the increasingly important area of Diaspora engagement. Through the Global Irish Network the forum has worked together to deliver innovative policy reforms and practical outcomes. Among key outcomes from the previous fora are The Gathering, Connect Ireland, the Global Irish Contacts Program, the Farmleigh Fellowship and Ireland Reaching Out. The initiative has moved from an ad hoc, fragmented approach to one with a strong strategic focus. This year’s Forum will build on the achievements of 2009 and 2011 and will focus strongly on job creation and further practical results. The 2013 Forum takes place in a different and more positive economic context than its two predecessors. Nevertheless, job creation must remain the central focus, including the particular challenge of youth unemployment. In setting out its priorities for Forum 2013 the Government has been very mindful 182 | Silicon Valley Global
that its role is to promote, encourage and facilitate engagement between Ireland and its Diaspora and not to control or dictate terms. In light of this, the members of the Global Irish Network are playing a more active role in the preparation of this event. For example, 18 working groups will be chaired by members of the Global Irish Network. The members of the Network, people such as John Hartnett (ITLG), Susan Davis (US), Liam Casey (China), Gerald Lawless (UAE) and Seán O’Driscoll (Ireland) have also participated in the detailed preparation of the Forum, through the Global Irish Network Advisory Group. One new element this year will be bringing Forum participants together with some 100 Irish SMEs, to share their knowledge, and experience and help these companies grow their exports. This year’s Forum is expected to consider new initiatives across a range of high potential sectors including: financial services; international Alumni development; smart ageing technologies; food and agri-tech; social innovation; and the digitization of the global economy. The outcomes
ITLG President and Founder John Hartnett will Chair the Working Group titled “Developing a Supportive Culture for Entrepreneurship and Start-up Companies in Ireland” at Global Irish Economic Forum. The working group will focus on providing leadership and direction to support the process of scaling indigenous Irish companies to become a multibillion dollar companies creating thousands of jobs and going public through the IPO process. Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said, “67% of all new jobcreation comes from businesses in the first five years of existence. That is why supporting entrepreneurship and start-up activity is a central part of our Action Plan for Jobs”. Hartnett welcomed the establishment of the Entrepreneurship Advisory Forum to advise and support the Department of Jobs Enterprise & Innovation and to influence policy in the area of entrepreneurship, which is being chaired by entrepreneur and investor Sean O’Sullivan. “The Irish Government urgently needs to execute the current plan to deliver the “Entrepreneurship Policy. “Furthermore Ireland needs to create a “Global Irish Investor Group” that not just invests but engages at a board level and mentors and creates global access for Irish companies.” said Hartnett speaking in advance of the 3rd Global Irish Economic forum at Dublin Castle.
of the Forum are not pre-determined; they will be decided by the participants. For the first time, this year’s Forum will include a series of three regional meetings in Galway, Belfast and Cork during which Network members will meet with local companies, business leaders and third level institutions.
Global Irish Economic Forum
CELEBRATE YOUR IRISH HERITAGE Available to all of Irish descent
www.heritagecertificate.com Silicon Valley Global | 183
Global Tech Trends
Global Tech Trends U.S. and CHINA most promising tech innovators in next four years: KPMG surveyÂ 184 | Silicon Valley Global
Global Tech Trends
echnology executives around the world believe the US and China are the top 2 countries with the greatest potential to drive technology breakthroughs with a global impact in the next four years, while Silicon Valley faces growing competition to its status as the innovation centre of the world. The findings were revealed in a KPMG survey of over 811 technology business leaders globally from technology industry start-ups, mid-sized to large enterprises, venture capital firms and angel investors. In a change from last year’s survey, 37 percent of the respondents said the United States shows the most promise for disruptive breakthroughs, while 24 percent cited China and 10 percent predicted India, followed by Korea (7 percent), Japan (6 percent) and Israel (6 percent). The U.S. and China tied for the top spot in the 2012 survey. “China continues to innovate at impressive speed. We believe that domestic consumption in the country will drive the majority of new innovation. China will innovate for China’s sake. This is supported
by Chinese consumers who are driving the desire for local brands, which are unique to this market,” said Egidio Zarrella, Partner, Clients and Innovation Consulting, KPMG in China “We see Chinese organizations increasingly establishing innovation hubs where their research and development can thrive. We believe this will also help to bridge any gaps where Chinese brands may face difficulties when looking to expand into the global market.” Survey respondents’ belief in the U.S. as the top tech innovator in the global ranking translated to fewer executives (33 percent) than in 2012 with 44 percent saying it’s likely that the technology innovation centre of the world would shift from Silicon Valley to another country in the next four years, most likely to China. Frank Rizzo, Technology sector leader at KPMG in South Africa, believes that China’s growth in the technology sector could be beneficial for Africa as China and Africa are trading more. “Since China is seen as most likely to become the leading innovation centre going forward, this could be beneficial for Africa if the relations extend to technology investment,” notes Rizzo.
