Friday, July 31, 2009

sad - no blog updates

What a sad bast*** I am.

No updates to blog in ...yonks...

Been busy "earning a living" kinda stuff ...

Also dabbling in Twitter (thelal) - see here 

finding it much easier/quicker to fire off a quick blast

Also linked my facebook into it (as don't do much over there either)

500+ Lally's on FB - gave up looking!

Anyways lots of 'wanna write' articles just that dreaded time thing (tick-tock) and getting down to it


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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One SIM to conquer all

I've been trialing Cubic Telecom's Pirelli Discus DP-L10 dual mode mobile/cell phone (Wifi/GSM) for the last several weeks. (yes that is the tire/tyre company!). Even helped some of the Irish startups on their Paddy's Valley trip. 

I don't have the ability to try their MaxRoam product (where most of his "advantage" currently lies) - not resident in EU and not really applicable in the USA. Maybe on my next Irish trip!

I've made several calls to US, Ireland and UK - both to landlines and mobiles and quality has been fantastic (even so that my wife didn't complain as she normally does on transatlantic calls). And as an Irishman that has worked back-n-forth across the pond many times I know how phone calls can suck! Most of those have been over a Wifi (WPA2) connection running VOIP. Its all pretty easy and painless.

David Berlind does a in-depth review ("If Skype was disruptive to telcos, then Cubic Telecom is their nightmare (and good for you") of the technology with plenty of comments on his ZdNet blog (Under the hood of disruptive technologies)

Its not quite in the FMC league (as it doesnt do any hand-off of a call between GSM and Wifi/ calls) but you can set preferences as regards having Wifi calls when service available (and hence 'free')

As David as pointed out there are LOTS of cost savings (and convenience) if you fit the right profile (in EU, travelling around and do a lot of calls on your mobile)

It has a WAP browser for accessing 'mobile aware' internet web sites. Its fine if u're after short/specific info but not (like most low end internet mobiles) the best user experience. Also the browser has some stability problems (not sure what OEM version its running); I'd prefer a more open plattform (Opera mini brow, OpenMako etc.) but for that u pay and need 2 get nerdy :)

There are some nice features such as ...
up to 50 local numbers of the user's choosing can be linked to a single SIM, making it affordable for callers to get in touch no matter where they may be.
via TechCrunch. They presented at the TechCrunch-40 in Sept 2007. Review here

As Damien has indicated ..
It's like those Skypeout numbers but all going to one account. Handy for those who want to have "local offices" in many countries but don't want a physical office there.
From Pat via TechCrunch-UK
..This model is unique, you can drop and add local numbers, these are fixed line numbers not my mobile numbers, you make a local call and the person receiving saves money, that’s the point..
From Tornado Insider
The SIM card allows users to allocate up to fifty local landline numbers from around the world to the user's phone. A businessman based in Dublin who travels regularly to the USA and Canada can allocate landline numbers from Dublin, New York and Toronto to his MAXroam SIM, meaning that he can be contacted cheaply and directly by colleagues and customers at any time. His Canadian customers simply call a Toronto number, and his mobile phone will ring wherever he is. His Irish colleagues simply call a Dublin number, and get connected straight to him - whether he's in Dublin, New York, Toronto or elsewhere

As they've been rushing this product out the door there have been some teething issues and hoping those are getting fixed. Some of the user's (access) web site needs improvement/polish etc.

I'll review Cubic's (Cork, Ireland)  strategy in more detail later and compare to TruPhone, Jangl and several of the other VOIP/mobile players that are out there. I know Pat Phelan has some great vision on where he is going with this (anyone say 'USA'?) and I'm not talking food (Pat used 2b a chef!).

I'll also try this via a GrandCentral front-end and see how it works and maybe a Celtrek#

Other links:
A Cellphone Without Borders By DAVID POGUE- NY Times
final review with lots of comments
Celtrak/Global Roaming teams up with Cubic
review of phone/service by Bernard Tyers
Cubic phone review by Dameon Welch-Abemathy
VentureBeat review

More later ...

PS I had 2 send my phone back as 'knackered' (Irish technical term!) - why me -only one so far. Awaiting on new delivery (Hurry up Santa! aka Pat!)

PS #2 why is their no cheap US SIM's - using AT&T PAYG (25c/min - ouch!)


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Monday, December 3, 2007

Irish “Paddy Valley” startup session with Milestone Group

Mark Zawacki from the Milestone Group is hosting a session/Q&A at the Four Seasons, Palo Alto on Wed 2pm for the Paddy Valley startups.

Topics will include:

  • How the investment community works in Silicon Valley

  • What does it take to get an investor/angel/VC interested in your startup

  • Challenges for international startups in the US market

  • Attendees

    Gerard Hartnett.
    CoClarity combines Web 2.0 technologies with a simplified form of work flow and empowers you to plan, share, and track activities: to communicate more effectively with customers, suppliers, colleagues or friends. In essence, it is a project oriented social network.

    Relevant Media:
    Niall Larkin
    RelevantM offers patented socially intelligent tools that allow users to maintain healthy levels of privacy online and express themselves with their friends with the same sense of freedom they enjoy in the real world. This is a much sought after breakthrough solution that is also a key strategic stepping-stone to the social web, with relevance to social reputation, social identity and social trust online.

    Anton Mannering
    Building social applications to help people communicate and socialize around sport.
    Bench’d is a social network that lets people find, share and discuss stories they like about sport with people who share their interests. We are creating a “Web 2.0 Commonwealth” for sport.

