www.itlg.org | www.svgpartners.com
$6.99 | €5.49 | SPRING 2014
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
LIVING THE DREAM Liam Casey, PCH International
Discusses “Open Innovation”
DENIS COLLINS Man with a Telescope
Talent on Tap
THE CONVENTION CENTRE DUBLIN World Class Venue
The New Face of Enterprise Ireland
AIB Corporate Banking is proud to support US investment in Ireland. As one of the most attractive countries for global Foreign Direct Investment, Ireland is home to many of the best-known and most successful companies from around the world. And at AIB, we provide corporate banking services to more of these global companies than any other bank in Ireland. Talk to us about how we can help you locate and grow your company’s presence in Ireland. Contact Details: Diarmuid O’Neill, Head of Corporate Banking Ireland Tel: +353 1 641 4808 Email: diarmuid.e.o’firstname.lastname@example.org
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AIB Corporate Banking Making Business Happen
Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c., trading as AIB Corporate Banking Ireland, is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Registered Office: Bankcentre, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland. Registered in Ireland, No. 24173
Searchers. Sharers. Social Networkers. Whatever your business,BDO should be your trusted provider of outsourced services. Our expert teams provide back office accounting, payroll, tax and other compliance services to some of the fastest growing US companies moving into Europe. We assist companies locating in Ireland manage their local and Europe-wide compliance requirements. We provide: – high-end value added assurance to financial managers – a motivated; expert; and committed back-office team – on-time delivery – excellent value for money – a tailored outsourced solution for each client, that is robust yet flexible. We have over 1,200 offices in 144 countries worldwide. This global reach enables us to provide the highest quality services to the fastest growing US companies.
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A strong connection. Ireland has long been a location of choice for US technology companies. Thanks to further improvements in competitiveness and a pro-business tax environment, Ireland’s attractiveness continues to increase. Deloitte Ireland and our US colleagues have the expertise to help your company reap the benefits of doing business in Ireland and establish strong international connections. For further information contact: Joan O’Connor, Partner +353 (1) 417 2476 email@example.com Ron Saake, Partner +1 (415) 783 6589 firstname.lastname@example.org Visit: www.deloitte.com/ie
© 2014 Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited
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Look closely and you may just see the future! Our research labs throughout the continent are focused on meeting Europeâ€™s goals for the year 2020 Intel has made significant R&D investments throughout Europe. Innovations being driven by our labs will shape the future - benefitting peopleâ€™s lives in unprecedented ways. With a network of Research & Development, Product and Innovation labs in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom, we are developing new technologies to respond to major challenges currently facing Europe: an aging population, sustainability, economic growth, energy efficiency and independence, transportation and logistics. Together with university, government and industry partners, these labs are helping to provide Europe with the technological advantage it needs to compete and succeed in tomorrowâ€™s economy.
Intel Labs Europe: from silicon and circuits to services and society
Global Irish Economic Forum
11 | Welcome
53 | Tax and Technology
94 | High Hopes
By ITLG President John Harnett.
Boosting the technology sector
Austin McCabe is optimistic
15 | News
55 | Global Forum
97 | Reforming Patent Laws
Technology news, events and headlines
Engaging the diaspora
Europeâ€™s unified patent court
18 | Going for a Green Card
59 | High Potential
101 | Data Control
US visa options for business
Start-ups to watch in 2014
EU data protection compliance
24 | Distinguished Service
64 | A Star is Born
102 | Security through Obscurity
High honours for Craig Barrett
Trustev goes global
A fools paradise
29 | Technology Summit
68 | Mobile Disruption
Limerick hosts the ITLG
Flint takes on the big boys
32 | Driving R&D
72 | Lookout
The dynamic Dr. Mary Shire
A technology pioneer
36 | Grand Ambitions
74 | Analytics Engines
Julie Sinnamon talks strategy
Fast processing business and data
41 | Open Innovation
76 | Fortress Payments
A guide to growth from John Stanton
Next-generation mobile payments
Jane Gogan on why writers come first
118 | Scene Stealers
Lights, Camera, Action 110 | Behind the Scenes Innovation in creative Irish drama
114 | Making a Drama
44 | Talk Tax
78 | Word from the Den
Ireland and the global tax environment
Chief talent spotter Peter Casey
47 | Empire Building
83 | Tech Mission
The PCH story
Touching down in Silicon Valley
The impact of technology
50 | IDA Delivers
87 | Northern Star
136 | Taxing the talkies
A good year for jobs
Emerging as a technology force
The very best of Irish drama
130 | Animation
The case for tax relief
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Limerick hosts the ITLG
105 | Targeting FDI
161 | Nigeria Calling
193 | Wisetek
Deloitte: Helping to attract inward investment
Nigeria - An emerging market
Creating big savings
138 | Candidate for Mayor
164 | Finishing Touch
194 | A Sure bet
An ambitious agenda
Interior design fit for a corporation
140 | Flying High
168 | Dublin Convention Centre
196 | Hidden Depths
Aer Lingus connects to the Valley
Emutex and the software you can’t see
144 | DIT Carlow
174 | Science Foundation Ireland
198 | Action Point
The transition from lab to industry
Building a bespoke software system
146 | Sustainable Cities
178 | Gtech
202 | Location is Key
A safe bet
Focus on Meath
149 | Susan Lucas-Conwell
181 | Cube Clean Tech
208 | Innovation in motion
Creating a great workplace culture.
Opportunities in biomedical research
Building a European Tech Cluster
152 | Manos Accelerator
182 | Connecting for Success
210 | Arc Labs
Boosting Latino business
Creating a culture of innovation
156 | Superfood Revolution
187 | Enterprise IT
212 | Educating Entrepreneurs
Fresh: The new frontier
Why the cloud is such a radical industry change
Kemmy Business School
158 | YALJ Group
188 | Powering Ahead
214 | Aiming High
A high powered business model
Cork Institute of Technology
190 | Horner Automation Group Integrated control products
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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
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
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.
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 Maria Whelan Tony Doyle Martin O’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
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Barry O’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
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sweet spot & talent spot
Belfast is Europeâ€™s leading destination city for software development & technical support investment. You know Northern Ireland produces great golfers, but did you know our workforce is behind some of the worldâ€™s most sophisticated software systems? Belfast beats cities like Dublin, Glasgow, London, Amsterdam and Warsaw which speaks volumes about the quality of our software specialists.
Companies such as Cybersource, Vello Systems and WANdisco are already taking advantage of competitive operating costs and an advanced business infrastructure, whilst Northern Irish companies such as First Derivatives provide software solutions globally. To learn more about what makes Northern Ireland the smart choice, visit www.investni.com/invest
elcome to our Spring 2014 issue of Silicon Valley Global which is being published as we prepare for the ITLG’s annual Global Technology Forum which takes place in my home town of Limerick on January 27th and 28th. We have an excellent schedule of events and an impressive delegation of global business leaders and executives participating in the Forum and we are delighted to have President Michael D. Higgins deliver the opening address. The Forum provides an invaluable opportunity for Irish companies and technology start-ups to engage with the ITLG’s powerful and influential diaspora business network. The Forum also takes place as a new mood of optimism takes root throughout the country. Ireland’s exit from the bailout program has given rise to a renewed confidence following many years of sacrifice and significant progress has been made in addressing the nation’s public finances and in restoring the debt burden to a sustainable level. The collective effort is finally yielding results and there are ample reasons to be optimistic for Ireland’s future as we move into 2014. We are once again chiefs of our own destiny and we must use that responsibility to ensure that the mistakes of the past are never repeated. Now is not the time to relax our guard and we must redouble our efforts and focus on creating a dynamic economy based on innovation and entrepreneurship. I am heartened in this respect by the outcomes emerging from the Global Irish Economic Forum where I chaired a working group on “Developing a Supportive Culture for Entrepreneurship and StartUp Companies in Ireland”. The overriding focus of the Forum was job creation and we received invaluable contributions from the participants who included many prominent business leaders - both from Ireland and from among the wider Irish diaspora. A number of concrete proposals emerged from the Forum which I presented to
Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the final session. Chief among them was the creation of a $25 million Global Investment Fund to be made up of contributions from business leaders within Ireland’s diaspora who would also agree to assist talented Irish entrepreneurs with coaching and mentoring. We also delivered a number of proposals aimed at facilitating Irish companies to raise the substantial funds necessary to scale globally. The key challenge facing Ireland is not simply to facilitate the establishment of new companies – rather it is to identify the best means of assisting high potential startups to scale and make a real impact in the global market. That is the challenge we have yet to surmount and it is one which we must address if we are to achieve the objective of developing world-class indigenous companies capable of making a real mark in the world. In the current issue we feature many talented entrepreneurs who we are hopeful can rise to that challenge. An interview with Pat Phelan of Trustev which previously won the ITLG/Irish Times Silicon Valley Innovation Award and which Forbes Magazine ranked among the list of the most
promising global start-ups is featured on page 64. We also feature interviews with the CEO’s of other ITLG award-winning companies such as Flint, Fortress Payments, Analytic Engines and Lookout. We have high hopes for each of these companies and will be watching their progress with interest in the year ahead. We also feature an interview with ‘Mister China’ Liam Casey, the man responsible for developing PCH from a one-person start-up to a global company which employs 5,000 people and which counts many of the world’s largest technology corporations among his clients. Liam has amply demonstrated the kind of leadership, vision and determination which we want to see more of among our aspiring entrepreneurs. Finally I want to thank you for your support and wish you a prosperous and fulfilling 2014. I look forward to keeping you abreast of the many exciting new initiatives being initiated by the ITLG through the course of the year. John Hartnett, President & Founder, ITLG SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 11
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Investment, Technology & Leadership Foreword by Cian Hughes.
his Spring 2014 edition of Silicon Valley Global Magazine coincides with the ITLG Silicon Valley Global Forum which will be hosted in Limerick on January 27th & 28th. We are delighted to feature Julie Sinnamon, the newly appointed CEO of Enterprise Ireland as our cover story. Julie will participate in an in-depth conversation on the topic of growing billion dollar companies with ITLG President, John Hartnett at the ITLG Limerick Technology Forum. The 2014 ITLG Technology Forum is hosted by Limerick Institute of Technology, University of Limerick, Limerick Chamber and Limerick City and County Council and Shannon Airport. The Forum takes place as part of Limerick City of Culture and brings a clear focus on investment and technology to Limerick’s year-long cultural event. ITLG’s ongoing investment in, and engagement with, mobile, cloud, entertainment & digital media technology companies will be the theme for the ITLG Limerick Technology Forum. At this year’s ITLG Limerick technology Forum we hold the ITLG Mobile Awards sponsored by Digicel for the first time in Ireland. We have shortlisted 25 great Irish Mobile companies to compete for the ITLG Mobile Essentials Award and the ITLG Mobile Disruption Award. Women in Leadership roles continue to have a phenomenal impact on shaping the hi -tech industry and we highlight this again at the ITLG Technology Forum in Limerick. The Fortune 1,000 includes only 42 Women CEOs. The ITLG Technology Forum in Limerick features some very high profile women leaders, including Ingrid Vanderveldt who is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Dell Corporate Ventures. She is an entrepreneur, investor and business television host whose work is focused on empowering a billion women by 2020 by providing tools, technology & resources to empower entrepreneurs around the globe. She is the Co-Founder of The Billionaire Girls Club and serves as Managing Director and Owner of VH2 Energy Investments LLC.
Founder and CEO, Rosaleen Blair established her high-end recruitment firm Alexander Mann Solutions in 1996. Born in Dublin and educated in Ireland, Rosaleen describes her early career as one of “serial entrepreneurship”. In November 2013 Rosaleen sold Alexander Mann Solutions to €10bn private equity firm New Mountain Capital for almost €315m. 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 are very pleased with the great success of ITLG Irish Times Innovation Award 2013 winners, Trustev, who recently raised $3,500,000 from an investment consortium including SVG Ventures. Trustev have also featured on Forbes latest list of “Hottest Global Startups”. Trustev’s fraud prevention software verifies the identity of online shoppers by generating a digital ‘fingerprint’ through various social media accounts which prove a customer is indeed who they claim to be. 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. We are very pleased to host the inaugural ITLG Young Innovators 2014 at Shannon Airport on January 27th. More than 600 Irish second level school students will predict how we will live, learn, shop, play, travel and work in 50 years’ time in 2064. Aspiring young entrepreneurs will engage their business and innovation skills to imagine solutions for the future, while working with their peers and some of the world’s leading tech executives including the visiting ITLG delegation from Silicon Valley, indigenous success stories and technology entrepreneurs. The Khan Academy “Mathletes” competition, which is like a math Olympics, will
Cian Hughes, Head of Operations, ITLG
be launched in Ireland during the ITLG Young Innovators 2014 event. This fantastic program will be supported by Sean O’Sullivan through The O’Sullivan Foundation and the goal is to make Ireland number one in Europe. We look forward to April when the first non-stop Aer Lingus Flight since 2009 will operate between Dublin Airport and San Francisco International Airport. This essential Flight will be a great relief to technology industry travelers who commute regularly between Ireland, Silicon Valley and beyond. 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 start-up technology companies. Cian Hughes, Founding Partner Silicon Valley Global Partners. Head of Operations ITLG.
THE ITLG AT A GLANCE Members: » 5,000+ Events: » 20 Major Events » 11 Cities » 8,000 participants Companies: » 1000+ Companies » 150 Finalists » 27 Winners Invested: » $10,000,000+
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ITLG news , events and headlines from the IT world
Investors in the €25 million Global Irish Investment Fund. The Irish Technology Leadership Group is creating a Global Irish Investor Group to support scaling-up Irish tech companies with capital, expertise and access to global customers.
Craig Barret, ITLG Chairman and former Chairman and CEO of Intel Corporation.
John Hartnett, founder ITLG and SVG Partners.
Barry O’Sullivan, technology investor who recently stood down as SVP of Cisco.
John Ryan, founder of Macrovision.
Rich Moran, CEO, Accretive Solutions and former Venrock VC.
Liam Casey, founder and CEO, PCH International.
Sean O’Sullivan, SOS Ventures and CEO of Carma.
AfriCoderDojo In a little over two years since CoderDojo was founded; it has spread to 31 countries and helped encourage thousands of young people to learn coding skills. The movement is set to spread further in 2014 and recently joined forces with the US State Departments Global Partnership Initiative and the Lions @ Africa campaign to create AfriCoderDojo. The scheme aims to teach coding skills to young people throughout
Africa. It is a two-month learning program which will be run by volunteer teachers and coders. The first
AfriCoderDojo clubs are due to launch this month in Dar el Salaam, Tanzania and Lagos, Nigeria.
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Enter the Dragon After standing down from his role as senior vice-president of Cisco Systems, Barry O’Sullivan, technology investor, Dragon’s Den panelist and member of the ITLG management team is launching a new cloud computing and data analytics business-to-business venture. Funding for the new enterprise is in place and the new company’s R&D and engineering base will be located in Galway while a sales and marketing office will be established in California. The company plans to hire between 10 and 20 staff in Galway and a further 5 in California. O’Sullivan is one of Ireland’s most recognized technology leaders. He has managed several global divisions of Cisco and was responsible for the company’s Voice over IP business which generates revenues of $2 billion a year. O’Sullivan said his time at Cisco had been invaluable in terms of leading major divisions of the company, and spearheading major acquisitions of companies. An active angel investor in Silicon Valley he said he is intent on building a software company that will bring about a fundamental change in enterprise IT and his experience at Cisco provides an excellent foundation for meeting that challenge.
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Pictured at the announcement from Left to Right: John Hartnett, President & Founder ITLG & SVG, Suzanne Saffie-Siebert Founder & CEO SiSaf, Mayor of San Jose California, Chuck Reed and Lord Mayor of Belfast, Mártín Ó Muilleoir.
Ground Breaking NI BioTech Company SiSaf Secures New Investment SiSaf Ltd., one of Northern Ireland’s most innovative start-up bio-tech companies has secured new funding in the region of £500,000 to carry out clinical trials of its new drug delivery system. The University of Ulster has also increased its investment in the company. SiSaf, which is located in the Northern Ireland Science Park and the Irish Innovation Center, San José, Silicon Valley, California, is using the investment to complete the clinical trials of its innovative drug carrier system, SiSafe®. The first application being trialed involves an application to cure acne more efficiently, and without any adverse side effects. The innovative drug delivery formulation could radically change the efficacy and safety of current acne skin treatments. The funding has been provided by a consortium of investors including Co-Fund NI, a Fund created by Invest Northern Ireland and part financed by
the European Regional Development Fund, Innovation Ulster Ltd, the ITLG’s fund, Silicon Valley Global Ventures (SVG Ventures). Dr Suzanne Saffie-Siebert, Chief Executive of SiSaf said the company is at a really exciting stage in its development. “This funding allows us to begin critical clinical trials of SiSaf’s innovative drug delivery super app. Once these trials have successfully concluded, SiSaf will be able to use the outcome across a number of platforms including animal vaccination and anesthesia applications as well as the efficient treatment of acne,” she said. SiSaf’s Chairman, John Hartnett, founder of ITLG and SVG said that SiSaf had made considerable progress since it won the ITLG Innovation Awards in 2010. “We are delighted to announce our 3rd follow on investment in this exciting biotech company and I believe the potential for SiSaf to attract further large scale private equity capital investment is significant given its cutting edge bio-technology and the wide variety of applications.”
Microsoft’s Dublin Cloud Empire
iPhone Breathalyzer Sean O’Sullivan, technology investor and CEO of SOSventures as well as a former panelist on Dragon’s Den has invested in the launch of an app designed to test blood alcohol limits. O’Sullivan’s Cork based investment firm SOSventures has acquired a minority stake in SMART Ecosystem, the joint UK and Italian company responsible for developing the app. It is due to be launched in Spring of this year and consists of an app together with a small piece of hardware which plugs into the phone’s audio jack and which users blow into to check their blood alcohol level.
Indian Tech Jobs Synowledge and Aditi, two Indian technology companies have announced the creation of 75 jobs in Dublin following the trade mission to India by Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton. Synowledge which specializes in drug safety and regulatory services
Microsoft is investing €170m to expand its data centre in Dublin which serves Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Construction of a new facility has already begun and 20 additional tech jobs and 380 construction jobs will be generated. The existing data center in West Dublin which cost close to €1bn employs 80 people. Microsoft Ireland’s Managing Director, Cathriona Hallahan said the expansion is evidence of the continued demand for Microsoft’s cloud services, such as Office 365, Bing, Skype, Xbox Live, and the Windows Azure platform across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.” “As the demand for these cloudbased services continues to grow we are investing to meet our customers’ needs,” Hallahan said. This second expansion brings the total level of investment at the company’s Dublin facility to €594m, increasing the data center campus’ computing capacity by 15,700 sq. meters (169,000 sq. feet), bringing the total footprint up to 54,255 sq meters (584,000 sq. feet). The data center officially opened in 2009, with the first expansion
announced in February 2012. The data center makes extensive use of Ireland’s cool outside air to efficiently cool its facilities year round, with air side economization, resulting in greater power efficiency and annual power usage effectiveness (PUE) average of 1.25 during peak usage hours. The existing data center is also 50% more efficient than traditionally built facilities and uses only 1% of the water used by other similarly sized data centers in the industry today, according to Microsoft. With a focus on sustainability, about 99% of all waste at the facility is recycled, including packaging, pallets, crates, and cabling. IDA Ireland Chief Executive Barry O’Leary said data centers have been a buoyant sector for the IDA in the last number of years and will enable Ireland to win further investments worldwide. “This investment, by such a wellrespected global brand, reinforces Ireland’s credentials as the leading location in cloud computing,” he said.
for the pharmaceutical, biotechnical and medical devices sectors is to establish international headquarters in Dublin which will employ 35 people while “Cloud First” technology services company Aditi is establishing a European services and business development center in Dublin which will create 40 jobs.
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Green Card Options In the last of a three-part series examining US visa options for business, we briefly discuss employment based Green card options. The correct term for ‘Green card’ is Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) or immigrant visa. Non-immigrant versus Immigrant Visas Any visa which is not a Green card is ‘non-immigrant’ or temporary, meaning the holder of the visa must intend to leave the US at the end of the authorized period of stay. Some non-immigrant visas, such as the L-1 and H-1B, are ‘dual intent’ visas, which allow the holder to hope or desire to one day become a green card holder. ‘Single intent’ visas, such as the J-1 or E treaty visas, do not permit this dual state of mind. Single intent visas do not bar the holder from applying for 18 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
a Green card in all cases, but proper advice should be sought. In most cases, it will be necessary to obtain some category of non-immigrant visa to allow the applicant to live and work in the US while a Green card application is pending. The Multinational Manager/Executive Greencard, known as Employment Based Category 1-3 or EB 1-3, is a very desirable option and well worth advance planning for those interested in living permanently in the US. As with the L-1A, an applicant for Multinational Manager or Executive Green card must have worked as Manager
or Executive of a foreign related company for at least one year in the previous three. It is often considered prudent to apply for an L-1A visa as a first step in this process. Advantages of EB 1-3 include a) there is no recruitment of US workers required, b) processing is fast, and c) visas are current, meaning immediately available.
PERM Program Electronic Review Management is the DOL’s processing system whereby US employers conduct advertising and
SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
recruitment prior to filing a labor certification application in an attempt to identify qualified US workers, or more accurately to prove that no qualified US worker exists. Although many people seeking a Green card have no option but to apply for PERM, it has many disadvantages; the very concept of PERM is artificial, it is expensive and protracted, and the outcome is generally uncertain. Skilled workers and professionals with a PERM approval may apply for Green cards in the category known as Employment Based Category 3 or EB-3 but visas are backlogged by several years. Master’s Degree Holders and Exceptional Ability Aliens with a PERM approval may apply for Green cards in the category known as Employment Based Category 2 or EB-2 and visas are current. Investors of $1M ($500K in areas of high unemployment) who create 10 full time US jobs may qualify for this category, known as Employment Based Category 5 (EB-5). Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) has potential tax consequences and requires ties with the US to be maintained. After 5 years of LPR status and paying US taxes, an application for naturalization may be made.
“Some non-immigrant visas, such as the L-1 and H-1B, are ‘dual intent’ visas, which allow the holder to hope or desire to one day become a green card holder.” Immigration Reform The Senate bill that passed in June 2013 includes a new category of Green card for founders of businesses who have created at least 5 jobs, and who reach specific targets for investment and/or revenue. These targets are slightly less for individuals who are STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) graduates or PhD holders. While the debate continues in Washington, any version of immigration
reform that passes into law is likely to be good news for Green cards, with reduced backlogs and new categories. Ireland Law Office, Gragara, Jenkinstown, Co. Kilkenny. Tel: 056 7767 994 New York: 233 Broadway, Suite 2208, New York, NY 10279. Tel: (212) 965 -1148. www.obrienandassociates.com
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Global Employee Relocation
Irishrelo can help ITLG members; an interview with Paul Coy of Irishrelo Irishrelo is big enough to take care of all our clients’ relocation requirements worldwide, but small enough to care.
Can you tell Silicon Valley Global a bit about yourself and Irishrelo ? My name is Paul Coy; I am a Chartered Accountant and Global Mobility Specialist and a Shareholder and Director of Irishrelo. The company is headquartered in Kilcock, just outside of Dublin and we support hundreds of companies to relocate their employees on a global basis each year. Why is the Irish Technology Leadership Group important to Irishrelo? We connect with global companies so that they are aware of our services and hopefully allow us to support their employee relocation needs. The Irish Technology Leadership Group’s members are leaders of the businesses that we work with every day. If their company requires employee relocation support, my team at Irishrelo can provide this support, regardless of where their employees are relocating from or to. There is a number of specialized companies in your niche market, how different is Irishrelo ? As an Irish company with global reach, we have over 20 years’ experience of providing employee mobility solutions to some of the largest corporations in the World. The strength of our service delivery model is in our ability to tailor solutions to meet the exacting requirements of all our clients, and to add a ‘personal touch’ to everything we do. Irishrelo provides a ‘one-stop shop’ for immigration, home finding, school search, shipment of personal effects and a multitude of ‘soft landing’ services. We even open bank accounts and arrange all the utility connections once a property has been selected. Irishrelo delivers a consistent level of service on a global basis with single point of contact reducing communication and saving our clients time and money. We de-stress the relocation process and deliver comfort.
How do you think Ireland has evolved in terms of Visa policies? With high unemployment levels in Ireland, Irish immigration policy has tightened in the last number of years. However, work permits are available for certain skilled positions that cannot be filled locally once remuneration guidelines and labour market tests have been adhered to. Irishrelo has a 100% success rate with work permit applications. Paul Coy, Director, Irishrelo
“Irishrelo provides a ‘one-stop shop’ for immigration, home finding, school search, shipment of personal effects and a multitude of ‘soft landing’ services. We even open bank accounts and arrange all the utility connections once a property has been selected.”
What is on your horizon for 2014 and what are your primary hopes and objectives? I think that the Irish Economy has stabilized and we are starting to see growth. I am optimistic when reviewing Irishrelo’s pipeline for the next 12 months and confident that we can continue to grow our business and add jobs in 2014. Employee mobility continues to be a major part of international corporations human resources strategy, and where there is employee mobility there is demand for our services. My hope for 2014 and beyond is that the Irish Technology Leaders will try to support Irish SMEs to a greater extent. The ‘Buy Irish’ campaign should be promoted outside of Ireland to the Irish diaspora. This would assist service providers, like Irishrelo, to continue to develop our export sales and increase employment in Ireland. For further information contact Irishrelo, Portgloriam, Clane Road, Kilcock, Co. Kildare Ireland T: +353 1 6757900 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W:www.irishrelo.com
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CELEBRATE YOUR IRISH HERITAGE Available to all of Irish descent
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€25m Global Irish Investment Fund The Irish Technology Leadership Group is creating a Global Irish Investor Group to support scaling-up Irish tech companies with capital, expertize and access to global customers.
nvestors have been secured to create a Global Irish Investment Pledge Fund to support Ireland’s start-up ecosystem and participants are being asked to mentor entrepreneurs, serve on boards, facilitate connections and pledge a capital amount for investment. The participants will have the opportunity to invest in companies they choose through the investor group structure. It is expected that the investors will pledge between $250,000 and $1m. So far, those who have pledged to participate in the fund include Craig Barrett, former Chairman and CEO of Intel Corporation and Chairman of the ITLG; John Ryan, Founder of Macrovision, now Rovi; Rich Moran, CEO, Accretive Solutions and Former Venrock VC; John Hartnett, Founder, ITLG and SVG Partners; Barry O’Sullivan, SVP, Cisco; Liam Casey, Founder and CEO, PCH International; Sean O’Sullivan, SOSventures and CEO of Carma. Start-ups are one of the most significant job creators all over the world and are especially critical in economic downturns, according to ITLG President John Hartnett who says the key to Ireland’s growth and ongoing prosperity is the enhancement of its entrepreneurial culture. “Many of the right ingredients exist today, with support from educational institutions, incubators and funding support from Enterprise Ireland. However, for Ireland to make significant progress, it will require the right blend of ‘syndicated’ smart capital, a connected diaspora network and access to global markets,” he said.
Hartnett said that given Ireland’s solid base of support and the addition of these essentials, Irish companies will be in a position to accelerate and grow into major public corporations. “One of Ireland’s great assets is its diaspora. Our ability to harness the global expertize, connections and investment is a
practical example of a very positive outcome from the global Irish economic forum,” Hartnett said. “The combination of these assets represents a great opportunity for young Irish companies to scale globally and drive high-quality employment here in Ireland,” Hartnett added.
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Dr Craig Barrett, Chairman ITLG, Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland 24 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
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Distinguished Service ITLG Chairman and former Intel CEO Craig Barrett has been honoured for his services to Ireland with the 2013 Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award which he received from President Michael D. Higgins at a ceremony hosted in Áras an Uachtaráin.
he Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad acknowledges the exemplary service which members of the diaspora have provided to the nation in the fields of peace-building, charitable work, business, education and arts culture and sport, amongst others. Other distinguished recipients included Senator George Mitchell and Ambassador Dan Rooney who were honored for their contribution to peace, reconciliation and development while Anne Merriman (Uganda) and Sr Cyril Mooney (India) were recognized for their charitable works. Michael Mooney (US) received an award for his contribution to arts, culture and sport and Mary Tilki (UK), Seamus McGarry (UK) and Rodney Walsh (New Zealand were recognized for services to the Irish community in their respective countries. The Presidential Awards were established by the Government after the 2011 Global Irish Economic Forum and Dr. Barrett was honored for his services to business and education together with John Martin who works with the OECD in France. Dr. Barrett has been a key supporter and guide to Ireland in our efforts to attract and retain high-tech foreign direct investment in Ireland as CEO/Chairman of Intel and more recently as Chairman of the Irish Technology Leadership Group. Barrett is a leading advocate for improving education worldwide and is a vocal spokesman for the value of technology in raising social and economic standards globally. Born in San Francisco, he holds Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Materials Science from Stanford University. He was Associate Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering until 1974. Craig joined Intel Corporation in 1974, becoming
the company’s Chief Operating Officer in 1993. He became Intel’s fourth President in May 1997, Chief Executive Officer in 1998 and Chairman of the Board in 2005. He retired from this position in May 2009. Craig has served on numerous boards, policy and government panels, and has been an appointee of the US President’s Advisory Recipients of the 2013 Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award Committee for Trade Speaking at the presentation, President Policy and Negotiations and to the American Higgins said the Irish diaspora has enabled Health Information Community. us to create positive connections with many According to Barrett there are three critical countries around the globe including the levers which are key to achieving economic areas of investment, tourism, trade, university success. “The first is education because the links and economic partnerships. He said that quality of a country’s workforce generally the contribution of Dr. Craig Barrett to such determined its ability to generate value,” he says. important connections is immense and his “The second is ideas and investment in R&D work, both academically and as Chairman because ideas create next generation products, of Intel, has led to important investments services and companies. And the third is creating in Ireland and helped create invaluable the right environment whereby smart people partnerships with higher education institutions. can come together and do something great. All President Higgins also expressed his three levers, in my view are critical to developing appreciation for the huge contribution which successful economies”. was made towards Ireland’s recovery efforts in However, of the three he believes that his role as chairman of the ITLG. education is the key factor for nations and Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs & companies seeking competitive advantage. Trade, Eamon Gilmore also paid tribute to the “If your education system is not at a high award-winners and said they put on display the level, you cannot add value and therefore full spectrum of the best qualities of the Irish, cannot compete on the international scene,” “Ireland is fortunate to have ambassadors and says Barrett who has frequently described advocates of the calibre of Dr. Craig Barrett, education as ‘the great liberator of poverty’. whose leadership in the fields of technology and “An organization or company that has the best education is second to none.” workforce in the right environment is going “All of these people have rendered to win every time – that’s the message I push distinguished service to our nation and helped when I go to Ireland and talk to people in to build our reputation around the globe. Their the business community. In fact, it’s the same contribution is immeasurable,” he concluded. message I push in the United States too.” SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 25
Forbes 30 under 30
Global Start-up Star Cork-based fraud protection company Trustev which won the ITLG Innovation Award in May last year 2013 has been named as one of the “hottest global start-ups of 2013” by ‘Forbes’ magazine. The company founded by Pat Phelan and Chris Kennedy verifies the identity of online shoppers by generating a digital fingerprint through various social media accounts which provides 100% reliable verification of the card holder’s identity. The firm recently secured a $500,000 investment from Notion Capital and concluded a $3 million (€2.2 million) seed round which will be used to fund expansion in the US and to accelerate the development of Trustev’s anti-fraud and identity verification technology for e-commerce merchants. (See extended interview with Pat Phelan on page 64 ).
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
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Five Irishmen have made the exclusive Forbes 30 under 30 list for 2014. They include software entrepreneurs John and Patrick Collison, video games designer Terry Cavanagh as well as golfer Rory McIlroy and singer Niall Horan from One Direction. The exclusive list includes Snapchat co-founder Eric Spiegel (22), actress and social entrepreneur Olivia Wilde (29), Malala Fund co-founder Shiza Shahid (24), and Oculus VR CEO Palmer Luckey (21). Limerick brothers Patrick (25) and John Collison (23) sold their first company Auctomatic to Canadian firm Live Current Media for $5m (€3.2m) when they were 17 and 19, respectively. Now residents in Silicon Valley, their two-year-old start-up Stripe is making headlines and is now live in the US, UK and Ireland. The company, which employs 62 people, raised its first round of funding of $2m in 2011 from investment
the premium travel market offering newly designed business class cabins that provide a personalized 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 multi-course meal is accompanied by award-winning wines. Passengers may
Software entrepreneurs John and Patrick Collison,
veterans Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz. Further funding of US$18m followed in 2012 by Sequoia Capital, valuing Stripe at $100m at the time. Terry Cavanagh (29) is director of Distractionware Ltd and a prolific games designer, responsible for experimental games like VVVVV and At A Distance. His 2012 release Super Hexagon, was a finalist for the Best Design award at the Independent Games Festival, audience choice winner at Fantastic Arcade, and a finalist for Game of the Year on Apple’s App Store. Last year’s Forbes 30 under 30 listing included the Collison brothers, CoderDojo founder James Whelton and GroupM executive Jonathan Cloonan.
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.
Print Impact Mcor, one of Europe’s fastest growing 3D printing firms looks set to achieve a €15 million funding boost. The company manufactures the only line of desktop paper 3D printers in the world and was the winner of the coveted 2013 brand of the year award. The company’s CEO Dr. Conor MacCormack who founded the company with his brother Fintan recently attended the world’s leading consumer technology show at the Las Vegas Convention Centre where he delivered a presentation on the profound impact being made by 3D printing. MacCormack revealed that he was working with a number of venture capitalists based in Silicon Valley in relation to securing a new round of funding in the region of €15m, which he said will be used for scaling up the business. In the final two months of 2013, the company did more business than in the previous ten months, according to MacCormack. The company’s main customers include architects, engineers and universities. The company’s main 3D-printing machine, launched in January 2013, costs $45,000 (€33,000).
High Achiever Una Fox who is spearheading the ITLG’s ‘Women in Leadership group was honored by UCC recently with an Alumni Achievement Award (AAA). Originally from Dundalk, Fox graduated with a BA in English and French from UCC in 1989. She is currently vice president in retail and eCommerce technology at the Walt Disney Company and is recognized as one of the most influential women working in technology today. Fox has a wealth of leadership experience with some of the world’s leading brands, including Yahoo!, Dow Jones, Thompson (Financial), Cisco and
Dr. Conor and Fintan MacCormack, founders of Mcor Technologies.
A former finalist in the ITLG ‘Company of the Year Awards’, Mcor Technologies secured over 2 million in investment from the Irish Technology Capital Fund, the angel investment fund headed by ITLG President and technology investor John Hartnett. In addition, John Ryan, founder of Macrovision joined the company as chairman having been introduced to the company through the ITLG.
Three-D printing is the process of constructing objects by uploading detailed images to a machine, which then creates a product using thousands of layers of broken-down material. While the practice has become popular with craft-makers and hobbyists, it is also a growing business activity for engineers and manufacturers who want more control over the parts and products they produce.
KPMG. Based in California since the late 1990s, she is also a co-founder of CoderDojo LA, the global movement founded by James Whelton and Bill Liao that teaches children aged 8-16 years to code. The Alumni Achievement Award represents the highest honor that UCC can bestow upon a graduate Una Fox, head of the ITLG’s ‘Women in Leadership’’ group was and she received an ‘‘acorn honored recently with an Alumni Achievement Award (AAA). to mighty oak’ sterling silver Leslie Buckley, renowned NYC surgeon trophy, designed by Don O’Mahony, an Dr Patrick O’ Leary and pioneering engraver and jeweler in Cork. dental researcher Professor Denis Other recipients included, Jim O’Mullane. Clarken, CEO Oxfam, business leader
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Ireland funds great research…. maybe it’s your turn to join us! science foundation Ireland (sfI) supports excellent research in Ireland. this includes: US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership supports research collaborations across the three jurisdictions, United States of America, Ireland and Northern Ireland. SFI Industry Fellowships Programmes facilitate both long term and short visiting exchanges between academia and industry worldwide. ERC Development Programme supports ERC applicants to resubmit to the ERC through an Irish Higher Education Institution. President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (PIYRA) aims to attract to Ireland exceptional early stage researchers. SFI Research Professorship aims to attract outstanding senior research talent to Ireland. SFI Partnership Scheme aims to build strategic collaborations with key partners such as industry, funding agencies, charities, philanthropic organisations, etc. with the goal of co-funding outstanding research opportunities. SFI Conference & Workshops Programme supports the hosting of scientific meetings and conferences in Ireland. SFI Advance Fellowships Programme provides female researchers with the opportunity to remain in or return to research to undertake further training.
To find out more view – www.sfi.ie or follow us on twitter@scienceirel.
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Limerick Hosts the ITLG Global Technology leaders gather in Limerick as the ITLG comes to town.
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his years’ Annual Global Technology Forum – which takes place in Limerick on 27 and 28 January - will see Ireland’s leading technology leaders, business executives and high potential start-ups take the opportunity to network with the top Irish-American tech titans of Silicon Valley, including former Intel Chairman and CEO Craig Barrett, outgoing Cisco SVP Barry O’Sullivan and ITLG President and Technology Investor John Hartnett. President Michael D. Higgins will deliver the opening address to a high-powered audience of Senior Irish and American executives from Dell, Disney, Intel, AOL, Google as well as Andrew O’Brien, the special representative for Global Partnerships from the US Secretary of State office who previously served as Secretary Kerry’s Massachusetts State Director in the Senate. Other visiting delegations include technology leaders from Russia, China, India and African. The forum is being brought to Munster with the help of Limerick City and County Council, Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), University of Limerick (UL), Shannon Airport and Limerick Chamber. ITLG president John Hartnett is particularly pleased to be holding the technology summit in his home town of Limerick. “This is a homecoming not only for me, but for many members of the ITLG delegation,” he said. “The Limerick and Shannon region has very strong ties with Silicon Valley, and showcasing the indigenous talent and innovation, while engaging
with US investors and tech leaders will serve both our regions exceptionally well in terms of future growth, entrepreneurship, innovation and investment.” “The forum will enable Irish executives in early stage companies to meet and collaborate with leading international figures, expanding their network, creating new business opportunities and US market opportunities, which will all drive meaningful job creation in the region. Start-ups and entrepreneurs will also have the chance to pitch for investment to leading VCs, as well as access to leading experts in IP and commercialization of research.” The event is being hosted in venues across the city, and will commence with the Young Innovators event at Shannon Airport, which will be followed by pitch camp sessions at Limerick Institute of Technology on 27th January. “Young Innovators 2014” provides a journey of exploration into the future for Secondary School students. The students will have an opportunity to win prizes for themselves and their school, to engage with high level industry mentors and take part in hands-on team workshops focusing on entrepreneurial and innovation skills. There will be networking opportunities with high level delegates including people from Disney, Dell, Analog, Intel, Google, LIT, UL, CoderDojo and even Dragons from RTE’s Dragons’ Den The ‘fast pitch’ sessions have become a staple of ITLG summits and provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs and business startups to pitch for investment from an international delegation of investors including names such as Andreessen Horowitz, SVG Ventures, Richard Moran, Accretive Solutions, Sean O’Sullivan, SOSventures, Liam Casey, PCH and Barry
O’Sullivan, Entrepreneur, Investor and former Senior Vice President at Cisco Systems. This year up to 50 companies in the fields of cloud technologies, bio tech and convergent pharma, nanotechnology and renewable energies are scheduled to take part in the sessions where millions of euros of potential investment is up for grabs if they can spark interest from the panel of seasoned entrepreneurs. Companies which have attended the technology summits hosted by the ITLG over the last six years have raised more than €50m in funding with the ITLG itself having invested €10m. According to Hartnett typical investments range from between €100,000 up to €2.5m in individual stakes. “One of the most significant features of the summit is that it brings together some of the biggest venture capital investors in the world, and connects them with the best emerging entrepreneurs and innovators which Ireland has to offer,” he said. “This summit provides a unique opportunity for Irish companies to tap into the ITLG’s powerful and influential diaspora business network of top global technology leaders.” On day two of the summit University of Limerick will host the Global Technology Forum which features keynote presentations and lively panel debates on mobile technologies, innovation and entertainment innovation, investment and entrepreneurship. An opening address from Michael D. Higgins will be followed by presentations from a range of high profile technology leaders including former chairman and CEO of Intel Corp, Craig Barrett, Barry O’Sullivan of Cisco, Castletroy man John Herlihy, of Google, and Rory McInerney of Intel Corporation as well as
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Michael D. Higgins
Liam Casey, CEO, PCH. During a special focus on Global Enterprise, Julie Sinnamon the new CEO of Enterprise Ireland will reveal her vision for the agency and how it will support Irish start-up companies over the next decade while Isaac Applbaum, President of the California Israel Chamber of Commerce, will share the secrets of Israel’s success in Silicon Valley. Conor Lenihan will discuss his experience of entrepreneurship and investment for technology start-ups in Russia and Michael McLoughlin CEO of Connect Ireland will highlight his organizations success securing inward investment to Ireland from mid-sized international scaling companies. An Innovation in Entertainment section will feature Una Fox, VP Technology Disney, Múirne Laffan, Managing Director, RTÉ Digital, and Jane Gogan RTÉ’s Head of Drama and Executive Producer of the hugely successful series Love/Hate will discuss in a series of sessions, the innovations currently being implemented by producers to bring the most exciting dramas to our screens Other highlights include a panel featuring Silicon Valley VC, renowned author and CEO of Accretive Solutions, Rich Moran who will be joined by John Stanton & John Ryan Managing Partners at SVG Ventures, Sean Cunningham, Intel Capital and Bill Barhydt, CEO, Boom to probe the Venture Capital industry in a no holds barred discussion entitled “Heroes and Villains, the Truth About VC’s”. Finally Mark Kellett, CEO, Magnet, Aengus McClean, MD, AOL Ireland and Fionnuala Meehan, Director of SMB Sales Google will share their views on cloud based technologies and how consumers will access media and other
content in the next year. In addition to providing business and investment opportunities, the summit also provides a welcome chance for Limerick to showcase the best of the city, according to Hartnett. “Being able to showcase Limerick
on a global scale, and the talent that is here is extremely important. We have some great start-up companies coming through and gaining exposure for these companies among investors and major technology firms is vitally important,” he said.
Young Innovators Ireland’s youth to share their vision for life in 2064. The Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) inaugural Young Innovators event which is supported by Dell, ITLG, Shannon Airport and Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) among others, will encourage young people to innovate for the world, as they see it, in fifty years from now. Questions about how we will live, learn, shop, play, travel or work in 2064 will be put to over 600 students. Divided into teams of 10, they will be supported by the ITLG delegation of successful tech entrepreneurs who will coach and mentor the student groups, bringing their ideas and technology advances to life, creating new solutions for the future. “Young people and fresh ideas are at the heart of this technological age; this event is all about embracing technology and talent, while inspiring and empowering our young people to shape the innovations of the future”, said John Hartnett, CEO of ITLG. Aspiring young entrepreneurs will engage their business and innovation
skills to imagine solutions for the future, while working with their peers and some of the world’s leading tech executives including the visiting ITLG delegation from Silicon Valley, indigenous success stories and technology entrepreneurs. LIT are co-ordinating this unique event, which promises to give students a real flavor for how innovation works and how working as a team can create the best solutions. “This event provides many unique opportunities for secondary school students, giving them technology, innovation and entrepreneurship experience and insights”, said Maria Hinfelaar, President of LIT. “The speakers and mentors participating at the ITLG Young Innovators event are global leaders, so we are delighted that these young students will be able to learn from industry, and hopefully industry will learn from the students also, as they are our future and therefore best positioned to visualize how we will live, work, play, learn, shop and travel in 2064!”.
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Driving R&D Gathering in Limerick for this ITLG forum, which is bringing together the top executives, innovators and researchers in the world of technology, it could be easy to forgot the driving force behind a lot of the advancements in these leading edge companies. Dr Mary Shire, Vice President of Research, University of Limerick talks to Silicon Valley Global.
&D centers attached to our leading universities are producing some of the top innovators whose ideas and concepts are being utilized by the main IT companies in our world today. Here in the Treaty City the University of Limerick is storming the field in the world of research and development and is being led by a woman who does not fit the typical view one might hold of academics. She describes herself as an “unusual beast” as she has excelled in both the private sector and academic worlds, and when you examine the exceptional CV of Dr Mary Shire, Vice President 32 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
of Research at the University of Limerick, you understand quite quickly she does not fit the normal billing. But then she doesn’t subscribe to the normal views among many business leaders either so when you get such a straight talking and dynamic woman it is bound to produce results. And in the University of Limerick’s case they have been overwhelmingly positive.