Innovation confidence index This year the KPMG survey debuts a confidence index gauging each country’s prospects for tech innovation. The index is based on tech leaders in each market rating their country on ten success factors including talent, infrastructure, incentives and capital. Of the 10 factors assessed globally in this technology innovation confidence index, the highest marks on average were given for talent supply and technology infrastructure. The lowest rating was for government incentives, judged weak by more than onethird (36 percent) globally. India grabbed the country lead with an index of 72. The high confidence India’s technology leaders have in their own
country’s prospects spans several of the 10 factors. High marks were given for talent, mentoring, ability to drive customer adoption, technology breakthroughs and technology infrastructure with the lowest rating reserved for government incentives. In the South Africa context, Rizzo believes that availability of talent is still a challenge. “For SA to get on the global map, we need to get our talent pool skilled up in technology, starting from the education base all the way up to up-skilling of professionals,” says Rizzo. In terms of access to capital, Rizzo notes that while capital may be available, perhaps the issue is the question of prioritization. “At the moment, African countries are focused on building infrastructure such as dams, roads, etc and not necessarily on Internet connection upgrades. Also, the cost of technology is still an inhibiting factor for most African countries,” notes Rizzo. Israel ranked second (71), as the country received high ratings from its tech business leaders for technology breakthroughs, talent, technology infrastructure and mentoring and access to innovation network, while government incentives earned the lowest rating. The U.S. ranked third with an index of 65, as U.S. respondents judged their own country’s tech prowess the strongest in tech infrastructure, access to alliances and partnerships, talent and technology breakthroughs and weakest in educational system and government incentives. China’s score of 64 was driven by its highest marks in talent, capital and mentoring and access to innovation network but China’s tech leaders rated their country low on educational system. As can be seen in South Africa, Rizzo believes that most governments in Africa have a will to boost innovation and want to invest in technology but experience difficulties in implementation and how this is executed. “However, the results of the upcoming African version of this survey on emerging perspectives about technology innovation trends will give a clearer picture on where Africa stands,” concludes Rizzo. Silicon Valley Global | 185
Global Tech Trends
Enter the Dragon China is increasingly as a technology powerhouse with an increasing number of Chinese companies making their presence felt on the global stage.
Huawei Technologies An industry leader in the field of telecommunications infrastructure sales at Huawei Technologies surpassed $35.4bn last year which exceeds that of both Goldman Sachs and McDonald’s. China’s largest telecom company is at the forefront of the latest 4G mobilephone technology and is the world’s second-largest provider of telecom equipment-thanks in part to its success in the Indian market.
Alibaba (E-Commerce) Alibaba is in the business of international e-business and in the first quarter of the year, the company’s profit tripled to $668.7 m, while revenue increased 72% to $1.38 bn. Alibaba is said to be considering listing in New York rather than Hong Kong and an Alibaba IPO would be the most anticipated U.S. tech debut since Facebook’s last May. It’ll be an important indicator of whether investors’ interest in new tech stocks has returned. Alibaba’s offering is said to possibly earn the company a $70 billion valuation, making it larger than Twitter, the other soon-to-go-public tech company that’ll offer some insight on investor confidence.
Eno Since its start in 2006, Eno has become a go-to shopping destination for Chinese teens and a design outlet for Chinese artists (it’s one of the few online stores that sell local designs). The company has been so successful in reaching the youth market that it has launched a consulting firm to help companies such as Coca-Cola, New Balance, Kraft, Unilever, and Ticketmaster do the same.
Baidu Suntech Power Tencent (Online Gaming) China’s largest Internet company by market value, Tencent first became a household name for QQ, its instant-messaging software and as of September 2013, the company’s market valuation rose to US$101 billion, just nine years after going public. Signaling its global ambitions the company has acquired a 49% stake in Singapore’s Level-Up for $27 million and two years ago it purchased US company Rio Games for $400 million.
Suntech’s revolutionary Pluto technology decreases reflectivity of cells, ensuring that more sunlight is absorbed and increasing output to record-breaking levels. Its solar photovoltaic cells have a conversion efficiency of up to 19%, versus the industry average of 13%. In 2011, Suntech opened a plant in Arizona, but closed it earlier this year in a cost-cutting drive.