    Patrick Liddy
    Aimed at homebuilders, DIY enthusiasts, property developers, construction design professionals and individuals who are interested in modifying or upgrading their existing homes.\

    We'll help users to design, visualize and communicate the ideal home using a simple, user friendly and intelligent online tool. It is also a source of information on all aspects of the building and DIY experience, from dealing with banks and architects, to building an extension or fixing a broken window.

    Shane Mc Allister
    Mobile services company that provides technologies to enable the deployment of an “off network” mobile communications platform that can be deployed on either a permanent or temporary basis to provide rich media content directly to (and from) mobile phones.

    Using “off network” technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, mobile communications networks can be created and deployed independently of the Mobile operators. These networks can deliver rich media interaction to mobile phones at no cost to either party and at high bandwidth. Hence both parties win – the provider reaches a wide, targeted audience with their message and the receivers get valuable information, content or data relevant to their interests, location and their profile.

    Daniel Becker
    GlowDay allows users to create surveys online, from simple one-question polls to complex multi-page questionnaires. Surveys are delivered as plug in widgets for online Social Networks (Facebook, Myspace etc), blogs or other web pages.

    Survey Designers have full control of layout and presentation and can include images and videos for added impact. A survey can be shared for others to use or improve. Results can be analyzed and compared to results gathered by others.
    The model could be described as a sort of "MyBlogLog" with Surveys.

    Alan O'Rourke.
    Send great looking email newsletters

    Everyone hates spam, but when done right email marketing currently offers one of the highest returns on investment. For the 11 million businesses in the USA the barrier to entry is high New Technology, specialist knowledge and high cost. With Toddle we can solve this problem.

    To date a custom email newsletter design can cost $1000 +. We offer it for $6. Better yet it works with the tools a business already knows- web browser and Outlook. It is offered direct to consumers and we also provide a white label version for existing Email managers offering them a new revenue stream.

    Marcus Mac Innes
    Online Photo sharing product for consumers.

    People need more than just a place to store photos: they are concerned about their privacy, and they want to see their entire network's photos in one place.'s friendly and simply to use service is introducing a whole new generation to online photo sharing. then goes beyond these basics to satisfy the evolving needs of consumer and professional photographers like no other site on the web.

    Other attendees:
    John Collins - Business Reporter, The Irish Times – articles
    Paul Campbell- about to create a startup
    Maura Moore- Adventura Partners Private Equity Adviser with InterTrade Ireland


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    Sunday, December 2, 2007

    Irish startup boys coming to San Fran, hungry 4 contacts

    A group of Irish software startups (mostly Web 2.0'ish) have gotten up off their a***s and are showing how its done.
    Frustrated with the lack of a "Web 2.0 connected" support eco-system (will write about this some more) within Ireland they are traveling tomorrow across the Atlantic and heading to the mecca of startups - Silicon Valley.

    "Irish start-ups have a range of connections in the Valley," says tour organiser Conor O'Neill, "but even with all our enthusiasm and contacts we were a little short on ways to raise our profile and make a real mark for Irish start-up entrepreneurial-ism."

    They even have a couple of chaperone's with John Collins from the Irish Times tagging along and seeing how these 'Internet' connections are done. Writing in blogs, Skyping, IM-ing and all that fancy stuff helps get most of this initial conversations going but nows the time 2 come face 2 face, meet those folks you've RSSed, see the facial expressions and read the subtle body language, work your charm and do what the Irish do best “TALK” : )

    InterTradeIreland is also coming along for the trip and nice 2 see their enthusiasm and commitment. Something 2b learned there.

    They are staying at the Cardinal Hotel in Palo Alto with events/trips organized during the week.
    They are open 2 all offers and interested in meeting folks that can help them get business contacts, meet potential investors or people genuinely willing 2 help.

    Their trip so far includes visits to Google, Microsoft, Yahoo HotBrick (their internal incubator), Meebo, SocialText, Ning, Facebook, Twitter, Sandbox, UnitedLayer and I'm sure a few more will pop up. Robert Scooble has even arranged an evening of meetups (and I'm sure a few drinks) on Monday evening-

    I've arranged a talk from one of the local VC's – Mark Zawacki/Milestone– who has been around the block and few times and knows Ireland from his Symantec early days and has a few UK/EU clients as well. Thanks 2 Peter Cranstone (Brit) for this connection and he runs an disruptive mobile application platform - here in Boulder and going great guns at the moment.

    Enterprise Ireland have jumped on the bandwagon and have arranged a pitch session for five of the startups (Tourist Republic, Putplace, Nubiq, Spoiltchild, Pix.i) in front of a few local VC/angels.

    The initial event took some organizing and rounding up with a few beers and arm-twisting 2 get it off the ground. Congrats 2 Damien Mulley, James Corbett and Conor O'Neill 4 all the hard work they have put into this. It looks like a success already and they haven't even landed!
    Good on ye lads!



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    Saturday, October 20, 2007

    Off to Ireland

    Oops - not been great in keeping up with blog postings..
    Been away on a consulting gig (enterprise architect/strategy) for a large USA retail firm. The joys of the larger companies!

    Off to Ireland for a few weeks (23 Oct - Nov 6) and hoping to meet up with some software startups. Talked with some before but would be great to meetup in person and see the "real story" trying 2 get a startup going in Ireland.

    In Galway, Dublin(maybe), Cork and possibly Clonmel. If anyone is interesting in (organising) a meetup (Barcamp/OpenCoffee or whatever -even pub 'visit') please let me know.