The Bernal Project At the end of the Autumn UL announced a $70m strategic initiative called the Bernal Project which will enable the university
to enhance its teaching and research outputs. This will have a significant impact on economic, educational and social development both nationally and globally. The Bernal Project is focused on the development of the following selected areas: • Pharmaceutical Science and Engineering • Modern Materials , Biomedical Materials and Engineering • Energy and Sustainable Environment These selections are based in part on our current strengths and in many cases a reorientation of existing strengths into new areas. Each of the selected areas is already
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supported by major funding from the Program for Research in Third Level Institutions (Higher Education Authority), Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, the European Union and a variety of commercial sources. These priorities align closely with Ireland’s National Research Prioritisation. For Dr Shire, who has previously worked with US-based pharmaceutical company, Celgene Corporation, where she developed inventions for drug discovery covered by 20 US patents, it is the advancements being made in software engineering in particular where she sees amazing opportunities for young graduates today. “The research being carried out in software engineering is critical as we see how software is becoming even more pervasive in our society with software being critical to everything from smart cars to smart medical devices,” remarks Dr Shire. “The fact that the University of Limerick is the lead partner for LERO (The Irish Software Engineering Research Center) means we have close ties with leading companies including IBM, Cisco and Intel in the whole area of evolving critical systems.” But it is the follow on from these comments that really makes Dr Shire an “unusual beast” as she rejects the popular belief that manufacturing is dead in this country and rather gives a passionate explanation of how Ireland is perfectly positioned to embrace high end manufacturing. For Dr Shire the work being done at a research level can work seamlessly with what can happen at a broader manufacturing level and produce the results, which could energize the Irish economy. “I would certainly not write off manufacturing in Ireland and when you look at the plans announced before Christmas by US pharmaceutical company Regeneron (valued at $26bn on the Nasdaq) for a $300m investment on the site of the old Dell production plant in Limerick you see that there is life coming back into this part of the economy,” explains Dr Shire. “Here was a plant that had been empty since Dell left in 2009 but now we will have 300 jobs created in the whole area of biopharmaceutical production at the Raheen Business Park.
products in the whole area of bio-medical and related industries.” Dr Shire references the newly established Synthesis & Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC) based at UL, which received $55m million in funding from SFI and will position Ireland as a global hub for the pharmaceutical industry. SSPC is a collaboration between 17 pharmaceutical companies and eight academic institutions working in conjunction with SFI to support world-class research and innovation and contribute to the creation of new jobs and the growth of the Irish economy. UL’s commercialization success has led to 172 new invention disclosures, 71 patent applications and 10 campus companies in recent years. In 2012, UL entered into seven IP commercialization agreements with a number of companies including indigenous Irish companies like ALR Innovations, Clada Medical, The Rosetta Foundation and PolyPICO technologies. Ten UL campus companies have been set up over the past five years, attracting in excess of $70m million in investment funding and employing 80 people locally.
“The ITLG forum is going to be great for the region and the Nexus innovation Centre gathering of national The Nexus Innovation Centre at the University of Limerick has far exceeded targets since it opened in November 2011 by supporting the and international formation and growth of 32 new high-tech business leaders in the start-up companies and over 105 new high value jobs, 50 student cooperatives and 10 Job bridge scheme placements. world of technology The fact that the ITLG forum takes place in Limerick this year brings an added gives Limerick a focus on both the research being carried out chance to showcase the in places such as UL and also the cluster of high level companies located in the region. It is something which Dr Shire feels will only amazing facilities we further enhance the growing reputation of the area and the work being carried out. have here.” Boosting Manufacturing “We cannot restart an economy based purely on research jobs and we must see the manufacturing side work in tandem with this development. I believe that this country is perfectly positioned to produce high end
“The ITLG forum is going to be great for the region and the gathering of national and international business leaders in the world of technology gives Limerick a chance to showcase the amazing facilities we have here,” enthused Shire. With people like Dr Shire at the helm there is no doubt that the people of Limerick will take that opportunity with both hands. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 33
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The Storyful Story Four years after it was established, The Irish social media agency Storyful which was founded by former Prime Time Presenter Mark Little has been sold to NewsCorp.
toryful, the Irish media website launched four years ago by former RTÉ journalist and Prime Time Presenter, Mark Little has been sold to Rubert Murdoch for
€18 million. Storyful was one of the first companies to supply media content gathered from social networks to large corporate media clients including The New York Times, Yahoo, AOL, Al Jazeera, ABC News, France 24, Channel 4 and Bloomberg. Little is understood to have owned between 25% and 30% of the company and will benefit to the tune of around €5 million from the deal. Other staff at the company will share around €4 million and investors including SOSventures, the venture capital firm headed by Sean Sullivan and angel investor Ray Nolan are set to gain around €5 million each.
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Ray Nolan, a serial technology investor who also sold the company behind Hostelworld.com in 2009 for over 200 million was one of the company’s earliest backers and chaired the company until the deal was concluded. ACT Venture Capital which had invested in the company through its AIB Start-Up Accelerator Fund and Enterprise Ireland are also set to benefit from the deal. Storyful is News Corp’s first acquisition since it separated from 21st Century Fox. Rupert Murdock is understood to have taken a personal interest as the deal was being negotiated and following its conclusion he tweeted: “Much excitement about @Storyful. Wonderful company doing big things in digital content and video, will be a great asset to @Newscorp.” In a statement, News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thompson said the acquisition was part of the company’s wider
strategy on digital and video distribution and he described Storyful “as the village square for valuable video, using journalistic sensibility, integrity and creativity to find, authenticated and commercialized user-generated content. Little announced news of the sale on the company’s blog and speaking to Silicon Valley Global he said that NewsCorp was a dream partner and the corporation had been one of its most forward-thinking clients in relation to digital media. While the company had considered venture capital funding he said the firepower of a company like New Corp would allow Storyful to reach its full potential. Little who is to remain on as Chief Executive insisted that the company will continue to be run as a “stand-alone” business and he plans to divide his time between New York and Dublin. He also said that there are plans to open an office in Hong Kong later this year.
CONNECTING WITH INDUSTRY AT POSTGRADUATE, UNDERGRADUATE & RESEARCH LEVELS
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Steering growth Enterprise Ireland’s new chief executive Julie Sinnamon discusses driving change through job creation, providing support for female entrepreneurship and helping Irish firms to access Silicon Valley.
Pictured at the Enterprise Ireland End of Year Statement Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland.
escribing her appointment as CEO of Enterprise Ireland, the government organization responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets, as a “massive honor”, Julie Sinnamon says that the agency is currently working with the strongest group of companies that it has had at any point in its history. Having previously held the position of Executive Director for Global Business
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Development – reporting directly to her predecessor CEO Frank Ryan – Sinnamon has worked at Enterprise Ireland since it was established in 1998. Sinnamon, holds a Masters in International Business and is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Programme. Throughout her career in Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, she gained considerable experience in a variety of industry sectors and international markets. In particular, she has taken a specific interest in Enterprise Ireland’s
Strategy for Female Entrepreneurship. According to Sinnamon, the most significant issue facing Ireland at present is unemployment. “There is a great challenge in terms of trying to actually support and take advantage of opportunities and growth which arises and to ensure that it has a positive impact on job creation. It is fantastic to get that opportunity to try to drive change and influence outcome. But there is no doubt that the single biggest challenge facing Government continues to be the high level of unemployment.”
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Creating Employment Creating jobs will be the key focus of Government and relevant state agencies over the next three years and both the IT sector and the food industry have been identified as central to achieving progress in this regard. “Within the food sector, the area that is going to see the biggest growth is the dairy processing side,” she says. “Ireland is in a global leader position in infant milk formula”. About 10% of the dairy baby food traded internationally is from Ireland and it is a very well regarded high quality product. Areas like sports nutrition and nutrition for the elderly have been strong growth areas within the food sector.” At present, food processing is the largest indigenous industry sector and accounts for 55% of the country’s exports. “We have a really strong group of companies in food and they are very important in terms of the local economy as well as the impact on exports.” Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Limited (GIIL) announced last year that with support from the Department of Jobs through Enterprise Ireland it will create more than 1600 jobs, with the development of a world-class dairy facility on the Kilkenny/Waterford border. This is expected to start production by Spring 2015 and will serve as a major step towards the realization of Harvest 2020 Dairy Vision. Other high growth industries according to Julie include clean tech and medical technology, with the latter forming a strong cluster between the Midlands and the West. “On the software side, it is the only sector that did not lose jobs in the downturn and it continues to perform strongly,” she says. “If you take our start-ups, more than 60% of them are in the internet and softwarerelated areas and this is why a lot of people just associate Enterprise Ireland with technology. But certainly this will continue to be a priority sector going forward.” One of the success stories she references is Eishtec, a Waterford-based company providing consumer contact centre services which is set to create another 250 jobs in Waterford and Wexford by mid-2014. “This will bring its total number of employees to 900, which is an impressive rate of growth given that the company was only established in 2010,” she says.
Pictured at the Enterprise Ireland End of Year Statement Left to right: Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, Mr. Terence O’Rourke, Chairman Enterprise Ireland
Supporting Job Creation Companies supported by Enterprise Ireland created 18,033 new jobs in 2013. This resulted in a net increase of 5,442 in the number of people employed by Enterprise Ireland supported companies, the highest net gain for Irish companies in the last decade and indicators suggest that this was primarily due to the strong export performance of Enterprise Ireland client companies. This continuation of employment growth demonstrates clearly the direct impact that increasing exports has on jobs in Ireland. Enterprise Ireland supported companies now, directly and indirectly, account for more than 300,000 jobs in the Irish economy (16% of total workforce). Total direct employment (full and part time) in Enterprise Ireland client companies stood at 175,750 in 2013. Of these, 149,718 are full-time jobs, while 26,032 are part-time, according to the Annual Employment Survey carried out by Forfás. These full-time employment levels are the highest since 2007 and total
employment is the highest recorded in the last decade. In addition, new job commitments made by Enterprise Ireland clients in 2013 were over 7,100 exceeding the target of 6,250 for the year. Under the Government’s ‘Action Plan for Jobs 2013’ Enterprise Ireland was directly responsible for delivering 77 of a total of 333 actions. Throughout the year we delivered in areas such as regional entrepreneurship through a number of Competitive Feasibility Funds, capability enhancement within our client base via a number of management capability programs and the establishment of a central technology transfer office within Enterprise Ireland clients, linking college expertize with EI client companies. In 2013, Enterprise Ireland invested in 103 new High Potential Start Up companies and also provided critical funding to 85 early stage entrepreneurs under its Competitive Start Funds. These companies come from a wide range of sectors including key areas that the Government has targeted for growth, including financial services, ICT, games, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
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Enterprise Ireland: Support for entrepreneurship • €250,000 Competitive Feasibility Fund for Female Entrepreneurs aimed at continuing to significantly boost the number of high potential female-led business start-ups. • Access Silicon Valley - an initiative designed to fast-track early-stage Irish tech companies who are targeting Silicon Valley and San Francisco. • SPRINT - an initiative designed to help the founders of start-up companies in the digital content sector to shorten the timescale from product development to paying customers. • €375K Competitive Feasibility Fund aimed at stimulating new start-ups or expansion of existing business activity in the Aviation sector. • €21m Enterprise Ireland Commercialization Fund was made available to researchers in the third-level sector to support the commercialization of research and inventions at all stages of development. • €175m Seed and Venture Capital Scheme aimed at leveraging private sector funds to create a total of €700m for investment 2013-2018. • €20m Innovation Fund Ireland investment with leading international Venture Capital Fund Highland Capital Partners Europe. • €125m Growth Capital Ireland Fund to focus on Irish SMEs - a new fund which will focus on investing in Irish SMEs, under the Government’s Development Capital Scheme. • €1m research programme in Data Analytics: “Big Data” is a key sector growing at 40% per annum worldwide, and is targeted for jobs growth as part of the ‘Disruptive Reforms’ in the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2013.
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Female Entrepreneurs Encouraging growth in female entrepreneurship is a specific focus under the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs and an important priority for Sinnamon. Pointing to the scale of the challenge she says that less than 10% of the 93 new high potential start-up projects typically supported by Enterprise Ireland every year have a female member on the team. “It is a problem globally as well as being a specific issue for Ireland but it is also an issue on which we have made significant progress over the last year,” she says. “For the last number of years, there have been on average 7 out of 93 involved on the teams which we support which is really low. Last year it increased to 15 out of 93 but it is still significantly lower than we would like and there is a far higher number of female participants in our domestic service companies. A lot of people who setup startups are serial entrepreneurs and existing senior or middle management which are areas where there has traditionally been a low level of female participation. Enterprise Ireland’s initiatives to boost the number of innovative, export-oriented businesses being set up and led by female entrepreneurs include the new €250,000 Competitive Feasibility Fund for Female Entrepreneurs, Sinnamon explains. The purpose of the Competitive Start Fund for Female Entrepreneurs, meanwhile, is to accelerate the growth of Female-led start-up companies that have the capability to succeed in global markets. The funding call is open to female-led start-ups in Manufacturing and Internationally Traded Services including Internet, Games, Apps, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, Life Sciences, Food, Consumer Products, Medical Devices and e-Health. “There has been an increase in the number of projects supported by females,” she says.
Lean Business Another successful initiative has been Enterprise Ireland’s Lean Business Offer, which comprises three levels of support: LeanStart, LeanPlus and LeanTransform and Sinnamon reveals that 500 companies have already completed the program.
Designed to encourage clients to adopt Lean business principles in their organization to increase performance and competitiveness, the programme has had a significant impact in terms of reducing costs for the companies which have participated. Even the stronger companies have gained a lot from it,” says Sinnamon. “We have brought about 1,100 people to Wales to look at lean processes at Toyota. This has encouraged these people to look at Lean for themselves, across all manufacturing and service companies.”
Business Strategy & Leadership In relation to the support offered to a small company by Enterprise Ireland, Sinnamon explains that the first step involves working with the firm on its business proposition and strategy, whether carried out directly within the organization or by linking the company to other entrepreneurs, consultants or mentors. Working on research and development for the company, there is a firm focus on differentiation. “We work heavily with third level institutions in terms of setting up technology centers to work with our companies in order to strengthen their position.” Sinnamon points out that Global reports show Ireland is an entrepreneurial country but she says we have yet to overcome the challenge of building larger companies with a global presence. “I think the one area in which we have room for improvement is in terms of scaling companies. That is a significant challenge and while we have a high rate of start-ups and a considerable number of smaller firms, we aren’t creating sufficient numbers of medium and largesized companies.” One of criteria identified as critical to building an organization with critical mass is leadership and Sinnamon says that there is now a much greater focus in Enterprise Ireland on working to develop management and leadership skills from an early stage. The organization’s Accelerated Growth and Leadership 4 Growth programs have been critical in this regard and Sinnamon believes that it is making a real impact in terms of enhancing the caliber of entrepreneurs taking the programme. “Ireland is a small market; therefore you have to internationalize from the start,
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(Qatar) from the recent Trade Mission to the Gulf Region – with An Taoiseach and Minister Bruton
but it is also about having the ambition and the confidence to pursue your vision to its fullest potential. It also helps entrepreneurs to be able to connect with like-minded people who are every bit as good and better than they are. People going through the Leadership Program have a much higher level of confidence and a much firmer grip on developing strategies and building a talented team, which is critical to any business. There is no question that the vast majority of those who have taken the program are now far more effective business leaders.”
Access Silicon Valley Enterprise Ireland maintains an office in Mountain View, Silicon Valley and last year the organization launched the Access Silicon Valley initiative which is designed to fast-track early-stage Irish tech companies targeting Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Using Enterprise Ireland’s significant industry contacts in San Francisco, the objective of Access Silicon Valley is to accelerate innovative Irish tech companies’ entry to the US market. “There was a view they were going into that market and they were not really ready to go into the market.” The initiative has three phases: an online
assessment followed by video-conferencing with industry experts, a three-day bootcamp in Dublin, extensive one-to-one mentoring and a fortnight-long tailored itinerary to Silicon Valley including introductions to potential partners, specialists and mentors. “We took a group of companies into the marketplace and we linked in with a supplier in the US to work with the companies in terms of helping them get access into the market. The key role of Enterprise Ireland is to identify the connections in the market and then facilitate and assist Irish companies who are trying to reach those markets.” The ITLG is really important in that regard because they have a firm foothold in the marketplace, she says. “They are a really strong resource in terms of opening doors, helping to make connections and they have the expertize to help companies expand their presence in the market.” Seven of the companies involved in the pilot programme had an intensive two-week itinerary which included meetings with companies such as Sony, Facebook, Apple and One King’s Lane. The ability to deliver a strong pitch is critical for anyone seeking to market their product or raise finance in the US market and it was an important component of the
program. “Like being a concert pianist, it is 99% perspiration. It does not come naturally, it just needs practice and more practice, and requires strong focus from the company.”
Engaging Multinationals Back home, Sinnamon believes there is scope for much stronger engagement between indigenous companies and the 1,050 multinationals operating in Ireland. “I think more could be done in this regard and a joint Enterprise Ireland/IDA senior management group has been established to examine this issue. There could be significant benefits for Irish firms by strengthening the relationship with multinationals, particularly in relation to global sourcing. The multinationals here are really interested in the innovative solutions that Irish companies offer and small companies can really do this very well.” Commenting on her main focus for the year ahead, Sinnamon says the key priority is jobs; trying to prioritize the sectors which are job intensive and trying to grow and scale companies within those sectors. “If you take the medium-sized engineering company with very strong products and service, it is all about trying to prioritize those. It is about growth and it is all about trying to drive jobs.” SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 39
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John Stanton, ITLG Executive Director address the ITLG Summit in Cork last year.
Shane Cassells talks to ITLG Executive Director John Stanton about the importance of leading technology companies embracing the concept of “Open Innovation”.
larity of thought is the one thing that most top executives need and when you have a clear focus of what you want to do, the path ahead can appear
very straight. Now when the process involves blowing up the path you have just walked to get to the point ahead there may be a moment where you pause and question whether that is the correct course of action. For ITLG Executive Director, John Stanton though the concept of “Open Innovation” is something which needs to be embraced by our most successful and well known global brands if they aim to retain the dynamism that has brought them this success and indeed for them to retain their market share going forward. The central idea behind open innovation
is that, in a world of widely distributed knowledge, companies cannot afford to rely entirely on their own research, but should instead buy or license processes or inventions (i.e. patents) from other companies. John Stanton sets out his stall in the most forthright fashion for the embracing of the “Open Innovation” process, which he feels must be adopted if the top companies in the world are to remain at the cutting edge of development. “The traditional R&D process by a major company would see a lot of research having to take place before a product would be ready for the market place,” explains Stanton. “Extensive research would lead to a discovery and then the process involving the manufacturing and release of the product would occur. Then there would be a repeat of the life cycle or incremental improvements to the existing product.”
“The challenge that is being laid down now to these top companies is that there are small start-up companies – some operating out of garages - whose research and products are out-innovating their larger competitors.” “So there is no doubt that they have to embrace the process that is called ‘creative destruction.’ This is effectively where the company has to destroy their current product base to allow new innovations to take hold and emerge”. “Naturally this is something which some companies may be hesitant in doing as they have to potentially hurt their existing revenue streams to revolutionize their business. “An excellent example of this is Apple where they hurt their old business and changed fundamentally to compete in the market place.” The issue of open innovation is one SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 41
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which Stanton speaks passionately about but that passion does not cloud his clarity of thought. He points out clearly that Open Innovation is about leveraging ideas and resources to remain competitive in the market place. Stanton feels if it is not embraced by top companies they are hurting themselves as business moves forward. “Typically most companies focus on their existing business and as a result they lose sight of evolving markets”. “The reality is though that if 50% of your revenue stream is not coming from products you have conceived in the last three years then you have a problem”. “A classic example of this would be the phone company Nokia who felt that their strength in the market place was untouchable. It was quite simply shocking how quickly that fell away with the advancements made in this market by companies such as Apple and Samsung”. “It is pretty shocking how a big name can just disappear and the reality is that all products have life cycles. The risks associated with not pushing the boundaries hard are huge and you can then be out-innovated by two guys in a garage.” Stanton offers a very interesting insight into how companies sometimes do not release new products they have developed into the market place because they feel that is just not the right time. He uses the example of Kodak and how they had the technology for the production of the first digital camera as far back as 1976. In his view timing is essential and that was a key component in Kodak making that decision that not to pursue the technology available to them. Turning his attention to the situation in Ireland and the presence of the ITLG Forum in Limerick, Stanton is extremely optimistic about some of the fine work taking place by 42 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
ITLG Executive Director John Stanton pictured with Barry O’Sullivan and Craig Barrett.
“Open Innovation” is something which needs to be embraced by our most successful and well known global brands if they aim to retain the dynamism that has brought them this success and indeed for them to retain their market share going forward.” start-up companies in both the host city and wider country. “Over the past six to seven years we have seen more and more great investments take place in Ireland through our work with ITLG,” reflects Stanton.
“One great example is Gneo where they are applying a new approach to productivity management with the development of a task management app for iPhones and iPads.” As you create tasks inside the app, Gneo helps you to organize them according to their importance and urgency. “It is easier to start up companies now and as a result we are going to see more and more exciting developments such as this emerge.” “Another great example is Mcor Technologies where we saw the potential with that company at ITLG and invested in it”. “Again this was literally a ‘two guys in a garage’ situation where they had a great idea but were on the edge of bankruptcy.” “We invested three years ago and now these guys (brothers Dr Conor MacCormack and Fintan MacCormack) are bringing 3D fullcolor and eco-friendly printers to the masses”. “It really is a monumental development and they are now providing accessibility to a once niche technology.” Returning to the central theme of Open Innovation, Stanton is firm in his beliefs that companies need to embrace change. “It is a concept that really needs to be embraced deeply by organizations. I think more and more companies are doing it”. “With such excellent engineering talent available the necessity for companies to embrace the concept becomes more and more important.”
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Talking Tax Ireland and the Global Tax Environment by Anna Scally, partner at KPMG. 44 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
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olitical and media interest in how multinational companies structure their international tax affairs is high. Given Ireland’s success in attracting substantial foreign direct investment (FDI) over many decades, there has been a particular focus on Ireland. Much of the commentary and interest has been unwarranted and unfair. Ireland has a stable and competitive corporate tax regime which is fair and transparent. Low corporate taxes have been a tool of economic policy since the 1950’s. The stability and transparency of Ireland’s corporate tax regime provides certainty to international investors and is an important part of Ireland’s attractiveness. We should not hide the fact that Ireland’s corporate tax regime is very competitive by any global standard, with a 12.5% corporate tax rate and an attractive R&D tax credit regime. Ireland has an extensive network of Double Tax Treaties and Information Exchange Agreements. In addition, Ireland was one of the first countries in the world to sign an agreement to improve International Tax Compliance (FATCA), with the US. But it’s not just Ireland’s competitive corporate tax regime that is attractive to international investors. The fact that Ireland offers access to a huge market in Europe of over 500m people, has a flexible, skilled and productive workforce, is one of the most open economies in the world and has a track record of delivering for international investors, are all critically important too. In December 2013, Forbes named Ireland “the best country for business” in its latest rankings. Those rankings are determined by grading 145 nations on 11 different factors which include innovation, taxes, technology, red tape, investor protection and stock market performance. That said, tax is important too and internationally changes are afoot. Never before have we seen such a concerted effort by so many countries to put pressure on multinational companies to pay more taxes. This isn’t surprising at a time when so many countries’ financial circumstances are constrained. It also comes at a time where business models are changing rapidly and international tax rules and norms may no longer be fit for purpose. There are many
“Never before have we seen such a concerted effort by so many countries to put pressure on multinational companies to pay more taxes. This isn’t surprising at a time when so many countries’ financial circumstances are constrained. It also comes at a time where business models are changing rapidly and international tax rules and norms may no longer be fit for purpose.” initiatives in train aimed at tackling some of the issues countries and tax authorities are concerned about. These include the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project (BEPS), the evolving thinking on transfer pricing, many developments at an EU level including the working group on taxing the digital economy and discussions on US Tax Reform. Ireland has embraced the OECD and EU discussions and projects. Representatives from the Irish Department of Finance and Revenue Commissioners are actively contributing to a number of the working groups established to progress the objectives laid out in the BEPS Action Plan issued
Anna Scally, partner at KPMG
in July 2013. Ireland also has direct representation on the EU expert group reviewing taxation of the Digital Economy. While international tax changes will not happen overnight, and indeed the extent and impact of any changes may not be radical, it is clear that the substance of activities and the creation of value are going to be even more critical to the determination of where profits ultimately reside. In that context, it is critically important that Ireland remains a competitive place to locate substantive economic activity. IBM’s Global Location Trends 2013 Annual Report, published in December 2013, again cited Ireland as the number 1 ranked destination by average value of investment projects. This is a measure of the added value and knowledge intensity of the jobs created by investment projects. This is a real vote of confidence in Ireland by international investors and hugely underpins the sustainability of projects and activities located in Ireland. Indeed it also points to Ireland being in a very good position to deal with any international tax challenges which may come down the tracks. I firmly believe Ireland is very well placed to deal with any changes in the international tax environment and it will remain a competitive and very attractive location for international businesses. Anna Scally is a Tax Partner in KPMG. She is also a Board Member of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and Chairs their Tax Working Group. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 45
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PCH International CEO Liam Casey discusses how he transformed
a one-person startup into a global company, the launch of Highway1, and the importance of being patient in China. 46 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
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CH International founder and CEO Liam Casey has taken the company, which creates, develops and delivers the world’s best technology products for the world’s best brands, from a one-person start up to a global company with 5,000 people and his phenomenal success and intimate knowledge of the Chinese market has earned him the sobriquet ‘Mr China’. Casey was working for a trading company in California when he asked a Taiwanese colleague if he had ever sold hardware to Ireland, to which the colleague responded: “I’ve never heard of that company.” “I knew there had to be an opportunity in Asia and I sensed that the Chinese economy was primed to take off,” he says. “The business has since grown from a one man sourcing service to a company which employs 5,000 people and offers complete end-to-end product development and supply chain solutions. Our customer base now includes the world’s top brands and innovative start-ups.” PCH started out as a Cork-based trading company in 1996 before Casey established its operational center in Shenzhen, China, in 2000, reaching $30 million in revenue by 2001 and $100 million by 2006. Named after the Pacific Coast Highway in Southern California, one of the most visually stunning roads on the planet, PCH’s disruption of traditional supply chain models dramatically shortened the time-to-market for products and had top brand names queuing up. Top line revenue for 2012 was US $815 million, he reveals. PCH International never viewed China as just a low cost cheap labour destination, he says. “The ecosystem and networks that are available in South China, particularly Shenzhen, are a key element of success for the consumer electronics industry. The skilled workforce available here is a phenomenal advantage.” “We have always focused on offering the best customer service, developing partnerships and delivering peace of mind. Our business has grown organically and from word of mouth,” he says. Casey describes China as “a long-term commitment. You can’t expect to get things done overnight – but if you are patient, you’ll find that it’s worth the time invested. A tip for Irish companies is that you can’t be afraid
to fail; in fact you have to fail at some things to be successful and break new boundaries.” PCH has been in China for 17 years, moving 10 million parts every day across its facilities, with an annual retail value of $8 billion, he says. “We work with the world’s top brands, and we are fortunate to have a very good network of suppliers and most importantly we have an excellent relationship with our factories; there is an element of trust
PCH International CEO Liam Casey
“The ecosystem and networks that are available in South China, particularly Shenzhen, are a key element of success for the consumer electronics industry.” and partnership with the factories we work with. This doesn’t happen overnight,” he says. The company has also been on the acquisitions trail and focusses on companies which will help it gain a further competitive edge and improve the offering to customers. “Our acquisition strategy is to find the best fit for our company and to ensure a better service offering for our customers. The acquisitions we have made – TNS, Lime Lab, and recently CONEXUS in Australia – have been really successful additions to our business. “Our customers now enjoy an even broader range of services under one umbrella. We also feel it’s important to match the culture of our company and that’s why we always look at other entrepreneurial
companies and where the best fit lies.” The company expanded its service offering in 2011, with the launch of the PCH Accelerator program — facilitating the speed of start-up products to market — and the acquisition of TNS Distribution, a European distributor of consumer electronics products and accessories which last year agreed an official partnership with Beats by Dr Dre. PCH Accelerator selected Lark, an innovative silent waking system that lets the user wake naturally, as the accelerator’s inaugural startup. Launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York in 2011, LARK is an innovative silent waking system that lets the user wake naturally, according to their own biological clock. The system involves an iPhone app and a small band that you wear across your wrist while sleeping. During the same year, PCH opened new offices in Seoul and Tokyo, expanding its sourcing, supplier management and customer relations services, and also launched PCH China Direct, enabling global brands to sell into the domestic China market. Announcing its 2011 full year results, the Group reported a 72% increase in turnover to $710m (€510.1m), driven by strong demand for accessories for smartphones, tablets and eReaders. PCH expanded its product development and engineering services in the US market in June 2012 with the agreement to acquire Lime Lab Inc, a Silicon Valley-based product development consultancy. PCH works with companies of all sizes that are passionate about their brand, passionate about design, and passionate about the consumer experience, he says. Kanye West, superstar talent Manager Troy Carter and Will.i.Am, who started his own consumer electronics business called iam+ are believed to have engaged with PCH with a view to delivering on their technology hardware creative concepts, however Casey is reluctant to comment on celebrities he is said to do business with. In October last year PCH signed an MOU with Tyndall National Institute in October to support the generation and scaling of new high tech start-up companies in Ireland targeting the global market. The MOU provides for close collaboration between PCH’s two programs for start-ups, Highway1 and PCH SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 47
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Accelerator and Tyndall’s international network of over 200 industry clients to identify market opportunities. “Tyndall is a very exciting partner for us. The innovation they have is tremendous. The research work we have seen from them is worldclass, particularly in the health and wellness market, and we are both focused on promoting successful high potential hardware start-ups.” Potential projects will target the electronics, medical devices, energy and communication industries with research and development at Tyndall’s unique state-ofthe-art research and pilot-line fabrication facilities in Cork. “We believe that inexperience among start-ups is actually a driver of innovation. They look at different ways of doing things, new ideas, new processes, and quite often they don’t take no for an answer! This helps keep us fit as a company.” Reflecting on 2013, the same year in which Casey was appointed by the Irish Government as one of six leading business people to join the Action Plan for Jobs Implementation and Monitoring Group, Casey says it was a “very exciting year for PCH”, with the launch of Highway1, new Accelerator clients, and the partnership with the Tyndall Institute. Irish company Zinc Software Ltd, which develops next generation heart sensors aimed at the health and wellness market, became the first European start-up on PCH’s Accelerator 48 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
program in April last year. In June, PCH launched Highway1, its new Incubator program for early hardware start-ups. The program consists of a fourmonth educational curriculum taught in San Francisco, a two-week module taught in Shenzhen, up to $20,000 in seed capital for a 3% to 6% equity, access to office and product prototyping facilities with equipment valued over $3 million, one-on-one engineering, design and mentoring expertise and access to a mentor network. Lively, a client of PCH International’s Accelerator program, announced in September that it has secured Series A financing of $4.8 million. The financing is being led by Cambria Health Solutions, the largest health solutions corporation in the Pacific. Lively’s activity-sharing products aim to help the millions of older adults living at home to retain their independence. The new hardware uses cellular technology to communicate with in-home passive sensors that learn an older adult’s normal daily routines. In November last year, another PCH Accelerator client littleBits, the New Yorkbased open hardware start-up and maker of a library of electronic bits modules that snap together with magnets for prototyping, learning and fun, announced an $11.1 million funding round. The following month, PCH International announced that its group company TNS Distribution had acquired Australian
distribution company CONEXUS, which distributes consumer and IT products to the retail, reseller, lifestyle and online markets in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. Asked his views on the calibre of Ireland’s entrepreneurial cultural and the extent of support aspiring entrepreneurs receive, he describes the country as incredibly innovative. “We have the advantages of a highly skilled English-speaking workforce, the time zone advantage, and an amazing can-do attitude. Organizations such as Enterprise Ireland and others can be a great support, but I believe entrepreneurs can’t rely on support alone. As business people, we have to get up and make things happen ourselves.” The ITLG is incredibly helpful, he says, adding that the network it offers in the Silicon Valley region is ‘fantastic’. “Silicon Valley is essential for technology entrepreneurs to build contacts. PCH are opening our new US Headquarters in San Francisco in Q1 and we hope to build an even bigger network in the area.” Asked about his future plans, Casey emphasizes that 2014 is the Year of the Horse in China, symbolizing energy, adventure and self-improvement. “We always have adventures at PCH. Our core objectives are to offer even better customer service and to expand our business where possible, potentially through acquisitions and new offices if we can find the right partners.”
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IDA Jobs Boost
The IDA created more than 13,000 jobs in 2013 with firms supported by the agency now employing 161,112 people - the highest number in its history. The agency also announced that it is to build regional bases in order to attract inward investment outside the main urban areas. 50 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
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n its end-of-year review, the agency revealed that 13,367 new jobs were created by IDA-backed companies. When job losses are accounted for the net employment increase was 7,071. This represents the highest level of job creation in over a decade and represents a further signal that the worst of the recession may be over. It is a good result for CEO Barry O’Leary who is due to step down later this year to pursue other opportunities outside the organization. However, O’Leary who has held the post of CEO since 2008 and has worked with the IDA since 1976 claimed that the country is in a stronger position now than for many years. Through the course of last year, 164 new investments were secured representing an increase of 13% on 2012 figures. In addition, 78 new companies invested in Ireland for the first time which is up 18% on the previous year. Inward investment from America’s west coast were responsible for creating over 3,000 jobs, almost a quarter of the total created and the technology sector continues to account for about three quarters of the IDA’s business from the region. New tech investments last year included Airbnb, Dropbox and Zendesk while Yahoo, Ebay, Twitter, Symantic and Facebook all announced plans to expand their operations in Ireland. While the record job numbers are a significant boost the agency continues to struggle to meet its target of having 50% of FDI being focused outside the major centers of Dublin and Cork. Last year the figure was 30% which was up 5% on 2012. While praising the IDA on its performance Fianna Fáil spokesman on jobs Dara Calleary has warned against regional inequality and said that many areas of the country have ‘lost out’. “The IDA must be commended for supporting the creation of thousands of jobs last year. Many of these are highly skilled positions in the high-tech and pharmaceutical industries, and are as a result of years of work and investment in building Ireland’s reputation as a global hub for these valuable sectors. The fact that such companies continue to choose Ireland as a base for their operations is a major vote of confidence in this country and its workforce,” he said. However, he also pointed to figures he
received from a Parliamentary Question which show that between 2012 and the first 8 months of 2013, the IDA sponsored a single site visit to Co Leitrim, just 3 to Co Mayo, 4 to Co Roscommon, 5 IDA visits to Co Donegal and 5 to Co Cavan. This compares to 50 IDA visits to Limerick, 66 to Cork and 348 to Dublin. In fact, Dublin accounted for 55% of all IDA site visits in the first 8 months of 2013. Calleary said that the IDA has demonstrated that it is capable of securing investment outside the major urban centers. He referred to the focus on Co Louth between 2012 and the first 8 months of 2013 when it received 19 IDA companies resulting in eBay announcing 450 jobs in Dundalk and a series of other high profile job announcements. “The IDA has had great success over the years in attracting valuable foreign direct investment to this country. The focus must now be on ensuring a much greater focus on those areas that are in desperate need of a jobs boost and have continually lost out.” O’Leary acknowledges the challenge involved in achieving a greater regional dispersal of inward investment and said the agency needs to create new “property capacity in regional locations” where “the private sector is unable currently to develop property solutions”. He revealed that the IDA is to build two 25,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facilities in Waterford and Athlone and an office building for international services in Letterkenny. It is the first time in four years that the IDA has built a facility and the buildings will be marketed by the agency in an effort to attract companies into those areas. He also revealed that the agency is exploring the possibility of purchasing suitable sites in other locations. “We’re looking at options in Galway and we’re also looking at acquiring land banks in Limerick but we would expect the private sector to look after the large 100,000 sq. ft. facility that will be needed very shortly in the Dublin area,” he said. The IDA also plans to examine how to introduce new forms of FDI, a process that will be directed by his successor. O’Leary said that the agency is going into the New Year fully aware of the competitive threats and economic challenges
CEO of the IDA Barry O’Leary who is due to step down later this year.
Fianna Fáil spokesman on jobs Dara Calleary
but confident that it can deliver another year of strong investments for Ireland. While O’Leary is remaining at the helm until his replacement is appointed in the middle of this year, he said that the agency will have to look at its strategy beyond Horizon 2020 which is in its fourth year. “We need to look beyond our current strategy and it’s really important that whoever is involved in the formulation of that strategy is involved in the delivery of it.” SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 51
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Tax and Technology Tax Changes can benefit Ireland’s Tech sector says Peter Vale, Grant Thornton.
f the two certainties in life are death and taxes, then a close third is that the global tax landscape will look quite different in a few short years from now. You might think that any changes would not be good for a country such as Ireland. Surely there is a global campaign to punish countries such as Ireland that consistently use tax as a tool to encourage investment, often trumping larger countries in the process? In fact the opposite is the case. Ireland’s tax regime has been lauded by the OECD’s Tax Director, Pascal Saint Amans. This is significant as the OECD is leading the review of the existing rules, with a clear mandate to implement change. And fast. Separately, the EU is reviewing the taxation of the digital economy. And of course the US has its own concerns about the shifting of taxable profits away from the US. So what does it all mean for Ireland and in particular the technology sector? What we’re likely to see is a tax
“What we’re likely to see is a tax environment where it is more difficult to separate the real operations of a business and its valuable intellectual property. The OECD would prefer that taxable profits more closely follow the operations of a company (as opposed to its intangible assets).” environment where it is more difficult to separate the real operations of a business and its valuable intellectual property. The OECD would prefer that taxable profits more closely follow the operations of a company (as opposed to its intangible assets). That is likely to impact most on countries where traditionally there is little real substance, such as the pure tax havens. The vast majority of overseas companies operating in Ireland have real substance here and may be encouraged to further augment their Irish workforce in the new landscape. We may also see intellectual property move away from tax havens to onshore countries such as Ireland as the tax benefit of
Peter Vale, Partner, Grant Thornton
hosting it offshore is eroded. Of course we will not be the only country hoping to profit from any changes. If we are to succeed we will need to have a competitive tax regime that incentivises groups to house both operations/employees here, as well as their intellectual property. What is positive is that successive governments have realized the importance of continually improving our tax offering to attract high value added technology posts. These jobs are more sustainable and less transferable, thereby binding a company to Ireland and simultaneously developing local expertise here. Whether we like it or not, the global tax landscape is changing, with significant implications for Ireland. How we respond to the changes will determine whether Ireland continues to be as successful in using tax policy as a means to attracting key technology players here. Past performance would suggest that we’ll adapt successfully. This article was provided by Peter Vale, Tax Partner, Grant Thornton Ireland and Kevin Foley, Director Corporate Audit, Grant Thornton Ireland.
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Jobs Forum Job creation was the principal focus of last Octobers Global Irish Economic Forum where ITLG President John Hartnett chaired a working group titled, â€œDeveloping a Supportive Culture for Entrepreneurship and Start-Up Companies in Irelandâ€?.
he Global Irish Economic Forum which took place last October saw more than 260 of the most influential Irish and Irish-connected individuals from around the globe gather in Dublin Castle to provide the Government and Irish business with advice and expertise in sectors with a high-potential for job creation. This principal focus of the Forum was job creation and economic growth and there was a particular focus on Irish small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The participants from overseas were joined by members of
the Government, Secretaries General of Government Departments, CEOs of State Agencies, members of the Opposition and leading members of the Irish business and cultural sectors. The Irish business attendees were made up of senior figures from multinational companies with significant investments here, Irish companies with a substantial international profile and representatives from the indigenous SME sector. This was the third Global Irish Economic Forum and the previous two Fora which were held in 2009 and 2011 transformed the way in which the government and its
agencies engage with leading and influential members of the diaspora. The Global Irish Economic Forum is now regarded as a model of engagement and 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 the key initiatives from the previous Fora were the Gathering, Connect Ireland, the Global Irish Contacts Program, the Farmleigh Fellowship and Reaching Out. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 55
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The members of the network including representatives such as ITLG President John Hartnett, Susan Davis (US), Liam Casey (PCH), Gerard Lawless (UAE) and Sean O’Driscoll (Ireland) also participated in detailed preparations for the Forum. The initiative has developed from an ad hoc, fragmented approach to one with a strong strategic focus. The 2013 Forum built on the achievements of the previous forum and focused substantially on job creation. The Forum consisted of a mixture of plenary sessions, panel discussions, working groups and networking opportunities. ITLG founder and President, John Hartnett chaired a working group titled, “Developing a Supportive Culture for Entrepreneurship and Start-Up Companies in Ireland”. A number of high profile business leaders and representatives participated in the group including Denis O’Brien, Digicel, Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland and Paddy Cosgrove, Dublin Web Summit. Representatives from the Departments of Finance and Foreign Affairs and the Taoiseach’s office also took part. Outlining the challenge facing the group, Hartnett said that the main focus was on assisting Irish companies to scale. “Ireland’s challenge is not about starting companies, it’s about scaling companies. There are plenty of Irish companies that can get funding of €50,000 to €250,000 with a great idea but the challenges lies in taking a small company and creating a multi-billion dollar company,” he said. The working group identified the main obstacles to growth facing Irish companies which include access to substantial capital to drive scale and how small to medium companies can access and retain top talent. The group developed a number of specific proposals aimed at overcoming the challenges identified which Hartnett presented to the Taoiseach in the final session. In relation to accessing capital the group proposed the introduction of a bond with competitive interest rates in order to support scaling companies. This is a mechanism used widely in Germany and Hartnett said it would enable companies to scale without having to sacrifice too great an equity stake. Rapidly expanding technology companies also face difficulties in securing and retaining 56 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
“We also proposed the creation of a $25 million Global Investment Fund made up of contributions from business leaders among Ireland’s diaspora who would also commit to assisting talented young entrepreneurs with coaching and mentoring. Participants would have the opportunity to invest in companies they choose through the investor group structure with individual investors pledging between $250,000 and $1m.” top talent as they are competing against major corporations with bottomless resources. Hartnett suggests that one of the ways smaller companies can compete for talent is by offering stock options. “In Silicon Valley many smaller companies have a system of share options which enable them to offer a package which is sufficiently attractive to entice talented staff who will stand to benefit significantly if the company is successful.
However, in Ireland it is extremely expensive legally to implement this system so we proposed measures for the Government to facilitate such an arrangement and make it both cost effective and tax efficient for both the company and employees.” The working group examined a range of other issues including how to facilitate small and medium sized companies improve their export potential, how to encourage entrepreneurship from an earlier age and how to engage the diaspora in terms of providing mentoring and investment for high potential start-ups. “One of the programmes we looked at was the Young Scientists Competition which is a fantastic programme that has been in place for fifty odd years,” said Hartnett. “We looked at that as a model going forward and proposed establishing a young entrepreneurs programme which would an excellent initiative to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs “We also proposed the creation of a $25 million Global Investment Fund made up of contributions from business leaders among Ireland’s diaspora who would also commit to assisting talented young entrepreneurs with coaching and mentoring. Participants would have the opportunity to invest in companies they choose through the investor group structure with individual investors pledging between $250,000 and $1m. We had a great reaction with people such as Craig Barrett, John Ryan, Rich Moran, Barry O’Sullivan, Liam Casey, and Sean O’Sullivan, all indicating their willingness to get involved. Hartnett is confident that real and tangible results will emerge from the deliberations at the Forum and says that the creation of an advisory group – of which he is a part – will be vital to ensuring that the proposals are translated into concrete action. “There has always been a degree of concern about the Forum and its ability to execute real tangible recommendations and deliver results. The key difference on this occasion is the advisory group which is working with the Government to implement and manage these initiatives. So I am very confident that we can make progress and have a real and meaningful impact in terms of assisting talented entrepreneurs fulfil their potential.
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Start-ups to watch in 2014.
ast year a report by Dublin Chamber of Commerce predicted that Dublin is fast becoming the best place in Europe to start a business while the Wall Street Journal, ranked Ireland as Europe’s most entrepreneurial country. The Wall Street Journal rankings were compiled following an analysis of Dow Jones VentureSource data on the total amount of venture capital raised by tech companies in each European country since 2003. The
findings revealed that Ireland has attracted four times as much venture capital per capita as the European average, an analysis reveals. The ability of Ireland’s tech companies to attract investment was not the only factor which placed Ireland at the top rung of European start-ups. The journal also reported that Ireland has a young, talented and highly educated workforce which has helped generate “huge value creation” among the considerable number of global technology giants which have established operations in Ireland.
The presence of corporations such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, Yahoo and Microsoft have helped inspire start-ups and whetted and fuelled the appetite of aspiring entrepreneurs, according to the Journal. Some exceptional technology companies have emerged in recent years and evidence suggests that 2014 will see a further batch of young companies make their mark. In the following pages we present (in no particular order) a selection of tech companies destined to make an impact. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 59
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Trustev Just over a year since it was founded Trustev has grown from four employees to 15 and been named as one of the “hottest global start-ups of 2013” by ‘Forbes’ magazine. The company has also won the European Commission’s Tech All-Star Award as well as an innovation award at the ITLG/Irish Times Silicon Valley Awards. The company is also well funded and recently closed a $3m seedfunding round which will funds the company’s expansion to the United States, and help further the development of Trustev’s anti-fraud and payment-protection solutions for e-commerce. 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. According to research by eMarketer, global e-commerce sales are expected to reach nearly $1.3trn in 2013, making online fraud prevention an urgent and important requirement for any merchant.