In December 2007, Baidu which dominates the search market in China became the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 index. Last year the company which has a market cap of $47.3bn achieved sales of $3.5. It has been listed in the Forbes Fab 50 companies and earlier this year was ranked 6th in the Forbes rankings of most innovative companies.
Qihoo 360 Technology. Sohu
BYD Hailed for its innovations, BYD has grown to become a major manufacturer of rechargeable batteries and its cutting-edge technology, notably its lithium-ion ferrous phosphate batterymakes the Shenzhen-based company a front-runner in the race to make massmarket electric cars.
186 | Silicon Valley Global
In November, Sohu’s Sogou search engine released a new input method editor that speeds up searches for Chinese speakers. Based on cloud technology, it lets users type search terms in Pinyin (the Romanization of Chinese) instead of laboriously entering Chinese characters. The accuracy rate for conversion is 90%. Sohu also pledged to remove pirated video content from its site and set up a fund to buy licenses for Hollywood movies and TV shows.
Qihoo 360 is the largest Internet security provider in China, with more than 461 million monthly active users, representing a penetration rate of 96% in arguably the world’s largest Web market. Qihoo 360 Technology offers a broad spectrum of Internet and mobile security products. Its core Internet and mobile security products include 360 Safe Guard and 360 Anti-virus 360 Mobile Safe, 360 Safe Browser, 360 Personal Start-up Page, 360 Application Store and 360 Safebox.
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Technology lifts Africa Kenya is showing how technology can help combat poverty in Africa.
frica has emerged as one of the fastest growing technology markets in the world and the pace of development is helping to lift the continent from poverty. Kenya is setting the standard and the county’s potential as an African technology hub has encouraged some of the industry’s largest players to establish operations in the country including Google, Intel, IBM, Nokia and Microsoft. The nation’s capital Nairobi is attracting an increasing number of tech-start-ups and work has commenced on Konza, a $14bn tech city being built just outside the city which will provide much needed employment for some 200,000 people. The project which is not due for completion for another 20 years will house the African headquarters for Google, Microsoft and Facebook. Much of the activity is driven by mobile technology and while 84% of Kenyans remain unconnected to the internet - 74% or some 300m people have a mobile phone – a basic
188 | Silicon Valley Global
Chinese made smartphone can be purchased for as little as $50. Almost 70% of people in Kenya use mobile money transfer systems to pay bills and to forward cash to family and relatives without the need for a bank account and an astonishing 31% of the country’s GDP is channeled through these systems. Much of Kenya’s progress has only been possible since the departure of President Daniel arap Moi in 2002. The former president ruled Kenya with an iron fist and prohibited the use of fax machines while government officials were banned from having an email account. Installing a home phone would typically take up to two years and there was only one internet service provider. In addition the cost of a mobile phone was prohibitive for the vast majority of citizens. Following the end of Moi’s reign the country liberalized its market and the cost of mobile phones and computers fell rapidly. The government also embraced technology and acknowledged its effectiveness as a means of driving economic growth. Particular focus is
being placed on transforming the education system towards e-teaching and e-learning. The Government recently announced plans to provide 1.3m laptops to children in a project which will cost more than $600m. This is significantly more than the budget allocated for healthcare. While distributing laptops alone won’t solve the grinding poverty facing many citizens and critics argue that such initiatives won’t solve the problem of malnourished children and are of little use to people living on subsistence level. While information technologies and the communication networks that link them are fantastic tools for people with the existing knowledge, skills and social networks to take advantage of them, they are less useful to those starting from a less privileged position. The concern is that such initiatives are seen as a panacea for development and take the emphasis away from the real need to deliver a functioning education system by building schools, hiring teachers and providing a reliable electricity supply.
The ITLG Silicon Valley Global Technology Forum January 28, 2014 Limerick
Limerick , the national City
of Culture 2014 is delighted to announce that it will host the annual ITLG Silicon Valley Global Technology Forum in January 2014. Limerick City and County is at the heart of a vibrant region with a population of the US. Limerick, as Ireland’s third largest city, is home to many of the leading US multinationals across ICT,
number of enterprise incubation centres in Limerick are linked closely to the higher education institutions and support high-end technology companies with an export focus. Limerick, home to the Munster Rugby Team, has a great sporting tradition and was designated European City of Sport in 2011. CONFERENCE TOPICS TO INCLUDE • Creative Technologies • Disruptive new technology • Investment opportunities • Enterprise showcase and awards
W e look forward to seeing you! ITLG
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