    Hoping to talk to/meet (interview for blog posting etc.) :

    Fergus Burns - nooked
    Evert Bopp - WiMax
    Conor O'Neill - LouderVoice
    Joe Drumgoole - PutPlace
    David Copithorne - Waveson
    John Ward - Cengal
    Paul Walsh - Segala
    Jonathan Hill - Infacta
    David Lenehan - PollDaddy
    Tom Raftery
    Ken Thompson - Swarm
    Walter Higgins - Sxoop/pxn8
    Bernin Goldback - podcasting
    Aodhan Cullen - Statcounter
    Keith Bohanna - dbTwang
    Frank Fullard - CEB
    Brian O'Malley - EI
    Donncha O'Caoimh - pictures!
    James Cooley, John Breslin - DERI
    James Corbett- Grazr
    Pat Phelan - Cubic
    Sean O'Sullivan
    David Doherty - 3G Doctor
    Niall Larkin
    Vinny Glennon
    Dominic Herity - Redplain
    Julian Ellison/Yongchun Ji - Tablane

    lots more .. but can only type so much ... on my way... bring that brollie :)


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    Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    EU/UK: VCs backing competing businesses

    From Paul Fisher blog- VCs backing competing businesses:

    "It seems that every week we get contacted by a new investor looking for deal flow. I see a swath of new money coming back into the market whether is hedge funds trying to knock out Benchmark and Index or media corporates investing to protect their markets."

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    Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    Irish guys coming to Denver (Microsoft related) July 07

    I hear there's some Irish boys coming over for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2007 happening 10-12th July in Denver.

    They will be giving out their awards and a few Irish guys involved. Can't keep them down!

    Its going to be a small convention :)
    Over 10,000 partners, industry experts, speakers, exhibitors, Microsoft executives, and many others are expected to attend this year’s conference
    Those that I know are coming:
    "We were thrilled to be the first Microsoft Ireland Partner ever to win a Worldwide Partner Program Award. To be named Partner of the Year in the Networking Infrastructure category, which is really our core business, has given us a strong message to leverage in the marketplace. We managed to generate broad media coverage as a result of the win. The award also helped raise our profile with the local Microsoft subsidiary, which has helped us develop an even stronger partnership."

    Nigel Mulholland
    Nitec Solutions

    Mentec won last years Microsoft Dynamics GP International Partner

    Who else is coming?
    There are 350+ partners listed in IRL but don't necessary believe the results!

    Are those that attended Mix07 coming back ?  Walter, Fergus, TomRob ?

    Let me know and I've try and arrange a get together (maybe a little drinking :) down Denver way!


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    Advisors: can’t live without `em

    Frmo Paul Fisher's blog - Advisors: can’t live without `em:

    if a company is using an advisor then it tells an investor a lot about an entrepreneur:

    1) None of the quality entrepreneurs I know want to become an expert in raising capital. They are happy to know their ratchet from their double dip but they want someone else to put it all in context.

    2) None of the entrepreneurs I know want to spend enormous swathes of time raising capital. They want to spend time on their companies: development, A-B Testing, business development, sales, collecting cash: whatever. Happy to talk to investors, but lets keep it in perspective.

    3) None of the entrepreneurs I know want to talk to just one investor. They know it’s a good market. They know the best companies get multiple offers. They want the CHOICE.

    4) What most entrepreneurs DO want, is great investors. They do want the brand, the strategic input, the operational advice, the workshops and the conferences, the exit planning, the introductions and the profile building that comes with great investors.

    A decent corporate finance advisor gives an entrepreneur these things


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    Monday, June 18, 2007

    2006 Early Stage VC into European Web 2.0

    From Paul Fisher blog 2006 Early Stage VC into European Web 2.0:

    Ecosystem 2.0

    European politicians should be delighted that we have a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem which they have been attempting (hoping) to build to compete with the USA, principally the West Coast.

    Interestingly, this ecosystem is not centering on the Universities or the government sponsored funds.

    It is instead the Silicon Valley model of second time round entrepreneurs, experienced business angels and VCs who have already been through a few cycles.

    Looks good if it can be kept up.


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    Tribler v4 raises 6M Euro's from Dutch goverment and Enterprise Ireland comparision/?'s

    From alarm:clock euro:

    The non-profit group has caught the eye of several researchers, broadcasters, and the Dutch government, enticing twenty scientists working on Tribler and 6M Euros in Dutch government funding.

    Netherlands-based Tribler caught the attention of the Net today with the launch of v4. Tribler, which is a joint research project from Delft University of Technology and the VU University Amsterdam, is a video aggregator that pulls in YouTube videos, Torrent downloads and other video file formats. Tribler layers on some personalization to help users find niche content in the sea of Net videos.

    Hmm - I wonder what's the max investment Enterprise Ireland (Irelands goverment body for startups/enterprise) has put into any single Irish startup?

    Anyone know?

    I've don't see a whole lot of openness on EI stats (as in details on -
    • what companies are on their programmes?
    • what companies are turned away and why?
    • what companies receive what type of services?
    • what companies are given 'special'/accelerated status?
    • what companies are folded?
    • what companies get 'connections'(/sales) via introductions?
    • what companies are funded and how much, how often, what criteria?
    • success/failure rate on funding and the different type of programmes?
    • etc..

    - maybe its there - just that I can't see it and not got very encouraging response when requested similiar information before. I would think that its in EI's interest to be as open as possible (but little to no EI bloggers active, they've yet to get an RSS feed on their news ...). 
    Is most of this information is already 'public' ?
    (as goverment body - or do you have to go thru the Freedom on Information act?)



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    Sunday, June 17, 2007

    Building End-to-End Infrastructure Security - Belfast, Jun 27th

    noticed from John Craddock blog (Microsoft Technet Manager, Ireleand) indicated an upcoming event in Belfast. Also at MS Events.