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Currency Fair is a Dublin-headquartered venture that has created a peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace model for people to transfer money between different currencies online without using a bank. The company which employs 24 people was launched in 2010 employs 24 people and with plans to scale quickly, it envisages further job creation in 2014. The company was founded by Brett Meyers from Perth, Australia, Sean Barrett who is based in Newcastle, just North of Sydney, Australia, and Jonathan Potter, who is based in CurrencyFair’s London office. Since it first launched, CurrencyFair has secured more than €3m ($4m) in funding and transferred €600m globally for its customers, saving them an estimated
Viddyad Winners of the 2013 ESB Spark of Genius Award where they beat off stiff competition from 100 Irish technology companies, Viddyad is a cloud-based video ad-creation tool with access to more than 10m videos and images. Users can simply select the videos and images, add text, logo, music and special effects, and the Viddyad platform creates a video commercial in seconds for use online, through social media, blogs or websites.
€25m in banks fees. CurrencyFair plans to leverage the investment to introduce product enhancements and additional features which will provide customers with a better online experience when transferring money.
Led by CEO Grainne Barron, Viddyad, has struck a deal with imagery giant Getty Images that will enable small businesses around the world to create their own video ads online within a minute. Almost 25% of all online videos viewed are now ads, according to ComScore. In 2012, online video ad volume grew 46%, a rate that continued last year. With Viddyad, small and medium-sized businesses can tap into this market to promote their companies and products with professional video ads, and generate leads for their sales pipelines.
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Galway native Paul Cobone set up Cobone.com after travelling to the Middle East to take up work in 2010. Founded with backing from the Jabbar Internet Group, Cobone.com has since developed it into the largest daily deal site in the region and grown its registered user base to over 2 million customers. In recognition of the success of Cobone.com, Enterprise Ireland appointed Paul Cobone as start-up ambassador for the Middle-East. He has recently established a new venture capital firm which will invest some €20 million into high potential start-ups targeting the Middle East market over the next two years.
Style-Eyes scooped Enterprise Ireland’s 2013 ‘One to Watch’ award and is making its presence felt in the competitive world of fashion. It uses image recognition technology to take the hassle out of shopping around for fashion and accessories. It enables the user to take a picture of a fashion item, e.g. a dress, and the platform will then search through a global retailer database to find an exact match. It’s already getting serious attention in the fashion world.
Soundwave A new comer to the Irish tech scene, Soundwave emerged from NDRC’s launchpad accelerator program as the winner of its winter 2013 startup batch. Soundwave is a music discovery app with a difference. It works by allowing users see what their friends or favorite bands or celebrities are listening to in real time and it allows the music industry to see which songs are being played most frequently. Many believe that the software has the potential to completely revolutionize the music industry. The music app was launched simultaneously in 14 different languages on both android phones and iPhones. The company’s founders Brendan O’Driscoll, Aidan Sliney and Craig Watson managed to persuade English actor Stephen Fry, who has almost six million twitter followers to launch the app in London and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has
John and Patrick Collinson, Stripe
described it as “a music app that fits my life completely.” When users discover new songs through the app and choose to download them from iTunes or the Play Store, the company receives a 5-10% commission off the purchase price. The company is aiming to become the Google analytics for the music business and provides 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 now,” explains Brendan O’Driscoll.
The two brothers who became millionaires while still at school have seen their latest venture Stripe, a new online payment form attracts close to $20 million in venture capital and the company is now valued at over $100 million. Stripe is a simplified online payments system that allows retailers to accept payments without having to store customer’s credit card details or set up merchant bank facilities. This allows retailers to avoid having to comply with antifraud and data protection practices. The company is 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.
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TeamworkPM The Cork based start-up, Teamwork Project Manager is an easy-touse online teamwork & project management software application that helps managers, staff and clients work together more productively online. There are numerous team project management solutions, but TeamworkPM is particularly effective in handling the diverse nature of tasks a Project Manager has to contend with, including task delegation and management, setting milestones and time stamps, uploading relevant files, working with e-mail alerts, etc. The company currently employs 12 full time team members and enjoys $2.7M in annual income with a 45% profit margin. With an impressive client base that includes the likes of Microsoft, eBay, Universal Studios, PayPal and Pepsi, the company is set for a big year.
Mcor Technologies Another company already beginning to achieve global recognition and a commanding market share in its field is Louth based 3D printing company, Mcor Technologies which was established by brothers Conor and Fintan McCormack. Mcor Technologies has developed 3D printing machines that use A4 paper – which significantly reduces 3D printing costs. Finalists in the ITLG’s ‘Company of the Year Awards’ in 2011, Mcor Technologies subsequently secured a €2m investment from the Irish Technology Capital Fund, an angel investment fund headed by ITLG President John Hartnett.
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Datahug was established in 2010 by Conor Murphy and Ray Smith, two management consultants who understood the importance of relationships in driving their business. Founded in Ireland and headquartered in New York, the company has secured venture funding from a world class line-up of investors including Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DFJ Esprit, Oyster Capital and Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway. Datahug has a broad global client base, including three of the Big Six accountancy firms, a series of large tech companies, financial services, investment banking and venture capital firms. The core Datahug technology has won multiple technology and business awards, most recently being recognized by Gartner as a Cool Vendor in CRM Sales. Datahug was founded to answer one of the most important questions in business – what relationships exist across the organization and how are they being leveraged. It filters through each and every contact in all the e-mail accounts and meeting schedules of every company
John Ryan, Irish CEO and founder of copy protection giant Macrovision (now Rovi) was appointed Chairman. Mcor is currently in negotiations to raise a further €15m-€20m from some of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms and recently reported that sales of its low-cost eco-friendly printers are up 600% year-on-year. The company’s flagship IRIS full-colour 3D printer can deliver more than 1m colours simultaneously and produce a 3D printed model at 5% of the cost of competing printers, according to Mcor. In 2012, Mcor secured a major
employee, separately. After doing that, the platform can then understand who knows who within your employee pool, at which point the platform generates warm leads for your team to turn them into potential customers. Datahug works by using information you already have - communication data coming in and out of the business daily. With this, Datahug builds up a dynamic database of company-wide connections and uses an analytics engine to map every relationship in the business and score every deal in the CRM. Instantly you can identify the connections that are most likely to open a door or lead to a sale. Business networking has become one of the most important aspects for success in the 21st century business and Datahug are set to capitalize as a result.
€25 million deal with US retail giant Staples. Using Mcor’s IRIS – Staples now provide consumers, product designers, architects, healthcare professionals, educators, students and others access to low-cost, brilliantly coloured photorealistic 3D printed products.
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Pat Phelan, CEO of Trustev which was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the hottest start-ups of last year talks about the challenges involved in creating a global company.
f awards alone were the measure of a company’s success the Cork based online identity verification company Trustev would no doubt be catapulted to the upper ranks of global technology companies. Last summer the company won the Innovation Award at the ITLG/Irish Times Silicon Valley Awards, the first of over a dozen accolades and awards in 2013, and soon afterwards was named the Top Technology Start-up in Europe by the EU Commision’s Tech AllStars initiative. It was also recently listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the “hottest global start-ups of 2013.” The company is responsible for developing a unique propriarty technology
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that verifies customer identity in order to fight online fraud. The platform confirms identity using an algorithmic system of dynamic data sources including social signals, behavioural data and transaction history to create a “digital fingerprint” which lets companies verify the identity of customers purchasing online. Their unique social fingerprinting technology uses social data from a wide number of sources including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and is analyzed to provide foolproof verification of a customers identity. Established in Cork a little over a year ago by seriel entrepreneur Pat Phelan and cofounder Chris Kennedy, the company grew its workforce from 3 to 17 last year, opened a
Dublin office and also announced that it has started recruiting for offices in New York. The company is well funded and at last years Web Summit in Dublin it closed a $3m seed round from investors including Greycroft Partners, Mangrove Capital Partners, ACT Venture Capital, Telefónica’s Wayra and Enterprise Ireland. It subsequently secured a further $500,000 investment from enterprise-specialist VCs Notion Capital.
Scaling Rapidly The company’s progress has been so rapid that the term ‘start-up’ appears ill-suited. However, Pat Phelan, who also founded TwitterFone and Cubic Telecom is happy to
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be characterized as a start-up. “We are scaling rapidly but the company was founded just over twelve months ago, so we are technically a start-up, despite the fact that we have raised considerable funds. But the product is now on a commercial footing and at this stage the sales process becomes all important.” The $3m seed round is being used to fast-track Trustev’s expansion to the United States and further develop the company’s anti-fraud and payment-protection solutions for e-commerce. While Pat’s primary interest lies in product development, he also plays a key role in driving sales. “On a personal level, I am a product person and completely infatuated with product development but we have two excellent Sales Managers, a SVP and VP who are largely responsible for sales and as CEO, it is my job to manage them and maximize the sales potential of the company,” he says. Phelan’s interest in technology dates back to his youth when he used to spend his time disassembling tvs and radios and tinkering with gadgets before getting his first computer in 1981. “My parents were great supporters of technology even though I grew up in a non-technical age. I was always tearing things apart and putting them together again. At the same time I’ve always been interested in entrepreneurship, I suppose because I’m pretty unemployable and when you have a lot of ambition and are unemployable, you need to work for yourself. I originally qualified as a chef and went into the restaurant business and internet cafes and even then I was always looking at how we could use technology to improve the business and attract more customers.” With Trustev, Phelan appears to have hit the jackpot and he explains that the company is about far more than simply eliminating online fraud. “What we are doing and what we are motivated by is changing the face of online commerce. I had been analyzing the area for a number of years and it was clear that online fraud was growing at an alarming rate. As well as that online sales were far too complex a process for many customers and it was hindering the growth potential of the market. “I was confident that the whole process could be simplified considerably and we set about developing a product that actually digitally confirms the identity of the purchaser to the vendor at the point of purchase, thereby making the whole process a lot easier.”
don’t have a state or a zip code. We concluded that much of this information was unnecessary as all the information requested is already available. If an online retailer knows that you are who you say you are and that your device is the same one that they checked in with on a previous occasion, why is there a need for a shopping cart when it encourages so many buyers to change their mind about completing a purchase.”
Pat Phelan, CEO of Trustev
“While approximately $20 billion is lost on account of fraud, Pat points out that there is a further $20 billion lost due to concerns among vendors as to the veracity of buyers, despite the fact that they are genuine clients.” According to Phelan the standard purchasing carts request far too much information and volumes of personal details which made the whole process very off putting and unwieldy for customers. He also points out that up to 50% of purchasers decide to abandon the purchase at the checkout stage. “If you purchase from a website, it asks you for an address, it asks you what state you’re from but if you’re from Ireland, for example, you
A further consideration for Trustev is the fact that all risks associated with online purchasing rests with the merchant and the company’s solutions were set up “to protect the merchant at all times.” According to research by eMarketer, global e-commerce sales were in the region of $1.3 trillion in 2013, making online fraud prevention a vitally important requirement for business. Phelan confirms that Trustev now has over 60 customers, including some major global carriers and last December alone, it collected 176 million data points. It is now processing an average of 2 million transactions every week. The losses which occur as a result of online credit card fraud is not the only cost associated with e-commerce. While approximately $20 billion is lost on account of fraud, Pat points out that there is a further $20 billion lost due to concerns among vendors as to the veracity of buyers, despite the fact that they are genuine clients. In addition, 200 million man hours were “wasted on manual reviews” with 27% of all internet transactions reviewed by a human being. “This is extremely slow and disruptive as well as being a complete waste of resources,” says Phelan. “With Trustev we look at every transaction in real time, we don’t create rigid rules and we create a complete digital identity for every purchaser instantaneously. We look to see if there is an attempt to hide the buyer’s location using a proxy or VPN and we examine the velocity with which customers move around a webpage. A fraudster moves around a webpage very differently to a genuine customer. Their goal is to get through the site as quickly as possible because they have a limited time frame with a stolen credit card. We examine SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 65
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the buyers browser ID, IP address and device ID as well as their mobile number and location, their transaction history and social media behaviour. So it a comprehensive and failsafe identification process carried out instantaneously in real time.” Many observers were surprised at Trustev’s decision to establish an operation in New York rather than Silicon Valley, the mecca for technology start-ups. However, Pat says that while the best innovation in e-commerce is taking place on the West Coast – the East Coast is a better location for driving sales. In addition, the company will continue to be headquartered in Cork and for someone who typically takes over sixty flights a year, this was also a consideration. “While we will be continuing to expand our service offering, the innovation process has been completed and we are now taking it to the next level, which is a sales challenge. I have just started recruiting and expect to have the office in New York up and running in February. Last week I had to take four flights and I will be commuting between Cork and New York which is a lot easier to manage than commuting to LA.” Phelan believes that the technology sector will be vital to Ireland’s recovery hopes and says there has never before been such a rich vein of opportunities for technology startups. “We need more entrepreneurs and the opportunities and range of supports available to start-ups has never been better. The ITLG are a great organization and Enterprise Ireland is fantastic, I can’t say enough good things about them. The fact is that with governmental and corporate support any ambitious start-up can get their idea ready for market in a matter of months.” Receiving the ITLG Innovation Award last May also helped to promote the business during its early stages. “Absolutely, it gave us quite a lift, not just winning the award but having people of the calibre of John Hartnett and Barry O’Sullivan to provide advice and share their expertise is invaluable. I had to go to San Francisco recently and rang Barry for some pointers in terms of who to meet and what to expect and it proved really useful. Those guys have sat in boardrooms of some of the biggest companies in America, so any start-up is fortunate to be able to engage with them and benefit from their experience and expertise. 66 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
Pat Phelan, CEO and Chris Kennedy, co-founder of Trustev
“Phelan believes that the technology sector will be vital to Ireland’s recovery hopes and says there has never before been such a rich vein of opportunities for technology start-ups.” Otherwise one of the key challenges facing Trustev in 2014 is the scarcity of talent, particularly in Ireland where he says there is a distinct lack of data scientists, high level maths graduates and engineers. “Mathematics has been let slide to a worrying level, this leads to a lack of PHD’s in maths which in turns results in a scarcity of data scientists. We need to be fixing this sooner rather than later, it is the most important requirement in our field at present and if we
delay addressing the problem for a year or two, it will be another five years before we start seeing graduates emerge with PHD’s in mathematics. There is also a lack of high calibre sales professionals being produced. ” However these problem which are common to many technology companies are not putting a dent in Phelan’s ambitions and his targets for 2014 reflect the kind of drive and confidence which will instrumental in creating one of the world’s most promising technology start-ups. “I believe we can change the fact of online finance over the next twelve months and we can be well on our way to becoming a billion dollar company. I also want to be employing at least fifty people in Ireland, before the end of the year.” And as for advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, it is simple: “Just do it, don’t prevaricate, just get going. Entrepreneurs require many attributes, drive, imagination, curiosity, imagination, a can-do attitude and huge reserves of self-belief, you can’t take no for an answer and you must be prepared to overcome any obstacles. But the only way to know if you possess these characteristics is to go and do it and we need more people who are prepared to take that step.”
Corporate and Innovation Hub – Kilkenny
“The perfect cosmopolitan location for office development”...
Martin Brett, Mayor of Kilkenny
13 acres of city centre lands and 60,000 sq. ft. of office accommodation has become available • Kilkenny City Centre Location • R & D services • Supports from Arclabs and the TSSG • Corporate Offices • SME‘s & HPSU‘s Contact Aisling Hayes, Business Development Unit, Kilkenny County Council, firstname.lastname@example.org 056 7794106 Kilkenny Co 1/2.indd 1
Join us in Silicon Valley to celebrate the inaugural Aer Lingus Dublin â€“ San Francisco Flight April 2nd
ITLG SILICON VALLEY AWARDS 2014 sponsored by The Irish Times
More details coming soon at www.itlg.org
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Making Mobile Work Greg Goldfarb, CEO and co-founder of mobile payments platform, Flint Mobile, is helping to pave the way for small business owners to compete on the big stage.
reg has been thinking about a mobile centric world for a while. Starting in 2000 he was involved in a company called Electronic Ink to
create concepts for low power consumption, high resolution mobile device displays to enable a better mobile browsing experience. Ultimately, this turned out to be the technology platform which powers the
Amazon Kindle. While he was at Ribbit from 2007-2011 he focused on developing the next wave of seamless business mobility for on-the-go Salesforce.com users who relied more and more on smartphones SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 69
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instead of computers. His focus, he explains, was all about how businesses operate in an increasingly mobile world and he was intrigued by how the phone was becoming the “personal computer”. In April of 2011 he co-founded Flint, a mobile payment service for small businesses that makes it easy to accept credit cards and increase customer engagement. Designed for businesses that operate outside of traditional retail stores, Flint’s mobile apps enable users to take credit cards without a card reader – by scanning instead of swiping – or via online invoice payments. The all-in-one platform also offers digital coupons, online social reviews, and a merchant portal for payment tracking, invoice management and easy analytics. His background and history before he co-founded Flint, a mobile payments platform with a patented technology for scanning credit cards using a smartphone, placed him on the road to building the company. “After BT acquired Ribbit in 2008, I was on the board of a start-up that was creating mobile communities for business events,” he recalls. “We were looking at how to integrate mobile payments. I knew that I wanted to go back to an early stage start up and I saw some potential opportunities in the market, so when I met a couple of guys who had some interesting technology, everything started to fall into place.”
Solving business issues The technology, at the time, was fundamentally developed so cameras on smartphones could translate analogue information, documents or even business cards to digital information. “In 2010, they were exploring the feasibility of using their core algorithm technology for the purpose of mobile payments and had figured out how to get an exclusive worldwide license to potentially valuable patents,” Goldfarb remembers. “While it provided a competitive advantage, the technology was just a start – there wasn’t a payment platform, product, financial services infrastructure, or team in place at all. “I had a fundamental interest in the idea of how the business environment was changing and knew that merchants were 70 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
“Our concept is far beyond accepting credit card payments; rather, it’s about maximizing the value of customer relationships by linking transactions with easy loyalty and word of mouth marketing. Flint users, for instance, can send customized invoices if and when they have to. If they want to offer coupons, we can facilitate that too.” increasingly mobile or at minimum not stuck behind retail countertops.” From the beginning Flint focused on mobile businesses (i.e. a photographer) and saw how their needs and client relationships were different compared to traditional “countertop” storefronts (i.e. a coffee shop). That core premise has guided Flint’s journey to create a rapidly growing differentiated product in the face of large competitors. “I’m a big believer in the power of simple user experiences to change markets. Over the course of my career, I’ve seen it happen first hand with digital photography and with Skype. I knew we were making a bet on bucking the status quo but in the world of mobile, simplicity has proven to be king time and time again.”
Think Different In a recent interview Goldfarb said that Flint Mobile was all about ‘enabling little businesses to operate with the efficiency and professionalism of bigger businesses.’ He says that this is more than about simply facilitating mobile payments through Flint’s technology. “Our concept is far beyond accepting credit card payments; rather, it’s about maximizing the value of customer relationships by linking transactions with easy loyalty and word of mouth marketing. Flint users, for instance, can send customized invoices if and when they have to. If they want to offer coupons, we can facilitate that too. The platform also allows them to access in-depth analytics and information on the behavior of their customers – they can view that information in 10 seconds without having to sign up to a $300 monthly program.”
Growth plans In October last year, Goldfarb and his team announced a $6 million Series B investment round led by Digicel along with SVG Ventures and expanded its market footprint with the launch of its Android application. The additional investment will be put to use to expand the team, the product, overall business development, as well as help to scale operations. Less than two months later Flint launched the “2.0” version of its iOS application which introduces new small business features such as mobile and web invoicing and coupon loyalty programs which are integrated with Apple’s Passbook. In December, the company also announced an additional investment from Verizon. “2014 is all about taking Flint to the next level and reaching a broader segment of the market through strategic partnering and further investment in marketing programs. Customers really like what we do, so getting our story out through is about the best thing we can do to accelerate our growth. Along the way we will continue to invest in customer driven improvements so that small companies can compete on a level playing field with larger competitors and so we’re more and more differentiated from our own competitors – that’s what we’re all about.”
A Two Way Street Business connections between Ireland and the U.S. are stronger than ever – creating outstanding opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic. KPMG provides the audit, tax and advisory support needed to take advantage of these opportunities. Find out about how we can help your business succeed by contacting Anna Scally at +353 1 410 1240 or email@example.com. Download your copy of Investing in Ireland at kpmg.ie
© 2014 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.
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Lookout for massive growth
As the smartphone market explodes, Lookout is focused on new carrier partnerships and responding to demand for business products, head of global business development Tim Roper tells Lynne Nolan.
hen it was founded in 2007 during the infancy of smartphones, Lookout was the first security company focused solely on mobile phones, according to Tim Roper, its Head of Global Business Development. 72 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
“Today, over 1 billion smartphones ship annually; we consider this to be the start of the ‘post-PC’ era, the era in which mobile devices with large touch screens allow us to do almost anything on the mobile web that we previously did at our desks. Our aim is to protect these devices and the people that use them,” Roper comments.
The San Francisco-headquartered mobile security company had three employees when it started out and now employs more than 200 people, with offices in San Francisco, London and Tokyo, offering products to help consumers, small businesses and large enterprises to protect themselves from digital and physical threats.
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Backed by some of the best capital firms in the world including Accel Partners, Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Trilogy, Qualcomm Incorporated, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Greylock Partners and Mithril Capital Management; “the company is doing extremely well, we are currently protecting over 45 million customers who have chosen our solution on either iOS or Android devices.” Lookout recently announced a round of strategic investment that raised $55M from industry leaders Deutsche Telekom, Qualcomm Incorporated, Greylock Partners and Mithril Capital Management, in addition to its current investors Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, and Khosla Ventures, Roper reveals. The key trend in mobile security is the increasing number of transactions being generated from mobile devices, he says. Bank of America, for example, just passed 50% of account transactions from mobiles, while Lloyds in the UK is at 65%, he explains. Mobile shopping and mobile wallet usage are also increasing dramatically year after year, he notes. “This creates a huge opportunity for Lookout to help secure those transactions. We are also seeing a significant rise in mobile phone theft; we are focusing therefore on helping consumers and businesses secure their physical phones through a host of solutions, and to locate, lock and wipe them, if they are lost or stolen.” Lookout has announced partnerships with many of the top worldwide carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Orange and EE in the UK, and recently introduced Lookout for Business, opening up an entirely new category, Roper says. “Keeping up with the demand that we see based on the explosion of the smartphone on a global level is the main challenge the firm faces”, Roper says. It seems Roper is the ideal man for this job, having spent many years at “some of the coolest and most innovative wireless and consumer electronics companies that ever existed.” His “early days” were spent working as VP of sales and marketing at BellSouth International, an Atlanta-headquartered Fortune 100 communications services company, at a time when tireless data was still in its early stages and there was “no iPhones,
“We will spend more time looking at device physical security as we work with carriers and legislators around the countries that have asked us to help them crack down on device theft and recovery.” no text messaging and no Wi-Fi.” In his next role at Palm in California, Roper held responsibility for taking the company’s soon-to-be created wireless PDAs to market. After 10 years at Palm, he was appointed as President at Boston-based TomTom, Inc., the Americas subsidiary of TomTom International, one of the world’s leading providers of location and navigation solutions. In May 2012, he joined an “amazing little mobile security startup” as VP and Head of Global Business Development at Lookout, alongside “some of the brightest people that I have ever had the pleasure of working with.” “The Lookout app delivers awardwinning protection from the growing threats facing mobile users today, including malware,
phishing, privacy violations, data loss, and loss of the phone itself.” The company recently announced its collaboration with AT&T, bringing mobile security to all AT&T Android customers. Lookout will be available on every Android phone sold by three out of the four major US carriers. “Whether it’s helping to find a lost/stolen phone, managing phone security or backing up precious data, we’re helping AT&T customers with a safer, more secure, mobile experience,” Roper says. AT&T actively identifies software partners to drive growth and innovation on their platform, Roper says. The Lookout app will be installed on all compatible AT&T Android devices (currently installed on the Samsung Note 3). With Lookout, AT&T customers will have the confidence to use their phone to its fullest capability, and rest assured knowing they are protected no matter what they do. “They (AT&T) understand that the next wave of mobile goes beyond connectivity and communications to services and apps that are available through the AT&T platform. We’re happy to be protecting AT&T customers and safeguarding their most personal computers,” Roper says. Lookout became one of the 23 companies selected by the World Economic Forum to be recognized as a Technology Pioneer 2013; a testament to its visionary leadership. The company also clinched the Mobile Essentials Award at the ITLG Digicel Mobile Awards in May last year, and Roper says he was “thrilled” to receive the award on behalf of Lookout, adding that he appreciates that the ITLG recognizes the importance of mobile security in the post-PC era. On Lookout’s future plans, Roper says “the company will continue to focus on our core business: mobile security. We will spend more time looking at device physical security as we work with carriers and legislators around the countries that have asked us to help them crack down on device theft and recovery.” “We will also be announcing new carrier partnerships and a strong focus on business products, as we are seeing such a strong demand in this space for our solution,” he adds. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 73
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Start Your Engines
Opening up opportunities in the North American market is high on the agenda for Analytics Engines, after witnessing a phenomenal response to its accelerated analysis and enhanced real time processing of Big Data, CEO Stephen McKeown tells Lynne Nolan.
aving identified “a real need to go beyond what people were doing in traditional software systems,” Analytics Engines was established in response to discovering that “the amount of data available and the complexity of the computation meant that it simply wasn’t sustainable,” recalls its CEO Stephen McKeown. McKeown, who previously worked for Accenture and Microsoft, has a PhD in high performance electronics from the Queens University Belfast. “Analytics Engines was spun out of the Programable Systems Lab there, run by Professor Roger Woods, who is now CTO of Analytics Engines.”
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As the amount of data grows faster than the ability to process it, with the gap doubling every 18 months, the company tackles that problem, he explains. “What you want is precise insights, what you get is essentially a data dump. That’s where we come in, it’s a problem that’s ubiquitous across a range of industries. We work with a number of sectors, from medical imaging right through to business databases, from finance into oil and gas applications.” Analytics Engines stands apart from other companies by not offering a “softwareonly approach. We use an incredibly powerful technology, that we turn into a hardware acceleration engine that we apply to standard software infrastructure and we get remarkable
speed ups.” “In fact we were able to take something that required 24 Intel high performance server processors and we were able to implement that on a single chip. That has huge advantages for our customers in terms of competition density and lower power. Power consumption is currently a major problem in data centers.” Building on existing technology platforms in a number of different markets including retail, banking, security, and biomedical, “by singling-out and accelerating specific data intensive operations, we can offload as much as 30-40% of the server workload to commercial plug-in accelerator cards running Analytics Engines’ high performance accelerators.” The Belfast-based company, which was
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established in 2012, clinched the ITLG’s Silicon Valley 2013 Emerging Technology Award the following year, and has just closed its Series A funding, led by the Belfast-based venture capital fund manager Crescent Capital. The ITLG’s recognition has opened up new business opportunities, “in sometimes unexpected places,” McKeown says. “John Hartnett and the ITLG guys are superb in the support they give to Irish tech companies entering the US.” In the increasingly competitive and developing market of Big Data processing, Analytics Engines has used its partnerships with Philips Healthcare, SAP, Credit Suisse and others to deliver acceleration solutions and demonstrate significant performance benefits over current live systems. Their case study examples outline performance improvements of between 4x and 1000x in database and finance applications where increased response time creates gamechanging products for customers. Analytics Engines recently entered partnerships with companies including IBM and Credit Suisse, “where we are now bringing together embedded systems design efficiencies and HPC software to address the major challenge of real-time analytics on fast data streams. This is delivering a server infrastructure and software stack to sustain unprecedented performance per watt in hybrid streaming-analytical workloads, which is increasingly important for data centers”, customers,” he explains. McKeown admits that “what we’re asking people to do isn’t easy, we’re asking them to move away from the software-only approach that they’re comfortable with and do something slightly differently, so the advantages that we have to bring to those companies have to be significant and we do that. We bring twentytwo fold performance increase in a recent data application that we did for SAP.” “Analytics Engines’ expertise in optimizing a wide variety of customer applications has allowed us to provide real business benefits for our customers. This investment will allow us move more rapidly down our product roadmap, create further improvements to our own technology and diversify our offering into new markets,” McKeown comments. The company is now focused on “opening
Stephen McKeown, CEO Analytics Engines
“2013 was a great year for us, entering new markets and seeing growth on all fronts. We are set to double our current staff of 10, and 2014 looks to be even better again.” up opportunities in the North American market” in the future, he says. Having already grown to 10 employees since its inception, the company is set to double its workforce this year, McKeown reveals. “We are gaining significant interest from North American markets and that will be a key component in our future growth. 2013 was a great year for us, entering new markets and seeing growth on all fronts. We are set to double our current staff of 10, and 2014 looks to be even better again,” he comments. The company improves business
performance by enhancing the speed and efficiency of software applications, McKeown explains. “This is performed using a suite of accelerators, allowing increasingly complex analytics and enhanced real time processing of Big Data.” The company’s products offer huge benefits to companies who need to run faster, more accurate analytics on large volumes of data, such as those in the banking, genomics and database sectors. To stand apart from competitors, Analytics Engines’ products are a suite of software accelerators allowing increasingly complex analysis and enhanced real time processing of Big Data, McKeown says. The company has been involved with the HANDHOLD project, a €4.5m EU FP7 initiative to develop a modular, reconfigurable sensor system for the detection of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive substances. HANDHOLD will have multi-sensor detection capability, correlated detection and analysis and automated diagnosis capability, and it is expected that the device will be brought to market by 2016. “Most of Analytics Engines’ customers are already outside Ireland. Our involvement in this project is opening up new markets for us by sector and also geographically,” McKeown says. Providing customers with fast and efficient processing of business and application data, Analytics Engines increases application performance for large data volumes and real time analytics with hardware acceleration technology at lower cost. “The possibility to perform fast computation allows a new class of applications for more in-depth analysis and real time responses.” “At their heart, our systems employ massively parallel computing technology (CPU, GPU, FPGA) allowing us to tailor the computation to the individual application for extreme throughput,” he says. “We deliver the insight from a customer’s business and application data in real time. So something that might have taken hours, that might have been run overnight previously; we’re giving that intelligence to our customers when they need it in real time as they’re going forward.” SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 75
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Securing ideas Fortress Payments CEO Joseph Corcoran explains how his relentless promotion of a merchant-driven payment system is finally paying off with the next-generation mobile payments service.
ortress Payments’ founder and CEO Joseph Corcoran has spent most of his career working in the banking and payments area, notching up some incredible achievements along the way. “I invented the technology to read handwritten information from paper forms and patented this invention in 1993 (Automated Forms Processing); I then built a profitable company with 20 employees based on this technology in the 1990’s.” During this time, Corcoran also designed and implemented a large number of leading edge solutions in the payments area, including the very first image-based check capture system for NatWest Bank in 1995. “This is known today in the USA as Check 21, and another application of this technology is that it is used to process most of the paper tax returns 76 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
and census reports throughout the world.” Recognizing the way that people paid for goods online in the 1990’s was not very efficient or secure, Corcoran developed an alternative to entering credit card details into a form, based on his extensive experience in the payments area. “I applied for a patent for my idea and formed the company Internet Payments Patents Ltd to exploit this patent. The idea was simple as all good ideas prove to be; at the time the only way to pay a merchant was for the customer to give the merchant the credit or debit card details and the merchant then processed the payment in a single entry.” A graduate of University College Dublin with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree, specializing in Systems Analysis, Corcoran says his idea was the opposite, as the merchant would give the transaction details
to the payment processor and the customer, who would then authorize the transaction on their PC or phone and send the payment instructions to be processed. “This meant that there was a double entry of the instructions and the merchant had no knowledge of the customers’ payment details, preventing any fraud and protecting the privacy of the customer.” When Corcoran applied for the patent in February 2000, PayPal did not yet exist and the best mobile phone in the world could not even download a ring tone, he recalls. “The patented idea was too far ahead of its time and I had been awaiting for the opportunity to exploit this now granted patent in the Mobile Payments area,” he says. In early 2013, he founded Fortress Payment specifically to exploit his Patent for Mobile Payments and pursue his goals to “exploit my
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Pictured at the ITLG/Irish Times Silicon Valley Awards last May were (from left) John Stanton, Joseph Corcoran and ITLG President John Hartnett.
extensive experience in the payments area and revolutionize the way people pay for goods and services both online and in retail stores.” “This system, for the first time, enables customers to authorize the payment to the Merchant on their phone, before it is processed. The system can use QR Codes, NFC or Wi-Fi to enable the transfer of the transaction details to the customer’s phone and all of these technologies may be incorporated into a single eWallet or Merchant App. The system is totally secure and fully integrates Coupons and Loyalty Schemes.” Fortress Payments gained exposure for the first time when Corcoran applied to pitch at the ITLG Global Technology Leaders Summit in Cork last year, qualifying for the finals in California in May, at which he was named the overall winner with the highest score and awarded the Mobile Technology Award at the Global Conference. “Payments is a big player business as volumes are enormous and margins are tight and most start-ups never even achieve profitability before they are either acquired or go out of business. PayPal is the perfect example, in that they went public while still making losses and were then taken over by eBay,” he comments. With more than 25 years’ experience in software development, consultancy and project delivery, Corcoran says he has always “believed and promoted the idea that a
merchant-driven payment system would be able to successfully compete with the existing credit card networks and cut the costs of payment processing to the merchants.” After reading about a group of merchants including Walmart and Target joining forces to investigate this option in March 2012, Corcoran contacted the consultants working for them and “I have been working in conjunction with this organization that later became MCX since October 2012 when we exchanged an NDA.” “I have provided both the design of their QR Code Digital Wallet and, more importantly, most of the business model features that will make it work in the US regulatory environment and appeal to customers.” “The Fortress System and all systems based on the patented technology are the only systems that allow customers to see the transaction details on their phones, as this is what I patented,” he says. Once the customer has the transaction details on his or her phone, they can authorize the payment to the merchant from their bank account (or other source) as this authorization is a legal requirement under US regulations. “Only in this way can the cost to the merchant be substantially reduced and I estimate that MCX will save its member merchants in the region of $250 billion in payment processing costs over the next 10 years.” With Fortress Payments, Corcoran
Joseph Corcoran, CEO, Fortress Payments.
“Ireland is still in the Stone Ages compared to Silicon Valley in relation to the supports available to start a business and make things happen.” intends to concentrate on the US market initially, he says, before moving its attention overseas, where the company has also been granted the patent. Currently in the search for funding, Corcoran expects that the company will be up and running by the end of the second quarter. “My involvement with the ITLG has been an enormous eye-opener in that I never appreciated what Silicon Valley was all about, until they invited me to participate in their competition in May last year.” “In hindsight, I should have moved to Silicon Valley a long time ago as Ireland is still in the Stone Ages compared to Silicon Valley in relation to the supports available to start a business and make things happen,” he adds. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 77
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From the Dragon’s Mouth
Claddagh Resources chief Peter Casey talks to Silicon Valley Global about working internationally, addressing the technology skills gap, and encouraging entrepreneurship.
or most Irish TV viewers, Peter Casey is the man who runs the rule over fledgling domestic entrepreneurs in Dragon’s Den. However, in his role as Executive Chairman of Claddagh Resources, the native Derryman is usually addressing the recruiting needs of significant international players. “We are currently working on assignments in San Paulo, Mumbai, Singapore, Malaysia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and of course America and Ireland!” he notes. The company’s biggest client is Tata Consulting Services (TCS), the jewel in the Tata Group, the largest group in India, which is growing rapidly globally, while Accenture is another important client. While Claddagh does work with midsized firms, it has become a global force in recruitment, making Casey uniquely qualified to discuss Ireland as a business environment for sourcing talent. Claddagh has recently helped two companies, Questcor Pharmaceuticals and Arbor Pharmaceuticals set up and staff their operations in Ireland. “It’s a little bit tougher to recruit in Ireland than it is, for example, in America. Because of the economic situation, it’s more difficult to get people to leave a job because of the security of the position they currently occupy. People know that if this one doesn’t turn out it will be harder to get another job,” said Casey. “On the other hand, unemployment is relatively high, so there is an available skilled workforce, which is the other side of the coin”. “The hardest countries to recruit for are probably France and Germany because of their labour laws.”
“We have set up our own predictive analytics division because it is on fire at the moment, and will continue to be into the future. Analyzing big data is just going to keep on getting bigger and of more significance to companies. The next one is mobility – that is an area that is just growing exponentially. Security and the cloud is the fourth.” Addressing the Skill gap One challenge that Casey doesn’t minimize is the ‘skill gap’ faced by companies trying to recruit here. “There is a huge gap between what businesses need and what universities produce. That’s where the future of education is going to be based on these Massive Online
Open Courses (MOOCS),” he predicts, elaborating on the freely published and peer reviewed white papers available online. “There are literally tens of thousands of MOOCs out there which are 20, 30, 40, 50 pages of expert knowledge on cutting edge subjects such as predictive analytics and wireless connectivity and so on”. “At the moment universities are just beginning to realize that they have to start teaching people about mobility, they have to start teaching people predictive analytics, and other leading edge technologies. But it’s too late - they should have started to teach these disciplines five, six, seven years ago. So they’re starting now to integrate MOOCs into university degree courses,” said Casey. “This will bridge the gap between what businesses need and what universities produce and it’s the future of education.” Casey has written on MOOCs for the Sunday Business Post, and praises Sligo IT, which has become the first Irish institution to include the resources. He reveals that he has also pressed Enda Kenny on the subject and delivered his ideas to both he and Education Minister Ruairi Quinn. Of course, Casey is on familiar ground when pressing for positive action, not least on the issue of encouraging highly-skilled immigration. “Five or six years ago, Claddagh went to the government, we were trying to convince them to endorse TCS setting up a centser of excellence in Ireland. The then Taoiseach wouldn’t have anything to do with it. No, he said, ‘it’ll take jobs away from Irishmen’. This was back just before the crash,” Casey recalls. “We were saying ‘no’, it won’t. We’ll bring in 500 people but they will train Irish people SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 79
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in these highly skilled areas.’ But he couldn’t seem to grasp it and TCS went and set it up somewhere else. But there’s definitely been a significant switch since in government policy that has been positive in helping business in Ireland,” he says. Fellow Dragon Sean O’Sullivan was a major driver in bringing the “Open Ireland” policy which makes it easier for foreign companies to get visas for their experts to come and work in Ireland.
Where the Jobs Are Both in Ireland and internationally, Casey says, four areas of technology are particularly crying out for skilled recruits. “We have set up our own predictive analytics division because it is on fire at the moment, and will continue to be into the future. Analyzing big data is just going to keep on getting bigger and of more significance to companies. The next one is mobility – that is an area that is just growing exponentially. Security and the cloud is the fourth,” he explains. Aside from seeking a job in these highgrowth areas, of course, many Irish people have taken the step of starting their own business. However, Casey says he has yet to see a solid culture of entrepreneurship emerging in Ireland over the past five years. “That’s one of the tragedies of this recession. They say that unemployment has gone down but that’s really because 75,000 people have migrated, so I’m not convinced that we’re doing enough to encourage entrepreneurship in Ireland. I think we need to do a lot more, including encouraging entrepreneurs to come back and invest in Ireland.” Casey argues that incentives for starting a business should focus on tax breaks that encourage success and a returning diaspora. “People that come back to Ireland and bring €1m with them should get a 20% tax break on that money. If they invest that money in a business, then give them a 200% tax break – so, for example the first €2m profit that you make, you won’t pay tax on as long as you invest it in a business that creates jobs”. “We need to reach out to the 70 million diaspora around the world, and say ‘folks, think about coming home’, while giving them a real tax incentive to do that. But I don’t see that any of that is happening.” 80 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
“At the moment universities are just beginning to realize that they have to start teaching people about mobility, they have to start teaching people predictive analytics, and other leading edge technologies. But it’s too late - they should have started to teach these disciplines five, six, seven years ago. So they’re starting now to integrate MOOCs into university degree courses.” Life in the Den Participating in Dragon’s Den, of course, gave Casey an insight into the Irish entrepreneur, warts and all. “It was interesting: the junior business people were very entrepreneurial but I would like to see more entrepreneurship and risk taking from the seniors. We had one fellow last year who admitted that he had not invested a penny of his own money in his business, yet he had received significant grants from Enterprise Ireland and other Government agencies. Two of the dragons offered him €200,000 for a stake in the business. Despite the fact that this guy had
never put a penny of his own money into his business, he turned them down!” Casey is skeptical about the wisdom of Government agencies writing cheques. “I think it’s good that Government gives assistance, but I think the way they should give it is to offer give capital gains tax breaks – give companies an incentive to be successful. I’m not sure giving people grants is what it’s about. If you’ve got a really good idea and a really good product, there’s lots of private equity people that will invest in that business”. “I think that would be a much better way to reach real entrepreneurs rather than these guys who, as we say, go out and try and get a grant for some idea that they haven’t tested. If you’ve got something that really makes a difference and adds value, you’ll be able to get money from investors.”
Taking Risk “One of the issues deterring entrepreneurship now is that people are too afraid of failing.” Casey, who left Ireland at 17 and started up in Sydney during the 1980s, feels he benefited from this lack of fear. “When you’re on the other side of the world, you don’t worry. While the stigma of being bankrupt in Derry is a big thing, while you’re nearly 11,000 miles away, no one really knows you and you’re more likely to take a punt.” If there is a bright side to five years of tough economic times, Casey believes that more bankruptcies and bailouts have reduced the ‘shame factor’ of business failure. “Ironically, one of the good things that might come out of this real severe downturn is that so many people have gone bankrupt it’s probably taken away a bit of the stigma of going broke. When you have very public people like Sean Quinn and other high profile individuals going broke, I think ironically it will encourage people to take a little bit more of a gamble,” he says. Recognizing the positive impact of public business failures, and the fact that more action is needed to develop entrepreneurship and address Ireland’s skills gap, shows refreshing honesty. Casey is definitely a “glass is half full” type of person, he believes that a strong entrepreneurial ethic coupled with a positive international outlet are the key ingredients of any sustainable recovery.
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Belfast Tech Mission In October 2013, Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir led a special trade mission to San Francisco and Silicon Valley as part of a concerted strategy to develop and promote Northern Irelands technology sector.
he Mission was funded by Belfast City Council, in partnership with Invest Northern Ireland, and provided 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. Representatives from both Queen’s University and the University of Ulster also
took part in the mission. In addition to promoting Belfast as one of the leading digitally connected cities in Europe and a prime location for international investment, the mission also sought to increase the number of Belfast technology companies doing business in the US. Increasing the knowledge of delegate companies as to how to secure US venture capital funding and helping to improve networking and collaborative capabilities were also key objectives.
The participating companies enjoyed a busy and productive itinerary and spent the first day at a special ‘boot camp’ in San Francisco, where they attended a number of workshops and interactive mentoring sessions led by two of the top experts in California – former Microsoft executive Alfredo Coppola and venture capitalist Chris Burry, founder of the multi-national Avande corporation. The ITLG played a key role in arranging the itinerary for the visit and were delighted to facilitate the meeting which took place between SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 83
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Belfast Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir and his delegation and Chuck Reid, the Mayor of San José - capital of Silicon Valley, Dr Suzanne Saffie-Siebert, Chief Executive of Belfast based biotech company SiSaf and a former winner of the ITLG Silicon Valley Awards also attended the meeting with Mayor Reid. The delegates also travelled to Palo Alto, where they took part in a showcase event, which allowed them to demonstrate and pitch their products and services to top tech executives and venture capitalists, including 150 senior
executives from SVEN, a high profile network representing some of the largest tech companies in the world. Through the remainder of the week, the companies also took part in a number of top trade shows held in and around Silicon Valley, including the CTIA Mobile Con in San Francisco, DEMO Fall in Santa Clara and GigaOm Mobilize in San Francisco, as well as the prestigious Google Developers’ Forum and one-to-one meetings with potential investors and partners. Participating companies also had the
Aiming High The companies which participated in the 2013 Belfast Tech Mission included: AirPOS – Provides a multi-channel selling experience for retailers, cafes, takeaways and other vendors. Beacon - An online tool for creating, publishing and selling digital magazines. Cargo - A product design company seeking to bridge the gap between mobile software and physical products. Cirdan Imaging– Creators of innovative medical imaging technology for the diagnosis and management of disease. DigiShare 360 - A fully integrated multichannel creation publishing and engagement platform DisplayNote Technologies - Software Development Company creating solutions that allow for collaboration and sharing across a variety of platforms. FATHOM - Works with clients to improve online performance, using analytics, direct user feedback and design best practice. inlifesize - A new venture designed to create value in the burgeoning mobile entertainment market. JAR Technologies - Application and web performance
opportunity to take part in a Belfast Tech demonstration event in conjunction with Invest NI, at which US tech executives and investors were present. Belfast City Council provided up to 50% of the travel and accommodation costs for the companies which participated and additional funding was provided - funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Program for Northern Ireland.
testing tools. Kainos - provide digital technology solutions that enable companies to work smarter, faster, better: Lough Shore Investments - invests in high potential management teams and partners with them to build great businesses. OLI – an award winning business is designed to meet the growing demand for digital visitor information. Performa Sports – Designs powerful easy to use real-time sports performance analysis tools. Sian’s Plan - Takes the pain and time out of organising a weekly balanced diet, via a web-app. SpeechStorm - Provides enterprise scale customer care solutions into the contact centre market. Taggled - Makes it easier to find the products and content within videos and allows Vloggers and bloggers to earn revenue by sharing what they are most passionate about. TakeTen – Developers of a Biofeedback Software Product designed to reduce stress and boost performance - designed primarily for the education market. Venuebooker - An online marketplace for finding, comparing and booking the perfect venue.
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Northern Lights A strong talent pool, a competitive cost base and the considerable support available to companies is attracting a growing number of international companies to invest in Northern Ireland, according to CEO of Invest Northern Ireland, Alastair Hamilton. 86 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
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Northern Ireland (NI), the principal job creation and investment body for the region, is encouraged by the positive indicators emerging but says that concerted efforts are required to continue to grow the NI economy, attract inward investment and support domestic companies. “Our focus at Invest NI to help new and existing locally owned companies to grow and compete internationally and also to attract foreign direct investment and we have achieved a good balance,” he says. “Over the last two years domestic companies have grown more than the foreign direct investment side and firms such as Wrightbus, the Almac Group, Randox Laboratories, First Derivatives and others who are active in export markets have played a key role in supporting job creation. However, looking forward, there is likely to be more balance as foreign direct investments which were initiated two or three years ago are accelerating their recruitment.”
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recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that 2014 will see Northern Ireland economy achieve its highest growth rates in the last seven years. According to the report, the economy is likely to expand by 1.6% while unemployment and inflation will
continue to decline. At 7.5% the number of people out of work in Northern Ireland remains significantly lower than the European Union average of 11% and that of our closest neighbour, the Republic of Ireland, where unemployment is at 13.6%. Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest
The number of inward investment projects in Northern Ireland has increased by over 40% in the last year and over the last six years, despite a difficult global economic backdrop, NI has seen more investment from the United States than at any other time in its past. Recent key job announcements have included 993 new jobs at Stream, 650 new positions for US insurer Allstate; more than 400 new jobs for Japanese medical firm Terumo BCT in Larne; 180 jobs for business consultancy firm Deloitte; a further 192 jobs at Fujitsu; a new £7 million investment from Caterpillar which will create over 100 jobs and approximately 70 new jobs each announced by US companies Merchant Warehouse and Vello Systems.
Aerospace The commitment by Canadian plane maker Bombardier to invest more than £520 million on making wings for the new C series jet was the largest ever inward investment project undertaken in Northern Ireland and a significant coup for the agency. At peak production, the project will sustain more than 800 jobs at the new purpose-built factory in Belfast. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 87
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“Bombardier is the single largest manufacturing export concern in Northern Ireland and represents some 14% of our manufacturing exports. It directly employs 5,500 people and works with around 40 companies in the supply chain. So there are in the region of 8,000 jobs supported by aerospace alone. At the very start of the downturn, this sector was particularly severely impacted, with a sharp decline in aerospace orders and the fact that it has now come back on stream is very positive,” says Alastair Hamilton. Other key drivers of Northern Ireland’s economy include the agri-food sector which has a number of substantial agri-food suppliers such as Moy Park, part of the Marfrig group, Dale Farm and Linden Foods which export products worldwide. Financial services is also recording strong growth and in recent years there has been a determined focus on developing a knowledge economy and providing greater support for technology start-ups with high growth potential. Alastair Hamilton says: “We have made considerable progress in relation to financial services with leading companies such as Chicago Mercantile Exchange, New York Stock Exchange and Citi having established
operations in Northern Ireland. Investments by these, and other key players in the technology and software development sector, have provided a critical mass which increases the attractiveness of Northern Ireland as a location for inward investment. Indeed Belfast is the number one destination globally for Financial Services Tech R&D investment and the top location in Europe for both software engineering and customer support investment.” The technology sector is an increasingly important aspect of Northern Ireland’s economy and is likely to grow in influence in the coming years, according to Hamilton. “There is no doubt that the technology sector is now a substantial contributor to the wider economy. By and large the sector here is focused on product development and we have performed very well in that regard. There are currently some 2,000 technology businesses in Northern Ireland, employing around 30,000 people directly and supporting a further 27,000 people in associated businesses. The strength of the sector has resulted in some of our local companies being acquired by global blue chip technology companies, such as the decision by Intel to purchase Aepona. “The areas we focus on are mobile and
wireless and Aepona and Intel are a prime example of that. Cloud computing is growing substantially while Connected Health will be a key area for us in the future. Data analytics and cyber security are very strong and we have the Centre for Secure IT at Queen’s University the UK’s leading cyber security research facility. So it is a very strong part of the economy and one which is expanding significantly. We can trace this concentration back to the sixties and seventies when firms like BT and Nortel set up software and product development centers here and this has helped to spawn a large number of support firms in this area.” Another new key area of growth is business services which covers everything from shared service centers to legal services where we have secured significant investment from Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills, leading companies globally in the provision of legal services, says Hamilton.
Creative Investment from production companies including Universal Studios which have filmed major features in the region has stimulated our film industry and the wider creative industries, SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 89
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where digital content is also performing well. HBO’s decision to film significant parts of the worldwide hit TV series Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland was a major coup. Not only has this provided a major boost for the creative industries in the region but a spin-off bonus to the local tourism industry.
to a total cost of ownership model that is 50% lower than London and about 30% less than Glasgow or Dublin. So, it is a cost effective proposition, not a low cost model. But for high value, high quality knowledge based workers; it is very attractive and competitive.
The added benefit or Up-skilling
Quality Talent One of the key factors underpinning the economy in Northern Ireland is the quality of the education system which is a strong draw for inward investors, particularly from the technology sector. The University of Ulster has the largest IT course provision on the Island of Ireland and is also amongst the top three in the UK. “Northern Ireland is very strong in the technology field and quick access to high quality tech talent is certainly one of the key factors that draws companies into the region,” says Hamilton. “Of the IT professionals working in Northern Ireland 77% hold a degree compared to only 50% in the UK as a whole while 76% of our high school graduates go into higher or further education compared to 64% in the rest of the UK. In addition, 41% of staff employed in the financial services sector in Northern Ireland have a degree, whereas in the Republic of Ireland the equivalent figure is 21%. Our record with respect to education is very strong and we work hard collectively to ensure that this is maintained.” Over the last three years alone, over 8,000 jobs have been secured from international companies setting up operations in Northern Ireland. One of the key strategies pursued by Invest NI is to encourage and facilitate reinvestment by multinationals operating in Northern Ireland. “We place a strong emphasis on working with companies beyond the point where they commit to Northern Ireland and we are very proud of the fact that 75% of our investors reinvest for a 2nd or 3rd time while a significant number have exceeded those levels, many telling us that their Northern Ireland center is the highest performing in their entire operation. At the heart of it is excellence in relationship management and delivering beyond the expectations of our clients.” Hamilton says. “We over-deliver and, while we have
Alastair Hamilton, CEO Invest NI
secured many large 500 job projects, what we have been largely focusing on are the 50 to 100 job projects. Our first priority is to secure that initial investment - persuading companies to test what we can deliver and the promises we have given them. After that, we are confident that we can demonstrate to those companies that their objectives can be met and they can achieve strong growth. “The major US insurance company the Allstate Corporation is one example. The company initially intended to create 250 jobs when it first established a presence in Northern Ireland but the most recent jobs announcement made by the company will bring its workforce to 2,500 employees across three locations across Northern Ireland. More recently, CVS, which first set up in Northern Ireland just over a year ago, has grown its workforce much more rapidly than was originally envisaged.
Winning combination Quality Talent Combined with Competitive Costs “What investors get is the promise we make around the availability of talented people, and the ability for them to access the talent they require quickly. Businesses also find that there is a high degree of employee loyalty, with low churn rates in the region of 5%. But we also have a very attractive offering in terms of total ownership costs – the combination of accommodation, infrastructure and wages and salaries – which are critical to these firms,” explains Hamilton. “These factors all combine
“Even before new companies come in we will work with them to develop education packages to ensure skills availability. Curriculum content and bespoke education modules to suit individual inward investors have been developed, such as a new Master’s program in Computer Science and Computational Intelligence which was specifically requested by some of the firms that are here. In niche areas such as Capital Markets, Analytics and Cloud Computing, we have developed specific skills academies, with over 90% of the candidates that go through the academies getting employment with the firms that are there supporting the academy.
Government Support “But it is not only financial support we provide. We can help companies in many other ways - making connections; opening doors to the right people and helping investors access a considerable range of government support.” The ability to engage with Government at the highest level is a further consideration and Hamilton says that investors are keen to ensure they have the ear of government if they encounter problems in growth, obstacles or planning issues. He points out that economic development is the uppermost priority of the Government and considerable efforts are taken to respond to the concerns of business. “We provide direct access to government and we have an Executive of Ministers who are very keen to engage with businesses in order to drive and bring their vision to reality.” All of this is aimed at providing a supportive, efficient and productive environment for companies setting up operations here. The combination of strength and support from government, Invest NI and our colleagues on the education and skills side greatly enhances the growth prospects of these firms.” SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 91
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Connecting with Silicon Valley Alastair Hamilton, says that Invest NI has devoted considerable energies and resources towards promoting Northern Ireland in the West Coast and throughout the US. One of the organization’s most significant and fastest growing offices is located in San Francisco, California. “We work extensively with organizations such as the ITLG and we are very conscious of the importance of making the right connections there. A number of our recent inward investments and larger takeovers have emanated from the West Coast, such as the acquisition of Gem by California based Concentrix. It is vital to have strong representation in Silicon Valley both in terms of connecting with smaller high tech, high growth start-ups as well as the larger West Coast based technology companies looking to grow their European base or get access to high caliber talent which we have at our disposal in Northern Ireland. “Our California office also plays a critical role in assisting Northern Ireland start-ups to make the right connections there to access funding and mentorship and also to help them break into the potentially lucrative but challenging US market. “Therefore, the West Coast is vitally important for us and that is why we were delighted to work in partnership with the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir and Belfast City Council to facilitate the Belfast Tech Mission to Silicon Valley towards the end of last year, where many of the participants were high tech start-ups.” Further evidence of a burgeoning start-up scene in Northern Ireland is evident from the fact that 18 of the 50 winners in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Program were from Northern Ireland and Hamilton points out that the firm which came in 2nd place, Sixteen South, had a growth rate of over 2000%. “There is a really strong base of firms growing and developing in Northern Ireland. Just recently, the Knowledge Economy Index has been published for 2013 and Northern Ireland is the fastest growing knowledge economy in the UK. One of the things we have been really focused on as a region is stimulating and growing innovation. If you were to look back to 2007, the amount of money spent by 92 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
businesses in Northern Ireland on R&D as a percentage of our GVA was only 0.6%, whereas the UK average at the time was 1.2%. We know that companies which are active in R&D and innovation in its widest sense, grow more, export more and create more, and higher quality, jobs. I am delighted to say the results just published for last year show that business expenditure on R&D in Northern Ireland was at a record level and grew 20% on the previous year alone. We are now at 1.4% of GVA and are above the UK average. According to Hamilton, Northern Ireland is now second only to London as the top UK destination for inward investment but also the most attractive part of the UK in which to carry out research and development with companies able to avail of the UK tax credit regime in addition to R&D funding assistance . On average every pound spent by a firm in Northern Ireland on R&D will cost them just 43 pence.
Quality of Life Northern Ireland also scores highly in terms of being a safe, stable and welcoming region with an excellent quality of life. Statistics show that it is now the safest part of the UK with very low rates of traditional crime, making it a particularly attractive option for investors seeking to relocate staff and for film production companies who may have crews on location for several months at a time and want to be assured that they are safe. One of the highlights of last year was the hosting of the G8 Summit held in County Fermanagh in the west of Northern Ireland . It was the most peaceful G8 Summit on record and showcased Northern Ireland at its very best - the beauty of the countryside, the warmth and hospitality of its people, its rich culture and history. It also demonstrated the competence and professionalism of the authorities in hosting one of the world’s most prestigious political gatherings. “It was a masterclass on how to run one of the highest profile, most secure global events. The weather shone on us as well, enabling Northern Ireland to be showcased globally through extensive global media coverage in the best possible light.” Going forward, Hamilton knows the picture for Northern Ireland is positive “domestic companies are growing and we are seeing increasing numbers of overseas
companies setting up operations here. Our skills base continues to be impressive and we are building firm foundations which will facilitate the growth of a strong and vibrant economy and a bright future in the years to come.”
Fast 50 Technology Winners 40% of the Deloitte Fast 50 Technology winners were from Northern Ireland Technology firms from Northern Ireland performed strongly in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 program illustrating the significant growth which has occurred in the technology sector in recent years. Belfast based company Sixteen South which develops and produces premium quality children’s television took second place having achieved a growth rate of 2,214% while Kaboom Post Productions also based in Belfast won the rising star award. In total Northern Ireland accounted for the winners, representing some 40% and providing firm confirmation of a healthy entrepreneurial culture emerging in the country. There were two new entrants to the list from Northern Ireland: and Instill Software County Antrim had a particularly strong representation with a total of 15 companies hailing from the county. The county’s strong performance is no doubt helped by the presence of Belfast Science Park, the Titanic Quarter, and the education facilities and technology companies centered around Belfast. The growth of Northern Ireland’s technology sector is being driven by a strong focus from Government and agencies such as Invest NI, a good education system, the plentiful availability of skilled employees and an attractive cost base for firms establishing operations in the country.
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Bright Outlook Austin McCabe, former Symantec Managing Director and Vice President Global Operations on why he is optimistic for the future of US Multinationals and the ICT sector in Ireland
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ustin McCabe is better positioned than most to comment on foreign direct investment in Ireland and the future of the country’s multinational sector. A veteran of the sector, he was the longest serving Managing Director of a US multinational in Ireland, as well as a past president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland. “In the early 80’s the IDA was blazing a trail in attracting new US multinationals to Ireland and I was fortunate to recognize opportunity when it came knocking at my door”, he says. McCabe joined Accuray in Dundalk and also worked with Keytronic and Ashton Tate before being head-hunted as Managing Director of Symantec, a position he held for over twenty two years. From a greenfield site he took the company from a basic mandate of manufacturing and distribution right up the value chain to the strategic apex where the Irish operation was influencing decisions at Corporate HQ in Cupertino, California. “We started out small, got the basics right, proved ourselves and this allowed us to go out with confidence and seek other mandates which resulted in Dublin becoming the European Operations Centre. All EMEA activities were consolidated into Dublin, creating over 1,000 jobs in West Dublin. I would encourage all leaders in the US multinational sector to get into the C suites of their parent and build relations with the key decision makers and influencers. Having just a basic mandate is not sustainable long term, you have to move up the value chain”, he says. It wasn’t all plain sailing however and, as Ireland’s cost base increased, McCabe was faced with the task of outsourcing some operations previously located in Dublin. “This was a very challenging time for me personally, overseeing the outsourcing of 250 jobs overseas. The truth was that as a country we became too expensive for FDI compared to other locations. But rather than fight the decision to outsource, we had to embrace it and then aggressively go out to seek new opportunities that would replace those lost jobs.” Just before he left the company last August, McCabe secured 400 new jobs
for Dublin against stiff competition from other countries. “The IDA is an outstanding organization and played a key role in helping to secure these new jobs for Ireland. The ability of IDA to identify emerging sectors and position Ireland to win them is astounding. From Pharmaceuticals, to ICT, to Digital, the agency has punched above its weight continuously over the last 30 years”, he says. While other countries and the UK in particular are eyeing up our success McCabe is highly optimistic for the future of Ireland, the US Multinational and ICT sector in Ireland. “In every crisis there is opportunity and for Ireland the recent fiscal crisis provided the opportunity to get our cost base back in line with competitor countries. This is hugely significant and is one of the key reasons why we continued to win investment despite the bailout. The American Chamber of Commerce published a report in October which showed US firms invested $129.5 billion in Ireland between 2008 and 2012. Indeed Ireland was the fourth biggest recipient of US investment last year and the pipeline into 2014 remains strong”. “The recent Forbes survey which ranks Ireland as the best place in the world to do business measured innovation, technology, monetary freedom and red tape, amongst other things. It is a hugely influential publication and there is no doubt that it will cause international investors to consider Ireland when deciding on where to invest”, he says. That said, McCabe sees a number of
challenges facing the technology sector in Ireland which need to be addressed promptly. These challenges have been captured in a report published by ICT Ireland (of which McCabe is a board member) and focus on education, skills and intellectual capital; economic conditions and creating a digital landscape “There are clear signs of recovery starting to emerge in both international and domestic economies but if we don’t address these challenges we risk losing the gains made in the last few years. The World Economic Forum Global Technology Report 2013 ranked Ireland 9th for its quality of education system. The biggest attraction for any multinational is the availability of a strong, highly skilled and educated talent pool. Ireland has one of the youngest workforces in Europe and our universities are becoming more aligned with industry so that graduates are equipped with the skills needed. But we need to continue to invest in education”. In terms of the economy, McCabe says that the Government must continue to implement the reform program started. “We have to remain prudent in our fiscal planning and to continue to focus on costs. It would be all too easy to lose the hard won gains of recent years”, he cautions. The digital economy, which is growing 7 times faster than the traditional economy offers the greatest opportunity, however Ireland’s report card from the World Economic Forum Global Technology Report 2013 makes for grim reading with Ireland ranked 20th - 27th across a range of metrics. “Indigenous companies are not embracing the digital opportunity and broadband penetration remains low. The government recognizes this and has introduced a number of initiatives to help businesses get online while at the same time seeking to improve the number of households with internet access. If we don’t resolve these issues quickly we will be left behind”, he says. “There is much to be optimistic about. Ireland has proven adept at quickly addressing challenges and seizing opportunities as they arise. There are over 700 US multinational companies in Ireland; they are here for sound business reasons and to support their customers in EMEA. There is no reason why this trend should not continue”. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 95
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Reforming Patent Laws Europe’s Unified Patent Court: What, How, Where and Why
he soon to be established Unified Patent Court signals the greatest change in patent law in Europe for decades. All businesses for which intellectual property rights are a key asset will be affected by these unfolding developments. Set out below are the principle elements involved in these changes.
What is the Unified Patent Court? Under the Irish Presidency of the European Union, the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court was signed on 19 February 2013. This Agreement forms part of a patent package which will allow businesses to finally obtain,
by means of a single patent application, patent protection in the majority of EU member states. In tandem, a new common patent litigation system is being introduced known as the Unified Patent Court. The new Unified Patent Court will allow a company to bring infringement or invalidity proceedings in one Court so as to obtain an Order with effect throughout all the EU member states which are signatories of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. The reference to “Patent” in the Agreement means a European patent granted under the provisions of the EPC (i.e. a bundle of national patents as currently exists) and a European patent with unitary effect otherwise known as the Unitary Patent. The Unitary Patent will therefore be a European wide patent with the
like effect of the community trade mark and the community design. It will come onto effect 4 months after 13 member states have ratified it (to include France, Germany and the UK). One issue to note is that the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court are not derived from within the European Union unlike the community trade mark and the community design. It proved impossible to obtain political agreement within the structures of the European Union. The Agreement on a Unified Patent Court is therefore an international agreement which has been signed by all the member states of the European Union with the exception of Croatia, Poland and Spain. The key effect of the introduction of the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court is that for the first time, there will be a basis SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 97
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in EU patent law for granting pan-European injunctions and to award damages which have automatic effect in all signatory countries. Unquestionably, given the size of the EU marketplace, there will be a transformation in the way patent litigation strategy is undertaken in Europe. The rules of procedure for the new Unified Patent Court bring together elements of both the civil code legal system and the common law legal system in Europe so it remains unclear how the new Court will operate from a strategic perspective until it is actually functional.
How will the Unified Patent Court be structured and how will it operate? The Unified Patent Court comprises a Court of First Instance and a Court of Appeal. The Court of First Instance includes a central division and local divisions (for each contracting state) or regional divisions (for two or more contracting states if they prefer to establish a common division). The central division will be seated in Paris and will have sub-divisions in London and Munich. The 98 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
sub-division in London will hear cases related to chemistry, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, human necessities and medical devices. The subdivision in Munich will deal with cases related to mechanical engineering with Paris handling all other cases. The location of the Court of Appeal and Registry is in Luxembourg. There is to be a Patent Mediation and Arbitration Centre which will have two seats with one in Lisbon and one in Ljubljana. The training facilities for judges will be situated in Budapest. One important procedural issue of note with the new Unified Patent Court system is that the rules of procedure for the court provide that different types of related actions may be commenced in different parts of the Court of First Instance. Geographically, this could result in related cases being heard in different countries (bifurcation) with any mediation or arbitration being heard in a third country thereby turning a dispute into a possible road trip around Europe and some would argue an opportunity for forum shopping by lawyers. By way of example, if an infringement action is commenced before the Central Division of the UPC and a counterclaim for invalidity is brought before the Central Division, then both cases will be heard in that court. However, if an infringement action is started before a local or regional division and a counterclaim for invalidity is brought before the same court, the court concerned has a number of options. It may proceed to hear both the infringement action and the counterclaim for invalidity. It may refer the counterclaim for invalidity to the Central Division and either suspend or proceed with the infringement action. It
may, with the agreement of the parties, refer both the infringement and counterclaim for invalidity to the Central Division.
What is the wider European context of the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent? The changes represent the first step at EU level for what the EU Commission term â€˜A Single Market for Intellectual Property Rightsâ€™ as set out in the EU Commission communication of that name published in May 2011 [European Commission COM (2011) 287] which envisaged a unified patent litigation system. It also appears supportive of the dispute resolution system established under the Unified Patent Court becoming a framework for all other intellectual property rights including designs, copyrights and trade marks. The Unified Patent Court system and the Unitary Patent are therefore relevant to all business interests across the EU not only for the changes which they herald in patent litigation but also for the blue print they are likely to become for changes in other areas of intellectual property rights going forward. For further details email: email@example.com Tel: 353 1 2373700 or log onto www.philiplee.ie
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Data Protection Compliance in the EU by Philip Nolan and Oisin Tobin, Mason Hayes & Curran.
his January, Limerick City will showcase its role as an international technology hub as it plays host to the ITLG Silicon Valley Global Technology Forum. As Ireland develops as a global center for technological innovation, Irish lawyers must be on hand to provide the expertise needed to ensure compliance with Irish and European Union law. For international tech businesses a major part of operating in the European Union is getting to grips with the region’s rigorous data protection laws. Data protection in the EU is governed by the Data Protection Directive, which establishes rules for the processing of personal data. ‘Personal data’ encompasses all information relating to an identifiable living person, and ‘processing’ includes virtually all activity involving data. The Directive imposes extensive obligations on the Data Controller, the person or body that determines the purposes and means of processing of personal data. The primary justification for data processing is that the data subject (the person to whom the data relates) has given his or her consent. EU directives seek to harmonize the laws of European states, but often leave substantial discretion to the member states as to the form and method through which their objectives are to be achieved. Consequently, data protection regimes across Europe share core characteristics, but exhibit some striking differences. The complexity of EU data protection law poses a compliance headache for companies that operate in various European jurisdictions. To avoid one company being subject to a range of data protection laws, the Directive provides that the applicable law is determined by the location of the Data Controller. This allows for the creation of a ‘one-stop-shop’ for data protection compliance. The Irish data protection regime has
Oisin Tobin, Associate
Philip Nolan, Head of Technology
a number of distinctive features that set it apart from its neighbors. Most notable is the approach of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (“DPC”) to enforcement. Like his European counterparts, the DPC enjoys a range of enforcement powers but the Irish Data Protection Acts allow him to arrange for an amicable resolution between the parties when a complaint is made. In our experience, the DPC prefers this approach, and takes the view that his main priority should be ensuring that organizations respect the rights of data subjects. Consequently, most privacy complaints in Ireland are settled quickly and privately without a formal decision from the
DPC or litigation. The European institutions are currently engaged in reforming EU Data Protection law, a process which has provoked heated political debate. It is to be hoped that the new law will provide increased protection for individual privacy while protecting Europe’s place as a center for technological innovation. It is also hoped that these new rules will continue to permit Ireland to be the ‘one-stop-shop’ for US tech businesses that establish here. Philip Nolan, Head of Technology firstname.lastname@example.org Oisin Tobin, Associate email@example.com For more information please contact the authors or visitwww.mhc.ie/tech
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Prying Eyes “Security through Obscurity” - A Fool’s Paradise by Angela Maia, TMG Corporate Services
fool’s paradise according to Idioms is “to be happy because you do not know or will not accept how bad a situation really is”. Security through obscurity is a pejorative referring to a principle which attempts to use secrecy of design or implementation to provide security**. If your laptop at work, your computers at home, your small business’ IT system, your domestic security or your personal security environment relies on contractors that subscribe to the principle of security through obscurity then you will have theoretical or actual security vulnerabilities; but your supplier believes that if the flaws are not known, then attackers will be unlikely to find them. It’s just a little naive, isn’t it? And more worryingly – it’s a common occurrence. It is analogous to a homeowner leaving the rear door open, because it cannot be seen by a would-be burglar. From the excellent blog post by Adam L. Penenberg* “What I learned is that
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virtually all of us are vulnerable to electronic eavesdropping and are easy hack targets. Most of us have adopted the credo “security by obscurity,” but all it takes is a person or persons with enough patience and knowhow to pierce anyone’s privacy — and, if they choose, to wreak havoc on your finances and destroy your reputation.” Pawel Wawrzyniak*** notes from his experiences as an operator - he does not state whether he is a black hat or white hat hacker but that matters little - “you have to attack with many different vectors, where the vast majority of them are related to gaining a physical access first. No matter, if we have to visit someone’s workplace, break into someone’s house or just have to spend 5 minutes with his computer or smartphone left without control. We just have to start with physical access to gain enough information and to put our piece of malicious code or spying device on the victim’s side. We have to somehow – get inside – then we can take more and more control and escalate the
attack. Therefore, no matter how much effort we put into IT security we should always remember that the best IDS, firewall or antivirus solution are not enough. The security starts with physical protection – this is the first and the most important layer of securing any information. Strict physical access control procedures are a must in such places [SIC]. With this [SIC] being implemented, the life of an attacker will be much harder. However, there are even more sophisticated methods of information leaks possible, like those presented on DEF CON 16 – imagine, how many things one can do with a resistor and IR camera or blinking LEDs. Especially today, when all these devices are accessible for anyone.” Do not delude yourself into thinking you are protected from prying eyes — the government, your employer, your friends, your significant other or anyone else’s - if they belong to someone with the right combination of skills, resources and determination - you are hackable and identity theft may be the least of your worries.
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Assumed Security - Makes an ASS of U and ME By Sofia Grudov, TMG Corporate Services The vast majority of private citizens and organisations proxy their security concerns to a third party - their telco provider, their ISP, their hosting provider, their network router designer and so on – assuming these suppliers know how to handle their security concerns. In reality many of these outfits neither cater for or are even aware of the layers of vulnerability that exist in their infrastructures that once compromised can provide streams of data to be used by unethical organisations to facilitate everything from identity theft, fraud, illegally obtained marketing / consumer profiling data for sale. All the way up to corporate espionage and trading in
secret government information - for those company employees and public servants who take their work laptops home. The simple tactic of “pretexting” - for example calling a telephone operator or government department to gain information that will generate leads to facilitate a hack - on the “pretext” that the person calling is the hack target - is a widely used and even though entry level tactic is often the most effective tool of the unethical hacker or unscrupulous investigator. Assumed security also refers to a principle that a system is safe from attack due to an attacker assuming, on the basis of probability, that it is secure. Assumed security is the opposite of security through obscurity. A system relying on security through obscurity may have actual security vulnerabilities, but its owners or designers deliberately make the
system more complex in the hope that attackers are unable to find a flaw. Conversely a system relying on assumed security may make no attempt to address its security flaws but instead relies upon potential attackers simply assuming that the target is not worth attacking. The reasons for an attacker to make this assumption – that is relied on - may range from personal risk where the attacker believes the system owners can easily identify, capture and prosecute them to technological knowledge where the attacker believes the system owners must have sufficient knowledge of security techniques to ensure no flaws exist, rendering an attack moot. Acknowledgements * “I challenged hackers to investigate me and what they found out is chilling” BY Adam L. Penenberg ** Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopaedia ***Pawel Wawrzyniak
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Barringtons Hospital is Limerickâ€™s only private hospital and has been proudly caring for patients in the Mid West region for over 17 years. We are the first stand-alone ambulatory day care surgical unit in the country with elective over night care.
Barringtons Hospital offers patient care in a number of specialties which include: Audiology, Cardiology, Dermatology, EEG Department, ENT Head & Neck, General Surgery, Gastroenterology, Gynaecology, Hand Surgery, Neurology, Nutrition & Dietetics, Oral/ Maxillofacial, Orthopaedic, Ophthalmology, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Pain Medicine, Urology and Vascular.
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Shane Cassells talks to Joan O’Connor and Ron Saake, two international tax experts from Deloitte which provides expert advice to leading global companies and has played a key role in attracting inward investment to Ireland.
hange is not always a good thing, especially if it has devastating impacts on the profitability of your company. The last six years has seen an enormous amount of change take place on a global level in the world of business, finance and foreign direct investment. However, amidst all of this chaos there can be consistent forces that reassure investors and help steady economic outlooks. One such force is the business advisory firm Deloitte who continue to provide financial and investment advice to the biggest players on the world stage. The role of Deloitte Ireland in securing economic investment from the US and in particular Silicon Valley into this country has proved highly influential. Two of Deloitte’s senior international tax partners, from either side of the Atlantic, spoke to Silicon Valley Global about the role the company plays in helping assist such investment and addressing the challenges that exist for Ireland in this regard going into the future. Joan O’Connor, a senior international tax partner with Deloitte Ireland, has over
25 years international tax experience in Dublin and London covering a wide range of industries including technology, life sciences, telecoms, media and energy. Ron Saake, an international tax expert with Deloitte US in San Francisco and San Jose, works with both public and private companies in structuring new international operations and in optimizing ongoing operations.
Maintaining Competitiveness From Saake’s point of view there is still a huge degree of interest in Ireland as a base for investment but he warns that there is a significant amount of work to be done in training and development to ensure a competitive edge is retained. “There is no doubt that the FDI package is attracted by the tax benefits but I think that it is also important to stress that Ireland has always had a reputation of being a place where it is easy to do business,” muses Saake. “It is important that such an impression is maintained. “Perhaps the biggest threat to investment
in Ireland though is the perceived lack of talent coming through at a top management level”. “A lot of companies in the area of research and development are looking for a base for their European Headquarters and it is essential that a good pool of talented people in the upper management echelons SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 105
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exits to service their needs”. “There is a lot of pressure within the tax community and more business executives are seeing the benefit of moving support functions to countries such as India. So it is essential that Ireland differentiates itself by being able to offer qualities in the area of management skills.” It is a stance supported by his colleague Joan O’Connor who touches on the point that Deloitte in Ireland regularly informs government departments about the need for investing in certain areas in order to continue to avail of FDI opportunities. “In the areas of life science, technical and social media there is no doubt that there is continuing investment happening in Ireland,” remarks O’Connor. “The challenge for Ireland is to see this investment grow and enhance. Part of that challenge is also to be more competitive and ensuring we have the skilled talent that can service the needs of these international investors. “In terms of skill there is a global shortage of top class engineers and it is crucial that we have the graduates available for those businesses which require engineers and which wish to invest in Ireland. “I firmly believe that there is a very good package on offer to foreign investors from grant aid, tax packages and there are talented people. We do need to make sure though that the pool of talent at an upper management level is also enhanced and continues to grow, whether it is the pool of senior level C suite management, senior legal counsels or indeed specific engineering talent. “There has been a lot of focus on our tax strategy and principles in 2013. Equally what is vitally important is that everything is done to ensure that the operating and living environment and infrastructure for doing business in Ireland, which in turn creates employment, is protected and developed”. “Obviously as our corporate tax rate of 12.5% is low by global standards, we remain very competitive.”
Developing Trends In the area of informing government about the changing trends that inform where FDI occurs within Europe the team at Deloitte have been on top of their game as O’Connor explains. 106 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
“There is no doubt that the FDI package is attracted by the tax benefits but I think that it is also important to stress that Ireland has always had a reputation of being a place where it is easy to do business,” “We would be actively engaged with the Secretary General in the Department of Finance, John Moran and his officials, on this issue and issues related to talent. “The Departments are very conscious of the issues we have raised in respect of the overall environment for doing business and ensuring that there is an adequate supply of top level management.” Both O’Connor and Saake believe that a key sector for advancement exists in the whole area of social media. Saake is keen to stress that the opportunities for Ireland are massive and that
the amount of expansion yet to happen from the main bases in Silicon Valley is huge. “Obviously in the area of manufacturing IT products the trend we have seen is that there is a move away from European cities and that is understandable because it is hard to compete against South East Asia,” reflects Saake. “But there are huge opportunities for advancement and job creation in the whole area of social media and cloud computing. “There are senior firms with special requirements in the area of IT infrastructure maintenance and a need for people to manage that. “Historically Ireland is a very stable environment in which to do business and as I have already said the tax dimension is an important component of that”. “There are other factors though involved in why FDI investment comes to Ireland and the cluster effect is undoubtedly one of them”. Silicon Valley “People think that Silicon Valley is mature and that there is no more global expansion going to happen. That could not be further from the truth and there are some amazing things happening”. “They are looking towards expansion in the whole area of e-commerce and what Ireland needs to do is to be focussed on the opportunities that exist.” O’Connor concurs with this and also points to the global reach and vast industry expertise which distinguishes the service offered by Deloitte. “What Dublin has been able to do, especially in the area of technology and social media, is to attract a number of high profile FDI companies that have been drawn to this country,” notes O’Connor. “The cluster effect, which Ron speaks about, is a key part of attracting even more investment to these shores. It is essential though that we are able to offer the very highest level of management”. “Our global reach and industry expertise means Deloitte is ideally placed to assist our clients and those considering investing in Ireland for the first time.” With such insight and expertise at the team at Deloitte the multinational corporations who continue to choose Ireland as a strategic European base are sure to receive the best advice on both sides of the Atlantic.
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...Make It Meath
From our excellent infrastructure to our highly skilled workforce, Meath is the ideal strategic operational base for any business. Not only that, we are amongst the friendliest and most welcoming people in a country renowned for the warmth of its welcome! County Meath, known as the heritage capital of Ireland, has a rich and varied history and some of the best locations in which to work and to live anywhere in the world.
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Gary Owens, CEO, IFG Pensions, Investments and Advisory Services.
Planning Ahead IFG Pensions, Investments and Advisory Services are playing a crucial role in educating businesses and workers in Ireland about their futures. 108 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
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detailed review of the IFG Pensions, Investments and Advisory Services website backs up the company’s claim that it is an “innovator” in the Irish market. Full of useful and indepth information on multiple channels, the firm has clearly embraced cutting edge technology to help keep its clients informed of developments, as well as putting in place an enticing platform to attract new business. A bespoke pension portal, where clients can review the performance of their retirement fund in real time, adds to IFG’s insistence on implementing a content and communications strategy that delivers real results. “If you look at the age profile of people that are joining our schemes, technology is critical to them,” explains CEO Gary Owens. “Being able to manage their pension fund or the ability to access information on a wide range of channels is important to them. We also have a very active social media presence, which contributes to how we communicate and interact with our client base.” Touch points that provide up-to-date data and metrics on the value of pension funds will be essential in selling the importance of planning for retirement to a generation that has so far remained skeptical. The fact that less than 50 per cent of working people contribute to a fund is a worrying statistic for policy makers here. Furthermore, improvement is unlikely until levels of disposable income grow, while education will also play a key role in altering attitudes. “A lot of people don’t understand how to manage a pension fund but we take responsibility for helping them undertake that journey,” Owens says. “That involves identifying assets around the world that match an individual’s risk profile. We constantly review research and explore what it is telling us in terms of countries and assets that we should be investing in on behalf of our clients.”
Mandatory savings Indeed, saving for retirement is to become a fact of life in Ireland within four years if the Government follows through on promises to introduce a new mandatory or autoenrollment pension scheme. Workers over the
Changing the face
of the industry “A lot of people don’t understand It can be argued that IFG have revolutionized the pensions industry – Owens points out that the company was the first to bring how to manage a international fund managers to the Irish member, while he says that more importantly, pension fund but we IFG takes full responsibility for where every cent is invested. It is also playing take responsibility its part in showcasing Ireland abroad and helping to convince overseas firms to set up for helping them here. Having taken part in the Gateway to undertake that journey.” Europe initiative since its inception, IFG has age of 22 earning more than a defined income threshold will automatically be enrolled in the new supplementary programme. This will be compulsory for workers unless their employers’ scheme provides higher contribution levels or is a defined benefit scheme. In doing so, those employed in Ireland will be required to brush up on their squirreling skills, which is where IFG comes in. “The state pension scheme is coming under significant pressure and it may well be the case that a means test will be required in the future to uncover whether individuals qualify for state assistance or not. Also, employers are only committing to a fixed contribution rather than actually guaranteeing to pay a pension like they would have done in the past. All of this results in the need for a proposition that is attractive to the members of a scheme so that they can trust somebody to invest their money every month.” In terms of its own business, Owens says that IFG continues on an impressive upward curve. Its commitment to enhanced communication, as well as placing itself in a leading position to advise both individuals and companies on the best pension options when the new compulsory saving rules come into force, have contributed significantly to the firm’s growth. “We have won awards for the technology that we have developed to keep in touch with our clients and the platforms by which each of them can view the progression of their own contributions. This gives us a very solid base in which to grow our business, which we have done. In fact, we are securing at least one new company account every week right now.”
been uniquely positioned to capitalize on a program that showcases Ireland as one of the world’s top business destinations every year. Furthermore, Owens says that the annual event gives business and political leaders the opportunity to quell some of the misconceptions about the landscape here. “Gateway to Europe has been a significant driver of persuading companies to locate in Ireland,” he claims. “Ireland’s growth strategy is really all about developing our export capability and continuing to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). For IFG, many of the companies that have come in, particularly in financial services and the IT sector, require a partner like us to establish benefit structures for their employees. Gateway to Europe gives us access to corporations like that at an early stage. From there we can start the process of educating them on the opportunities that are available here. Typically they want to know more about the tax and employee benefit structures that are in place. They also look for more information on rents and the talent pool. This gives us the chance to put right some of the misunderstandings about upward only rent reviews for example, and explain to potential new comers that most landlords do not engage in such practices. Also, as a company, we are quite strong when it comes to FDI but you really only get out what you put in because it can take two or three years before companies make a decision on where they will locate their business.” IFG has developed an excellent foundation for providing knowledge, both to corporations and individual clients. Through engagement on multi-channel digital platforms, and by taking an active part in high profile events, Owens has placed his company on an excellent footing to lead the pensions industry from the front.
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Lights, Camera, Action The Irish film industry is now achieving critical mass of film-making talent to match the kind of influence (disproportionate to its small size) that it has always enjoyed in the fields of literature and theatre - Irish Film Board 110 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
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“One in five people visiting Ireland mentioned seeing Ireland in a film as one of the reasons for coming to Ireland.”
he film industry relies on the most valuable and widely available of Irish resources – imagination and storytelling. With its strong literary tradition, Ireland is perceived internationally as a source of creative talent and with an English
speaking population, the land of a hundred thousand welcomes has attracted the attention of major international film makers. Blockbusters like My Left Foot and Michael Collins present Ireland to the world with a strong and distinctive presence, while HBO’s Game of Thrones showcases the physical attractiveness of Ireland as a location. Results from an industry survey identified the Irish audio-visual sector as a key industry for growth, revealing that the sector is valued at over €557.3 million, employs over 6,000 individuals and represents 0.3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The economic impact is significant Kelly Campbell, for employment Love/Hate at Digital and tourism but Biscuit launch creativity alone is not enough. In-depth industry knowledge and the highest level of technical skills are required, together with an environment that cultivates creativity to harness its expression in film. The Irish Film Board (Bord Scannán na hÉireann) is Ireland’s national film agency and major film funding body. As the national
development agency for the film, television and animation industry, the work of the IFB is paramount to the growth of the industry in Ireland. James Hickey, CEO talks to Silicon Valley Global magazine about how to expand on this growth. There are 6,000 people employed in the Irish audiovisual sector, while production activity across the independent film, television and animation industry was valued at €168m in 2013 alone. What can be done to build on this success? Impressive figures yes and on top of this, indigenous TV programmes produced internally in RTÉ, TV3 and TG4 exceeded €250m and it is estimated that other audiovisual production for business and industry was worth in excess of €100m per annum. Better again was the PricewaterhouseCoopers report in 2008 showing that turnover in audiovisual production here exceeded €500m and the number of fulltime equivalent jobs was over 6,000. While internal RTÉ production reduced significantly from 2008 to 2013 (by approximately €90m), this has been made up for by the increase in activity in the independent sector. This is particularly the case in TV drama supported by foreign directed investment, including recently Vikings at Ashford Studios, Ripper Street in Clancy Barracks and Penny Dreadful at Ardmore Studios. In 2013 spending on TV drama outside RTÉ was approximately €80m whereas RTÉ drama expenditure including Fair City was approximately €20m. Success over the last five years is down to the skills of Irish producers, the cast, crew, facilities and services available. The benefit of the Section 481 tax incentive - particularly in the area of international TV drama - was hugely important. With the UK introducing a tax incentive for certain types of TV drama SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 111
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in 2013, a newly competitive environment has come into play but equally the volume of international work indicates a continuing flow of work for Ireland. For production companies looking at Ireland, what are its benefits as a film location? A huge benefit is the talent of the people working in Ireland including Irish producers, directors, writers, animators, post production personnel and visual effects creators. Ireland also offers a competitive tax incentive and a good physical infrastructure with excellent studios and magnificent locations. The Irish Film Board maintains large databases of these facilities and locations. We encourage international producers to use the databases and we provide funding for them to come here to see our locations and facilities first hand. How important is the film industry to tourism? Film and TV drama productions set in Ireland and screened widely throughout the world are hugely important. An impressive one in five people visiting Ireland mentioned seeing Ireland in a film as one of the reasons for coming to Ireland. Steven Spielberg expressed an interest in making a film about Daniel O’Connell and there is speculation that Irish locations may play a part in the next Bond movie. What is the IFB doing to increase Ireland’s attractiveness in a competitive market? The IFB are in constant contact with Irish producers and internationally mobile production entities including Hollywood studios, US and international cable TV networks and online content creators. We actively encourage them to locate production in Ireland. This includes the producers of the major international film franchises and contacts in North America, Europe and Asia including Bollywood where we have seen some significant success. 112 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
actors, crew, post production animators and visual effects. In funding incoming international TV drama, IFB secures positions for Irish directors, DOPs, set and costume designers on these projects. We promote Irish talent overseas and provide funding for short films, which have garnered eight Academy Award® nominations over the past decade.
CEO of Irish Film Board, James Hickey
The latest changes to Section 481 scheduled to come in place in 2015 including non EU personnel qualifying as eligible expenditure will greatly help this. The future growth of the Irish film and television industry is dependent on a highly skilled workforce. What is the IFB doing to encourage budding talent? The IFB supported Irish creative talent in film production in 2013 by funding 12 feature films, 6 creative co-productions, 7 animation series for TV and 11 feature documentaries. All of these involved Irish creative talent ranging from producers, directors, writers,
To what extent are new Irish actors supported by the IFB? The Irish actor Jack Reynor started out in two feature films funded by the IFB, Dollhouse and What Richard Did. Jack is now on the world stage but is also back in Ireland to appear in Gerard Barrett’s next feature film Glassland currently being shot in Dublin with Toni Collette and produced by Element Pictures (What Richard Did and The Guard). Other actors and directors who have broken through internationally and got their break on IFB funded productions include Cillian Murphy, Alan Leech, Robert Sheehan, Brendan Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Bolger, Lenny Abrahamson, John Michael McDonagh and Kirsten Sheridan amongst many more. The success of Love/Hate has been phenomenal. To what do you attribute this success and how can we build on it? The success of Love/Hate has put a spotlight on indigenous TV drama production in Ireland. There is a huge talent bank for this TV drama work but most of the activity is in the foreign direct investment sector. We would be encouraging RTÉ to increase its expenditure on the development and production of indigenous TV drama in the coming years. RTÉ spent €45m on TV drama in 2008 but only €22m in 2012. This represents a reduction in excess of 50% in circumstances where the reduction in expenditure on indigenous TV programme production overall went down by only 28% in the same period. www.irishfilmboard.ie
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What seems incredible is that today an iPad in the hands of a talented artist can be used to create an animated film that once needed a full studio set-up to produce. Even more incredible is that the film can be put out to an audience of millions without the backing of a broadcaster. - Brian Gilmore, Brown Bag Films
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Tom Vaughan Lawlor as Nidge
Love/Hate Jane Gogan, Head of Drama, at RTĂ‰ talks to Silicon Valley Global about the success of crime drama Love/ Hate and her conviction that the writer must be at the center of the creative process. 114 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
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Tom Vaughan Lawlor as Nidge
owhere is the public service ethos of RTÉ more clearly evident than in the station’s drama department. Iconic drama series from Strumpet City to The Riordans, Glenroe, Bracken and more recently the acclaimed series Love/ Hate - a gritty and often violent portrayal of Dublin’s gangland - would simply not have been possible without the often controversial license fee. However, not even its most trenchant critics would dispute that the nation’s cultural landscape would have been poorer for their absence. The fight to capture the attention of a fickle audience with an exhaustive variety of entertainment options has never been more challenging. However, with the last series of Love/Hate attracting over a million viewers and a pipeline of exciting productions lined up for the coming year together with the success of RTÉ’s online drama competition, Storyland - many believe that the national broadcaster is embarking upon a golden age.