    Belfast Event: Building End-to-End Infrastructure Security

    I'm delighted to announce that I'm bringing John Craddock and Sally Storey to Belfast to host an event on End-to-End Infrastructure Security on June 27th in the Water Front Hall.

    Infrastructure security is frequently only considered once server roles and network connectivity has been implemented, a problem made worse by inadequate training. When security technologies are not deployed until late in a project, the result can be poor implementation, weak documentation and compliance testing.

    08:45-09:15 Registration & Light Breakfast
    09:15-09:30 TechNet Update
    09:30-11:00 Is Your IT Infrastructure Secure?
    11:00-11:15 Break
    11:15-12:45 Securing Your Network
    12:45-13:30 Lunch
    13:30-14:45 Locking Down Servers and Workstations
    14:45-15:00 Break
    15:00-16:15 Vista Technologies

    Topics covered:
    • Identifying business assets
    • Threat modeling
    • Security policy and response planning
    • Deploying IPSec for domain and server isolation
    • Building rules and filters
    • Identifying protocol and port requirements
    • Firewall configurations
    • Managing server roles and lockdown policies
    • Patch management and compliance testing
    • Creating Software Restriction Policies (SRP)
    • Least privileged user access
    • Establishing client security and software policy
    • Client and server attack vectors
    • Managing through group policies
    • Network Access Protection (NAP)
    • Vista security enhancements


    John Craddock has designed and implemented computing systems ranging from embedded high-speed industrial controllers through to distributed IT solutions. John works as a consultant providing services to industry leaders including Microsoft. He was a key player in the Government Gateway Project, has designed high-availability web portals and help companies build Active Directory solutions to support their business critical environments. In addition to his role as a consultant, he has written over 20 technical training courses that have been published worldwide. He co-authored 'Investigating and Managing Objects and Attributes for Microsoft Windows 2000 and Microsoft Windows Server 2003' which is part of the Active Directory Forestry series. John lectures internationally and has written and presented technical sessions at MTB, MEC, Tech•Ed, Microsoft IT Forum, JDP and deployment conferences.

    Sally Storey has worked in management and consulting in the IT industry for Novell, Microsoft and now, independently. Sally works as a consultant on enterprise infrastructure projects in operations, logistics and deployment roles. Sally is ITIL qualified and specializes in building process that keep systems highly available and secure. Sally co-authored the Active Directory® Forestry series with John Craddock.

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    Essential Web Conf - London - June 27th

    In a previous post I mentioned the upcoming Essential Web Conference being hosted by Library House on 27 June in London.

    Well the stage is set and have a few Irish lads at it.

    Speakers/panelists include:

    And the most dynamic and disruptive web entrepreneurs  include:
    • The Todeka Project
    • Trampoline Systems
    • WAYN
    • we7
    • Yuuguu
    • Zubka
    • Huddle
    • Jaiku
    • Louder Voice
    • ParkAtMyHouse
    • Shozu
    • Spotify
    • cebase
    • Comeks
    • ConnectMeAnywhere
    • Extate
    • Garlik
    • Seatwave
    • Quintura
    • Spotify
    From Conor O'Neill site (also checkout his blog)
    Great Blogger Reviews in Your Language
    You can publish reviews to your blog in many different ways.
    If you love high quality reviews by great bloggers then you can find them through us. Why not write some reviews too?
    Test the new early release of LouderTweets. 140 character reviews via SMS or IM for Twitter Users. No need for a LouderVoice account!

    sounds good 2 me - Keep at it guys and best of luck Conor :)


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    Saturday, June 16, 2007

    Beware of VC data being reported in EU and the "little details"

    In a previous post on VC funds in EU on the Up (May 2007) I looked at a blog posting from Alarm:clock regarding a Financial Times who reported on research from Paul Fisher on Web 2.0 and Internet investments in the European region in 2006.
    and how the ..The growth is remarkable. 

    Nic Brisbourne (Esprit VC outa London/Cambridge) has an article "Lies, damm lies and venture statistics" that looks at more recent figures from the EVCA in more depth.

    The opaque world of venture capital isn’t helping itself with the way stats are being presented at the moment. The EVCA (European Venture Capital Association) released data last week which is a little confusing in the way it categorises different types of private equity and venture capital investment.

    As a result the FT this morning ran an article under the heading Europe venture capital shows big rise that is misleading, at least according to my definition of venture capital. The article leads with the following paragraph:
    Europe’s venture capital market recovered sharply last year as money raised by funds investing in start-ups and early stage companies rose 60%

    When I read a sentence like that my immediate assumption is we are talking about technology venture capital - not so. If you look to the underlying EVCA data it shows that funds raised in “Venture high-tech” declined last year from €5.1bn to €5.0bn. There was massive growth in “Venture non high-tech which gives rise to the 60% figure above - but that is not really relevant to what we are about at Esprit and I imagine most of you are about in your day to day jobs.

    The FT article also makes much of the statistic:
    The average internal rate of return over the life of all venture capital funds since 1980 until the end of last year was 5.5%

    I have a couple of points to make in response to that:
    • Venture capital has always been a business where the top quartile of funds make a good return and the rest don’t so quoting the average without quoting the top-quartile returns doesn’t give a true picture. According to the EVCA data the top quartile returns for all venture were 17.4% and for balanced venture funds (which is what we are) it was 23.5%. (Note that EVCA returns stats don’t break out tech and non-tech venture. These percentages are for all venture and need to be treated with care.)
    • The European venture industry is still young - there simply wasn’t much money invested prior to the dotcom bubble and unfortunately most of that was raised in 1999 - ie too late to make hay while the sun was shining. Post bubble times were hard and funds raised declined, so the “all venture funds since 1980″ stats are weighted towards the crazy period of 1999-2001 and thus a little misleading.