The runway success of Love/Hate has focused a lot of attention on RTÉ’s drama department, largely because it represents a significant departure from previous dramas aired by the broadcaster. Set in modern day Dublin, it leaves no holds barred in charting the lives of a seasoned criminal gang as they battle for supremacy in Dublin’s underworld. Jane Gogan, the Head of Drama at RTÉ and the person responsible for bringing the series to our screens, was not overly surprised by its success. “There’s always a degree of trepidation when you launch a new series, but I knew that the writer had something truly original and very powerful. However, you can never be certain how an audience will react, you work very hard to make it as good as you can and then you hand it over for the audience to decide. Thankfully they responded as we hoped they would.” Gogan was appointed head of RTÉ’s drama department in 2006 and set about creating a developmental process that was centered around the writer. Her belief that
a successful TV drama requires a clear path to be created between the vision and ideas of the writer and the audience is influenced by a view that theatre, which she believes is closer in many ways to television than film. “I meet with a lot of theatre writers and I think that theatre - in terms of its ethos and the writing process involved - is more closely connected to television than film is. Theatre is certainly centered to greater extent around the writer. This is not the case with film in Ireland which is very much director-led. I think the power of the writer’s idea it’s central to making good television drama.” She knew Stuart Carolan, the writer of Love/Hate from two earlier plays, The Empress of India and Defender of the Faith, which he had written for the Druid and Abbey theaters and his work as current affairs producer on The Last Word for Today FM. She has also worked with him on two television dramas, ‘Little White Lie’ and ‘Raw’ and had been impressed with the depth and originality of his vision. So, SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 115
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when he approached her to discuss a new drama he was working on with Octagon Films she was not surprised to find RTÉ had discovered “a gem”. “As well as the two plays he has written, Stuart had a fantastic background in comedy as the originator of Navan Man with ‘The Last Word’. He is also a very accomplished current affairs producer which also lends itself to good TV drama writing. He has an original mind and a unique perspective and that is what you look for in drama. You do not want to repeat what anyone else has done.” She was also impressed with his ability to create empathy despite a cast of characters some of whom demonstrate an alarming propensity for violence. “Creating empathy with the characters is the cornerstone of good drama and he has created a cast of characters that belongs in the world in which we all live. It is very much connected to the daily lives that we lead and there is a relatable aspect to the story which was important to both of us. There are big questions on morality and there is a sense 116 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
of honesty and truthfulness which I found compelling.
Acting Talent The acting has also garnered considerable praise and Tom Vaughan Lawlor as ‘Nidge’, the gangster who rises to the top when former leader John Boy is assassinated is a revelation. A beguiling mix of menace and charm, his cunning and willingness to dispense with anyone who gets in his way is tapered by the humanity displayed in his affection for his son and the other rare moments when his guard is lowered. He is ably supported by an impressive cast which reveals a considerable depth of acting talent in the country and all the key actors have seen their careers receive a lift as a result of their performances in in Love/Hate. “The casting director, Maureen Hughes, is a great spotter of new talent, she goes to see everything and has a vast knowledge of theatre and film,” says Gogan. “But the quality of the script brings the best out in the performers, the dialogue is fantastic and it
comes very naturally to the actors”. The success of Love/Hate in Ireland has raised hopes that it can make an impact internationally and deliver a return for the producers and the national broadcaster. While the rights to the series have been sold to a number of territories, most recently Channel 5 in the UK, and talks are at an advanced stage with an American cable channel about format rights, the first responsibility is to the domestic audience. “We want to produce drama that everybody can really enjoy and relate to first and foremost. Next we look to maximizing the commercial potential of our programs and we devise a comprehensive strategy in that regard. But we want to fit in comfortably with the best drama internationally and make an impact abroad. The other consideration is the vast migrant population which provide a ready market for strong Irish drama.” Love/Hate has also helped RTÉ to tap into a new audience, younger viewers, who are often considered the most elusive target market. “Young people don’t have the same propensity to stick with favorite channels, they are accustomed to consuming
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content online and they search for particular programs rather than channels. Gogan’s affinity with writers and her conviction that good drama requires the writer to be at the center of the development process has been reflected throughout the drama department. Fair City, Ireland’s most popular soap which airs some 200 episodes a year has a program to bring in new talent and theatre writers are encouraged to get involved in writing tv drama. “Our shows are only as good as the stories behind them,” says Gogan.“To write for tv you really need to be able to deliver, it is demanding work with tight deadlines. But we have put a lot of effort into bringing the writing to a higher level and the viewing figures show that it is paying off.” At time of writing a new serial drama, Amber, created by Rob Cawley and Paul Duane and written by Rob and Gary Duggan, is capturing the public imagination and achieving 42% share for its first two episodes.
Storyland Another initiative by RTÉ drama department aimed at cultivating new talent is the online
drama strand Storyland. The success of Storyland was illustrated by the success of the web series Hardy Bucks who went from YouTube to Universal via Storyland and an RTÉ TWO commission in three years and, more recently, Cuckoo which recently won an award for Best Writing at the International Academy of Web Television Awards in Las Vegas. Nikki Racklin and Danann Breathnach wrote the series, which was originally distributed online as part of RTÉ’s Storyland competition. Cuckoo had been nominated for three awards, including Best Actress (Pagan McGrath) and Best Director (Danann Breathnach). Gogan was delighted with the award and believes Storyland is making a significant impact in terms of discovering new talent. “While Storyland may not be widely known among the public, it is one of our proudest achievements and is a great vehicle for aspiring writers, directors and producers,” says Gogan. “It fast-tracks teams through development and production process and gets to the heart of the concept of television drama. We have had a lot of talented writers emerge from the program and some who
go on to work on other dramas Fair City or RAW, for example. The team who write and produce Amber came through Storyland. “It is about trying to create career opportunities for as many good writers as possible, because for everyone who has the magic, there are a hundred great journeymen. It’s a challenge because people in this industry can easily reach their thirties and forties and find they have no career. But there is a demand for good writing across the industry from copy editing to comedy and documentaries. “There is a mantra which is referenced widely in this industry about the right to fail and it is desperately misleading. Samuel Beckett said: “Fail again. Fail better.” That’s okay if you are Beckett but if you are a 35 year old with a mortgage to pay, children to support and an unfulfilled dream it can be a very dangerous mantra. RTÉ’s drama department is also in production with ‘Charlie’, a story of politics and the pursuit of power. Charles Haughey will be played by Aidan Gillen of Love/Hate while Tom Vaughan Lawlor will play his erstwhile sidekick P.J. Mara. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 117
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Amber Directed by Thaddeus
O’Sullivan and produced by Screenworks for national Irish broadcaster RTÉ, Amber is a four part drama written by Gary Duggan and Rob Cawley and starring Eva Birthistle and David Murray. 118 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
he disappearance of 14-yearold Amber Bailey (Lauryn Canny) sets off a two-year search during which her family go through unimaginable pressures. As the days, months and years progress the mystery deepens and strange and terrifying clues come to light raising even more questions. The world becomes gripped by the mystery of the missing teen. What happened to Amber? Set in Dublin’s suburbs with its massive empty modern apartment blocks, Amber’s parents Ben (David Murray) and Sarah (Eva Birthistle) recently separated and are getting on with their lives. Everything changes one afternoon, however, when Amber fails to return home. As her family and friends search for her, emotions are tested in the harsh glare of the media spotlight. Amber is tender, touching and
unflinchingly horrifying. The four part series takes the viewer on an emotional journey with psychological insight and unexpected twists. Each episode focuses on one particular character or set of characters, broadening out as the series continues to tell a story from the point of view of many of those whose lives are affected. The show was inspired by Cawley’s experiences working with the search and rescue teams for a series with RTE. “The aim of Amber is to impart to a general Irish audience the sense of loss, incomprehension and anguish a family feels when a loved one disappears,” says Cawley. The series will air in Denmark, Sweden, Israel, Latin America, Brazil, Canada and Australia, after UK-based distribution house Content Media secured a raft of international sales. Netflix has also acquired the series for its video-on-demand service in the US
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The Amber Team ROB CAWLEY Rob Cawley has spent his varied career acquiring the skills which now give him the skillsets of a showrunner. He is primarily a writer but also a producer. Rob’s career began as a comedy writer and he has penned hit comedies for Irish broadcaster RTE and Australian broadcaster SBS among others. Over the past number of years he has also directed documentaries which in turn have broadened his skills as a writer and as a producer. His credits include RESCUE 117 (Director – 6 x documentary series) and Amber (Producer/Writer, 4 x 1 hour TV Drama for RTÉ/Screenworks.) He is currently developing a slate of drama and feature film projects as a writer/producer with the backing of The Irish Film board and RTÉ. PAUL DUANE Paul Duane produced and directed Barbaric Genius (2011), Very Extremely Dangerous (2012) and Natan (2013) and he appeared on Variety’s 10 ‘Directors to Watch’ list in December 2013. Paul co-created and coproduced Screenworks’ new drama series
Amber and he is currently writing his first feature script, The National Broadcaster, for production in 2014. He was one of the originators of the hit ITV/Showtime drama Secret Diary of a Call Girl and he has directed many internationally successful drama series, including Ballykissangel, Casualty, The Royal and Footballers’ Wives. SCREENWORKS Screenworks produces high quality TV, film and online media content for Irish and international markets. Integral to their ethos is a bold approach to filmmaking. As well as coming up with concepts of their own, Screenworks seek out original and cutting edge projects from other writers, producers, directors, authors and members of the public. Directors Rob Cawley
and Paul Duane are creatively involved in all aspects of the projects that they pursue and taking such a hands on approach, they have gained a reputation for ambition, originality, creativity and excellence. www.screenworks.ie
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The Summit For every four people who have reached the summit of K2, one has died in the attempt. Described by reviewers as “riveting”, “pulse-pounding” and “remarkable”, multi award-winning Irish documentary, The Summit tells the story of the greatest single tragedy in modern mountaineering history.
inner of Best Feature Length Mountain Film, Banff Film Festival, Nov 2013, The Summit is a feature length documentary about the deadliest day in modern mountain climbing history. In August of 2008, 22 climbers from several international expeditions converged
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on High Camp at K2, the last stop before the summit of the most dangerous mountain on Earth. 48 hours later, eleven had been killed or simply vanished into thin air. Like a horror movie come-to-life, it was as if the mountain began stealing lives, one climber at a time. At the feet of the heavens the body is literally dying with each passing second and the mind can play tricks. Morality
in the death zone, above 8,000 metres, is skewed 180 degrees from the rest of life. When a climber falls or wanders off the trail, the unwritten code of the sport is to leave them for dead. Survival depends on selfpreservation at all costs. At the heart of The Summit lies a mystery about one extraordinary man, Ger McDonnell, the first Irishman to summit K2. His team
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leader left him behind in the death zone. His best friend on the mountain, Pemba Gyalje Sherpa, searched in vain to find him, rescuing several others. Ger’s final moments have been called into question by the last climber to talk to him alive. By all accounts, he was faced with a heart-breaking dilemma— at the very limit of his mortal resources, he stumbled onto a disastrous scene: three climbers tangled up in ropes and running out of time. Had Ger McDonnell stuck to the climbers’ code, he might still be alive. In a century of assaults on K2, only about 300 people have ever seen the view from the second highest peak on the planet. More than a quarter of those who made it didn’t live long enough to share the glory or even tell the tale. They were killed simply trying to get down. The Summit is about the very nature of modern adventure. Those who survive carry with them a commodity to sell, The Story. This one remains contentious and fiercely debated, at the expense of the memory of Ger McDonnell and the 10 others who died with him. In this way, the monster of K2 feeds itself. As the legend grows, new climbers are drawn to test themselves against the deadliest mountain on Earth. Directed by Nick Ryan, The Summit was in production over a four year period. Nick
explains, “The actual production process was over four years, up until October 2012. Shooting on the piece started in 2008 just after the actual tragedy, then filming of the reconstructions took place over a 16 day period in March.” Many of the reconstructed shots were filmed on green screen to overcome the difficulty of transporting significant camera equipment up so high and due to the lack of snow later in the snow season. To recreate events as accurately as possible the crew brought portable green screens up the mountain in Switzerland to take the most accurate shots. Gifted cinematographer Robbie Ryan’s background is in visual effects so he was meticulous in recreating the exact conditions of the climb taking over 260 VFX shots. Green screen backgrounds were then replaced with photographs taken by Robbie at K2 and also photographs that climbers had taken from higher up on the mountain. The net effect is that when watching The Summit you go from real footage into reconstructed footage seamlessly, which is exactly what Director Nick Ryan set out to achieve. Distributed by Wildcard and produced by Dublin’s Image Now Films & Kerry’s Pat Falvey Productions
Nick Ryan Director and Producer Nick Ryan was a founding director of Image Now Films in 1995 and works as a director and producer of films. Nick wrote, directed and produced the award winning short film A Lonely Sky. In 2008 he wrote and directed the award winning The German. Nick also produced Ruairi Robinson’s short films The Silent City Blinky and Imaginary Forces. He is represented as a director in the United States by United Talent Agency and by Independent Talent Group in the UK.
premiers in Ireland on RTE, January 2014.
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Game of Thrones
A drama that needs no introduction, Game of Thrones was created for HBO by David Benioff and DB Weiss. The series is an adaptation for television of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, one of George RR Martin’s fantasy novels, the first of which is titled ‘A Game of Thrones’.
ilmed in Belfast studios and on location all over Northern Ireland, Game of Thrones is invaluable for the local film industry, to the economy and in promoting Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland to the tourism market. Launching a Tourism Ireland strategy in December 2013, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “In order to attract new and repeat visitors, Tourism Ireland will be seeking to capitalize on the huge popularity of Game of Thrones.” The announcement that the forth season of Thrones was to be again filmed in Northern Ireland drew a positive response from First Minister Peter Robinson who said: ‘Securing the filming of series four is proof that Northern Ireland can host largescale productions with positive spin-off into other sectors such as tourism, where we can showcase stunning locations such as the Causeway Coast and the Glens, Ballintoy and Murlough Bay, to name but a few.’ The Irish film crews and production teams running the show are world class and Thrones has highlighted just how attractive Ireland is becoming to the wider filming world and Hollywood. “The success of Game of Thrones shows our commitment to leave no stone unturned when seeking to secure such international productions,” Robinson continued. “We travelled to Los Angeles to press the case for the Northern Ireland film industry and to encourage HBO to return to film their fourth series. We have seen the economic impact of an estimated 65 million pounds across the three seasons and we want to grow our local film industry to attract more international projects of this scale.” Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister
Martin McGuinness added: “Meeting with HBO senior executives at the launch of Game of Thrones series three in Los Angeles shows we are prepared to go the extra mile to secure such an internationally renowned production for our local film industry. The credibility associated with a project of this scale has significant potential for our economy.” He continues, “We are focused on maximizing the economic value of series four and building on the employment levels of the previous series where over 800 people were working on the production.” Production for Game of Thrones occurred in Belfast with filming in the Titanic Studios and at locations across Northern Ireland including the Antrim Coast, Tollymore Forest Park, the 14th century Shane’s Castle and Castle Ward. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 123
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Your Bad Self Sometimes its good to be bad. The thrill of throwing away the rule book and releasing ‘Your Bad Self’ can be deliciously good
FTA Award winning Your Bad self is a six part comedy sketch show produced for Irish broadcaster RTÉ by Treasure Entertainment. The series was directed by John Butler, produced by Ben Kelly and with executive producers Rebecca O’Flanagan and Rob Walpole. A huge team of talented writers include John Butler, Ben Kelly, Eoin Williams, Justine Mitchell, Emily Fairman, Tom Farrelly, Domhnall Gleeson, Michael McElhatton, Peter McDonald, Karen Egan, Michael Moloney, Jason O’Mara and Hugh O’Conor. Your Bad Self is a six-part darkly hilarious sketch show about the things we think and
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do - not say. It features performances from some of the country’s best actors from Irish stage and film including Amy Huberman (The Clinic), Michael McElhatton (Paths to Freedom), Jason O’Mara (Life on Mars), Peter McDonald (I Went Down), Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter), Justine Mitchell (A Cock and Bull Story), Hugh O’Conor (Chocolat), Andrew Bennett (Garage) and Tom Farrelly (Father Ted). As the title suggests, ‘Your Bad Self ’ is about the dark side. The sketches are for the most part observational, non-political and sometimes slightly surreal. A deranged doctor tortures his patients. A marooned mountaineer is brought to the edge of reason
by his incessantly chatty Sherpa. A showbiz mother torments her tomboy daughter. These are some of the characters who make up the Your Bad Self universe and who develop and mutate over the course of the series. The series won the IFTA for Best Entertainment Series .
Treasure Entertainment is one of Ireland’s leading independent production studios. The company’s latest comedy film The Stag, was selected for Toronto’s International Film Festival in September 2013. It had its European premiere at the Torino Film Festival and was selected to screen at the
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Busan Film Festival in South Korea. It was picked up by Arrow Films for the UK and Ireland and Tribeca for the USA and is due for release this spring. Treasure Entertainment is currently in post production on Vivienne De Courcy’s directorial debut Wild and Ivan Kavanagh’s horror The Canal. Other credits include the horror film SHROOMS, which was financed by UK tax finance house Ingenious and sold worldwide by Capitol Films and Man About Dog, one of the highest ever grossing independent Irish films. THE ECLIPSE, written and directed by leading Irish playwright Conor McPherson premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2009 and was picked up by Magnolia Films and won the IFTA for Best Feature Film in 2010. It has been invited to screen at festivals around the world in Switzerland, Canada, Chile, South Korea, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Russia and Taiwan. Treasure produced writer Paul Fraser’s directorial feature debut My Brothers which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in
2010 and garnered much critical acclaim. Howard Feinstein, Screen International commented, “He reveals a keen understanding of the way young people think and act.” Treasure Entertainment were also the Irish producers on the fourth series of the ITV hit series PRIMEVAL which screened on ITV in the UK and BBC Worldwide. For BBC Films the company produced I Went Down, Saltwater and The Mighty Celt. www.treasure.ie
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beActive When it comes to quality production, beActive sprint ahead with impressive projects and a top notch team
eActive is a Dublin based TV, film and digital studio with offices in Dublin, London, Lisbon and Sao Paulo. TV and film projects include worldwide teen success Sofia’s Diary for Sony Pictures Television, HBO primetime series The Line and Living in your Car; Emmy-nominated Brazilian miniseries Final Punishment; Irish interactive TV series Aisling’s Diary and the UK film production The Knot, featuring Mena Suvari and Noel Clarke. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, beActive just received a second Emmy nomination for Beat Girl and recently released COLLIDER in Irish cinemas. The company’s unique approach to storytelling and entertainment combines traditional media with digital platforms. The goal is to create stories and characters that are available on all platforms so viewers can watch and engage with content on radio, web, smart-phone/tablet and on TV. To accomplish this vision, beActive relies heavily on technology. Video content is captured in digital form directly to memory cards and hard drives, edited digitally and distributed digitally across the globe. Use of cloud technology means content can be shared irrespective of location. Video can be shot anywhere in the world and made immediately available online so a worldwide team can collaborate adding graphics, music, effects and finishing content while editors can start to cut and edit. In some cases video can go from camera to audiences in less than 24 hours. beActive distribute videos, music, eBooks, mobile apps and games digitally from Dublin to the rest of the world. Distribution channels 126 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
include YouTube, their own Network (beActive TV); Samsung for mobile, smartphone and connected TV; Wattpad for (eBooks), iTunes (music, eBooks, videos and apps), Hulu (video & films), Amazon (eBooks & music) and Spotify (music). Distribution is managed by an inhouse developed highly accessible content management, distribution and monetization platform, The Storycaster. This aids with the tasks involved in making content available over multiple platforms, embracing digital and mobile devices and creating a more engaging experience for audiences. Machinima Storyteller, also developed in-house, allows beActive to use unified 3D models, characters and backgrounds to develop and produce animated content, a videogame and a graphic novel with the same story and characters, creating a full multi-platform experience.
Recent projects: COLLIDER: A multi-platform project that started as a digital comic book and was extended with a web series, a motion comics animated series, two mobile games, a social media game for Facebook and a feature film that premiered in London, was selected to show at the Geneva Film Festival and opened in Irish cinemas on January 10th. The content is being sold around the world and the movie was already sold to some key territories, including Japan. The COLLIDER is now being extended by an animated series and an action-game using in-house platform Machinima Storyteller. BEAT GIRL: A teen series that started as a Pinterest profile (according the Digital Dot
Nuno Bernardo Nuno Bernardo is an award-winning and two-time Emmy-nominated writer and producer. He is creator of Sofia’s Diary, Flatmates, Beat Generation and Final Punishment. He is also the Executive Producer of the HBO series The Line and Living in Your Car. Recently, Nuno produced The Knot, a feature film with Noel Clarke and Mena Suvari and Beat Girl, a multi-platform property turned into a movie that premiered in European cinemas in May 2013. Beat Girl was sold to Electus in the US to be remade as a prime time TV series and was nominated for an Emmy as Best Series. He also wrote and produced Collider, a SCI-FI feature film that opened in Irish Cinemas in January 2014 and he produced the multi-platform documentary Road to Revolution. Nuno is the author of bestselling book “Producer’s Guide to Transmedia”. He contributes to the MIPWORLD Blog and he is a frequent speaker at industry events and festivals.
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magazine, it was one of the most influential profiles of 2012) that turned into an eBook, web series, a mobile game and a film and a TV Series. The series was nominated for an Emmy award and also for a Kidscreen Award. The TV Series was sold to Portugal, UK, US, Israel, Scandinavia and many other territories. BEACTIVE TV: beActive TV aggregates all of beActive’s audiovisual content and distributes it on YouTube, Facebook, mobile devices (through beActive TV app available for iOS and Android) and connected TV devices. The channel is being accessed globally and it generates more than 10 million views.
Triona Campbell is a Dublin native, an entrepreneur and TV/film producer. In 2009 she was nominated as Ernst & Young Emerging Irish Entrepreneur of the year and appointed as EU Ambassador for Female Entrepreneurs in Europe. Triona has just been nominated for an Emmy for her role as producer in the TV Series Beat Girl (the series also got a nomination for the prestigious Kidscreen Awards in New York). This is Triona’s second nomination for an Emmy and in the last ten years she received two Kidscreen Awards in New York for her role as producer in the series Aisling’s Diary for RTÉ. She was nominated for a Broadcast Digital Award in London with the series Sofia’s Diary for SONY and Channel 5; she received a C21 International Format Award for Beat Generation Ireland, 2 IFTA nominations and many other industry awards. Triona’s first movie, The Crooked Mile, was the first film outside of North America to win the Tribeca First Look Award in 2001. In April 2013, Triona addressed the European Parliament in Dublin on the topic “Strategies to combat unemployment and harness the potential of SMEs”, focusing on the challenging economic conditions for European entrepreneurs alongside the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton.
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An event to tantalize the creative taste-buds, Digital Biscuit is an expo that combines technology and creativity to perfection
creen Directors Guild of Ireland (SDGI) officially launched Digital Biscuit 2014 at their Annual Meeting for Irish Directors in Dublin. Established in 2000, the SDGI is the representative body for directors involved in the Irish and international audiovisual industry. These include directors of feature films, fiction, animation documentary, television drama, short films, video art and 128 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
commercials. The ethos of the Guild is inclusive and proactive in encouraging a dynamic and supportive forum for directors to discuss their ideas or concerns and it has grown to become a forum for positive dialogue about film making. The inaugural Digital Biscuit in 2013 proved a resounding success with both the industry and the public with over 4,000 attendees over a three day period. Digital Biscuit 2014 places creatives at
its core while also serving as a digital expo for new technologies. â€œThe aim is to make directors and people generally aware of the most up-to-date digital technologies in film making and indeed TV productionâ€? says Ciaran Donnelly, Chairman of SDGI and Director of The Tudors and Vikings. Directors, writers, photographers, producers, editors, directors of photography, students and members of the public have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the bustling displays and
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demonstrations of new technologies which is aimed at enhancing the production process and market for their creators. At this year’s event director Lenny Abrahamson (Adam & Paul, Garage, What Richard Did), actress Kelly Campbell (Love/ Hate) and cinematographer Ciarán Tanham get to experiment with the latest film technology and they can closely examine the Hexicam Aerials’ drone camera which shoots in full HD in flight. Also on display is one of the most exciting technologies on today’s film set, the 3D printer, which will be used to print film prop at Digital Biscuit. Digital Biscuit is a combination of
talks, demonstrations, screenings, previews, product unveilings and innovative workshops. Highlights include talks by Camilla Hammerich (Producer of Borgen), Tomm Moore (Director of The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea) and Alan Taylor (Director, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Thor: The Dark World). The event attracts global leaders from the digital, technological and creative industries and also encompasses the Irish Premiere of the Cohen Brothers’ Inside Llewlyn Davis. SDGI Executive Director Birch Hamilton said, “With 44 partners, 33 talks, 20 exhibitions and 13 workshops, we hope that Digital Biscuit will further galvanise
the true global potential that the Irish film industry has together.” www.digitalbiscuit.ie
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The Art of Animation Animation – “The technique of photographing successive drawings or positions of puppets or models to create an illusion of movement when the film is shown as a sequence” 130 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
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he definition of animation has been redefined by innovative production companies like Brown Bag Films. As a global leader in children’s and family entertainment, Brown Bag is currently producing four of the world’s highest rated pre-school shows including Doc McStuffins, Henry Hugglemonster, Peter Rabbit, and Octonauts. As well as Emmy and BAFTA nominations for its TV series, the studio has been awarded two Oscar nominations for its short films Give Up Yer Aul Sins (2002) and Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (2010). Brian Gilmore is Head of Technology at Brown Bag Films. He joined the industry over twenty five years ago when the work of the animator was very different to what it is today. Brian talks to Silicon Valley Global magazine about the impact of technology on his industry. Animation is an area where technology has had a massive impact. How has this affected your work? When I first started in animation 25 years ago it was all hand drawn and painted cels that were shot under a Rostrum camera onto film. The work was very time consuming and hugely labor intensive, not to mention full of restrictions in terms of what could be achieved. We needed a big studio set-up to get anything done and to see how it finally turned out took several days as the film had to be sent from Ireland to the UK to be developed. Along came the 90’s and new digital ink and paint systems enabled us to scan a drawing into a computer, color it, then composite it into a scene with a background and output it as a movie file. This changed the animation workflow overnight and completely revolutionized the process. Then Flash (software) arrived. It was originally developed to produce simple animation for the internet but over the years it evolved into sophisticated software that has become standard for producing 2D animation at all levels. It opened up the industry to everybody and coupled with lower hardware and software costs, it meant that animation could be produced from anywhere and by anyone. Finally and perhaps most significantly there was the 3D CGI revolution pioneered by Pixar and Disney. This was a brand new style that came from very technical software bringing us
For all of the benefits of technology we must always remember that at the heart of all film is a good story. That will never change. closer to how real life object look and animate. Toy Story was the first fully animated feature film produced and it was a milestone in the history of animation. It is remarkable to think that it is not even 20 years old. All of this change has had an incredibly positive effect on the animation industry and it reinvented the medium just as the audience was becoming jaded by old traditional styles. Yet for all of the benefits of technology we must always remember that at the heart of all film is a good story. That will never change. The line between animation and reality has become increasingly blurred. What can you do now that seemed impossible years ago? It’s certainly true that some of the photo real work in the high end visual effects industry is
so realistic it is hard to see where reality stops and the computer generated images begins. We now have virtual actors and performance capture so we no long need to risk life and limb doing dangerous stunts or tame a giant gorilla for real - we just need to generate it in the virtual world of the computer. These are fantastic strides forward and enable animators to create virtual people and worlds that were unimaginable 25 years ago. What have been the key advances for the film maker? What seems incredible is that today an iPad in the hands of a talented artist can be used to create an animated film that once needed a full studio set-up to produce. Even more incredible is that the film can be put out to an audience of millions without the backing of a broadcaster. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 131
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Do you ever miss the old days? I do sometimes as it was a much simpler way of producing animation back then as it hadn’t really changed in decades. What’s great nowadays, however, is that this is such a fast paced industry it requires constant upskilling and re-education and that’s exciting. I get a real buzz from coming up with new ways of doing things and learning about new technologies that will help us be more creative in the future. If that ever stops then maybe I will too! Where do you see things going in the next twenty five years? I think we will demand quicker feedback and have an almost live action feel when creating animation. The director will be able to change cameras at will and not have to wait for it to be rendered. Also more and more we will be using performance capture to quickly get realistic animation that can be placed onto any manner of virtual human or creature. And with all new technologies as they mature and evolve they will become accessible and affordable to the general public. 132 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
Outside of Brown Bag who do you think are the most innovative film makers? In Ireland we have an ever growing animation industry from traditional 2D animation to VFX for TV and film but the studio I still admire as they haven’t been swayed by technology but are just very creative and talented with a beautiful style are Cartoon Saloon, known for their feature film The Secret of Kells. Overseas there are a multitude of amazing studios that have pushed the technology and software boundaries. Pixar is the undisputed king of 3D animation without a doubt but what the likes of James Cameron has done with Avatar and Peter Jackson with the Lord of the Rings in pushing studios like Weta and others is pioneering and inspirational. www.brownbagfilms.com
TalenT. CreaTiviTy. enTerprise. Calvary
Showcasing Irish talent
The Last Days on Mars
VFX innovation Song of the Sea
Training for industry professionals Pilgrim Hill
The Missing Scarf
Ireland as a film location
Supporting Innovation in Film, Television and Animation
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Cartoon Saloon Cartoon Saloon is an Irish company based in Kilkenny, Ireland. Established by Tomm Moore and Paul Young in 1999, it has grown into a multi-award winning animation studio receiving an Academy Award nomination for the feature film, The Secret of Kells in 2010.
he Secret of Kells is Cartoon Saloon’s first feature film. It is a spirited re-telling of the provenance of Ireland’s most cherished artefact, The Book of Kells. In it with the Viking hordes approaching, the monks of Kells are forced to turn their attention from transcribing 134 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
manuscripts to building barricades. The future of the precious book is in jeopardy and it falls to Brendan, young nephew of the abbot Cellach, to save the day. In addition to developing and producing The Secret of Kells, highlights include the IFTA award winning series Skunk Fu! sold to broadcasters in over 120 countries worldwide
including the BBC, Cartoon Network, Canal J, France 5, Super RTL Disney and ABC Australia. Adrien Merigeau’s short film Old Fangs was selected for the Sundance film festival, receiving awards all over the world and Cartoon Saloon picked up the producer of the year tribute at the Cartoon Forum in 2008 and Cartoon Movie 2009.
Cartoon Saloon has recently finished their first 2D/3D combination project – a short film for the Irish Film Board called The Ledge End of Phil. Having received a rapturous reception at the Galway Film Festival 2013, the film is due to make its Dublin debut at the Jameson International Film Festival in February 2014.
Technology meets Creativity
In production Tomm Moore’s second feature film, Song of the Sea is due for release late in 2014 followed by Kahlil Gibran’s book The Prophet coming to life in 2015 as an animated feature. Puffin Rock is a cross platform pre-school animated series being developed in partnership with Dog Ears and Penguin, having just started pre-production in autumn 2013. The company are also working with Baby Cow, Hot Cod and Sky Comedy to create the animated sequences in the hit series Moone Boy starring Chris O’Dowd who has also signed up to narrate Puffin Rock.
Asked how technology has impacted on the work of the animator Tomm Moore explains, “Technology has made it easier for us to work with our co-producers and their teams in different countries. During the production of The Secret of Kells we had to transfer paper animation between Brazil and Hungary. Now on our current feature Song of the Sea, we create almost everything digitally so there are no physical transfers anymore. He continues, “Digital scanning of artwork has taken away the need to shoot with film and Rostrum cameras which has slashed budgets for animation. Of course, widespread piracy of films has also dramatically reduced traditional means of recoupment. We now have to make it easy for people to buy our content online.”
Tomm Moore Together with a handful of fellow students, Tomm co-founded Cartoon Saloon nearly 15 years ago while studying animation at Ballyfermot Senior College in Dublin. Over the years Tomm has racked up an impressive CV working as Cartoon Saloon’s Art Director, story-boarder, animator and illustrator. Tomm’s crowning glory is the multi-award winning feature film, The Secret of Kells. Tomm received the Directors Guild of Ireland and America Finders Series Award 2008 and European Director of the Year at the Cartoon Movie in 2009.
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©Copyright of IFTA (Irish Film & Television Awards) Barry McCall Photographer
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Making Movies There are concerns that the removal of section 481 tax relief scheme for investors in Irish film and television production will significantly undermine the ability of the industry to attract funding.
ection 481 tax relief which allows investors to put up to €50,000 in film or television production and claim 100% tax relief has been an effective strategy from a revenue perspective and played a key role in boosting the Irish film and television production sector. Over the past five years an average of 3,000 people each year have availed of the scheme with over €100 million raised last year while €111.4 million and €142 million was raised in both 2011 and 2012. Each film is permitted to raise up to €50 million in total under the scheme.
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However, Section 481 is in the process of being phased out and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has announced that from 2016, a new tax credit model that gives tax credits to film producers will begin to replace Section 481. The tax credit system will reduce the gains available to investors and industry representatives, who are currently engaged in discussions with the Revenue Commissioners on the new model, have expressed concern that producers will find it hard to raise money under the tax credit model. The fear is that the banks are likely to restrict funding to ‘Hollywood studio-type projects’ and the days
of home-grown Irish films and television series could be put in jeopardy. However industry sources point out that the government is committed to Section 481 until 2020 and there is ample time to ensure that any replacement scheme continues to attract sufficient investment to ensure the industry continues to thrive. A spokeswoman for the Department of Finance said it was “committed” to ensuring that the tax credits would be “paid at a time that will meet the financing needs of film production in a manner that will also protect and safeguard the interests of taxpayers”.
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In addition, the Department of Finance points out that in last October’s budget the scheme was extended to apply to non-EU talent working in Ireland - in a move that was widely welcomed throughout the industry. A number of international productions have benefited from the tax incentive scheme, most recently the Vikings series, which employed more than 500 and invested an estimated €20m into the economy. Other projects which have taken advantage of Section 481 are the BBC shows Ripper Street, Loving Miss Hatto, and Inspector
George Gently. ITV also accessed the incentives for Life of Crime and Thirteen Steps Down. Despite the economic difficulties Ireland has experienced in recent years the Irish film and television industry has experienced impressive levels of activity,” There are currently 10,000 people employed in the Irish film industry which was valued at €168 million last year in terms of spend on jobs and services to the economy. In addition, some 20% of tourists who come to Ireland cited film as a reason for visiting the country.
Hollywood star Tom Cruise has told the Government that he is open to the possibility of serving as a global film ambassador for Ireland in the future but that his current schedule would not enable him to assume such a role at this point in time. Officials for the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan discussed the possibility of an ambassadorial role for the Hollywood star after he visited Ireland in April last year when he received a certificate of Irish heritage to mark his Irish roots. The role would involve Mr Cruise working with the Irish Film Board at key events during the year, including the Cannes Festival, Toronto, and Sundance. In one letter to the Oscar nominee, the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, asked: “We would like also to arrange a number of publicity opportunities with Tom over the course of the year. That would entail a number of photo opportunities and perhaps his endorsement of both upcoming Irish movies and television productions. Tom would have the title Film Ambassador of Ireland and we would provide an executive support service in conjunction with his people. This is a hugely important industry for us and we have ambitions to double the employment and output of the sector over the next number of years.”
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Sam Liccardo - Candidate for Mayor San JosĂŠ is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the United States and the largest city within Silicon Valley. Sam Liccardo talks to Silicon Valley Global magazine about his plans for the future. 138 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
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What do you think will swing the victory for your campaign? The people want leadership that is independent and leadership that is innovative. We recognize that we are facing many years of relative scarcity in the public sector and restoring services in the context of scarcity. It is doing things differently. We have to be able to leverage technology and we have to be willing to engage in partnerships that reduce the amount of public funding in order to deliver necessary services. That kind of leadership is what I have offered for many years. In Dublin, the role of Mayor is primarily ceremonial. What do you make of that? I hear that plans are afoot to have a directly elected mayor who would be given executive powers. That is long overdue. It probably should have happened about 900 years ago, given the fact Dublin is a global city. What powers should the Mayor be given to get things done? In the States we have suffered tremendous gridlock in congress in Washington. The state governments tend to be heavily burdened with that as well. For the most part, the most innovative policy making and the most creative and effective governance is happening at local level. It is happening with big city mayors and affording strong partnerships in the tech sector and with local universities. That is the opportunity we have to address the major issues confronting the country today, whether it is crime, poverty or global warming. In the case of San José, what are the most critical challenges in the area that you have responsibility and authority over? The recession and cuts in the public sector have left us very shorthanded in public safety in particular and restoring public safety is going to be critical play for the next mayor. The future of San José is going to be determined by our ability to win what I call the ‘war for talent’. Major cities throughout the world, Dublin amongst them, are competing for the brightest, most creative, innovative people who are driving technologies and the industries creating jobs. Where they choose to live determines the destiny of that metropolitan area. Increasingly, the young twenty and thirty something’s that have graduated from the top schools are choosing where they want to live before they choose
“ITLG has been a very important bridge builder for San José and Ireland. You recognize the value of their international partnerships as we push to branch San José with an important international gateway. We need to break out of our insular approach. ITLG is one organization that can help us do that. I am very grateful for the leadership of people like John Hartnett who is opening those doors for us.” who they want to work for. In the past, Silicon Valley has always relied on a suburban model of development which is attractive to many families. We have certainly been able to keep bright engineering talent and so forth. Now the traffic has become so considerable, families are choosing to move elsewhere for a better quality of life. We need to find ways to continue to be a place that attracts young innovative talent. That seems such a huge objective. How can you address this? One key focus is to create an urban vibrant center, a downtown. San José, like so many Californian cities looks something like a doughnut - a development in the suburbs with a giant hole in the middle. We need to refocus energy on attracting people to live in the downtown; open
small businesses there and create a vibrant, urban center. This is going to be critical for us. There is an initiative to cut fees on high rise development, so we can get buildings under construction and bring thousands of residents here. What are the principle powers that the San Jose Mayor has? We have a different municipal governing structure than other cities. The mayor is typically responsible for proposing and formulating a budget. The mayor has legislative powers. The mayor has input on council decisions. The mayor has the power to propose appointments to various city offices, like that of city manager – who runs the day to day affairs of the city. The mayor has the ability to drive an agenda in the media and in the public eye. That is where the mayor can really have an impact on a city. What are you known for? I have served here in downtown for seven years. In that time I have been leading several initiatives which have been characterized by having to reach across the aisle onto opposing camps to build a coalition to get difficult things done. So if it means pushing an inclusionary zoning measure, which is an affordable housing initiative, I had to build a coalition to get that done. In the case of the plastics and chemical industry, which was funding our attempts to ban single use plastic bags and the use of polystyrene in food ware - I had to push hard to get a coalition together to push through those bans. I worked for passage of the 2000 BART-toSan José measure. We had to bring labour business together to get a measure on the ballet to get two thirds vote to be able to raise the 2.2 billion dollars required. It is now under construction. Do you have much engagement with technology groups and the ITLG? Absolutely.The ITLG has been a very important bridge builder for San José and Ireland. You recognize the value of their international partnerships as we push to branch San José with an important international gateway. We need to break out of our insular approach. ITLG is one organization that can help us do that. I am very grateful for the leadership of people like John Hartnett who is opening those doors for us. For over a quarter of a century since the twinning of Dublin and San José, there has been a wonderful partnership in both technology and community. I look forward to continuing to build on that fruitful relationship. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 139
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West Coast Connection
The ITLG which campaigned hard for the restoration of an air service to the West Coast of the United States has welcomed the decision by Aer Lingus to relaunch its San Francisco service.
er Lingus has unveiled a significant expansion to its transatlantic route offering for 2014. In addition to its existing services to Boston, Chicago, New York and Orlando, the airline will commence year round direct service between Dublin and San Francisco from April, 2014 with 5 services per week being operated by Airbus A330 wide-body aircraft. Aer Lingus will also commence direct year-round service to Canada from April 140 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
2014. A daily direct Boeing B757 service between Dublin and Toronto will operate during the summer season, with up to four weekly services operating during the winter. Two Boeing B757 aircraft will be based in Shannon and will be used to deliver increased frequency on existing services to Boston and New York. Year-round connections from Shannon to the East-Coast will be introduced. This expansion will directly support more than 200 new jobs. In addition to direct access to San
Francisco, Aer Lingus customers traveling from a number of UK and European cities via Dublin, will benefit from a wide choice of onwards connections to sixteen popular cities on the West Coast and beyond including Seattle, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego. The new San Francisco route also represents a business opportunity for Aer Lingus Cargo. Aer Lingus customers traveling from over twenty UK and European cities via Dublin to Toronto, will also have the option to connect
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John Hartnett appointed to Aer Lingus board
to eight key cities within Canada including Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary. This growth plan will bring the Aer Lingus long haul schedule to 10 daily transatlantic services, connecting Ireland and Europe with cities throughout North America. Christoph Mueller, Chief Executive, Aer Lingus, said: “Our transatlantic business goes from strength to strength. This expansion is extremely positive news for Aer Lingus and for the broader economy in terms of business, tourism and employment. Our transatlantic capacity will increase by 24% in 2014, following on from the 13% additional capacity in our 2013 transatlantic schedule. Our operation of the San Francisco route will strengthen Ireland’s ties with Silicon Valley and encourage Ireland’s development as a technology hub for Europe. San Francisco’s Silicon Valley is home to many of the world’s largest technology companies and several of these companies have European headquarters in Dublin.” He continued: “Toronto is the sixth biggest North American market out of Ireland. In addition to being a great tourist destination, the city is home to a large Irish community and we look forward to welcoming them on board. We are confident that the increased number of flights from Shannon to New York and Boston will bring additional tourists to the Western region. The increased frequency opens up additional connectivity to almost 40 cities in North America with our airline partners. Very importantly, this expansion will directly support more than 200 jobs within Aer Lingus and our partner airline ASL Aviation Group. ” Commenting on the announcement, Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Transport,
Tourism and Sport, said: “This announcement of new services by Aer Lingus is fantastic news. This Government has always sought to improve air access to key tourism and business markets, such as the US and Canada. Canada is the world’s 11th largest economy and California is reckoned to be the world’s 12th largest. I know that the business and tourism sectors are delighted with this news. More than 40% of Ireland’s total foreign direct investment comes from Silicon Valley alone. The return of the direct air service to the US west coast is particularly important and I’m very happy to see the route being filled by an Irish airline.” To support the operation of the new routes, Aer Lingus will wet lease three Boeing 757 aircraft from ASL Aviation Group. The aircraft will be configured with an economy and business class cabin. Business travelers will continue to enjoy the same great level of service; with gourmet meals, sleeper seats and an extensive inflight entertainment selection.
Irish tech executive and Silicon Valley investor John Hartnett is one of three new independent directors appointed to the board of Aer Lingus. Hartnett campaigned hard to see the restoration of direct flights from Dublin to San Francisco in 2014. Hartnett has been appointed nonExecutive Director of Aer Lingus along with seasoned business Executives Nigel Northridge, a nonexecutive Director at Paddy Power, and Nicolas Villen, former CEO of Ferrovial Aeropeurtos, which runs Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Southampton and Naples airports. The three Executives take up their posts on 1 January 2014, following the retirements of Danuta Gray and Thomas Moran from the Aer Lingus Board. Hartnett welcomed the decision. John Hartnett appointed to Aer Lingus board Irish tech executive and Silicon Valley investor John Hartnett is one of three new independent directors appointed to the board of Aer Lingus. Hartnett campaigned hard to see the restoration of direct flights from Dublin to San Francisco in 2014. Hartnett has been appointed nonExecutive Director of Aer Lingus along with seasoned business Executives Nigel Northridge, a nonexecutive Director at Paddy Power, and Nicolas Villen, former CEO of Ferrovial Aeropeurtos, which runs Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Southampton and Naples airports. The three Executives take up their posts on 1 January 2014, following the retirements of Danuta Gray and Thomas Moran from the Aer Lingus Board. Hartnett welcomed the decision.
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Putting the pleasure into parking
Airport Club is delighted to announce the launch of the Parking Plus card.
n line with the ongoing development of our services to our Airport Club members, we are actively working to enhance and expand the range of services in a relevant and meaningful way. Our current members regularly communicate with us to advise and recommend services that they feel would be of benefit to them. One such recommendation was for a parking product that would eliminate the need to pre-book car parking, prepay an annual amount and reconcile one parking expense per annum. And so, Parking Plus was born.
Airport Club, in conjunction with our car parking team, have responded to our members request with the launch of the Parking Plus card. Parking Plus offers members all the benefits of the current Airport Club membership plus a great car park offer. The benefit of purchasing a Parking Plus membership is that you never have to pre-book your parking again, annual unlimited parking, payment upfront and only one parking expense per annum. Entrance to the car parks is automated by registration recognition for speedy entry. In consideration of the varying needs of business travellers and frequent car park users
we have developed three Parking Plus offers: Green Parking Plus offers you annual parking in the Red Express long term car park plus speed through the fast track security channel and more. Silver parking plus offers you annual parking in the short term car parks in both terminals plus all the benefits of the standard card. Gold Parking Plus offers you annual VIP parking in the Collins Town executive car parks in both terminals plus all the benefits of the standard Gold membership Contact us: Ph: +353 1 8144898 Email: email@example.com Web: www.airportclub.ie
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Teaching Technology The Institute of Technology Carlow has been named as the Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year 2014. Research & Commercialization Support Manager, discusses the Institute’s contribution to economic development in the region.
ounded in 1970, the Institute of Technology Carlow (ITC) is located in the center of Ireland’s South Leinster region (containing the counties of Carlow, Wicklow, Wexford, Kildare, Laois and Kilkenny), and on the periphery of the Mid East and South East regions of Ireland. In October 2013, ITC was named as the Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year 2014. Serving a catchment area of 700,000 persons containing approximately 15% of the State’s workforce (An Economic Profile of Carlow, 2009, DKM Economic Consultants), ITC aims to contribute to regional and national economic, social and cultural development, informed and enriched by the Institute’s growing international activities and profile. ITC has a current student population approaching 6,000 with a diverse portfolio of over 60 taught programmes to Level 9 (Masters) on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), a growing research portfolio to Doctoral level (Level 10 NFQ) in Sciences and Technology, and an emerging research platform in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. More than 70% of students studying for major awards are enrolled on Level 7 and Level 8 Bachelor Degree programs. The Institute has generated over 30,000 graduates to date. On average over 80% of ITC graduates find their first employment in the counties of South Leinster (Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Wicklow, Kildare, Laois) and Dublin. Through the continuous development of its teaching strategy, research capacity and institutional vision, ITC is actively responding to the needs of the information technology sector in the region and further afield. 144 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and ITC have formally affirmed their intention to apply jointly as a Technological University, in accordance with the process set out by the Higher Education Authority and the Minister for Education and Skills. The creation of a Technological University is a key requirement for the economic development and enhancement of the human capital capacity of the Southeast. Defining features of Technological Universities are their focus on the creation and application of knowledge and connectedness beyond the traditional walls of higher education institutions. The new Technological University for the South East will be strategically oriented and proactive in its approach to teaching and learning, research and knowledge exchange, to catalyse
the economic and social development of the South East of Ireland. The creation of a new Technological University will enhance the international academic standing of education in the South East, acting as an agent for regional development and advancement. A key objective of the recently published Southeast Economic Development Strategy is the implementation of a long term Economic Development Strategy for the Southeast that supports a new model for the region based on sustainability, meeting the needs of enterprise, an alignment of national, regional and county objectives underpinned by the needs of the community. The counties of the South East have a unique business and social environment owing to the industrial profile of the
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region. The region has lower Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) levels than most other regions of Ireland and therefore is heavily reliant on indigenous enterprises to provide employment and economic growth. Unemployment in the South East is higher than the national average. While agriculture and the manufacturing sector remain strong employers, indigenous technology companies are continuing to grow particularly in the area of software development. ITC works closely with both industrial and commercial sectors nationally and internationally to develop strategic collaborations. It is these partnerships that assist the Institute in forming the emerging graduate. Fortune 500 company UNUM, with more than 12,000 employees worldwide, state that their involvement with ITC provides a ‘Strategic Pipeline’ for critical resources in support of business and IT growth strategies. Internships are incorporated on all computing degree programmes directly as a result of requests from industry. Due to the national and worldwide shortage of qualified IT graduates, ITC has increased its undergraduate capacity through the introduction of a more diversified program portfolio. In particular the Post Graduate Higher Diploma conversion programmes in Systems & IT Services and Software Development for Games & Apps are designed for graduates of non-computing disciplines. This equips students with a range of core IT skills that can potentially open career routes in the IT sector. The Institute of Technology Carlow is committed to delivering research outputs with clear societal and economic benefits: GameCORE (Centre of Research & Enterprise) is ITC’s Interactive Applications Software & Networks Research Centre located in the Institute’s new Dargan Centre for Research Development & Innovation. Its focus is on industrially relevant, innovative research into software development and networking architecture for interactive applications such as games and involves both the Computing & Networking and the Electronics Department at the Institute. GameCORE’s focus to date has been on the development of techniques for overcoming the effects of network limitations on the consistency of online
games. Researchers in this area have strong links with other 4th Level Education Institutions both in Ireland and abroad. The group has also developed links with key industry players involved in the development of online games. This particular area of research focuses on dealing with complex issues that can arise when realistic physics simulations are employed in multi-user applications. Other areas of research that are currently being developed include research into ‘Serious Games’ and ‘Exergaming’. The latter area of research is used to address important social issues such as isolation and loneliness amongst the elderly by using technology to bridge distances and facilitate interaction and communication, thus enabling people to live in their preferred environment for as long as possible. ITC believe that growth is achieved through the strength of its relationship with the communities which it serves. The introduction of computing skills to young people is seen as a key factor for developing the next generation of IT employees and entrepreneurs for the technology sector. Sharing the Institute’s knowledge through on-campus initiatives including CoderDojo and Annual Computing Summer Camps for 7 to 17 year olds provides a platform for promoting the opportunities in the
information technology sector through fun. Government investment in science and technology mostly goes to universities and the resultant high-potential start-ups stay near the universities. Further strengthening and investment in the research and innovation infrastructure capacity within the Southeast region is critical to redress this funding imbalance. A critical mass of expertise in key target sectors such as Digital Technology, Games, Mobile Technology and ICT for agriculture and Healthcare Services will help attract industry to the region and enable clustering. ITC will continue to play a pivotal role in the education of learners, application of research and transfer of knowledge to the ICT sector. The future will present a challenging but rewarding opportunity as the Institute plays its role in the clustering of the Southern Higher Education Institutions and as it moves towards the designation as a Technological University with Waterford Institute of Technology. The Institute has identified RDI as central and critical to its development as a Technological University and will build on its existing strengths to develop a clear roadmap to accelerate strategically orientated and impact driven research for the benefits of its stakeholders. For Further information log onto: www.itcarlow.ie
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Sustainable Connected Cities
Vice President of Intel Labs and Director of Intel Labs Europe, Prof. Dr Martin Curley talks to Shane Cassells about a programme to make Europe’s Cities the most sustainable and environmentally friendly in the world.
“It’s not what we make it’s what we make possible.”
hese are the inspirational words of Vice President of Intel Labs and Director Intel Labs Europe Prof. Dr Martin Curley who is spearheading a revolution among Europe’s cities to make them the smartest, most sustainable and environmentally friendly in the world. Curley is leading the drive to make sure the innovative solutions created by IT giants such as Intel are having a ‘real impact’ on the lives of ordinary cities in our major European capitals. It is all part of a scheme called ‘Sustainable Connected Cities’, which is an umbrella programme for a series of collaborations that will see the development and testing of citizen centric services and solutions that further the drive towards delivering sustainable connected cities. With over 50% of the world’s population now living in cities and projections showing that this figure will grow to more than 70% by 2050 Curley cites the need for adaptive and responsive infrastructure, which will be paramount to the capacity, prosperity and sustainability of our future connected cities.
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Vice President of Intel Labs and Director Intel Labs Europe Prof. Dr Martin Curley
States and the 21st Century is going to be the century of citizens,” enthused Curley. “What we want to do is examine the problems faced by major cities and no matter where they are we can customize
the solutions to their needs. Lots of cities have common problems and what we want to do is to create a design pattern that can be adapted to these problems. “So we can test out a solution in Dublin but if the cities of Nice or Bristol were experiencing something similar we can customize it to fit their needs. “So in effect Dublin is like a petri dish where we can test out the solutions and then go and apply them to bigger cities such as London.” It is a really colorful description by Curley but captures perfectly that picture of how the design work behind the innovative practices being developed to solve the problems of the major world cities are taking place right
here in Dublin. Central to this process is what Curley calls the ‘Quadruple Helix’ of interaction between knowledge institutions, enterprises, government and civil society which will help
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set Dublin apart and propel it on its path to becoming a truly sustainable city. The ‘Sustainable Connected Cities – Dublin’ collaboration was launched by the Lord Mayor of Dublin Naoise Ó Muirí along with Prof. Curley and Prof. Vinny Cahill, Dean of Research, Trinity College Dublin. As innovative solutions are developed and validated they will be used to form design patterns which can be exported and replicated to solve similar issues facing cities throughout the world. “For us a very big part of the quadruple helix is the interaction of the citizens with this process and how their input can be used,” explains Curley. “We conducted a survey among Dubliners asking them the question did they feel the city should be used as a pilot city for this project and if so what areas could be explored.” “We were expecting a response rate of around 10 to 12% but instead 92.6% of Dubliners answered Yes to the questions. It showed what an amazing increase in public awareness there is in respect of IT development.” Examples of where Curley believes there could be citizen participation include instances where significant light flooding might take place and you could have a system in place where people can work collaboratively with city bosses in real time to work out how emergency teams can best respond. “These systems that we are developing also involve close working relationships with both Trinity College who are focusing on the collaboration of this intelligence from our citizens, and also NUI Maynooth.
Smart Infrastructure “From an economic point of view the build out of smart infrastructures, which will allow cities to intelligently utilize technology to adapt to their environment, will play a central role in the competitiveness of cities in the future and their capacity to grow and support sustainable living. “What we are interested in are solutions that work. “In terms of economic benefits we are working closely with the Imperial College in the UK with the aim of turning London into what is termed a ‘Future City’ and create the eco system that allows us to export the
such as Rolls Royce is this concept of ‘Power
“With over 50% of the by the Hour’ where they just don’t sell you a jet engine they sell you hours of flight time and this provides them with a regular revenue stream. world’s population “More and more we see IT solutions now living in cities and contributing in such positive ways to our lives and when you consider that 40% of the bill of material in the modern car is software then projections showing the opportunities for business are huge. “In Ireland there really has been a change that this figure will of attitude where it is a case of ‘not just what grow to more than 70% we make’ but ‘what we make possible.’ “It is really encouraging to see the growth by 2050, Curley cites in the whole area of R&D.” As well as his role with Intel, Curley is the need for adaptive chairman of the Open Innovation Strategy Policy Group (OISPG). The OISPG is a collection of leading and responsive industrialists and academics that have been infrastructure, which assessing open innovation for the last number of years. will be paramount to Megatrends the capacity, prosperity Curley explains how there is a collision of three megatrends: digitalisation, mass and sustainability of collaboration and sustainability. According to Curley the mix of our future connected these mega-trends is creating a fantastic opportunity for disruption and Open cities.” solutions created in London to be applied around the world. “While we are always thinking of innovation what is most important is adoption and making sure that the customers can adapt these solutions to their cities. “We are really focusing on adoption because most of the benefits from innovation come from adopting inventions, although we have far more ideas than we can actually use. “We are trying to create a shared vision of what Dublin and London should look like in the future. By developing a shared vision with a shared value, we can develop exponential technologies that give extraordinary benefits. “We would be working on quarterly cycles at the moment where we test the solutions on a test city like Dublin and then roll it out to larger cities such as London. “It is all about getting results, making an impact and crucially improving people’s lives. “What we see with major companies now
Innovation 2.0 paradigm is about harnessing that; integrated collaboration with everybody in society participating. That ethos of making sure that the work being carried out is something which runs through all of Curley’s commentary and is evident in the heart of this project of creating Sustainable Connected Cities. For Curley the Intel vision statement of ‘creating and extending computing technology to connect and enrich the lives of every person on Earth’ is something he takes quite literally. “It is about articulating a shared vision and our vision in Intel is very much about connecting everyone and enriching people’s lives and changing how we live on this planet,” remarked Curley. “We can be profitable but we can also make a difference. We are trying to create a shared vision of what Dublin, London and every major city should look like in the future.” It is a vision which when implemented will see the citizens put front and center as Curley seeks to make this the century of the people. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 147
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Driving success Putting people first, trust and transparency in communications are crucial to creating a great workplace culture, strategic advisor and SVForum’s Interim CEO Susan Lucas-Conwell tells Lynne Nolan.
n experienced global leader with a proven track record in driving innovation and accelerating revenue growth in the US, whether working with startups or Fortune 100 companies, Susan Lucas-Conwell could never be accused of being work-shy. After studying an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, LucasConwell completed what she describes as her
“military service in marketing” at General Mills, learning the ways of an exceptional consumer package goods company. Attracted to an opportunity to move to Paris, her marketing roles at Cartier were to include working for the company president at that time, Alain Perrin, within the luxury brand’s jewelry, watches and tableware. “I then ran the French business of RayBan, until the sunglasses business was sold to the Italians. This was the time I became
excited by the internet bubble and grew into the tech industry, running a French internet company, then consulting to internet firms looking to expand to Europe, even working with Nokia on the Vertu luxury phone.” An entrepreneur at the time, with a strong belief in the need for women entrepreneurs to grow their networks, LucasConwell founded the European chapter of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, which eventually grew to be as large as the group SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 149
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in Silicon Valley, she says. After moving her family to Silicon Valley in 2005, she started volunteering for and was appointed to the role of CEO at SVForum in 2006. Silicon Valley’s largest and oldest hightech non-profit founded by technologists and entrepreneurs, SVForum is dedicated to education and creating relationships within the technology community. Attracted to the sector by her love of “the smart people and the constant innovation” within it, as well as how technology changes the world we live in, Lucas-Conwell spent five years taking the organization to a new level with a renewed strategic vision and a complete rebranding, from SDForum to SVForum. She left SVForum to become CEO of Great Place to Work’s US subsidiary in September 2011, before being promoted to the role of Global Chief Executive Officer the following year, overseeing its team that supported operations across 45 countries, including the US subsidiary for which she assumed the role of CEO in September 2011. A global human resources consulting, research and training firm specializing in organizational trust, Great Place to Work was founded 25 years ago by a couple with a vision for creating great workplace cultures, she explains. “The trigger for the company was a book based on two years of research into what the key drivers are behind great workplaces.” In the US, Great Place to Work produces the annual FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For list and Great Place to Work Best Small & Medium Workplaces list published by Entrepreneur.com. During her time at the helm as global CEO, Lucas-Conwell “greatly enjoyed re-aligning the US business to grow it 30% in a year, and working with international franchisees to explore new strategies for scalable growth,” and her achievements have been recognized. A frequent speaker at business schools and professional conferences on technology and entrepreneurship in Europe and the US, she provides keen perspective on how building and maintaining great workplace culture drives business success, clinching a raft of accolades. From winning Female Executive of the 150 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
SVForum’s Interim CEO Susan Lucas-Conwell
“I greatly enjoyed re-aligning the US business (Great Place to Work) to grow it 30% in a year, and working with international franchisees to explore new strategies for scalable growth.” Year at the Stevie Awards for Women in Business in 2012 and speaking at the TedX Youth Conference in April last year, to being honored at Women Who Have Made Their Mark by Watermark For Exceptional Women the previous year, Lucas-Conwell is widely recognized as an innovator with the ability to transform innovative business concepts into profitable business models. Since returning to SVForum last year at the request of the Board “to re-ground the organization with a stable financial base,” the turnaround has been successful, she says, revealing that Adiba Barney, will officially take over as CEO of the 2000-member strong group at the end of January.
Most recently, Barney was CEO of Silicon Vikings, a collaborative business networking organization for the technology sector, connecting Silicon Valley and the Nordic countries. Over 30 years, SVForum has made a pivotal influence in driving networks and connections in the valley, Lucas-Conwell believes, with the largest and oldest not-for-profit in the valley now reaching 20,000 professionals annually through more than 250 events. “It is the bridge between technologists, entrepreneurs, corporate organizations, professional service companies serving the tech sector, as well as the professional investment community.” Originally supported by the City of San José, SVForum’s events and incubator drove dozens of companies to establish their base in San José, generating millions of dollars of revenues to the city, while in the startup community, companies participating in SVForum startup events have raised hundreds of millions of dollars, she says. “SVForum has contributed to creating the agenda for innovation with the first ever cloud conference, the first conference on Ruby, the first ‘Virtual Worlds meets Mobile’, and the list goes on.” Working with the ITLG, SVForum is “delighted to be part of the ITLG incubator in San José as a partner, organizing over 150 events a year that allow ITLG companies to plug into the valley instantly and seamlessly,” she says. Lucas-Conwell could not be more proud of its contribution to the community, she says, and is “grateful for the support of our thousands of members, small and scrappy staff of five or the Board of Directors and the sponsors who believed in the organization through thick and thin; Microsoft, IBM, SAP, Hummer Winblad and NEA, Deloitte and DLA Piper, to mention just a few.” In her role as global CEO of the company, Lucas-Conwell played a vital role in positioning Great Place to Work for rapid growth, but what does she feel is required to create a great workplace culture? “Trust is the key driver behind a great workplace culture, together with transparency in communications and putting people first.”
GTECH is a leading commercial operator and provider of technology in the GTECH is a leading commercial operator regulated worldwide gaming markets. and provider of technology in the regulated worldwide gaming markets. It delivers best-in-class products and
services, with a commitment to the It delivers best-in-class products and highest levels of integrity, responsibility, services, with a commitment to the and shareholder value creation. highest levels of integrity, responsibility, and shareholder value creation.
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Boosting Latino businesses The underrepresentation of Latino entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley motivated Manos Accelerator CEO Edward Avila to establish a new, ground-breaking hub to fast-track start-ups, he tells Lynne Nolan. 152 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
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umbers from venture capital clearinghouse CBInsights indicate that less than 1% of venture-backed start-ups have a Latino co-founder. With census figures showing that a quarter of the population is Hispanic, such sobering statistics motivated Edward Avila to establish Manos Accelerator, the trailblazing accelerator targeting Latino entrepreneurs. With its mission to establish an international hub in Silicon Valley that attracts Latino entrepreneurs from across the US and from Latin America, Manos Accelerator is addressing the underrepresentation of Latino entrepreneurs in early stage ventures, explains Edward Avila, its Co-Founder and CEO. The mentor-driven accelerator “aims to accelerate the development of very early stage companies to a point where they can secure angel or venture capital financing, be acquired or grow to profitability.” What makes Manos Accelerator unique compared to other business accelerators, Avila believes, is that it is a minority-focused accelerator enabling Latino entrepreneurs and start-ups, who gain access to mentors, training, shared space, capital and other services that will help fast track them to success. Avila was born and raised in San José, California, graduating with a Masters Degree in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco, later becoming a certified executive coach, working with high potentials and top executives from across the globe on their development. In 2012, he was featured as a ‘Game Changer’ in Hispanic Executive Magazine. “I’ve worked with top talent from the US, EMEA and Asia Pacific. Over the years, I’ve dedicated my professional career in the areas of leadership development, executive coaching and talent management.” In 2011, Avila co-founded his first start-up myJoblinx, the first employee-centric enterprise solution using social recruiting and employment branding in a Facebook application for small and mid-sized companies. It was during the two years he had the start-up that Avila experienced his “aha moment,” as he asked himself: “where are the Latino mentors, advisors and entrepreneurs”?
At times I felt like I was the only Latino in the room. The more I realized the shortage of Latinos in the startup ecosystem, the more I realized that I needed to do something to change this. Mary Grove
While attending networking events in the Silicon Valley area, Avila quickly discovered that Latinos were underrepresented compared to other ethnic groups. “At times I felt like I was the only Latino in the room. The more I realized the shortage of Latinos in the start-up ecosystem, the more I realized that I needed to do something to change this.” By mid-2012, what began as “a crazy dream” had evolved into Manos Accelerator, spurred by its vision to develop a generation of Latino entrepreneurs by accomplishing four complementary goals. The goals are to attract, mentor and develop the brightest Latino entrepreneurs with innovative ideas; to be recognized as an international ‘hub’ in the city of San José for all Latino entrepreneurs from both US and Latin American countries to launch their start-ups; to invest in Latino talent and equip them with today’s technical and business skills to put their innovative ideas into reality; and to dramatically increase the number of Latino male and female entrepreneurs in the creation process of the start-up ecosystem. Having being introduced to Sylvia Flores and David Lopez, Avila shared Manos’ vision and mission with them “and they immediately jumped on board as part of the leadership team, knowing that the time is now to have an opportunity to make such an impact within the Latino community.” When it came to deciding upon a name
for the accelerator, the founders wanted something that identified Latinos as a proud ethnic group that desired and achieved upward mobility, to show the world Latinos are more than just a pair of “hands” (Manos). “In the fall of 2013, we launched our very first cohort, where out of 75 total submissions seven start-ups were selected as part of the first class, which included two international companies from Mexico, three Silicon Valleybased companies and two companies who travelled to San José from across the country.” Notably, five out of the seven companies have at least one female founder. Thirty percent of the total submissions came from Latin America, with the accelerator attracting teams from countries including Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina and Peru. Through a selection process, Manos Accelerator identifies early-stage start-up teams, who participate in a unique threemonth boot camp program, based on “intense collaboration” and designed to help Latino entrepreneurs boost their businesses. “Manos Accelerator helps Latino start-ups develop scalable and innovative solutions serving both the Hispanic and general markets. The business model parallels those that have been established by such companies as Y Combinator, TechStars and 500 Startups,” he explains. “It provides expertise in product development, design and user experience, customer acquisition, business metrics, pitch preparation, mentorship and investor introductions.” SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 153
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SVG Partners has been a great support. “When I was looking for a location for our program, I was looking for a dynamic location in an environment conducive to start-ups in downtown San José. I discovered the SVG Innovation Center and it was a perfect location for our program.” In addition to the open space, offices and conference rooms, “it has been wonderful having both John Hartnett and John Stanton under the same roof. They are two experienced entrepreneurs with a wealth of industry knowledge.” During the first cohort, they have been “not only ‘hands-on’ mentors to our start-up teams, but also advisors to myself, sharing their experiences and knowledge. For our inaugural program, the relationship with SVG Partners has been priceless in many ways.” Manos Accelerator’s Founding Partner Google for Entrepreneurs has also provided “unparalleled support, mentors and resources, while the other incredible partners Brightstar, NISSAN, Kapor Center and Novak Druce have joined us from the beginning and supported our vision, mission and purpose.” Mary Grove, the Director of Global Entrepreneurship Outreach at Google, leads Google for Entrepreneurs, the company’s programs and partnerships to support start154 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
“When I was looking for a location for our program, I was looking for a dynamic location in an environment conducive to startups in downtown San José. I discovered the SVG Innovation Center and it was a perfect location for our program.” ups and entrepreneurs in over 100 countries around the world. Grove met Avila and Manos Accelerator’s other founders Sylvia Flores and David
Lopez in the spring of 2013 and has been “continually struck by their deep passion for building community and specifically providing a platform to nurture and showcase start-up talent in the Latino community. We share this passion and were excited to team up to help them formally launch Manos. Accelerator” What Grove considers unique about Manos is the fact that the accelerator itself a start-up with talented entrepreneurs at the helm, “which in addition to being a great program, is really a much broader effort to galvanize the strong community of Latino entrepreneurs and mentors, friends, and supporters rallying around them. This is the beginning of a fantastic journey.” According to Grove, working with the Manos team, their first cohort and teams like Sleek Geek and Interesante over the past few months has been “so rewarding.” “Twelve weeks flies by when you’re in an intensive program like this and the teams made impressive progress in terms of product development, refining their business models, and in their level and comfort with pitching their ideas. We hosted Demo Day in November at the Google Headquarters; it was a packed house, standing room only, and I can only begin to imagine the follow up discussions that continue to unfold.”
Moore Stephens Nathans Smooth landing: Providing foreign direct investment in Ireland with premium professional support. Dublin Andy Quinn Moore Stephens Nathans, Ulysses House Foley Street Dublin1 T +353 (0)1 888 1004 firstname.lastname@example.org www.moorestephensnathans.com
Cork Mark Barrett Moore Stephens Nathans 83 South Mall Cork T +353 (0)21 427 5176 email@example.com www.moorestephensnathans.com
PRECISE. PROVEN. PERFORMANCE.
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Fresh: The New Frontier The rise of high impact produce and the innovative solutions that will meet the world’s growing demand for fresh.
he fresh business is booming. Agriculture – particularly the farming of fresh produce found in places like the Salinas Valley in California – is experiencing a renaissance of sorts brought on, at least in part, by the unfortunate state of Americans’ health. Healthy food choices have taken center stage among the array of possible solutions to this crisis of bulging waistlines. Accustomed to countless options, most consumers are, of course, unwilling to subsist on carrot sticks and celery stalks. Chefs are answering that call by utilizing and popularizing lesser-known produce. Iceberg lettuce salads are breaking way to unique varieties including kale, broccoli, and radicchio. Farmers are reconfiguring their product mix, 156 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
prioritizing these superfoods that promise maximum nutrition in every healthful bite. Eating and drinking the cutting edge of produce is en vogue. Variety, maximum nutritional content and freshness are increasingly central to consumers’ food choices – as are the high profile food choices of celebrities and athletes. Kale is the latest in fashion t-shirts and broccoli is on the cover of the New York Times magazine. Fresh is the new frontier.
The Superfood Revolution Young professionals and techie twenty somethings are eager for new and innovative additions to their meals – especially those superfoods that promise better health, more energy and a more youthful appearance.
Superfoods have become the Holy Grail for health savvy consumers, and a new darling of huge supermarket displays already dominated by fresh produce. On paper the superfood title represents the high level of health benefits in a qualifying food. But it’s superfoods’ presence in upscale kitchens that is drawing attention. Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow are vocal proponents of the power of superfoods, and athletes across the spectrum have added superfoods into their daily nutritional programs (kale is “it” for England’s Cricketers and was top of their list of breakfast requests before this summer’s Ashes). Cognizant of foodie and media interest in the healthy buzz, chefs are using superfoods as inspiration for preparing innovative dishes and unexpected meals. Superfoods are so popular,
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in fact, that they have moved beyond the main course, now taking over smoothies, juices, cereals and snacks. Enter radicchio; the newest addition to the Superfood lineup. This red chicory’s roots (no pun intended) are in Italy, where radicchio is a staple. The delightfully “hot” leafy ingredient is a mainstay in main dishes, side dishes, all dishes Italian. Ancient man chowed down on the chicory for its blood purification characteristics and used to nibble on the produce on sleeplessness nights to fight insomnia. But it was radicchio’s high levels of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins B, C, and K that recently landed the chicory on the esteemed Superfood list. Salinas based Royal Rose LLC and its European affiliates are together the largest producers of radicchio in the world. Royal Rose President Dennis Donohue is reinventing chicories for the American market, beginning with radicchio. “I’m in the business of salad,” Donohue said. “So it’s exciting to see the next generation of produce taking shape. Healthy eating and healthy lifestyles now have social value as well as health implications. Creating delicious meals with a superfood ingredient, or
finding that unique produce item when they’re out eating excites people. These folks will choose smoothies based on which superfood it includes. It’s a brave new world for our little redhead that could.” Royal Rose, and superfood products more generally, are at the cutting edge of the new nutritional marketplace, a niche that also brings him to the forefront of some of the most exciting technological opportunities. Demand for healthy food options means heightened demand for fresh produce across the board. More efficient production, transportation, and resource management across the spectrum of agricultural endeavors are top of mind in America’s “salad bowl” just south of Silicon Valley.
Smart Farming USA A looming global food shortage, and a lack of access to fresh produce in many urban areas, and increasing interest in foods with elevated nutritional values are all increasing demand for produce. As such, the fresh food renaissance is not just about food choices, but is very much a matter of meeting basic needs for a growing population of consumers.
Salinas growers and community leaders, with Donohue very much involved and SVG Partners providing structure and the key connection to the global tech world, are growing a partnership between the Silicon Valley’s tech and investment leaders and Salinas’ agricultural industry. They are committed to leading the way in a world where food production, supply needs, technology, and innovation intersect. This Salinas-based Steinbeck Innovation Cluster, working with business and academic leaders from across the American west, is seeding a “smarter farms” movement focused on bringing new ideas to the age-old business of growing fresh food. As world leaders in precision agriculture, they are leveraging their expertise and relationships to create sustainable solutions that address global challenges. In short, they are building the world’s first agtech innovation cluster. “The superfood revolution is about more than celebrities and athletes adding radicchio to their smoothies,” said Donohue. “It promises to change the way we grow and consume the freshest produce that helps us live happy, healthy and strong.” SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 157
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The YALJ Group
“At the Yousef Abdul Latif Jameel Group (YALJ), we believe there is another way to do business. A way that puts the emphasis on ethics and focuses on improving people’s lives for the better.”
he YALJ Group, based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is managed by one of the most prosperous families in the Kingdom, which since 1973, has earned its fortune through a vast network of automotive distribution and real estate businesses. The family now uses this capital to fund strategic investments into niche segments: real estate, high technology, biopharmaceuticals and organic agriculture.
Agriculture In the agricultural market segment, YALJ Group is building what it believes will be the world’s largest network of organic date farms. The date contains a broad array of micro nutrients. It is considered to be one of the richest fruits worldwide and consequently, YALJ Group is engaged in finding new uses for dates to expand the nutritional & health benefits of its consumption. “We wish to become one of the largest organic food companies in the world and we have made significant investments in our palm date plantations in Saudi Arabia” says Yousef Abdul Latif Jameel. The YALJ Group has also acquired other organic agricultural assets in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. These assets include farms focused on growing & harvesting Arabic gum, olives and strategic plants for its bio-pharmaceutical division. “Everything we achieve is sustainable” explains Jameel, “Our investment decisions are clearly based on future trends. As you get to know YALJ Group, you will see that there are very interesting relationships and synergies between each business unit. For example, our organic agriculture segment can grow and develop plant materials for our bio pharmaceutical unit.” 158 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
Alpinia is a pharmaceutical research company focussed on developing plant-based medicines with high therapeutic value for serious diseases. Alpinia has a team of specialized scientists on research into new cancer-fighting drugs. The company’s key strength lies in its innovative drug discovery platform out of which it discovers new agents with anti-cancer properties, but that also contain anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective properties. Alpinia has currently one product in human clinical trials due by end of 2014.
The outstanding success of the Group is down to many important factors not least insightful investment decisions. How are these decisions arrived at? Yousef Jameel explains, “Some of the criteria are straight-forward. They must match our long term vision, the business case should be solid and the cost to employ capital should be reasonable. However, some of the criteria might not be as measurable. A project might come to us that makes long term-sense. We need to remain flexible in approaching our decision-making.” Despite a global financial crisis that rocked many large scale corporations, YALJ Group continues to show impressive results. Yousef Jameel concludes. “Of course the lingering financial crisis has affected our business operations, but we have found our way out of its impact. Our business model calls for investments in everyday use products like food, medicine and technology so this helps us to withstand very difficult business cycles.”
Technology With links to some major technological advances, YALJ Group has recently engaged with the ITLG and is looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship. “We became familiar with the Irish Technology Leadership Group last summer after reading about Mr John Hartnett and many of his achievements and the key role he plays as a citizen ambassador between Ireland, the United States and regions like mine: the Middle East. We have had several meetings since then and we are working on projects focused around high technology and agriculture. We hope for a very long term and fruitful partnership” explains Yousef Jameel. One of many exciting projects is the development of a new semiconductor called the Surrounding Gate Transistor (SGT). The SGT, with this unique three-dimensional structure in which all three electrodes of source, gate and drain, is placed in the vertical plane with the gate electrode surrounding a silicon column. With this innovative SGT structure, microprocessor clock frequency will be boosted to 20GHz, a full order of magnitude greater than the current 3 GHz planar MOS transistor. It is believed that it is capable of operating at clock speeds of 50 GHz or more.
Yousef Jameel Yousef Jameel is an entrepeneur, investor in science and patron of arts. He graduated from the American University in Cairo with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1968 and then was awarded with the honorary doctorate (Hon LHD) from the same university in spring 2008. He is Chairman of the Board of Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Co based in Mekkah, Saudi Arabia, which is currently developing a master plan hotel development comprising several hotel towers containing up to 8,500 rooms.
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If I was to sum up our organization with one word it would be ‘sustainability’. No project or interest we have is ever short-term. Everything we do must demonstrate lasting value for mankind - Yousef Abdul Latif Jameel
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Opportunities in Nigeria Nigeria is an emerging high-tech market for Irish SMEs explains Ade Dare, Director, Business Development & Research at the Nigerian Irish Chamber of Commerce
igeria has a population of over 160 million and has over 100 million connected phone lines, with projections to sell over 35 million mobile devices this year plugged with a 3G growth put at 12% and then an overall GDP growing at 7%. Mobile web is growing at a very fast rate in Nigeria as seen in the increase in the number of Nigerian users on mobile social networks like WhatsApp, 2go, Eskimi, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Information and Communication Technology Nigeria ranked 104 out of 144 countries surveyed in the Networked Readiness Index (NRI). However, the country inched up by 0.1 points in actual NRI scores to 3.3 points this year from 3.2 points in 2012, when measured on a scale of one (lowest) to seven (highest). According to the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) report on Global
Information Technology Report (GITR) 2013 and published with the theme Growth and jobs in a hyper connected world, it measured the extent to which 144 countries took advantage of HIGH TECH and other new technologies to increase their growth and well-being. The report also acknowledged that Nigeria’s market and regulatory framework has been able to support high levels of High Tech uptake, adding, however, that the cost of accessing High Tech, either via mobile telephony or fixed broadband internet, has remained a constraint towards widespread technology adoption in the country. The GITR 2013 underscored Nigeria’s clear divide in HIGH TECH usage between individuals and businesses. While corporate organizations in Nigeria have intensified their efforts to integrate High Tech into business processes - improving in that regard to a rank of 68 from 77; the penetration of High Tech among individuals has deteriorated to a rank of 111 from 105 in the last one year.
Challenges 2013 is just two years from 2015, the year set aside by the Nigerian Government for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, and seven years from 2020, Nigeria’s self-set date to join the top 20 economies of the world. Between 18 and 24 months from now the world would start listing the degrees by which nations attained the MDGs. Nigeria is not likely to be upset if her name does not come up for mention in 2015 because the country have set a superior goal for 2020. Coincidentally, but unfortunately, the sense of urgency has just been deleted from the pursuit of 20:2020 by the declaration from the USA that Nigeria would be a world leading economy in 2030. Meanwhile, it is generally accepted that High Tech will drive the transformation of Africa, with Nigeria in the forefront, from an agricultural to knowledge society. Rather than wait for 2030, Nigerians can invest in High Tech now. One of the most daunting challenges SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 161
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facing the development of the High Tech sector in Nigeria is education. Nigeria have not focused enough on education as a people who see High Tech as a golden opportunity – computer appreciation for the general public and for first-time users, reviewing the content of the High Tech curriculum in schools, massive campaign to teach computer literacy to teachers (at all levels) and civil servants, retraining existing professionals to capture recent trends and innovate for the fatherland and setting up incubation centers. The issue of quality is also a mitigating factor to the growth of High Tech in Nigeria. It is a mitigating factor in the sense that the High Tech sector is hampered by the lack of human, technical, processes, and financial capital to respond satisfactorily to the realities of supply and demand.
Market opportunities Nigeria is Africa’s largest market, with a population exceeding 160 million people. It has enjoyed a GDP growth rate averaging more than 6% per year over the past eight years. The market is fully liberalized, with competition allowed in virtually all segments. And there is a unified licensing regime in place, which allows operators to offer converged services. There are more than 100 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria and it has the largest mobile subscriber base in Africa. Five GSM operators are active in the Nigerian mobile market and four CDMA network operators. The Mobile penetration rate at the beginning of 2013 was 70%. With the mobile subscriber penetration potential being more than 100%, there is ample room for growth in the market. National backbone coverage is limited and, in keeping with the government’s Vision 2020 initiative, there are plans underway to extend the backbone, which will provide additional opportunities for investors. Based on an Average Revenue per User of $7 (N1,143.45), the active telecoms subscribers in the country must have spent about N774.06bn ($4,734bn) on voice calls and Short Message Services in the first half of this year. This is going by the figures obtained from the industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission. With 120,362,218 active subscribers, the 162 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
revenue profile of the telecoms service providers could have been boosted by over N131.4bn ($803m) in June alone; while for May, April, March, February and January when the active lines were 120,748,754; 119,356,665; 117,281,669; 116,601,637 and 114,492,384, respectively, the telecoms firms were estimated to have made about N131.9bn ($807m), N130.3bn ($797m), N128.1bn ($791m), N127.1bn ($777m) and N124.8bn ($763m), respectively. Nigerian online city transit guide HopStop was recently bought by Apple Inc. to boost map development. HopStop.com creates mobile applications for both iOS and Android for navigation around 500 cities towards transport facilities. Compared to the likes of Israeli Waze, Apple’s decision to bag HopStop seems to be a response to Google’s purchase of Waze for $1.1 billion. The country also has international High Tech presence as companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, EMC, Samsung, Siemens, Nokia, Google, IBM, HP, Dell all have presence in Nigeria. The Nigerian government has established a number of investment promotion initiatives whereby it will provide funding support to investors that address certain types of investments, most notably those aimed at providing broadband access to specific stakeholder groups or communities. The government is also actively promoting electronics manufacturing in Nigeria on the basis that Nigerian High Tech markets are big enough to support local manufacture. Nigeria thus offers a wide range of investment opportunities in a rapidly growing market. Whilst this market is currently somewhat exposed to the price of oil and exchange rate fluctuations, the diversification efforts of the Nigerian government are certain to reduce this dependence - leading to enhanced opportunities. The risks are higher than in more established markets but so are the potential returns in what is likely to be a very lucrative telecoms market for many years to come.
What next? Information and Communications Technology has offered a world of opportunities to Nigerians. In spite of the
gains, a number of challenges confront the sector, hindering its anticipated advancement. The growth of information and communications technologies is changing the way economic and social development occurs in most countries. New ICT-related tools have been known to make institutions and markets more productive, enhance skills and learning, improve governance at all levels, and make it easier for services to be accessed. The Nigerian High Tech sector is complex and investors must give due consideration to the characteristics of the Nigerian market when evaluating business plans. The sensitivity of the economy to oil price fluctuations can result in a volatile foreign exchange. Regionalism has a big impact on the extent to which services can be rolled out. Ireland is the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world. With a highly creative and talented workforce, an open economy and a competitive corporate tax environment, Ireland has successfully attracted eight of the top 10 global information technology companies to establish a significant presence here. The sector’s traditional players with long-established operations – such as Intel, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Apple – have now been joined by newer firms at the vanguard of the internet and social media revolution, including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, PayPal, eBay and most recently Twitter. Their arrival has firmly positioned Ireland as the internet capital of Europe. In view of the above, the Nigerian Irish Chamber of Commerce, Ireland has identified the gap in the High Tech services being delivered in Nigeria and believes that there is the need for the Chamber to showcase the High Tech capability of the Republic of Ireland to High Tech stakeholders in Nigeria. The chamber recently held a High Tech Summit at the Helix in Dublin City University aimed at helping to bring Nigerian and Irish businesses together in the area of High Tech and look forward to pursuing similar initiatives in the future. Source: http://www.weforum.org/issues/ global-information-technology/the-greattransformation/network-readiness-index.
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Dynamic Workspace “The greatest satisfaction is when a building opens and the public possesses it and you cut the umbilical cord and see it taking on its own life. There’s no greater satisfaction” - Moshe Safdie 164 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
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programming, site management and controlled commissioning. The focus is always on exceeding expectations in a cost effective and speedy manner. The company is based in Ireland but with an eye firmly on the global market. DJI track businesses from start-up through to funding & beyond in order to be part of their growth process. Michelle Hetherington, Creative Director with DJI explains, “We realize that setting up in a new country can be daunting, so we offer comprehensive and unbiased support, particularly to new high potential start-ups. A positive initial client experience, even if it’s on a small scale, oftentimes results in a call-back in two or three years when the company enters into a growth period. This is EXACTLY what we’re after – building goodwill, long-term relationships and trust. We know that once this is established, delivering the perfect interior is a piece of cake!” DJI embrace small projects with the same tenacity as large scale corporate fit-outs. “If it’s important to the client, it’s important to us” explains Mick Coffey, Head of Operations. He continues, “We believe in fostering longterm relationships. Right from the start, we help clients plan for the future, implementing whatever they need right now and setting aside elements that may be required at a later stage. We believe this is why we have so many repeat clients – there are quite a few who come back to us to help them to adapt their spaces as their needs change.”
IBM Shelbourne Buildings, FKP Architects
ramatic changes in the world of business mean that traditional workspace is no longer recognizable. Office space designers have had to evolve their designs to meet the demands of new technologies and new job descriptions, as well as meeting the expectations of the modern day employee. These factors have had a huge impact on the direction of workspace
design and the challenges faced when sourcing commercial space. Enter David James Interiors (DJI), an agile design and fit-out company with David Clarke at the helm. DJI provide the full spectrum of services including sourcing suitable accommodation for overseas clients, site surveys, base build snags, due diligence, concept design, CGI imagery, estimations, materials, furniture procurement, project
DJI are all well aware of the importance of strategic partnerships. To this end their work with leading Irish architects Fitzgerald Kavanagh & Partners (FKP) has been hugely successful. FKP understand the importance of the work environment. “Your office is a tool. The best staff, most engaged clients, latest phone and fastest computer are doomed to underperform without a venue which facilitates their needs. Ireland, especially Dublin city, has proven to be a fertile ground for architects and companies to develop a new generation of office spaces which thrive on the people who use them” explains FKP’s Aidan Kavanagh. Central Dublin is host to a dense cluster of world-leading technology companies standing shoulder-to-shoulder with established architecture firms who understand that a truly SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 165
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productive workspace is achieved with much more than durable furniture and an efficient layout. For almost three decades, Fitzgerald Kavanagh and Partners (FKP) have stood at the vanguard of this design current. Recently awarded Professional Consultancy for 2013 for commercial fit-outs in recognition for their unique approach to workplace architecture, FKP’s method depends on conscientious analysis before starting a solution. Every project is prefaced by a rigorous, methodical observation of the routines as well as preferences of the staff, and their role within the company as a whole. By doing so, FKP finds opportunities for greater efficiency and wellbeing: a bespoke, uncompromising design solution which replaces the petty annoyances of one-sizefits all office space with a unique working environment full of insightful surprises. FKP operates across three continents, so facilitating overseas companies to establish in Ireland developed as a natural specialism. By striving to truly understand how a company works before making any decisions on the design, FKP delivers a final architectural solution which embodies the client’s brand identity and effortlessly hosts an ever evolving multinational company. The success of an office spaces draws from an array of expertise and experience. FKP’s 166 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
prizewinning projects in the education sector encouraged new and complex ideas, often across cultural or lingual borders. A longstanding collaboration with leading lighting, climate, sustainability and interior design specialists like David James Interiors ensures that a broad range of current knowledge and techniques come together.
Designed to Inspire Work at Irish universities, most notably University College Dublin, was particularly rewarding for FKP with the Student Centre being awarded the Best Universal Design at the Irish Architecture Awards. With students from more than 120 countries studying among UCD’s 25,000 students, the campus has become the confluence of an especially rich variety of interests, talents and ideas. The UCD Global Lounge, designed by FKP is one of very few such facilities worldwide. Founded upon Irish traditions of hospitality and adaptability, the Global Lounge’s open plan, individual furniture and a variety of spaces from large to small empower students adjusting to a new culture to come together in a place they can call their own. Students can use a video wall to watch 350 television stations from all over the world or play on multi-player games consoles. The 11,000 sq. meter (119,000 sq. foot) Student Center is at the
epicentre of social, sporting and academic life on campus offering gyms, an Olympic standard 50m swimming pool , spa, cinema, theatre, cafe, medical center, broadcasting studio and suites for student societies to meet in an iconic building.
Seamless Integration Michelle Hetherington, DJI says it is hugely important to create a seamless process between design development and implementation. “We have a very loyal tranche of suppliers & sub-contractors, like Vaughan Electrics, who understand our needs and the high level of expectation we put on them. We believe it is important to continue to forge healthy b2b relationships, particularly with suppliers, who give us preferential service & rates, allowing us to pass value onto our clients. On the other end of the spectrum, our ability to support designers and architects with detailing & specifications means that we are always in demand, helping to create a seamless process between design development and implementation & delivery. J.Vaughan is a well established company founded in Dublin with a heritage spanning several decades. DJI Interiors have worked with Vaughan Electrical Engineers on numerous projects and they are the engineers of choice every time as they simply cannot be beaten for
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of people “we promote a diverse culture with mutual respect for our clients and employees. We value people at every level who lead by example and take pride in what they do”. It’s all about the people for Joe Vaughan and he certainly hits the nail on the head. Numerous studies show that people work more productively in well designed spaces, so design has become a driving factor in the pursuit of office efficiency. “The more attractive your office and the better its facilities, the more efficient your staff will be” concludes David Clarke. “That’s why we work with the best; then everything else takes care of itself ”.
quality and work ethos. Joseph Vaughan explains the ethos of the company, “At JVE we instil a culture which encourages integrated teamwork with personnel at all levels representing the company in the most ethical manner”. The company has played pivotal roles in the services industry and understand the need to be adaptable and responsive to the needs of clients. A reputation for delivery within schedule and budget, a team of highly skilled employees and a commitment to exceeding expectations has made JVE the contractor of
choice for more than 35 years. JVE employ the best people, invest heavily in their training and education and we ensure that the highest standards of health, safety and governance is applied throughout our organization. Vaughan Electrical contractors undertake all aspects of commercial, public and industrial building services installations. This includes Electrical, Fire Protection, Commissioning and Testing for both pre designed and design and build projects. Joseph Vaughan understands the importance
FKP is a leading Irish architectural practice selected for the Public Choice Award at the Irish Architecture Awards in 2013. Before returning to Ireland to establish FKP with Maurice Fitzgerald, Aidan Kavanagh spent the 1980s practicing architecture in California. Kavanagh delivered projects for both the leading lights and rising stars of the technology industry; witnessing first-hand the Silicon Valley software boom. Today, thirty years of expertise later, Fitzgerald Kavanagh and Partners are better equipped than ever to produce long-lasting solutions for an ever-evolving hightech world. www.fkp.ie Winners of the Public Sector Magazine Award 2013, David James Interiors are a one stop shop for office fit out and refurbishment earning them an Excellence in Business award for large scale public building and workspace projects. www.dji.ie Vaughan Electrical Contractors Ltd was established by Joseph Vaughan in 1986. The company provides a full in-house engineering and contracting service with all work is carried out by highly qualified and experienced staff. Flexibility and professionalism is guaranteed with over thirty successful years in the business. www.jve.ie
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The Convention Centre Dublin Putting a face on a virtual world!