    We are working towards trying to pull together some better data, but progress is slow as we suffer from the hours in the day problem.

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    Irish StatCounter man -Aodhan Cullen- in the Top EU 2007 Young Entrepreneurs

    BusinessWeek has an article on Europe's Young Entrepreneurs 2007 and Aodhan Cullen (24) is one of nominations for those entrepreneurs under 25.

    He runs StatCounter from Dublin, Ireland = A free yet reliable invisible web tracker, highly configurable hit counter and real-time detailed web stats.

    Aodhan Cullen calls himself a born entrepreneur.
    He has been running businesses since the age of 12, when he set up his own résumé-typing business. As a young teen, he dabbled in Web site design, and it was this experience that gave him the idea to launch StatCounter, the
    company he founded in 1999 when he was 16. When Cullen started designing Web pages, his clients repeatedly asked him whether anyone was visiting their Web sites.

    So, Cullen formed StatCounter and came up with a way to measure the number of hits on Web sites, the geographical location of visitors to sites, the various pages a visitor views on a site, and the keywords they use to find a site.

    StatCounter currently has more than 1.4 million members and tracks more than 9 billion page views per month across its network of more than 2 million Web sites. The company, which is profitable, claims to be signing up 1,500 new members per day.

    Over 100+ congrats on his blog and over 500 that are voting for him.
    Note from Aodhan ..

    one comment 
    Done, and done! Excellent work - very useful utility. Hope Google buys you for $27 million…
    Statcounter is the best counter out there. I tried many and am very happy with it

    Good on yah! - Vote here (Note: its the first captcha  that I've seen that is Caps sensitive!)


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    U an Irish CEO and want a 5 day trip to Edinburgh

    from little known CEO Club Ireland (at least no one I've talked with has mentioned it and not seen it on any blogs connected with Irish startups!) they are planning a Visit to Edinburgh.

    15th - 19th August 2007

    CEO Club has been working with Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Consulate in Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to make this a memorable and exciting opportunity for CEO Club members. The CEO Club-Edinburgh Initiative aims to provide members with a forum for meeting, discussion and exchange of ideas. Our intention is also to increase the number and quality of collaborations and the presentation of work from Ireland and the UK through the increased networking between UK and Irish creative practitioners.


    DAY 1  Wednesday, 15th August 2007
    - Pick up points in Dundalk & Newry
    - Coach to ferry terminal and on to Edinburgh
    - Check in to Accommodation
    - Dinner

    DAY 2   Thursday, 16th August 2007
    - Breakfast & Briefing Meeting
    - One to one Meetings Facilitated at the Apex International Hotel, Grassmarket, Edinburgh
    Best Practice Visits, Edinburgh
    - Evening Reception, Irish Consulate, Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh

    DAY 3  Friday, 17th August 2007
    - Breakfast & Briefing Meeting
    - Breakfast Practice Visits Glasgow
    - Evening Networking Event with the Creative Entrepreneurs Club at the Lighthouse, Glasgow
    - Coach back to Edinburgh

    DAY 4  Saturday, 18th August 2007
    - Breakfast
    - Members have free time to use as they wish!!

    DAY 5  Sunday, 19th August 2007
    - Breakfast
    - Coach to ferry
    - Drop off points in Newry & Dundalk

    You cannot "see" any events or their calender unless you are a member (must be secret stuff they get up to!) and trying to use their search it doesn't show anything for event, calender, scotland, edinburgh (so obviously not a full text search or again doesn't show 'secret stuff')

    They appear to have plenty of 'local' connections via their Steering Committee
    If anyone has any connection with them please let me know.
    Like a lot of goverment related sites on the web they have no blog and very much a closed shop (hint!)


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    Pitch to a Dublin waiter and Win free trip to OCC London

    Paul Walsh from Segala is at it again :)

    He had tried to arrange a dinner outgoing in Dublin for startup entrepreneurs but had to postpone at the last minute (I'm sure there was a lot of happy waiters :)

    So he's arranged another Curry dinner evening on July 2nd, 2007

    ...prize of a trip to OpenCoffee London where introductions will be made to potential partners and investors. All you have to do is pitch your product/service to a waiter in one minute. If you’re from the UK I’ll arrange for another prize.

    ...Business should be fun!

    Trust the Irish to have a different slant to the elevator pitch; but then there is less of them in Ireland compared to other big cities. Hmm! maybe we can get some research firm or some univ's guys 2 check that out ?

    Now boys don't forget to leave a tip!


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    Tuesday, June 5, 2007

    Free VC advice: funding

    Niva and Naval from Venture Hacks are doing a free online voice conference all this Thursday June 7th 2007 at 1pm PST.

    Can call in via Skype of several other country numbers.

    I've read some of their postings b4 and some good info on dealing with VC's, fund raising, term sheets etc..


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    Friday, May 25, 2007

    20 sec pitch: Fergus Burns, Nooked, Ireland

    Fergus Burns from Irish Web 2.0 startup Nooked does a speeeeeedy 20 sec "pitch via PodTed's Silicon Valley Minute at the Web 2.0 Conf in San Franciso.

    Nooked Feedwizard enables marketers to use RSS technologies to deliver one-to-one marketing to consumers.

    Anyone seen a faster summary ?

    Spotted on James Corbett blog


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    Thursday, May 24, 2007

    Enterprise Ireland has called on SMEs to fully exploit the benefits of technology licensing

    From Business Plus Online :

    EI: SMEs Need To Exploit Technology Licensing

    18/12/06: The agency said that while Irish companies increasingly recognise the value of technology licensing, spend on licensing as a proportion of R&D still not high enough

    Enterprise Ireland's TechSearch programme assisted 35 Irish small and medium sized enterprises sign technology transfer deals in 2006, worth almost €2m directly and leading to over €5m of increased sales and exports annually.

    Participation in the TechSearch programme, which provides direct assistance to Irish companies who wish to harness technological advances made in other markets to support indigenous growth, increased 60% in 2006 with almost 200 Irish SMEs entering the programme and 100 companies entering into negotiations with potential partners in Europe and further afield.

    However, less than 5% of the estimated €1.4 billion invested in R&D by Irish companies in 2006 was spent on in-licensing, reflecting the need to further increase SME awareness of the potential for business growth that exists through technology licensing.

    “Enterprise Ireland has some €60m to spend in its RTI (R&D) and Productivity funds in 2007, up to 50% of which is available for licensing and technology acquisition, and we want to ensure that this money is used to best effect,”
    said Jim Cuddy, Enterprise Ireland's manager of the Innovation and Technology Transfer department.

    “Many entrepreneurs who head up SMEs think their business doesn't fit the profile of a company who should take advantage of licensing but our TechSearch programme actively supports Irish businesses through each step of the process, including finding the technology or product, evaluating potential projects and contract negotiation.

    “Several Irish companies, including Soft Edge, {Note: see Microsoft article} Alltracel and NTera, have already benefited from the rise in the rate of international licensing of IP by building partnerships with some of the world's leading global companies.

    “This is a call to action to Ireland's SME business community...

    A partnership agreement signed in October with Enterprise Ireland and the National Research Council of Canada to coincide with the opening of the new Enterprise Ireland office in Toronto gives Irish companies access to SMEs across Canada through a network of technology advisers.

    Enterprise Ireland aims to involve 20 Irish companies in technology licensing partnership discussions with Canadian counterparts in 2007.

    A number of Irish companies are already seeking technology and product partnerships in this market including Bord na Mona, Dromone Engineering, Jacob Fruitfield and bathroom products manufacturer Qualceram Shires.

    As well as sourcing technologies, it is anticipated that Irish companies will be able to offer a gateway to Europe for Canadian companies, while Canadian companies can offer a gateway to North America for Irish companies.

    Other Irish companies that have already benefited from the TechSearch programme include:
    • Inishowen Engineering, Donegal, which licensed an underwater lamp which will take them into international export markets
    • Butler Manufacturing Services, Longford, which acquired the rights to manufacture storm cell tunnels from Germany and the US
    • eXpd8, which announced a licensing partnership with a South African company to establish its software products in that market
    • Surface Power, Castlebar, which acquired the distribution rights to pellet burning stoves from Sweden
    • Techrec Ireland in a joint venture with an NI company COD International to give them refrigerator disposal technology.

    It also includes an IP audit that will help businesses assess their readiness to participate in licensing agreements, a DIY search facility that allows Irish businesses to search for innovative technologies worldwide, as well as downloadable legal and tax guides and a patent search facility.

    Sectors that have traditionally embraced technology acquisition include the biomedical, food processing, electronics and automotive engineering industries, however, Enterprise Ireland is keen to point out that companies of all sizes and of all sectors can gain from this practice.


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    Business Angels have €20m to invest in startups- Dublin, IRL

    from Business Plus online Feb 2007

    The Halo Business Angels Partnership has announced that it has raised €20m to invest in startup and developing companies

    The partnership is a pilot programme and has resulted from a joint initiative between Enterprise Ireland, InterTrade Ireland and the Irish Business and Innovation Centres. It is designed to match private investors with pre-screened investment opportunities in early stage and developing businesses. The programme is being managed by the Dublin Business Innovation Centre (DBIC).

    DBIC said that four companies have received cash investment of €100,000 each in the past six months. Average investment amounts should range from €25,000 to €100,000.

    DBIC chairman Hugh Governey said: "This fills a gap in the market for early stage companies which have major potential but which are outside the radar of traditional venture capital companies. We are interested in continuing to attract angels and investee companies. Our goal is to create excellent opportunities for investors and early stage funding for successful Irish companies of the future".

    Welcoming the announcement, enterprise minister Micheál Martin said "Angel investment in countries such as the US has played an important role in helping to build a knowledge economy. This programme is unique in that it harnesses the experience of entrepreneurs and investors many of whom have already built successful companies in Ireland".

    Although DBIC is responsible for co-ordinating the Business Angels partnership, it is available in the South West, South East and BMW regions through the offices of Cork BIC, West BIC and South East BIC

    anyone know who got the 'funding'?
    anyone applied and got turned down?


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    €3.8m in funding for Irish based MapFlow from SOS

    Glad to see some funding happening these days as current Irish VC funding seems 2 have gone down the tubes (more on that later)

    From Business Plus Online
    Mapping and location software firm Mapflow has secured €3.8m in funding in a round lead by Sean O'Sullivan's (outa of Texas) SOSventures

    Spatial Ireland (Mathew Sammon) has more info-
    Irish company Mapflow has raised US$5.1m in research and development funding from the Irish subsidiary of venture capitalist firm SOSventures, with a further US$6.6m forthcoming subject to targets being achieved.

    The aim of the investment is to make the company a world leader in its sector; Mapflow provides mapping and location intelligence software primarily to the transportation, telecommunications and insurance industries.
    SOSventures’ founder Sean O’Sullivan, an Irish-American who founded prominent GIS software firm MapInfo, will become chairman of Mapflow’s board.

    ENN has has more info including ...,...
    ...which has effectively bought out Mapflow's previous backer Trinity Venture Capital..