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n today’s increasingly virtual society a common misconception is that the age of the face-to-face meeting is behind us. However, events that facilitate personal interaction and networking continue to be an important strategic tool for many of the world’s leading organizations. Testament to this is the significant growth in business tourism that Ireland has seen in the past few years, together with the resounding success of The Convention Centre Dublin (The CCD) as Ireland’s premier conference venue. In just three and a half years since opening, The CCD has hosted over 850 events welcoming over 850,000 total delegate days and has won 25 industry awards, including runner up for World’s Best Convention Centre at the APIC Apex Award 2012. This iconic venue has developed an unparalleled reputation for excellence across the global meetings and events industry and is now widely considered one of Europe’s most esteemed conference venues. So what is it that sets this venue apart?
A Solid Track Record In the last 10 years, Ireland has well and truly established itself as the business and technology hub of Europe with a strong focus on research, development and innovation. Many of the world’s top organizations in the fields of ICT, International Financial Services, Medical Technology and Pharmaceutical Sciences have become wellestablished in Ireland. More recently the country is also building a reputation as the center for emerging technological sectors such as Cloud Computing, Social Media, Game and App Development. According to the Wall Street Journal, which analyzed the total amount of venture capital raised by tech companies over the past 10 years, Ireland is currently the most entrepreneurial country in Europe. In addition, the 2008-2012 Business Environment Ranking of the Economist Intelligence Unit has placed Ireland 11th out of 82 countries and the Global Innovation Index has ranked Ireland 13th out of 125 countries. It is clear that this is one of the most attractive business locations in the world!
The Ultimate Conference Destination Sustaining delegate numbers in today’s economic climate can be a challenge. It is therefore essential that an event’s location appeals to the business tourist. Since The CCD opened in September 2010, Dublin’s popularity as an international conference destination has soared, as evidenced by its climb up 10 places in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rankings.
“I have to say I am blown away by all the staff at The CCD and the service that you provide. It really is a world-class facility with a team of staff that provide a world-class service level.” Olivia Slevin, Bord Bia Dublin’s rise to fame as the ultimate conference destination can be attributed to a number of unique selling points. The city has become the European home for many leading corporates including Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, PayPal, eBay, Amazon and IBM, to name but a few. Many of these leading companies are located in the vicinity of The CCD, an area becoming widely known as ‘Silicon Docks’, making the venue ideally positioned to entice the business and technology market. In addition, Ireland’s location at the gateway to Europe offers many logistical benefits. With Dublin Airport serving 55 airlines and 169 routes, including direct flights to the UK, US, Europe and the Middle East, it is highly accessible for all. The CCD itself is located a mere 15-20 minute journey from Dublin Airport and is
served by over 18,500 competitively priced hotel rooms within a 10km radius. Furthermore, many of the city’s key tourist attractions, including its many museums, galleries, the Guinness Storehouse and the famous Temple Bar area, are within walking distance or a short tram ride from The CCD, enabling business and leisure to be easily combined. The caliber of The CCD’s client base speaks volumes about the venue’s capabilities. Since it opened in September 2010, it has hosted some of the world’s highest-profile events in the research and technology field, including TM Forum, NetApp Insight, Globe Forum, Teradata, EuroNanoForum, XRBL26, and eHealth Week.
The ‘Wow’ Factor The destination is only half the battle when it comes to attracting delegates. The venue choice often seals the deal for the international business tourist. As Ireland’s first purpose built international conference venue, The CCD offers delegates and clients a unique event experience. The entire venue is finished to the highest specifications and incorporates the latest technology throughout. A range of multi-functional rooms suitable for events and conferences of all shapes and sizes are available, including a 2,000 seat auditorium, 4,500 square meters of exhibition space and banqueting facilities for up to 3,000 guests. In addition, The CCD’s light-flooded central atrium offers delegates a breath of fresh air between conference sessions where panoramic views of the city and surrounding Wicklow mountains can be admired across six bright and spacious foyers. These areas offer a unique range of additional spaces and are perfect for registration, receptions and hospitality. While on the outside, the venue’s signature colored ring beams have become an iconic part of Dublin’s vibrant skyline. They also give clients the unique capability of branding the whole building in their signature color or video-mapping the front facade of the building, creating the ultimate statement for arriving guests.
The Personal Touch The CCD is not only famed for its signature architecture and convenient location but SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 169
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also for its exceptionally high customer satisfaction rate, which consistently ranks above 96%. The venue prides itself on offering first-class service with a high level of professionalism and expertise, coupled with a sense of Irish warmth and hospitality. By allocating an experienced, dedicated team to every event, The CCD’s awardwinning management style ensures that the customer’s experience is at the heart of its approach. The core team of an Event Manager, a Technical Production Manager, a Hospitality Manager and an IT Manager, is supported by a full range of in-house services, such as hosts, furniture, cleaning and security. Clients are also assigned a dedicated and specialist Account Manager who is well-acquainted with the competitive bidding process that can be required to attract prestigious events to the city. At The CCD flexibility is key - not only 170 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
can clients avail of a range of fully inclusive packages, but they also have the opportunity to make bespoke out-of-the-ordinary requests. Whatever the event, be it a conference, meeting, exhibition, banquet, entertainment production, this venue has the event production equipment and expertise to bring every event to life and deliver a memorable experience for guests. The team allocated to each and every client will work tirelessly to ensure that all service levels are kept consistently high, for every event, every day.
What does the future hold? The future is certainly bright at The CCD with booking inquiries as far as 10 years in advance. This year alone the venue will host a variety of high-profile international events including The European People’s Party 2014 European Election Campaign Launch; Radiodays
Europe 2014; The World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) 2014; Oracle User Group (OUG) Ireland 2014; The APEX TV Market Conference 2014; EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference and One Young World. The venue is also looking forward to welcoming back a number of return clients, including Alltech’s International Craft Brews & Food Fair, the Flyer Professional Flight Training Exhibition and Career Zoo. Whether it’s by stimulating innovation in technological research or by helping to land new deals and strengthen relationships in the business realm, it’s clear that face-to-face meetings are a very important feature in the calendar of leading corporates and associations. How could your organization benefit from bringing people together to provoke fresh thinking? With Dublin as the perfect backdrop, and The CCD offering the ultimate inspirational venue, the solution is clear.
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A477 Road Construction
Peter Byrne, Quality & Environmental Manager at Roadbridge, one of the best known and most respected names in the Irish Construction Industry talks to Silicon Valley Global Magazine’
ver this period our company has successfully undertaken civil engineering projects for both Public Authorities and Private Industrial Clients. The company has traditionally invested heavily in its plant, labor and knowledge resources which ensured it was well poised to adapt to the changing economic environment. Accordingly, we have successfully tendered for, and are now undertaking a significant volume of civil engineering work at various other locations around the world. The main areas of civil engineering in which Roadbridge are involved in are: • Major and Minor Road Construction
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(Over 250km constructed in last 10 years) • Water Infrastructure (Pipelines, Reservoirs) • Wastewater Infrastructure (Pipelines, Pump Stations) • Gas Pipelines (Over 450kms in last 10 years) • Commercial/Industrial Developments • Leisure/ Amenity Works e.g. Golf Courses, Soccer Pitches, etc. Roadbridge is a self-performing contractor. We have the experience, capability and a proven track record in delivering major projects safely, on time and within budget. With over 400 permanent employees, Roadbridge owns and operates the largest plant fleet in Ireland, giving the company unparalleled control over project delivery.
To ensure that we deliver outstanding performance as our client measures it, our site teams adapt their operations to meet each client’s unique needs and expectations. In this process, we ensure that we maintain our own internal performance standards. Each site team adopts the mission and objectives of our client, forming with the client a seamless connection and an organization that resembles the client’s organization itself. Roadbridge’s reputation for quality, timeliness, consistency, technical capability, flexibility, good communication, and competitiveness, has established us as a Best Value contractor. We are founded upon the strength and experience of our people; our leaders,
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managers and highly experienced and trained direct labor force. Our core ethos is not just to meet client’s expectations, but to exceed them. Our culture of: • customer-focused collaborative working • non-adversarial approach • genuine ‘right first time’ workmanship • HSEQ excellence • sustainable delivery • innovation and value engineering • in-house resources and supply chain partnerships makes us a partner clients want to work with and seek repeat business with.
Corrib Gas Terminal
Mayo to Galway Gasline
Limerick Treatment Plant
Swine Burn Culvert - M9
Roadbridge have also developed an award winning culture in areas such as: Discipline
Award & Year
Health & Safety
National Irish Safety Organization (NISO)
Best Civil Engineering Award - 2013
Excellence Ireland Quality Assurance (EIQA)
Winner – Quality Management Systems, Level 2 - 2012
Considerate Constructors Scheme (UK)
Bronze Award for M9 Junction 1A, Scotland – 2013 Bronze Award for A477 Road Improvement Scheme, Wales – 2013
Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment Scheme (CEEQUAL)
CEEQUAL Award for M9 Junction 1A project in Scotland – 2013
National Procurement Awards (NPA)
Best Supplier Award (Finalist) - 2013
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Making an Impact How can the work of Ireland’s best scientific minds make the transition from the lab to industry? Science Foundation Ireland’s Director General, Professor Mark Ferguson, speaks to Silicon Valley Global.
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resources are expended on scientific endeavor worldwide, and rightly so: scientific breakthroughs promise improvements to our everyday lives, and prosperity for many. However, the process of directing resources to maximize return on investment from science has always been challenging. In Ireland, much of the burden passes to Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), and the organization’s Director General, Professor Mark Ferguson. SFI’s official mission statement is daunting: to build and strengthen scientific and
engineering research and its infrastructure in the areas of greatest strategic value to Ireland’s long term competitiveness and development. For Ferguson, that mission boils down to a definite but challenging mantra: funding excellent research with impact. “We are interested in funding research across the domains of science, but with a particular focus on ICT, life sciences - in other words biotechnology and energy. That is the main focus, but we go across all the areas of science and we are really interested in excellent science with impact. Impact into the economy, impact into society, impact into health and so on,” he explains.
Partnering With Industry In order to ensure that scientific innovation makes an impact, SFI works hand-in-hand with industry through a range of schemes. These schemes, of course, benefit researchers in their career opportunities, most obviously through the Industry Fellowship Scheme open to approximately 3,000 researchers nationwide. “We will fund any of those people to spend up to one year in a company doing collaborative research anywhere in the world. If they want to go and work in a company in Ireland, Silicon Valley, Russia, China or Japan, so long as it is a collaborate research project and so long as it cuts the mustard in terms of excellence, we will fund the salary to do that,” says Ferguson. “It is about building the ecosystem between Universities and companies. It is about career development for the researchers. More than 90% of the researchers we fund will find a career in the private sector.” The scheme, he adds, has proved successful for both multinationals and small firms alike. Moreover, SFI works to establish
Centers of Excellence to bring researchers and companies from across Ireland together in collaboration. “In 2013, we have funded seven research centers of international stature and excellence. That is €200m from Science Foundation Ireland which is matched by €100m from more than 150 companies. It is a €300m investment in total, which is the largest single investment in research ever made in the history of the Irish state. “These research centers address key areas of strategic importance for Ireland, with absolutely cutting edge internationally recognized researchers and heavy collaboration with industry,” says Ferguson, revealing that an entire center, Insight, is dedicated to big data analytics. “An €88m center, it spans all the Universities in Ireland. Ireland is a small country: 4.5m people, seven universities, 14 institutes of technology. It is not like Boston. It is not like London. You can’t have the center of excellence in one single university. What we have done here is taken all of the excellent researchers from all of the appropriate universities and put them together in a focused way in one multilocation center,” he adds. That approach of capitalizing on Ireland’s unique characteristics to devise an effective route from research to industry is core to SFI’s philosophy. “There are things in Ireland that you could not do anywhere else in the world. As a small country, there are obviously disadvantages of size and budget and so on. And there are also advantages because you can be flexible and nimble,” says Ferguson. “We have a unique partnership program which effectively says ‘if you are a company, and you want to do some cutting edge research collaboratively, if what you want to do, does not fit neatly into any of our existing schemes, you can come and talk to us about it - under the partnership scheme. There are only two basic rules in the partnership scheme. One, it must be excellent science and two, it must be impactful,” he explains. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 175
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Encouraging Entrepreneurship Building on SFI’s success to date, Ferguson reveals that the organization is considering a new program that’s tailor-made to build on Irish entrepreneurialism: a PHD entrepreneurial program. “If you think about a normal PHD program – what happens is that the supervisor in the university has an idea or project that he or she wishes to develop and they go and seek a PHD student who gets the training and works alongside them and they may also get entrepreneurial training and that is fine,” he says. However, with an increasing number of young people in an entrepreneurial frame of mind, Ferguson believes that SFI should encourage them to research and start their own companies. “If you want to do that, then what we are going to do is say ‘apply under our Entrepreneurial PHD scheme. Find a laboratory and supervisor in Ireland that you think will support you in your ambition. We will support you in terms of your PHD and we will give you a couple of years funding after that to try and develop the idea, technology and research that you did your PHD program on”. We aim to advertise and recruit internationally. I would like to enrich the pool of entrepreneurial young people who start out on this PHD program,” he says. Encouraging entrepreneurialism, of course, depends on getting people to take the risk of starting a business - or even choosing a career in a fast-moving field such as technology - which Ferguson considers a challenge. “I think in recent years, there is a slight risk adverse culture, obviously as a result of the economic crisis, and people taking foolish risks in terms of bank lending or housing or that kind of business. 176 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
“We have a partnership program which effectively says ‘if you are a company, and you want to do some cutting edge research collaboratively, if what you want to do, does not fit neatly into any of our existing schemes, you can come and talk to us about it. That is under the partnership scheme. There are only two basic rules in the partnership scheme. One, it must be excellent science and two, it must be impactful.”
The whole of society has become a little risk adverse and failure has taken on an element of adverseness within the population. That is slowly changing,” he says, while conceding that some conservatism will be hard to shift. “I’m not sure a mother would say to her son or daughter, “go into a risky career, it would be great for you!’” he notes. SFI has a major role, according to Ferguson, in encouraging individuals and companies to adopt ‘good risk’ that will benefit themselves and society as a whole. “Good risk is in research. You don’t know when you start out if some of the stuff is going to work or not. You take a risk when you do it. Most things don’t work out the way you thought they would. That is an acceptable risk because it is at the cutting edge,” he argues. Moreover, SFI’s role extends to the very grassroots of learning in encouraging younger people towards research, and science in general. “We have a major role in terms of building enthusiasm among young people and encouraging them to pursue a career in the STEM subjects. We have a major role to educate people about the fact that if you get a qualification in maths, science or engineering this equips you to work in a multinational company or to form your own company. There are lots of interesting careers and it is perfectly acceptable to change your job several times during your lifetime. You may even go to a job that had not even been invented when you started out!” Encouraging people to take risks whether in funding research, starting a technology-based business, or even choosing a fast-moving industry to work in - is daunting even as Ireland shifts into recovery. But with programs that holistically address the needs of science, industry and individuals, Science Foundation Ireland and Ferguson have considerable cause for optimism.
CAREER FOCUSED GRADUATES! CIT Department of Computing interacts intensively with Industry to provide graduates with Theoretical and Applied skills. Continuing professional development is facilitated by Industry Certified courses in Networking, Storage, Virtualisation, Linux, etc. Many courses, including CPD courses, are delivered fully online.
Software Development Computer Networking IT Support/Management Big Data & Cloud Computing
Collaboration with Industry: Student internships Student projects sourced from industry Specialised modules, developed and delivered by company experts Collaborative research Innovation vouchers
E: IT@cit.ie T: 021-4335160
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GTECH: A Safe Bet GTECH is an industry pioneer and created the first purpose built lottery terminal over 30 years ago. Since then the company has continued to invest heavily in R&D, which has ensured their place at the top of their game. 178 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
TECH S.p.A. is a leading commercial operator, partner of choice, and provider of technology in regulated worldwide gaming markets. The company operates in many sectors globally including on-line, instant and traditional lotteries; betting pools, parimutuel and fixed-odds sports betting; games, gaming terminals, central control systems and associated software and services across multiple gaming channels; interactive gaming;
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and commercial (non lottery) services. GTECH Ireland is a wholly owned subsidiary of GTECH S.p.A and has provided a full suite of technology, services and solutions to An Post National Lottery Company since 1987. Since the first Lotto Draw back in 1988, if you have ever bought a lottery ticket, it has been produced on a GTECH system. GTECH also operates in the non-lottery market in Ireland supplying sports betting retail software services to Paddy Power, Boylesports and selected other Independent retail bookmakers. Silicon Valley Global magazine talks to Jacinta Kielty, Director about GTECH’s operation in Ireland. Can you outline the role played by your operations in Ireland and its importance in facilitating the company’s global markets? We are extremely proud of our history in Ireland and of our long-standing partnership with the National Lottery. We have been at the very heart of a very exciting journey that has seen billions of euros raised by the Irish lottery for good causes. In the last 26 years, we have brought many innovations to the marketplace. Back in 1988, we revolutionized lottery sales by bringing our Tiffany terminals to this market. Ireland was one of the very first countries outside of America to offer players a chance to buy tickets through a terminal at a retailer outlet. In 1996 we had another global first when we implemented our new terminals featuring touch-screen technology into retailers around the country. Since then, we have continued to deliver innovative solutions that have encompassed multiple new game offerings and channel choices available to players today. Our process, technology and service enhancements have been adopted in jurisdictions internationally and the most recent implementation of our Digital Signage Solution platform in retail outlets throughout Ireland reflects an on-going commitment to continuous innovation. What are the principal reasons for locating an important component of your activities in Ireland? GTECH Ireland was established to provide technology and services to the Lottery. I
Since the first Lotto Draw back in 1988, if you have ever bought a lottery ticket, it has been produced on a GTECH system initially joined the company to train retailers on how to use our machines. Since then, the entire gaming industry has expanded at a phenomenal rate and we have had amazing opportunities to work with other lotteries internationally, as they have chosen to move from offline to online gaming systems. The Irish team quickly gained a reputation for being highly skilled, extremely capable and very dedicated and since then the team has expanded. Ireland is an attractive location for GTECH to do business. Key considerations remain the availability of highly educated and enthusiastic talent who are fluent in English; the significant progress that has been already been made on restructuring the economy; a fair tax regime and a regulatory structure that is conducive to growing business. I also believe that the willingness shown by Irish employees to travel is very important and this factor will continue to influence opportunities for employee career development. How would you characterize the gaming sector in Ireland and are there any particular polices which you would like to see introduced to assist the further development of the sector. The gaming sector in Ireland is characterized by an outdated regulatory and legislative environment that cannot seem to keep pace with the developments in technology and player practices. While the National Lottery has been a success and secured wide acceptance, the overall legislative structure for gaming needs to be modernized and is still based on a framework set out in the 1950s. It is important that promised legislation in this area accepts the changes in technology, player preferences and in particular the strong growth in online gaming, which has
proved more difficult for national authorities to control and regulate. There are very significant opportunities for Ireland, under the right regulatory conditions to be a hub for responsible online gaming activities – the success of Ireland in securing strong levels of growth from social media providers indicates that there is real potential for development in this area, under the correct regulatory conditions. What are the key products responsible for facilitating the global expansion of the company? From a product perspective, the growth in our global footprint has been underpinned by our leading edge gaming platforms and terminals coupled with excellent content which has been developed based on extensive player and market research. Our global growth has been impressive. In 2012, the company generated €3 billion in revenues and employed almost 9,000 employees in more than 110 countries. We now supply solutions and services to more than 80 lottery customers. This includes more than 500,000 lottery terminals and other sales devices, 47,000 self service devices and approximately 175,000 wireless terminals and that is just in the World Lottery Association (WLA) market. One further key product in the sports betting area of our business has been Margin Maker, a suite of betting engines and associated support modules, which has been critical to our global expansion in both the WLA market and commercial gaming sectors. We now have sports betting operations utilizing Margin Maker in the UK, Singapore, Belgium, Spain, France and Hungary. An impressive performance overall indicates high odds for future success. Kielty concludes, “If our customers are successful, then we’re successful. Driving sales growth is an imperative. Our global experience means that we can help to drive sales growth with our solutions which optimize all elements of the product lifecycle. GTECH has one of the industry’s largest and most creative Game Development teams. A great benefit of our integration as one unified company is that we can draw on experiences across the Lottery, Gaming and Interactive markets. We can cross-pollinate our content in each segment with what we have learned in the others and our customers are already reaping the benefits.” SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 179
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Opportunity Knocks Managing Director of Cube Clean Tech Fintan Lyons discusses opportunities in global biomedical research.
iomedical Research is a major growth area for science and the practical application of new discoveries in the field of human health on a global scale. Biomedical Research can be broken into two general areas, Clinical trials of new treatments and therapies and preclinical or basic research which advances our understanding of areas which impact on human health such as neuroscience, metabolism, ophthalmology and genetics for example. The scale of investment in this area is significant with studies pointing to more than $268 billion being invested by public and industry sectors worldwide in 2012. In the US the figure was $49 billion for the public sector and $70 billion for industry. In Europe the public sector invested $28 billion and industry invested $53 billion. There is a similar scale of investment across the rest of the world with a significant increase in spending being seen in Asia and China. A relatively new direction for Biomedical Research in recent years is Translational Medicine, or Translational Medical Research which seeks to enhance and shorten the delivery time for therapeutic treatments from basic science through to practical application with patients. The translational research model is having a huge impact on the funding and development of new research facilities. This in turn is impacting the location of such facilities which require higher investment and must support multi disciplinary teams of scientists and medical professionals. The location of new translational research facilities will for the most part be at or adjacent to centers of learning and/or applied science. In addition, access to clinical and medical facilities such as hospitals for the delivery and evaluation of treatments requires a campus or co-location arrangement bringing together
academics and medical practitioners. Funding bodies such as the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) are now looking to fund ‘academic- and business-led research and development projects, with the aim of developing innovative solutions to healthcare challenges and supporting the maturation of ideas from concept to commercialization’ Moving from ‘bench to bedside’ and ‘translating’ findings from clinical trials into everyday medical practise also requires quality facilities and services that support the needs and requirements of all concerned.
Managing Director of Cube Clean Tech Fintan Lyons
The design challenges include: • Aligning the strategic longer term goals of science with the more immediate demands of business and society for effective medical treatments. • Provision of space for scientists, researchers, clinicians and others to interact both formally and informally and the provision of public space for interaction with investors and the wider community. • The technical challenges of seamlessly aligning different operational systems and standards in areas such as security, containment, isolation and quarantine, controlled environments, informatics and the increasing use of automation and robotics. • Ensuring the organization(s) that operate and manage the facilities are culturally aligned and are technically capable of supporting the mission of the new facility and ensuring the facilities meet the requisite legal and industry standards and regulations including sustainability. • Ensuring the operational cost base meets the criteria of investors and attracts global talent For further information log onto www.cctech.eu or
Steven Cubitt is a leading expert on the design and operation of biomedical facilities and leads the biomedical design aspect of Cube Clean Tech.
Cube CleanTech Cube CleanTech have offices in Dublin, Cambridge and Riyadh and the company is lead by Fintan J. Lyons and Steven Cubitt. The company is working with leading design teams on the development of new and retrofit biomedical facilities for clients such as NUIG, University of Cambridge, Gurdon Institute, University College London and Saudi FDA. Cube CleanTech also have projects pending in the United States.
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Connecting for Success Cathal O’Toole, Head of Strategy at BT Ireland, sheds light on the business needs of today’s competitive organisations and how network and communications solutions are responding to these needs.
e live in an interconnected world, depending on communications crossing international boundaries in a way that our forefathers could only dream of. Businesses with global operations also have profound needs, notes Cathal O’Toole, Head of Strategy at BT Ireland. “Across the globe, organizations need to have systems and networks that are high performance and that underpin their business critical applications,” he says, arguing that an agile response to demand is vital for any industry. Global players, he notes, “are powered by secure, private, reliable networks.” Within this, O’Toole says, varied solutions are important. “Right now, what customers need is a hybrid solution which involves using a variety of network solutions to deliver their needs at the same time. These can include anything from a private IP-VPN connecting an organization’s own offices, a high performance Ethernet connection connecting their data centers and key sites, and an internet based VPN connecting to cloud solutions that the organization needs.”
Business Needs … Network Solutions Regardless of a customer’s network and telecoms requirements, O’Toole says certain needs are universal. “Take the first one of trying to operate globally as an organization, be it in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals or the production of consumer goods,” he says. “Their key challenge is to have a very well integrated supply chain within their organization and into their suppliers, so they can keep their logistics straight and on track, ensuring their latent stock is minimized and that all their
Cathal O’Toole, Head of Strategy
customers’ orders are fulfilled. This requires a solution spanning from one end of the organization to the other - and a provider that can offer this end-to-end capability.” Beyond the sheer breadth of an endto-end solution, flexibility is vital. “Modern organizations need to be able to adapt to rises and falls in demand and must have business models that allow them to reduce their costs of operation in line with activity,” O’Toole notes. “To achieve this, organizations require technology to be provided as a consumable utility where the cost is variable and only incurred when needed, rather than as a monolithic fixed cost.” Moreover, says O’Toole, technology is increasingly being provided on an a-la-carte basis, with additional functions added ‘on demand’ by a service provider rather than the traditional order-and-configure approach. This is particularly vital when it comes
to collaboration, a vital factor in business success universally, but particularly in hightech services and product development. “These businesses need flexible tools for collaboration that deliver a kind of easy, in the room experience for their highly valuable talents so that they can then devote their energy to this collaborative design process rather than trying to get together and moving to a single location,” explains O’Toole. “By having the sense they are all working together and by having the tools that enable them to collaborate easily, companies get the best value out of their time and energy. That kind of flexibility comes from unified communication tools deployed over global networks.” Last, but certainly not least, every business needs security in its domestic and international communications. “Protecting customer information has always been a key business priority. The costs in brand damage and litigation for loss of data can take years to reverse, so firms are placing an even greater emphasis on data protection and security. The risk of data breaches or losses has led leading technology firms to strengthen their defences lately to ensure that their data cannot be intercepted” ,O’Toole reveals.” It has never been more important for companies to have confidence in the privacy and security strength of their networks.”
Meeting the Challenge For BT, this demanding list of essential communications needs plays well into the company’s solution portfolio. “When considering an organization’s business and operational needs, we are equipped to offer a variety of network options, be it a private IP-VPN network straddling the globe in over 200 countries or an Ethernet network SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 183
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offering global point to point solutions. We can offer the right combination of solutions that will give them connectivity to their suppliers and customers and that will perform to the needs of their applications and supply chain processes,” says O’Toole. “Where their application has certain specific performance requirements, our private, global networks can commit and deliver on those requirements. That would be a standout capability of BT: to be able to reach countries across the globe with a network that can deliver committed technical performance.” Of course, delivering a strong technical performance anywhere in the globe requires considerable know-how driven by financial commitment to research. “This area does demand that the strong players in it invest heavily in research and development. BT Group itself has a total portfolio worldwide of over 4,000 patents and applications. “Last year, BT invested over $890m (£544m) in R&D,” says O’Toole. “And we would see ourselves as leaders in this area with global development centers in 184 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
the UK, Malaysia and India. We are certainly investing in research and development and innovating to bring things forward.” To invest heavily in research and development, one expects that BT has a clear vision of where the future of technology lies and O’Toole doesn’t disappoint. “Increasingly, customers are becoming comfortable with the idea of consuming cloud applications and having solutions for communications for storage, computing power hosted off their sites - even provided on a pay as you go, utility basis, which gives them advantages in terms of flexibility, to flex up and down with demand,” he says. “Cloud applications also give organisations advantages in terms of being available from almost anywhere and allows them to manage cost as operational expenditure rather than capital expenditure. Perhaps most important of all, cloud-hosted solutions give customers advantages in terms of implementation where additional features or new instances can just be switched on or made live within minutes rather than having
an install of a system or an upgrade within a site, which may take some time. “That is where we certainly see it going. It is moving there now and, increasingly over the next five years, that is where it will go”. Moreover, O’Toole believes that flexibility in telecommunications will continue to be vital. “Having a provider that can flex their call handling to deal with a spike in demand and then take it back down again, is very important to businesses – from both a cost point of view and a management of their operations point of view,” he adds. As a global trend, the move towards increased flexibility and cloud solutions promises huge gains - both for international businesses and smaller firms. Given its considerable investment in supporting this market shift, and a strong track record in delivering on business needs around the globe, BT is well-positioned as a provider to help companies realise this potential. For more information visit www.btireland.com
NISO Awards: Supreme Safety Award Winners 2005; Gold Award 2006 & 2007; Civil Engineering Award 2013 Q-Mark Quality Awards: Best New Entr y 2008; National Winner â€“ Quality Management Systems Level 2, 2012.
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Radical changes in enterprise IT Enda Doyle, Director of Cloud and Managed Services at eircom Business, speaks about why the cloud is such a radical industry change and why it will leave no aspect of industry or government untouched.
t’s difficult to overstate the scale of change being created in enterprise IT because of the cloud. In my view, within the next two years, there will be no IT organisation that’s not using cloud infrastructure of some sort. The economies of scale already becoming available are unbelievable. The old commercial model of licensing software, where you then have to pay 20% of the value of the licence again each year to maintain it, is disappearing. Companies want to use software applications as they need it and only pay for what they use.
Cloud is changing everything The cloud puts all IT infrastructure into a virtual environment and introduces a pay-asyou-go model. There’s no longer any worry about planning ahead for how much capacity you need and no need to purchase according to the maximum power you expect to require down the road. The cloud unshackles you from all of that, and that’s what makes it so revolutionary. The power is unlimited.
Real-world stories of business in the cloud You don’t get a better case study of scale and the cloud than Smyths Toys Superstore, who’s worked with us on their cloud requirements. The majority of the company’s business is done in the run up to Christmas and online sales are slowly becoming the mainstay of their business. The volume of business they’ve done online in the last two Christmases has
doubled, and that has been enabled because of an AWS cloud solution from eircom. They don’t want to purchase IT infrastructure that’s going to sit idle for 11 months, and that’s slowly going out of date. They don’t want to apply patches and updates, keeping that infrastructure ready for those really busy weeks. The cloud gives them industrial-strength IT when they need it. Another great example of how eircom’s cloud-based offering can deliver significant business benefits is the work we are doing with ePubDirect, the Cork based digital publishing company. ePubDirect is an exciting business that is truly utilising technology to forge ahead in the global marketplace. The business model is wholly dependent on its Internet delivery platform, requiring 24x7x365 availability. We were able to migrate its systems to the Amazon Web Services cloud platform from day one, so ePubDirect are using a higher performance and scalable platform on a pay per use basis, with no upfront investment in equipment.
Switching to the cloud makes business sense The cloud is resilient, it delivers return on investment and reduces dependence on inhouse IT. I believe that we’ve only begun to see the changes cloud will bring and I am looking forward to eircom being at the forefront of driving that change. Enda Doyle is Director of Cloud and Managed Services
Enda Doyle, eircom Business
About eircom eircom Group is the largest indigenous technology company in Ireland and delivers a comprehensive range of advanced voice, data, broadband and ICT services to the residential, SME, enterprise and public sector markets. eircom Group generates revenues of €1.4 billion annually. eircom Cloud, powered by Amazon Web Services, provides managed infrastructure solutions to our customers, based on best practice Service Management, certified to ISO 20000 standard. eircom was amongst the first certified AWS advanced consulting partners and also hosts an AWS Direct Connect service in our Dublin data centre. Visit www.eircomcloud.com
at eircom Business. Contact Enda at email@example.com.
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Powering Ahead CEO of Excelsys Technologies, Gary Duffy, is looking forward to another profitable and innovative year.
n her outlook report delivered in December 2013, IMF chief, Christine Lagarde, said that there was a palpable sense of optimism by some that the European crisis had passed. However, to press home the need for further caution, Lagarde pointed out that “growth rates and output levels still remain well below where they should be.” For the power supply solutions industry, Lagarde’s estimation of the current situation certainly rings through. Gary Duffy, CEO of Excelsys Technologies, who is at the frontline, says that capital spend globally has been “sluggish” at best. “Our business is entirely dependent on the construction of
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new factories, hospitals or large infrastructure projects, for example,” he explains. “We power x-ray equipment, patient monitoring systems, as well as industrial applications, military communication systems, and mobile and fixed radar systems. To help us understand our business landscape worldwide, we track eight public companies that we compete with directly and every one of them suffered double digit decline in 2012. In fact, the entire industry saw double digit deficits because of the slowdown in capital expenditure. However, for us, our bookings have increased by 40% in 2013, and we’re on track to grow 40% this year with new product and application roll-outs that we have planned.”
Bucking the trend The Cork-based company is used to bucking the trend, particularly when it comes to its business approach. Expansion plans have included increased business with North America, which now consists of 40% of overall turnover. Europe accounts for roughly 35% of business, with the remainder being made up of various jurisdictions where agreements have been reached with distributors of the firm’s highly versatile, unique and flexible power solutions. “There has been a considerable upturn in investment activity in high technology industry applications in the US,” Duffy
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explains. “From our point of view, we are powering an increasing number of high tech medical solutions that provide new ways of doing things. For example, robotic surgery is a particular case in point. As well as seeing a considerable increase in the amount of robotic surgical applications, we’ve noticed significant growth in laser medical applications too. As laser surgery to treat skin, eye and hair problems has become more popular on a global scale, the amount of new equipment that has been designed in this area has been phenomenal.” “Europe, on the other hand, has not experienced the same level of growth,” Duffy insists. “However, we are constantly exploring new markets that we have not previously accessed. Indeed, we have recently appointed distributors in Turkey and in several of the former Russian states, and we’re beginning to see some traction in those areas. Israel too is very successful for Excelsys. There is an incredible amount of high technology and product development going on there, mostly backed by US funds and private equity. Robotic surgery and laser applications, like in the United States, are on the rise, as are high end industrial computing and printing applications.” To continue the firm’s impressive expansion, Duffy and his team, like many Irish companies, are looking to the east, and view China as a market that holds considerable opportunity. “Right now we are working on roughly 70 projects out there,” he notes. “Many large western companies have set up operations in China and as time has gone on, they have allowed their local
“To be successful you have to surround yourself with seriously strong people; people who are better than you. It’s also critical that you are close to your customers, and be in a position to solve their problems as and when the need arises.”
The cornerstone of Excelsys Technologies’ success is the adaptability of its product. Enhanced features lend themselves to greater efficiencies and so, in 20 years of business, Duffy says that it is the laser-like focus of identifying further proficiency that gives the company its considerable edge. “The product is extraordinarily versatile. Pushing the envelope towards the next generation of products, in our case, tends to be related more to power electronics than it does to applications. Today, we can say with confidence that our products are roughly 93% efficient, while we are aiming towards efficiencies of 95% with our next phase,” he explains. The development of the company is even more astounding when one considers that it might never have existed at all. “Twelve years ago, Excelsys was a very small company. Back then, its owners approached my business partner and I and asked us to help them to find a buyer,” Duffy recalls. “When we looked more closely at it we realised that it was too small; the transaction costs alone would have proved prohibitive. Instead, we decided that the best course of action would be to invest in it and help it grow. The more we got to know about it, the more we liked it and the technology was incredible. However, it was clear that the flexibility and versatility of its power solutions had not been introduced to the market in the
correct way. The products were selling but there was little or no customer support. We changed that and targeted North America as a key destination to grow the business. We sent our first invoice there in 2006 and now it is responsible for 40% of the entire business.” Duffy deflects any individual praise for the success of Excelsys and instead credits others, while pointing to what he believes are the ingredients necessary to develop and sustain a profitable business. “The most important thing that any firm can have is organizational strength. To be successful you have to surround yourself with seriously strong people; people who are better than you. It’s also critical that you are close to your customers, and be in a position to solve their problems as and when the need arises. It’s important too that your products aren’t responsible for those problems to begin with.” Heeding his own advice, Duffy, along with a hugely capable and talented team, is looking ahead to an exciting year. “We plan to bring new products to market at the end of the first quarter and in the fourth quarter of this year,” he claims. “Our pipeline of projects has never been stronger and any uptake in global economic activity will cause those projects to accelerate, helping us to expedite our own growth in the process.”
operations to source and qualify vendors and develop new products, which we have benefited greatly from.”
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Rating the Rebel City Brenda Cooper, Director at Horner APG, discusses how the OEM
automation firm has left competitors in the dust with its niche offering and Cork’s rising appeal as a global ICT hub.
Product innovation and Customization is the thing that has made us survive, in that we are continuously developing products and tailoring them to exact customer requirements,” comments Brenda Cooper, Operations Manager and Director at Horner APG. “We sell about $20 million worldwide, of which over 20% is European Sales and we also grow at about 15% per year.” A global leader in the design and manufacture of factory automation control solutions, the Horner Electric Group was established in 1949 and has designed PLCs, communication products and HMIs since the early 1980’s. The group opened its European
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headquarters in Cork in 1997, now employing 15 people in predominantly engineer-related roles. Set up to bring the company “closer to the European customers, to grow the market, and to have European distributors,” at its inception the Cork operation was heavily reliant on one or two customers, including GE at that time, however it has proved there are “a lot of opportunities out there for niche players.” The OEM automation firm’s Cork office now provides full support for European customers and distributors including European logistics, manufacturing, product design and development, custom product development and technical support. Horner Ireland Limited outsources
a lot of work but the key skills remain in Cork, she says, and the original equipment manufacturer currently has a presence in the Czech Republic, Sweden and Italy, with the company employing 300 people worldwide. A niche player in the OEM automation market, the office was set up in 1997 to support the European market, building up its contracts dealing with human-machine interface (HMI) and eventually developing Programmable Logic Controllers, which are digital computers used for automation of electromechanical processes. Horner APG’s range of Programmable Logic Controllers and Human Machine Interfaces are widely used across the industry
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in a wide range of applications including industrial, process and building automation. The company’s operation interface products offer customers everything from small textbased screens to large colour TFT Screens, all integrated with the Automation Controller as one product and easily programmed. “Initially, we had one or two customers in Europe, but the challenge for us was to set up our own distribution and over the course of 17 years, we have joined forces with about 30 distributors across Europe.” Asked who would be the firm’s main competitors in the market, Cooper says that “being a niche player, there is limited competition but some of the mainstream competitors would be the very big automation companies like Siemens, Allen-Bradley, B&R, Bekoff and Schneider.” The company’s speciality is designing custom products that exactly suit a customer’s needs, allowing it stand apart from other players. “We’re a niche supplier, so if an OEM is building a machine and they want a unique product, we will supply to their specifications; whereas Siemens would say you can have this catalogue number and that’s it,” Cooper comments. “We’re demonstrating product innovation in both hardware and software using customer feedback. They [customers] are continuously asking for new things and we’re looking to see if it’s viable. We still sell to original customers like GE and Emerson Control Techniques, but now we sell into the wider European market and even brand label the products for some of our customers to sell under their names. The location of the Cork office also has a competitive advantage from a time zone point of view, Cooper says. “We have an Engineering office in India and we manage the India office out of the Cork Office. We can work with India in the morning, America in the afternoon and Europe all day. I feel that it’s a good location time zone-wise. We design and manufacture hardware and software out of Ireland.” With the competition “probably sourcing their products from China, trying to make them in Ireland in lower volumes is always an issue,” Cooper admits. “Things are getting cheaper and cheaper. I think price is always sensitive and probably
Brenda Cooper, Director at Horner APG
“Other benefits for Horner’s customers include shorter lead times, faster responses, and receiving a prototype in weeks rather than months.” the biggest challenge. I still think that we can be competitive and as the volumes grow; we can outsource to more economic regions.” From a delivery point of view, Horner has built up a “very good delivery track record and communication with our customers, in terms of meeting their needs so in that sense we’re in a position to deliver what they look for in a short timeframe.” According to Cooper, other benefits for Horner’s customers include shorter lead times, faster responses, and receiving a prototype in weeks rather than months. Cork is an excellent base for PCB contractors and service providers, Coopers believes. “If you want printed circuit board (PCB layout), plastic tooling or plastic moulding, there are a lot of companies providing this service in the Cork region in
the ICT industry.” The county’s other pull factor is its access to talent, she says. Within Cork, companies have access to people with engineering skills and support staff. “Cork’s ICT industry provides an environment conducive to innovation and research.” Receiving Enterprise Ireland’s Research, Technology and Innovation (RTI) grant in early 2000 was a major turning point for the Cork operation, Cooper recalls, as it “provided the knowledge that allowed us to move forward quickly in terms of the new products.” Cooper also praises the support from the Cork Electronics Industry Association (CEIA), representing ICT companies in the Cork region working in accord with the Industrial Development Agency (IDA), Enterprise Ireland, the Training and Employment Authority (SOLAS), Tyndall, the Cork Institute of Technology and University College Cork. At the CEIA, comprising 57 members, including those statutory members, membership is split evenly between FDI and indigenous industry. “The members really work together as a team, addressing issues or questions, and as a small company you have a support network there,” Cooper enthuses. Horner’s Cork operation is now looking at the ability to provide data analysis as a SAAS (Software as a Service) solution, and “being able to take information from several locations and provide the data in an easy to use format to the customers.” This will provide another revenue stream alongside hardware sales. “We would be able to do it for them as opposed to them having to do it individually for themselves, so we hope to offer a solution using the Internet, Cloud and Web Technology,” Cooper explains. “Where we see ourselves going in the future is really around providing leading edge complete solutions for customers, it’s really to take the current offering that we have and developing a Vertical Market Solution rather than just selling components. Examples would be energy or water treatment solutions,” she says. “We want to provide them with not just the hardware and software, but actually provide them with a complete solution.” SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 189
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Wisetek’s reintegrating of returned IT hardware into the supply chain is saving major IT companies millions in manufacturing component procurement costs!
isetek founded in Cork Ireland in 2007 to support what was initially a recycling initiative by a world leading IT Hardware Corporation has now developed into being a major product profitability boosting engineering services offering to companies such as Dell, EMC, VCE, and McAfee amongst others. Already Wisetek has over 200 employees based in their facilities in Ireland, Asia and the USA, with further growth being planned for as more and more IT brand names are engaging with Wisetek to implement their environmentally superior approach that provides an immense return on investment. Wisetek was founded in a hotel room in 2007 by former EMC employee Sean Sheehan. Sheehan joined EMC in 1989 as Warehouse Manager working his way up to operations management. At that time very little waste and defective products were being recycled. This was becoming an increasing cost for companies and an environmental headache. Sheehan identified how this cost center could be transformed into a major profit boosting activity for hardware companies by harvesting valuable components from returned products at their end of life and putting them through an intensive ‘lean’ remanufacturing process which includes erasure of data to military standards and stringent quality standards. The advanced Wisetek approach enables their OEM clients to achieve the highest sustainability levels by reusing products for their original purpose. All other returning material that is no longer reusable is then processed for refinement to a base raw material through the most stringent responsible recycling R2 disciplines and environmental standards. The recent high profile USA Federal court cases, where multi-million fines and even custodial sentences have been imposed for IT equipment being unscrupulously recycled in
Sean Sheehan, founder and CEO, Wisetek
poor countries using refining methods that were exceptionally harmful to humans and the environment, has raised the question by most US companies of ‘how is my retired IT equipment being recycled’? This has put pressure on IT hardware companies to ensure they now introduce a reuse for the original purpose program and put a highly transparent and globally compliant recycling program in place, which has considerably accelerated the demand for remanufacturing programs in recent months. Sheehan states “when you combine the environmental benefits with the unquestionable economics of the Wisetek remanufacturing programs you can see why more and more companies are incorporating this sustainability superior approach into their manufacturing supply chain.” Wisetek’s services offering has now expanded to incorporate final configuration and testing of systems, this is of particular
“The recent high profile USA Federal court cases, where multimillion fines and even custodial sentences have been imposed for IT equipment being unscrupulously recycled in poor countries using refining methods that were exceptionally harmful to humans and the environment, has raised the question by most US companies of ‘how is my retired IT equipment being recycled’?” interest to emerging companies wishing to enter International markets, particularly Europe , where Wiseteks Irish facilities provides a highly tax efficient product operations base, which can serve to accelerate European market penetration and global growth. This is of particular interest to Silicon Valley companies. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 193
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Sure bet Mark Brosnan has taken Xanadu Consultancy from the development of a betting exchange to a force in online gambling software, as Lynne Nolan discovers.