    The firm's major win last year was a EUR15 million deal with BT, to allow its location-based technology to be sold to mobile operators and internet service providers around the world.

    O'Sullivan, who has relocated to Ireland from the US and joined Mapflow's board as executive chairman, said Mapflow's management team, customer relationships and innovation track record attracted him. "As I looked at Mapflow, I saw all three of these enablers in place. It is truly a gem of the Irish software industry, and the challenge is now to make it a global leader: number one or two in its markets worldwide.

    from Mapflow site
    SOSventures Investment Ltd is the Irish subsidiary of SOSventures SA, an investment company managed by Sean O'Sullivan which manages over $100 million in investments, primarily in the high tech industry. The rate of return has averaged 27%, compounded annually since its founding in 1994. SOSventures also manages the investments for the O'Sullivan Foundation, a charitable organisation that gives between $1-$2 million annually to various humanitarian and developmental activities, primarily in the third world.

    So looks like another player in town --- good (more on funding aveneues, angel networks, VC's in Ireland later)


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    EI in 2006 had 76 startups and 2007 predictions

    From Business Plus Online:
    07/03/07:Enterprise Ireland has said that indigenous Irish companies that it supports will create more than 1,260 new high skilled jobs and generate exports worth €110m over the next two years. The majority at 41 are located in regions outside of Dublin, with 35 companies being located in Dublin.

    Kevin Sherry, manager of Enterprise Ireland's High Potential Start-Up Unit (HPSU) added: "Increasing the number of new high-growth export focused businesses is a key objective for Enterprise Ireland and 2006 has been a record year with the establishment of 76 HPSUs.

    Martin and Sherry were speaking at Enterprise Ireland's annual High Potential Start-Up Showcase, an event ... also provides an important networking opportunity by bringing together these entrepreneurs, the investment community, Irish business leaders and Enterprise Irelands business development executives. “Furthermore it provides a platform for venture capital firms to identify investment opportunities,” he added.

    ... I am pleased to report that the pipeline of HPSUs for 2007 is already strong,” said Sherry.

    A high potential startup is defined as a company which is:
    • based on technological innovation
    • likely to achieve significant growth in three years (sales of €1m per annum and employment of ten)
    • export oriented
    • led by an experienced team, with a mixture of technical and commercial competencies.

    56% of those firms were in 'Software and Services'.  No further breakdown by Web 2.0, Enterprise, SaaS etc..
    From EI news report
    Enterprise Ireland invested €17.5m of the total €47.5m investment in the 76 new start-ups.

    Two intial things:
    1. I have to read this from BizPlus and not EI's site as they don't have any RSS feeds - duh! - maybe one of their HSPU's can hack that together for them (Brian - can u kick someone : )
    2. Has anyone attended this showcase and any reports on it; who attended, what investors, angels, VC's, entrepreneurs, open or just EI affair?

    Lets hope its a bit better in its predictions than the current economic stats  reported (great article going into a lot of depth) by Michael Hennigan at FinFacts

    Only six jobs were created in the €110m Information Age Park Ennis (IAPE- Shannon Development) in the past 12 months...
    ...Enterprise Minister Mícheál Martin, who said it had the potential to create 3,500 jobs over the next 15 years.
    ...the numbers working at the Information Age Park are 43, increasing six
    ...The number of companies increased from 14 to 19.
    ...IDA Ireland has so far failed to attract any foreign direct investment into the park

    Innovation specialist Professor Danny Breznitz of the Georgia Institute of Technology says our research infrastructure is too narrow in its focus and may not be sustainable. 
    (Note: GIT has a great looking support/teaching stucture - will follow up with another article on "Whats needed for a support eco-system". I'll also talk about SFI and research orgs which (investment wise both via EU/IRL) seem to dwarf other 'support' initiatives.)

    He says we are not creating enough new businesses, and when new businesses are set up, the
    financial supports are not there to keep them innovating.

    Professor Breznitz said that if a country wants sustained economic growth it has to focus on innovation, not only on the research side but on the commercialisation and the growth of productivity.

    ...GEM...found the percentage of people who were either thinking of going into business or had just started a new venture slid substantially in Ireland...

    ...He (Feargal Quinn) praised the Government’s decision to invest heavily in scientific research, but he said that turning Ireland into a world-class research centre is not enough.


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    €53K available 2 apply 4 EU grants; wanna travel?

    From Business Plus Online :

    07/03/07: The EU has launched a new research fund that Enterprise Ireland said will allow Irish researchers and SMEs to reap the benefits from the new financial supports

    As part of the funding, EI has announced financial supports for researchers employed in Ireland's private and public sectors taking part in the largest ever EU research programme, the Seventh EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). The FP7 fund of €50 billion will run until 2013 and offers significant opportunities to researchers to carry out their work on an international platform.
    'Ireland's research community has already proved its ability to compete at European level, accessing over €200m in the previous round of EU research funding'

    Industry based researchers in Ireland won almost €40m in funding under the last EU research programme (FP6 2002-2006), with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accounting for two-thirds of this figure. The supports are designed to help researchers cover the upfront costs incurred in writing research proposals and travel expenses.

    Ireland's research community has already proved its ability to compete at European level, accessing over €200m in the previous round of EU research funding (FP6 2002-2006), according to Dr Imelda Lambkin, director of the Irish National Support Network for FP7.
    "Irish participation in FP7 will be a critical component in delivering the targets set out in the Government Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation which covers the same timeframe,"
    she said.
    'The FP7 financial supports will be a great help to SMEs'

    Dr Jimmie Parkes, managing director of Inter-Euro Technology, said he believed the
    “FP7 financial supports will be a great help”
    to SMEs.
    "These new supports will relieve some of the financial burden of contacting and meeting prospective FP7 partners. EU research can be very exciting and profitable not only in money but also in contacts throughout Europe and the build up of knowledge and IP transfer from European technology leaders,"
    said Parkes.