nvolved in the online gaming sector since early 2003, Xanadu Consultancy CEO Mark Brosnan has channeled his extensive knowledge of sports betting and trading technologies into the development of Xanadu, which now has offices in Cork and London, as well as contractors working for the company in Italy and India. The company has expanded from four to 62 employees at the Cork office alone, with plans to hire another 50 employees within the next 12 months on the technology side, Brosnan reveals. Specializing in building software for the online gambling industry, “we have a core set of domain knowledge in the online gambling sector and we’ve leveraged that to build very specific and unique products for the online gambling sector. “ After a degree in computer science, Brosnan studied a Masters in business economics, during which he was conducting “a lot of external research on how the arrival of betting exchanges was going to create more information asymmetry in the market and how it would be more efficient.” Brosnan made contacts with guys who were setting up a betting exchange and looking for a development and consultation office. “I came into that role and we created the betting exchange for Matchbook. I had a lot of interest in the technologies that betting exchanges were using and in how they were allowing for more information asymmetry in betting markets. I provided consultancy initially
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on that, after I came out of college, to a point where I became assistant architect in building that platform, which is on Matchbook.” Matchbook was purchased by new investors in 2011, offering Xanadu an opportunity to set up its own consultancy company in Cork, which developed into what is now a development hub for three different companies. The breakthrough moment for Xanadu came at the start of 2013, he believes, with the launch of a new beta version of the Matchbook betting platform. “When we launched the new beta version of Matchbook
and turned around such a complicated project so quickly, word got out there in the industry that we were capable of building quality, very innovative products for the sector.” We built a new Matchbook betting platform on a RestFuLL API using a highly redundant back end application server setup. We built a front end with html 5 and a backbone framework using web office,” Brosnan comments. Since it started out creating “small bits of solutions” for Matchbook, Xanadu now builds and maintains all of its IT solutions. “As a result of that relationship, we’ve got two
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other clients that we’ve signed up in the last 12 months.” The company will build solutions and provide operational and technical support, once the solutions are commercialized, for those new clients, both based outside the country. The new deals are “multi-million euro contracts per year. Those contracts will be lasting for the next three years.” “We have a research and development team and we’re busy building two very exciting products which we feel will have a lot of traction in the online gambling industry in general.” Currently, Xanadu’s biggest problem is turning down opportunities, he says. “We have enough work to probably last for the size of the team for the next 10 years. Our biggest challenge is being disciplined in terms of turning away business and making sure the quality of what we’re doing doesn’t suffer because we grow too fast.” “It’s throttling and managing the size of our growth that’s our biggest challenge for 2014, and making sure we maintain the quality and innovation we have by not taking too much work on, and making sure that we’re expanding at a manageable rate without letting our offering suffer,” he says. With the company’s ability to provide unique solutions in a highly-transactioned environment, “we’ve attracted a lot of external business. We’ve built expertise in high volume transaction management in the gambling sector and now we’re using our experience with these companies to build products ourselves for both the online retail and online gambling sectors. “ Brosnan has been described as 50% Software Technologist and 50% Economist, but how has that approach helped him in the role of CEO? The company spends a lot of time analyzing the business leads of a particular company, he says, creating solutions matching the business supply chain or the customer acquisition side, allowing Xanadu to “create and innovate products that a business might not already be thinking of from a technology perspective.” Xanadu’s services include “start-to-finish development, whether it be from inception to development to testing to delivery, and the operations of that. Operational management and technical support of the product thereafter, would be one side of it. From a
“We have enough work to probably last the size of the team for the next 10 years; our biggest challenge is being disciplined in terms of turning away business.” consultancy perspective, we analyze what a business is doing, what their strengths and KPIs are, and we recommend products that would suit them.” “We have a lot of people who spend a lot of time traveling, looking at different industries and talking to people within the industry, and actually recommending products for companies like Matchbook to actually build.” The company is also collaborating with the CNGL Centre for Global Intelligent Content in Dublin and building “some very interesting data analysis type projects, a mechanism for smart content, and a very high level smart content build system that we feel we can roll out to many segments within the online sector overall.” Xanadu’s approach to recruitment from the start, he says, was to hire highly talented and experienced people. “We’ve got a team of people with 10 to 15 years’ experience each, at the higher end of the technical expertise level.” “What we’re doing is we’re bringing in more junior candidates and eventually we’re at a point where we have a structure and a framework to bring more junior candidates and graduates in and train them into the process.” Quite a lot of other companies find the hiring process difficult because they have to compete from a financial perspective, he says, but “people like joining Xanadu because they get a lot of responsibility and potential upsides. Because we’re structured and we’ve spent a lot of time on the company culture and the shared responsibility framework, it seems to be an extra sales point for us.” “We don’t envisage ourselves as just a technology company, the way we see it here
is technology is not a blocker, it’s an enabler, and it’s an an aid to which you can execute better business,” he comments. Xanadu’s whole approach to understanding the economic, dynamics and revenue streams of a business and where that business fits within an industry, is what has allowed the company to stand apart from others, in that “we can actually not only suggest technologies to make the solutions they’re suggesting better but actually suggest products and technologies to start growing their business.” “We’ve obviously got a very strong skillset within the online gambling domain and a business-first approach.” Because of Cork’s strong talent pool, big multinationals have been attracted to the area. “We need to compete against the multinationals in terms of bringing staff in, so there’s very strong quality in the supply, but the demand is also very high as a result. That can only be good for the region, for companies like Xanadu to have such a competitive environment for talented candidates.” Every company needs to be at the top of its game in terms of training its staff, giving their staff incentives and keeping them motivated, he says, and “that contributes and has a multiplicative effect in terms of the quality of the pool of candidates here. Competition is good for bringing up the overall pool of talent.” “We’re hiring across the spectrum, from an IT perspective. We currently have 50 open vacancies and we only see that increasing.” The online gambling sector is showing huge growth for a number of reasons, he believes. “Mobile proliferation and access to Internet globally has opened up online gambling to a lot of regions which previously did not have it, and with mobile proliferation people who are betting seem to be betting far more frequently or they have access to their betting consoles whether through mobile apps or on their iPads on the bus or wherever. “ The need for scalable software and the volume of gambling transactions have really grown in the last three years, he explains. “There are very few companies who have the domain expertise and the technical knowledge to be able to build products quickly and efficiently for the industry. That’s where we’re getting a real advantage and that’s why we’re having such large growth,” he adds. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 195
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John Twomey of Emutex discusses ‘the software you can’t see’, and building a highly skilled technology business in Limerick.
ome of the most important companies in the world can fly under the radar, making products that are essential for everyday life without really registering for consumers. Emutex may be a small enough 196 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
firm, but its impact is growing with every type of communication device around us requiring software to operate, says CEO John Twomey. “We typically make the software you can’t see, producing software in communication devices all around you. You could have your
broadband modem at home, a phone system in your office, a network router in your internet provider’s data exchange or energy sensors and meters on your street outside. Those things have software inside that you would never think about”. Emutex specializes in embedded
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software for communications devices, working hand-in-hand with a growing portfolio of manufacturers to deliver high-performance solutions. “What we do is very specialised and, when it gets the attention of bigger companies, there is attention,” notes Twomey, who reveals that the company originally started with the aim of producing and selling its own telecoms products. “When we started out, there were only two of us. We had small contracts with an electronic equipment manufacturer. That contract grew, other companies got wind of it, and more contracts started coming in. But we also had a phone systems product for small businesses, which we were selling around the country. Our original dream was for the phone systems business to take off, but the bubble economy burst. The services side of the business grew and grew, so the company grew with it. The original vision changed and the services part of our business is more dominant than the product part. But we intend to build other products in the future, and license technology to manufacturers,” he remarks. “All our customers are manufacturers, ranging from microprocessor or chipset companies through to telecoms companies building comms systems.”
Diverse Capabilities Working on projects ranging from fuel tank monitoring systems to high speed internet routers, with many more products in between, Emutex has built a diverse range of capabilities in a relatively short time. “We are a young company - we started out six years ago and have grown up to 27 people on board, mainly engineers. Our brand name might not be strong, but the brand name of the customers we work with - the likes of Intel - would be very strong,” Twomey says, adding that the company takes pride in the sheer brain-power that it can bring to bear. “We have some very talented software engineers working with us here in Limerick. Half the engineers would be Irish and the other half would have been attracted from abroad, so we’re multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and able to work with customers from China to all around the world. It’s some blend of skills.”
The Local Connection Even with an international outlook, the company has a strong local presence and
“We also have a big internal research project where we are taking our technology and using it to build software for sensor gateways which link sensors around your office or home to your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You could be anywhere in the world, monitor activity in your home and switch devices on or off.” connection to Limerick. “Limerick is home to a lot of us, and we’re very proud to be close to the technology centers, the Institute of Technology and the University. There’s a lot of talent, and similar industries that you may not hear about, in the West of Ireland. We do intend, in time, to establish a presence abroad, so we are looking at potentially opening an office in Europe. But Limerick is HQ, and it will be until I retire anyway!” laughs Twomey. This local connection is strengthened by its Software Innovator of the Year scholarship programme launched two years ago. The programme is designed to attract the interest of young people in Ireland towards careers in Computer Engineering and Science, urging undergraduate students throughout the country to come up with interesting ideas for a project using the Intel® Galileo Platform. Students with the best ideas are provided with the resources to build a prototype, with the finalists showcased on the scheme’s website
at scholarship.emutex.com. The winning undergraduate student is rewarded with their student registration fees paid for one year and the potential for an internship at Emutex, along with the title of Emutex Software Innovator Of The Year. Ultimately, Twomey argues, an open-minded approach to talent has helped the company to assemble a high-quality team. “We focus on hiring the best and brightest, with great attitude and aptitude,” he says.
Big Ambition While the last six years of Twomey’s career have been dedicated to building up Emutex, his background includes major global players. Aside from his work as a Software Engineer with Softech Telecom and Tellabs, Twomey spent nearly eight years as a Software Engineering Manager for Intel, and speaks warmly of the experience. “Mark (my business partner) and I worked for American multinational companies before we set up our own. The experience we gained from those was huge. It’s only when you start your own business that you realise that. We’re thankful for that experience as it makes us more confident in dealing with any multinational firm,” he says. Having a background including larger companies, he believes, gives Emutex management the ability to understand their priorities and processes in a way that some smaller firms simply cannot. Indeed, the company is currently working with a large US multinational to enable new chip sets and boards for use with the Linux OS. However, Twomey reveals, that’s not the only project in the pipeline. “We also have a big internal research project where we are taking our technology and using it to build software for sensor gateways which link sensors around your office or home to your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You could be anywhere in the world, monitor activity in your home and switch devices on or off.” That prospect - which has the potential to excite any consumer - is just one of many innovative and sometimes transformative projects that Emutex has already taken on after six years in business. Even if this Limerick-based firm remains in the business of ‘software you don’t see’, it is becoming an increasingly visible player for serious technology observers. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 197
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Action Point Building a bespoke software system is one of the most complex, expensive and risky things that a business can do. Action Point’s transparent and partner-focused approach cuts through the fog.
“To us – we don’t see what we do as providing just a technology service. Action Point provides business solutions that happen to be technology based”. David Jeffreys
Innovative Engagement Approach John Savage, Technical Director at Action Point knows that the hardest thing about software development is the sales process. Every incentive during the sales cycle is to obscure reality and paint the rosiest picture possible, however at this early stage everyone knows the least about the project and therefore it is the point at which there is the highest risk and uncertainty about the outcome. Add to that the pursuit of fixing the price and scope, and you have the single biggest source of headaches in 198 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
the software world. Action Point has been involved in this painful process many times and in nearly ten years in business, it has developed a strong partner focused approach to the software development process that supports a smooth transition from sale to working systems. What is the big secret? Transparency.
Software Simplified The traditional software sales model involves a lengthy process, spending weeks or months and vast sums of money writing a technical
document that attempts to define every aspect of the proposed system. Once this specification is agreed and signed off, changes to it come at an additional cost to the client. This model - known as Big Design Up Front (BDUF) - works very much in favor of the software vendor since the vendor knows that on any large project, deviations in scope are almost inevitable, to the financial detriment of the client. For life-critical systems (military/ healthcare), the BDUF process is often a necessity, however for the vast majority of business process systems, the process is unlikely to capture every requirement and can ultimately
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leave the business owner out of pocket and short on the final features delivered. It is successful only in setting impossible expectations. Action Point addresses the shortcoming of the Big Design Up Front model by embracing what John coins “transparent complexity” through the use of the Agile Framework. John Savage, through his vast technical experience, has found that using the Agile method of software development allows the team to make more accurate projections on a project’s budget by basing predictions on working software delivered almost immediately instead of higher level estimates based solely on written specifications. The Agile framework also requires the customer to become more involved. The benefit of this being that the client gets a bird’s eye view of just how complex the project is and they have a greater appreciation of the intricacy and skill required to bring the project to fruition. John explains, “In dealing with all types of clients from government agencies through to private enterprise and start-ups, we relentlessly drive the initial phase of work toward a well-defined goal that quickly demonstrates significant value. This allows clients to see an early return on investment while also strengthening their trust in our team and our processes. The common thread across all our projects is that each phase 1 has lead on to phases 2, 3 and 4, and this only happens if the customer sees significant incremental value at each step.”
Business Solutions via 360 Degree Technology Services Not only do Action Point provide a comprehensive software development service to companies in the USA and Europe, they have also been helping US companies set up in Ireland by offering a turnkey solution encompassing all aspects of IT Infrastructure. Action Point provide a dedicated IT Services division to manage all aspects of the IT environment with a comprehensive range of Managed IT Services including outsourced helpdesk and various IT support options. A professional services team focuses on specialized infrastructure set-ups and IT audits can complete a comprehensive review of your IT environment, systems and
processes. With IT and Software services combined, Action Point can deliver 360 degree technology solutions. “To us – we don’t see what we do as providing just a technology service. Action Point provide business solutions that happen to be technology based” – says David Jeffreys, Managing Director of Action Point.
The Original Partnership John Savage and David Jeffreys may have founded Action Point in 2005 but their long-standing friendship dates back to their university days. The duo met during their time as students at the University of Limerick where they both studied Computer Systems. After graduation in 2001, they worked together for 4 years, with John working in Los Angeles and David remaining in Limerick. When John returned to Limerick in 2005, they started Action Point, which began life as a Software Development company but quickly expanded to include
IT Services. David explains, “After the first year in business it quickly became clear that there was a gap in the market for a holistic technology solutions provider, so in 2006 we added IT Services to our offering.” Action Point’s ethos is ‘Professional, Pro-Active & Certified’ – an ethos that has gained the company recognition locally and nationally in Ireland. In 2011 the company was the overall winner of the Limerick Enterprise Awards and were finalists in the National Enterprise Awards. In the same year at the inaugural Limerick Chamber of Commerce Awards, Action Point won ‘Best SME’ followed in 2012 with the ‘Best Technology Business’ title.
Innovative Business Solutions Over the years, the software development team have had the opportunity to work on projects ranging from internal business process automation systems through to SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 199
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“The common thread across all of our projects is that each phase 1 has lead on to phases 2, 3 and 4 and this only happens if the customer sees significant incremental value at each step.” John Savage
national and international projects. Key developments include a teleprompting system for the largest teleprompting company in Hollywood as well as multiple government projects such as the eFlow debt collection system for the Irish National Roads Authority and a Passport Appointments Booking system for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
CueTech – Teleprompting to the Stars Action Point developed a new teleprompting system for CueTech Teleprompting Inc. which is used on a number of top-rated international TV shows, including American Idol, the MTV Music Awards and the Emmy Awards. The system has been used by US president Barack Obama. “On a live-to-air show, reliability is tantamount. If the system stutters even for milliseconds, it can distract the on-stage talent and the embarrassing moment will be seen by millions of people” explains John Savage. Previously, multiple scripts and last 200 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
minute changes could cause chaos in the studio. Now Action Point’s software eliminates this problem and provides a hugely efficient bespoke solution for CueTech.
National Roads Authority – Helping to Collect Unpaid eFlow Tolls When the eFlow barrier free toll was being introduced on Ireland’s busiest motorway, the M50, solicitors Pierse & Fitzgibbon were awarded the enforcement service contract to prosecute those that used the motorway without paying the relevant toll. The number of legal cases projected was substantial and Pierse & Fitzgibbon quickly identified the requirement for a significant amount of process automation that only bespoke software could provide. Action Point developed a bespoke system that automates the complex legal process, leveraging bar-coding, data analytics, clear process definitions and many other techniques. It allows a small team to handle thousands of new legal cases each and every day.
Looking to the Future Due to the successful marriage of software development and IT services, Action Point is in pole position for continued growth. The company is currently enjoying success in the USA through strategic partnerships on various software projects. David Jeffreys explains “Over the last six years Action Point has achieved an average annual growth of 52% with 2013 seeing a record 74% growth. This is largely attributed to the success of the company’s Los Angeles base and a more recently forged partnership in New York. The success of the IT services division continues to thrive, with the overall team now standing at 45. John Savage concludes “We believe strongly in success through partnerships. We have grown the company every year since 2005 and now that Ireland is on an upswing, we look forward to significant opportunities to bring our 360 degree technology solutions to many new clients, not only in Ireland, but across the globe.”
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Location, location, location With Ireland deemed the best place to do business, Meath County Council’s Director of Planning and Economic Development, Kevin Stewart, discusses how Meath’s accessibility has attracted companies.
eath’s location, as part of the Greater Dublin Area, is a major pull factor for businesses contemplating setting up in the county, according to Kevin Stewart, Director of Planning and Economic Development at Meath County Council. “Considering Meath contains four of the six major motorways from the capital crossing its length; there are few, if any, places within Ireland better than Meath to do business,” he comments. 202 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
Stewart, who heads up Meath County Council’s Economic Development Unit as part of his role, believes companies should be awakened to the reality that Meath is closer to Dublin city center, Dublin Airport and Dublin Port than many of the prime locations on Dublin’s southside. “We’re linked to the airport and port by a fantastic road network; and we have superb rail connections on our east coast, through the south of our county, which have recently been extended to the Dunboyne area. We’re
one of the most accessible counties in the country and rather than being perceived as somewhere out in the regions, we’re very firmly part of the Dublin City Region. That’s how we regard and market ourselves,” Stewart enthuses. Meath’s location and excellent transport links also offer firms access to skilled staff, he says, with up to 1.7 million people located within a 45-minute drive time of towns including Ashbourne, Dunboyne and Dunshaughlin. Recent research has also
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shown 6,000 ICT and financial professionals commute out of the county every day to work. “By international standards, Meath would be regarded as being in the city of Dublin, and location would be the benefit we would be pushing to US multinationals,” he says. Rather than trying to be all things to all men, Stewart explains that Meath County Council has focused on particular areas of the county as being suited to particular types of businesses. Initially concentrating on its “prime towns” Navan, Ashbourne and Dunboyne, and the south Drogheda area, as well as the environs of Maynooth, this focus will expand progressively. The latter’s accessibility to the skills produced at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth is viewed as “hugely important to the county.”
County Development Plan “Earlier this year we adopted a new County Development Plan, which is focused on attracting economic development,” he comments. Moving from past perceptions of Meath County Council as a rural local authority, economic development has become the primary focus on a local and political level, resulting in the establishment of Meath County Council’s Economic Development Unit. “We decided we needed a team here at Meath County Council, which would be focused on trying to attract business, retain the businesses we have here, and also provide a very good service to anyone looking to set up in the county.” In marketing the county, the team has highlighted its accessibility, location,
good quality towns and villages, access to the right infrastructure for business, as well as the excellent quality of life on offer. “We believe that in Meath, you’re going to find the right combination of suitable business locations, excellent infrastructure, accessibility and connectivity to your markets and to the labor force,” he says. “It’s also a marvelous county to live in. We’ve invested a lot of money in what we call ‘pride of place’ and are working with communities in towns and villages to have the county looking at its best.” As well as having first-class infrastructure and facilities to lure businesses, the county ensures residents have a superb quality of life, while heritage offerings are second to none, Stewart believes. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 203
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“We work very closely with IDA Ireland and Connect Ireland in putting out this message. We act as a support facility for existing local businesses, ensuring any business issue or query is directed to the relevant organization,” he says. Whether it is a business that requires planning permission to expand their premises, open a new site, or relocate to a bigger site, Meath County Council’s Economic Development Unit should be the first port of call, he says.
Keep Meath Working The unit operates on our Economic Action Plan, ‘Keep Meath Working’, ranging from foreign direct investment and supporting the tourism businesses to SMEs and supporting the rural food sector, particularly in North Meath. “We report regularly on this Economic Development plan and our future plans are to keep working with those sectors. There is a lot of focus on FDI, but at the same time we recognize the importance of the indigenous sector within the county.” “We keep our ear to the ground for leads for companies looking to set up, assist them in finding sites, and support them through the planning process. We would have a dedicated planner advising potential companies from the initial phase onwards, helping them through the pre-planning phase,” he comments. “Instead of applicants requiring numerous meetings with separate sections, such as planners, water engineers, and road engineers, we would pull all those elements together and take a case conference approach. We work out what the business wants and try to encourage companies to locate here,” Stewart adds. Although the past five or six years have been “particularly difficult” in attracting new businesses, Stewart says supporting existing business has been the unit’s most timeconsuming focus. However “we have noticed over the last year, particularly in the last six to eight months, that there has been a significant increase in new businesses coming to us, particularly businesses looking for sites”. Despite the challenges of the economic downturn, Meath has already attracted some major international companies, creating hundreds of jobs. Founded in 1980 by Dr. Pearse Lyons, the Kentucky-headquartered animal health and nutrition company Alltech, which employs 204 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
small start-up in Drogheda, is now established
at CityNorth Business Campus in Stamullen “With European and expanding into the US market. headquarters, centre ConnectIreland of excellence facilities, ConnectIreland, part of the Irish Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, works with IDA Ireland and international to encourage inward investment. This is an innovative approach to creating new jobs financial services in Ireland through the power of people’s companies located in connections. Through the ConnectIreland programme, individuals (connectors) can be financially rewarded for their role in creating the county, it is clear jobs, following the introduction of a company Meath is a great place to through the program. Stewart mentions an example of work and do business.” collaboration between Meath County more than 3,000 people across 128 countries, opened its European Bioscience Center and European headquarters in Dunboyne in 1999, supporting 42 countries and 26 different languages, proving a major coup for the county. Alltech recently announced plans to recruit up to 200 people over the next two to three years at its Dunboyne facility, having been assisted by Meath County Council to expand its European headquarters in Ireland rather than elsewhere. Having been made aware of the Coca-Cola Company’s hunt for a location for its back office operations, Meath County Council worked closely with a property owner-developer close to Drogheda at the Southgate Centre. The two Coca-Cola operations based at Southgate employ in excess of 200 people in skilled positions in areas such as finance, supply chain, IT, legal and human resources, all supporting Coca-Cola’s global operations. The newly-established Global Business Services Hub provides financial and other services to Coca-Cola marketing operations in Europe and Eurasia. It is understood that the company may have plans for further expansion. Smaller companies are also being encouraged to set up operations in the county, Stewart points out, referring to Hanley Energy, an Irish-owned company specializing in the design, supply, installation and support of customized energy and critical power management solutions for a diverse range of business sectors. The company, which began as a
Council, a local auctioneer, Connect Ireland and Mafic Black Basalt (Ireland) Limited. “An auctioneer based in Kells became aware of the company and the fact that they were looking for a location in Ireland. We worked with him and Connect Ireland to persuade Mafic to choose Kells as a location.” Mafic’s facility in Kells Business Park is set to be a center of excellence and production headquarters for the Mafic Group. The facility will be the sole production site of basalt fiber for Mafic SA, which has secured exclusive technology rights for the production of basalt fiber. Fibers produced here will be used by Mafic Canada in the manufacture of composite products for the North American market. Mafic is currently completing the fit-out of its new premises, with 45 people now employed, a figure expected to grow to 75 or 80 within the next 12 to 15 months, Stewart reveals. On Mafic’s arrival in Kells, he comments: “That was a company that could have gone anywhere and is a good example of how collaboration with a range of stakeholders can produce positive results for a county.” “Businesses receive an extremely warm welcome and we do everything in our power to help any business wishing to establish here,” Stewart says. “With Alltech’s European headquarters located in Dunboyne, Mafic Black Basalt’s Center of Excellence facility based in Kells, and financial services companies such as Generali International and Generali PanEurope situated in Navan, it is clear Meath is a great place to work and do business.”
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Coating Technology The CREST model is based on developing and nurturing expertise in coatings technology which is a key product component in the manufacture of engineering and biomedical based products, two of Ireland leading export sectors.
he ISO 9001 accredited CREST Center is the only dedicated surface coatings laboratory on the Island of Ireland and is based in the FOCAS Institute in the Dublin Institute of Technology. The center is also home to the CREST Technology Gateway, an Enterprise Ireland supported initiative, whose role is to deliver technology solutions through collaboration on projects which are close to the market needs of Irish industry. 206 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
Since its inception in 2003, CREST has worked with over 200 different Irish and International companies delivering services and transferring surface coating technologies. From product failures for SMEâ€™s to platform technologies for multinational companies, CREST provides a range of services from initial look-see feasibility studies to leading edge multipartner projects. CREST has strategically concentrated on four core coating technologies, namely (a) Protective Coatings (b) Environmental Coatings
(c) Biomedical Coatings and (d) Surface Treatments. Currently CREST staff work with between 40 and 50 companies per year with a particular emphasis on Irish exporters.
Nurturing Expertise The CREST model is based on developing and nurturing expertise in coatings technology which is a key product component in the manufacture of engineering and biomedical based products, two of Ireland leading export
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Prof Ellen Hazelkorn
sectors. Through collaborative research and product development CREST is also heavily involved in the automotive and aerospace sectors, where Irish companies such as C & F Automotive are leading tier 1 suppliers. With continual financial pressures and challenges from developing nations, Irish industry needs to exploit expert know how and leverage it for high value products. Through the combination of high quality surface coatings and next generation materials, Irish manufacturers are well placed to compete in the supply of components to the transport industry. The current challenges facing the sector include the need for high performance coatings for next generation alloys which are deployed in hybrid cars and composite aircraft. The ability of Irish companies to innovate and create new products to open up new markets has been recognized by Enterprise Ireland as a key component for future success. Companies such as Smart Wall Paint are working with CREST to develop products for potentially new exciting markets.
Technology Gateway CREST principally interacts with Irish companies through the Technology Gateway, where research can be carried out through either direct funded or state sponsored mechanisms. Examples of state support include Innovation Vouchers from Enterprise Ireland (EI) which are available to eligible companies who wish to carry out short term
research projects up to the value of €5,000. Larger projects are also supported by EI through the Innovation Partnership program where up to 80% support can be secured. To date CREST has worked with several companies such as paint manufacturers (Fleetwood Sherwin Williams, General Paints and Smart Wall Paints), engineering companies (Smart Glass International, Yoruba, Metal Improvement Company) and Hygiene solution providers (Cannon OCS Hygiene). At a European level, CREST has introduced Irish companies (Galco and Graph Engineering) to European Framework research networks for the first time with collaborative partners in Spain and Finland. The start of the new Horizon2020 program has given Irish companies the opportunity to work with European partners and knowledge providers to leverage funding through an estimated fund of €78bn over a seven year period. At the recent launch in Dublin, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation & Science, Marie Geoghegan Quinn proudly announced the opening of the program and encouraged Irish companies to compete with European partners, setting a target for competitive funding to be won under H2020 by Irish researchers of €1.25bn.
Industrial Partners CREST has signed 17 licenses with industrial partners over the last seven years, which have resulted in the commercialization of
products such as the antibacterial HyGen paint with General Paints in Celbridge, Co. Kildare. Further collaborations with C & F Automotive have seen the patenting and licensing of advanced coatings for lucrative automotive trim markets in Europe. Competitive technical knowledge has a finite lifetime and the investment in key research staff is crucial to maintaining a leading position. The lifeblood of research in CREST lies in the recruitment of smart, innovative and commercially motivated focused researchers. Ireland has seen rapid changes in the profile of active researchers with the most promising being attracted overseas by structured careers. Irish universities, such as DIT are now addressing this disadvantage through the introduction of long term research strategies that will be instrumental to the enhancement of national expertise and assist the establishment and growth of the new Dublin Technological University.
Key Objectives The key objective of CREST is to be a European hub for coatings research and it aims to do this through the recruitment of motivated commercially orientated researchers and by helping enable Irish partner companies to compete at both a European and Global level.
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Building A European Tech Cluster Denis Collins, Chairman of the Board, it@cork, European Tech Cluster, discusses the role of innovation in driving growth.
his is an important moment for Ireland Inc. Global perception, economic recovery, national social fabric needs are being intensely debated across political and social lines. This is a good thing, and part of a healthy democratic system. In support of these critical national needs, innovation will be an integral part of driving a progressive political, economic, and social agenda. A robust dialogue about what real innovation means forms part of this discussion. 208 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
Innovation is not simply about a new invention where people can say “hey, that’s cool”. Innovation is about hard work, and the ability to take ideas, and lead for results. It’s a process that integrates the ability to identify good ideas, thought leadership skills to enhance, drive relevant change and collaboration, and most importantly, ability to deploy a tangible economic, academic, social or political result. It’s all about the results. I have seen innovation deployed in many forms. My experience in global
leadership roles with IBM, various boards, and as Chairman of the Board of it@cork European Tech Cluster has provided me with a wonderful vantage point across global and local implementations. From an IBM perspective, all successful companies are in the same business – the business of innovation. It is a risky venture. From start-up to multinational, the companies that sustain and grow are those that know how to create solutions to fulfill customer needs.
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The world and industry is becoming more instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent. These improvements are allowing leaders and citizens alike to take advantage of these smarter systems for progressive ideas and implementation of solutions based on thought leadership, analytics, and address pressing problems. This drives true innovation and a Smarter Planet, from helping Government innovate and streamline effectively, helping Ireland Inc businesses grow globally, supporting traffic or pollution control in Dublin, Galway SmartBay project, Water Management model in Cork, IBM Global Entrepreneur Program for start-ups among others. As Chairman of the Board, it@cork European Tech Cluster, I have also seen an exciting Cluster model develop. The European Tech Cluster is an innovative organization. It is industry-led, comprised of 300 IT companies, driving more than $300 billion of revenue globally, and $1Billion in Ireland. Multinationals, mid-size companies and Start-ups – IBM, EMC, McAfee, McKesson, Dell, KPMG, Moog, GXP Systems, PFH, Smarttech, Supply.ie, Zartis Ourland.ie, Cameo, Initiate Events, among many others. Regional roots, National impact, Global reach…. innovation in motion. This innovative vision is driving a collaborative team and strategy across industry, government, academia, for economic, social and academic results and it’s working. Economic results include Upstart model helping start-ups grow, where its first foray called Dealstart has already driven collaboration and deals between start-ups and multinationals. The Innovation That Matters program has also helped start-ups penetrate the Chinese marketplace. From an academic perspective, the Adopta-School scheme has driven industry teaming with more than 30 schools and growing, helping national and secondary schools with investment and skills tools. Fit4Work is enabling university students to be prepared with communication and interview skills. From a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) perspective, the Smarter Senses Program has teamed industry with Shine Ireland, helping pre-school autistic children for potential mainstreaming with technology,
investment and application development, and received the 2012 Outstanding Achievement Award for these efforts. There are many other relevant streams in progress supporting innovation - Skillsnet education, annual Tech Summit, European Tech Cluster Leaders Awards, Tech Tuesday teaming events, the Executive Forum, Heads of IT among others. This led to the European Tech Cluster being selected by European Union Framework 7 (FP7) for the BeWiser programme. This selection by the EU will enable investment and integration with other selected Clusters across Europe to collaborate, learn, and grow. We are also discussing
potential replication with Silicon Valley. We will drive this for further innovation. I believe the cluster model has significant innovation opportunities, and encourage aggressive investment and focus in this area. I’m excited and positive about the future. Ireland Inc is an entrepreneurial and innovative nation that has made incredible impact across the globe in many ways, and has access to a powerful diaspora. The timing is right to further accelerate relevant innovation and collaborative leadership for economic, academic, social, political results. Together, we can make an innovative difference. Innovation. It’s all about the results. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 209
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A Culture of Innovation Dr Willie Donnelly (Head of Research at Waterford Institute of Technology) talks to Shane Cassells about Arc Labs, a state-of-the-art innovation centre in Waterford which is a critical component of the eco system created to support cutting edge development in the South-East.
If we create the eco system that is required by FDI companies then it is only natural that we stand a good chance of gaining investment ahead of other regions.” These are the words of one of the leading voices in IT and telecommunications development in Ireland and a man who is intent on bringing further investment to the south-east region of the country. Dr Willie Donnelly, who is founder of the Telecommunications Software & Systems 210 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
Group (TSSG) and Head of Research at Waterford Institute of Technology, is a man who has built up the ArcLabs in Waterford to become one of the leading R&D centers within the European Framework programs. He has been to the forefront of the European Telecommunications Management research and development industry since 1991 and is using his experience to mould the next generation of creative minds. His practical philosophy towards both education and industry has seen him take
on the job of creating the very ‘eco system’ of which he speaks and create the environment necessary for business and in particular IT firms to establish and thrive. Without doubt the advancement of the TSSG/ ArcLab facility at WIT has created the environment in which innovative minds can thrive. It is a place of learning which has been supported by industry and is recognized as one of the most dynamic centres for research and development.
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State-Of-The-Art Innovation Center ArcLabs is a unique state-of-the-art innovation centre in Waterford where you’ll find a growing community of early stage companies and a base for over 170 highlyskilled business and technology professionals. In conjunction with the ArcLab facility one of Ireland’s largest and most successful Information Communications Technology (ICT) research centers, TSSG, is headquartered in ArcLabs. The TSSG employs over 150 highly skilled researchers and developers and has attracted over €55m in research programs since its inception in 1996, funding over 115 research projects and awards. Such is the success of the ArcLab facility that a second center has opened in Kilkenny as their regional development approach continues apace. While ArcLabs 1 in WIT is focussed on development of telecommunications its sister facility in Kilkenny, ArcLab 2, is concentrated on ICT development in the area of agriculture and financial services. Its expansion is proof of how Donnelly has put ArcLabs at the very heart of the regional development that is happening in the South East and central that has been the philosophy of embracing change. It is clearly evident that there are graduates and even undergraduates who are coming up with concepts and products at WIT’s research labs which are attracting interest from further afield. Many of these graduates are going on to establish companies, which are engaged in ground breaking research, the production of new products and whose innovative concepts are being acquired by large multi-nationals. “There is no doubt that the whole culture of innovation is changing,” explains Donnelly. “We used to have a culture where those in industry would view undergraduates as people who were effectively embarking on training and then needed to gain necessary life and work experience before joining the ranks of big business. “Now we see how the keenest minds in innovation can be found in our colleges and they in fact can be out-innovating those in industry. “That does not happen by chance either
“The key components of support from regional authorities, excellent 3rd level education facilities, industry involvement, a good presence of high potential start-ups and existing multi-nationals makes the Waterford/ Kilkenny region a very attractive prospect for the IDA to market abroad.” and the environment that is created in colleges allows creative innovation to happen. “At ArcLabs we take in students and ensure they are provided with very challenging tasks. “The students want this experience of working in the ArcLab environment with leading academic researchers and top industry engineers. “It is in effect a type of playground where theses students get to work with industry engineers and given exposure to help them develop the skills needed. “Ten years ago industry bosses may have looked upon colleges as a place where long term research took place but now they view them in the context as places where product development research happens. “Now we see more and more product research taking place among students, which has sparked a huge interest among top industry chiefs.”
Collaboration The trend of closer links between colleges and industry is not something which worries Donnelly. Rather he feels it is a relationship,
which benefits both the college and industry. So there is both an embracing of the creative process as well as an active engagement with industry. As Donnelly reflects there has been a maturing of the relationship between the two. That relationship is critically important as both WIT and the region itself continue to develop. For Donnelly the importance of the college and the lab facility cannot be overstated as they strive to attract investment to the area by virtue of providing such a critical mass of graduates. “There is no doubt that WIT is vital for the region. We have a firm DNA footprint in this area. “Our scarcest resource in this country is intellectual capital and we need to develop graduates who can take ideas and translate them into products. “We act as a catalyst in that respect and we are also responsible for seeing over 200 highly qualified engineers either setting up new IT businesses in this region or being recruited by top level multi-nationals. “It is so vitally important to have a critical mass of people because if you don’t have that then you will not be able to attract the leading edge companies to a region. “We can make the whole Waterford/ Kilkenny region a more attractive offer for potential investors by putting in place all of the requirements they expect.” For Donnelly the key components of support from regional authorities, excellent 3rd level education facilities, industry involvement, a good presence of high potential start ups and existing multi-nationals makes the Waterford/ Kilkenny region a very attractive prospect for the IDA to market abroad. “At an educational and research facility level we have worked hand in hand with the regional authorities and industry executives to create the eco system required by multinational investors”. “It makes the IDA’s life a whole lot easier when you can say to potential investors these guys have everything in place already that you are looking for.” Waterford certainly has that in bucket loads and the immense work done by Donnelly and the team at the ArcLab research facilities is ensuring that the region is set to grow even further over the next decade. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 211
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Educating Entrepreneurs The award-winning Kemmy Business School offers a comprehensive range of programmes for aspiring entrepreneurs.
he Kemmy Business School (KBS) at the University of Limerick is one of the largest business schools in Ireland, with a student body of almost 2,700. In December 2012 it received the Best Business School in the InBusiness Editor’s Choice Awards 2012 sponsored by Chambers Ireland. It is a full-service school, offering programs and qualifications across the full range of levels and business disciplines, from International Entrepreneurship Management to Aircraft Leasing and Human Resource Development; from Relationship Marketing and International Tourism. “In 40 years it has grown from a modest intake of students to the point today where we have one of the largest undergraduate and postgraduate student intakes in the country,” says the Dean of the School Dr Philip 212 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
O’Regan. “Calling it the Kemmy Business School is something we find very appropriate as Jim Kemmy’s emphasis would have been on the issue of ethical business and the term he would have used was ‘business in society’, accepting that business has to be profitable but that it also has a strong responsibility to contribute to society.”
Entrepreneurship Today, the school offers a wide range of business programmes for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, particularly in the postgraduate sector, targeting niche demand areas of national significance. An example of this is the Masters in Financial Services which won the 2011 Best Graduate Program award from gradireland. KBS had the first Chair in
Entrepreneurship in Ireland and its entrepreneurial approach is reflected in the strong emphasis on entrepreneurship in many of the programs. It is also evident in the 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. It was also the first business school in Ireland to open a Trading Floor, a state of the art facility that allows it to prepare students in a ‘real-life’ environment for a variety of high value jobs and functions. A distinguishing feature of what KBS offers is extensive engagement with industry, both through the pioneering co-operative education placement system for students and its links with representative bodies and industry leaders. The result of this is a faculty
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that is 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– what we call the ‘UL edge’.
Corporate MBA The school’s flagship program is its Corporate MBA in existence now for almost 30 years and has been consistently revised and updated to keep the program consistent with current business practices and demands. It offers a choice of three streams: Business Management, Aviation Management and Engineering Management. Each of these streams is tailored to meet the specific strategic and leadership needs of both the individual and the employer organizations. With a strong regional and national footprint, the school draws students from a wide geographical base within Ireland, and is increasingly active in the international market, with students from the US, China, India, Brazil and continental Europe now a regular and expected feature of most courses. While there is a strong record in KBS 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, indigenous Irish 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.
KBS graduates must be 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 KBS was formed a generation ago. As it works with its industry partners and other stakeholders it will continue to produce quality graduates, to respond to the business needs of local, national and international communities and to ensure that the lessons learned from the current crisis are put to good effect. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 213
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Aiming High Cork Institute of Technology is on an “upward trajectory”, the head of the Department of Computing Jim O’Dwyer tells Shane Cassells.
ecently I heard someone remark that there must be something in the water down in Cork as a reason for why there is such an explosion in young people establishing new IT companies in Ireland’s ‘real’ capital. A more accurate explanation for this though can be found in an office on the campus of Cork Institute of Technology where the head of the Department of Computing Jim O’Dwyer can be found. O’Dwyer is a man who has seen at first hand the amazing talent that exists in this
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country in the whole area of both software development and also system management and is confident that there is even a new breed of keen minds about to come on the scene that will shake up the industry even further. For him though what makes the region such an attractive place for investment is the very fact that colleges such as CIT, with their positive attitude towards industry, are located in the catchment area. He knows that when it comes to building a large scale operation there is no point in putting down roots unless there is going to be a highly educated workforce on your doorstep.
CIT has over the past two decades provided the IT sector with some of the top minds in the business and their investment in the whole area of Research and Development has ensured their reputation grows and grows. For O’Dwyer though the principles of what the college is there to do have never changed and according to him that is why both CIT and the southern region of Ireland have been successful in attracting such a large proportion of investment. “When you go back and look at the establishment of the RTCs and the Institutes of Technologies the reason why we have them at all
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is to cater for the job remit,” explains O’Dwyer. “We have developed over the years with people now taking PhD courses in our colleges as well.
Software Design “The whole area of software design is a growing area for our college and one which is proving extremely popular. “Naturally the fast moving nature of advancements means that there is great change in the application of technology. But there has not been a great change in the core concepts, so the software inside of a mobile phone uses the same concepts as it was 10 or 15 years ago. “All that has changed is that the unit is
much smaller and better. The biggest thing for things like mobile devices at the moment is the whole issue of security”. “So we have seen a huge increase in security modules and in fact we have a Masters course, which is looking at the whole issue of security in the IT sector. In all of these courses there is a massive input from those in the industry who are helping us to both develop and indeed deliver the course”. “That though is not unusual as the link between Institute of Technologies (formerly RTCs) and industry has always been there and indeed it has strengthened enormously over the years. “What is even more significant is that over the past two decades we have seen this country move from a predominantly manufacturing role in the whole area of IT into one of software development. “From our perspective in CIT that is also reflective in the uptake in particular courses and I would have to say that is very satisfying”. “Our department would be based on two pillars: Our software engineering courses, which have seen a big increase in numbers this year. Our IT support/management courses, which would deal with the whole area of configuration management up to cloud space management and maintenance. “For a long time there would be people shying away from the whole sphere of software development because it was seen as the harder option but now the numbers are increasing greatly because people can see the opportunities in the market place that exist for employment and career advancement,” remarks O’Dwyer. In fact the whole department in CIT is thriving with over 200 first years enrolled for this year, which is the biggest intake of undergraduates in the country. There are 800 students in the department, which O’Dwyer oversees and the numbers are still growing. One of the big advantages for CIT is their link with the Rubicon Innovation Center, which allows students to start up companies and interact with the business world. Some of the innovative concepts which have emerged from the center reaffirm in O’Dwyer’s mind that the future of IT development in the Southern Region is in
good hands. “It is a great sign for the future when you see young people willing to take a chance and develop a marketable product that large multi-nationals are then willing to invest in,” remarks O’Dwyer.
Maintaining Standards “It is the very reason why it is essential that investment in our facilities in CIT continues at a national level. We must maintain the standards we have set. “There is great indigenous talent in this sector and we must nurture it. So at all times we must be careful not to undermine the gains we have made in the education of our young people by not investing in this sector.” This may be a stark warning from O’Dwyer but there is no doubt that it is one that needs to be listened to by policy makers in our country. There is little point in brining the keenest minds in the sector to Limerick for a showcase of our talent if there is nothing coming down the line to support all of this industry. For O’Dwyer though the future does look bright and in fact the talent that he sees coming through the doors of CIT reaffirms his belief that there is even more growth going to happen in this sector rather than a levelling off of investment. “I absolutely believe that there is going to be more growth and when you see the fresh blood coming in and the changes that are happening it fills you full of confidence”. “There is great research being done in the whole area of developing IT systems for agriculture, with biologists and of course the Big Data analyzing systems are going to be huge for this country. “What we see is that there are people and companies keeping things dynamic and so the knock on impact is that the undergraduates keep coming through our doors. We must remain relevant to the market place and to industry but as I said already that is what we have always done because it is our brief ”. “We want students who are not just interested in compiling research papers but ones who want to see them become reality and realise the fruits of their work.” Inspiring words from a man who knows what is required for the future development of our young graduates and our country. SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL | 215
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Superior Student Accommodation Parchment Square student accommodation is located on the Model Farm Road, Cork, and caters for students pursuing their studies in either University College Cork or the Cork Institute of Technology.
archment Square is the closest student accommodation complex with direct access to the Cork Institute of Technology. The complex comprises of 13 individual blocks housing 175 apartments, with an overall occupancy of 586 bedrooms / Bed spaces. Each apartment can accommodate 3 to 5 people and accommodation includes kitchen/ living room, bedrooms and bathrooms with 216 | SILICON VALLEY GLOBAL
every modern convenience including fridge/ freezer, microwave, hob, oven, television in the living rooms, crockery and utensils, etc. Accommodation prices are from €49.00 per week for the academic year 2013/2014 and the facility caters for all budgets. Some additional features at Parchment Square include: • Direct Access to CIT • Free onsite Parking • Broadband Access in all Bedrooms
• 24 Hour CCTV Security System • 24 Hour Professional Office Staff • On city centre bus route, serving CIT, UCC, City centre, Bus and Train Station. For further details contact Parchment Square, Model Farm Road, Cork. Telephone: 021 45 45 200 Email:studentenqs@parchmentsquarecork. com Website: www.parchmentsquarecork.com Find us on facebook: Parchment Square Student Accommodation
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