    The new supports will also benefit researchers based in higher education institutions who accounted for 70% of the FP6 funding to Ireland. Larger travel grants to visit potential research partners in other countries and grants to aid proposal preparation by project coordinators have been extended to include all research projects. Eligibility for these grants has been expanded to include researchers in publicly funded organisations and all research areas including the socioeconomic sciences and humanities.

    Researchers based in Irish companies and public research bodies who want to participate in FP7 can now avail of the following financial supports:
    • Proposal Preparation Support for Companies
    The maximum grant for this support has been increased to €25,000 (at 50% grant rate i.e. €25,000 based on a total expenditure by the company of €50,000). Eligibility has been expanded to include all research projects.

    • Proposal Preparation Support for Academic Coordinators
    The maximum grant under this support is €25,000 and all research projects are eligible. Eligibility has been expanded to include researchers in publicly funded institutions.

    • Travel Support for Researchers
    Researchers based in higher education institutions can apply for a maximum grant of €3,000 to facilitate multiple visits to research partners. Eligibility has been expanded to include researchers in publicly funded institutions.

    For more information on FP7


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    UCD: Ireland. VC Backed Tech Firms Central To Knowledge Economy

    From Business Plus Online:

    "The study said that high tech companies accounted for 84% of all Irish VC investment in 2005. This is the highest technology weighting in Europe where the average is 17%. "

    23/03/07: A new report by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies in UCD has found that venture capital backed firms continue to provide the impetus for development of a knowledge based economy

    The study said that high tech companies accounted for 84% of all Irish VC investment in 2005. This is the highest technology weighting in Europe where the average is 17%. The report finds that on average, VC backed firms are about ten times the size in terms of revenue and employment at the exit stage compared to the time of the initial venture capital investment.

    It found that VC backed firms increased employment in 2005 by 39%, significantly up from 14.6% in 2004. The 2005 increase compares to an overall increase in employment in the economy of 5.1%.

    This is the second in depth study into the economic impact of venture capital in Ireland to be carried out by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies in UCD under Professor Frank Roche and Vincent Sheehan.

    Commenting on the findings, Roche said:
    "At a time when we are seeing closure and cut backs by international firms seeking lower cost centres, there is little doubt that indigenous VC backed firms have an important role to play in creating high value, knowledge based jobs in line with public policy objectives. They grow faster, create more employment, export more and invest more in R&D and in sales and marketing than other indigenous firms".

    Other findings included:
    • Graduates represent 74% of the workforce of VC backed firms. In 2005 graduate employment in these companies increased by 25%, compared to a 15.4% increase reported in 2004.
    • VC backed companies are growing fast, with revenues increasing in 2005 by 34.1% to €1.95 billion.
    • VC backed companies raised €211m in 2005 compared to €242m in 2004. 34% of this capital was invested in start up and early stage companies compared to a European average of 23%.
    • Expenditure on R&D by these firms increased by 33.7% in to €89m compared to an increase in BERD (Business Expenditure on Research & Development) from indigenous companies of 11%.
    • Irish high tech VC backed firms are highly export focused. They export 63% of revenues compared to 33% in the case of UK software and computer companies.

    While the stats are useful they are based on 2005 data. Whats the info on 2006 and 2007 up?
    Certaintly 2007 doesn't look too good with VC money slackening off.


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    NovaUCD Entrepreneurs Live seminar- Apr 2007 - Dublin, IRL

    from Business Plus online mag

    Yep - I know its past, as it gone, over, done, dusted...
    anyone go to it, any feedback ?

    04/04/07: Benchmark Capital partner and Bebo director Barry Maloney was the first guest speaker at the NovaUCD Entrepreneurs Live seminar series

    Maloney advised entrepreneurs to "set themselves ambitious goals which will require sacrifices, to hire the best and to never ever give up".

    The Entrepreneurs Live seminars will bring leading Irish entrepreneurs talk about their experiences of setting-up and running their businesses. During each seminar attendees have the opportunity to ask questions of the guest speaker. The series continues each Tuesday lunch time (1 pm to 1:50 pm) until April 24 in the William Jefferson Clinton Auditorium, at UCD and attendance is open to all.

    Three other Irish entrepreneurs will be speaking at the series: Oliver Tattan, founder and chief executive of Vivas Health; Garry Moroney, founder of Similarity Systems; and Dermot Lawton, director of eBay European Services.

    The series is being organised by UCD technology transfer centre NovaUCD with the backing of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Board.

    Commenting on the event, NovaUCD director Dr Pat Frain said: "The Entrepreneurs Live seminars attract a large and diverse audience and stimulate a lively and enthusiastic debate on issues relating to entrepreneurship and innovation and the establishment and development of technology-based companies. The level of interest at these seminars is evidence of a growing culture of entrepreneurship at UCD which augurs well for Ireland's ability to generate the new knowledge-intensive and innovative enterprises which are critical for the sustained development of Ireland's knowledge-based economy".


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    Wednesday, May 23, 2007

    Irish VC Investment Slackens- Q1 2007

    from FinFacts
    Irish Venture Capital plunged to €4.2 million in Q1 2007;
    European Venture Capital flattened

    Coming off the strong growth made in 2006, venture capital investment into European companies flattened in the first quarter, with €1.07 billion invested in 207 financings, according to the quarterly European Venture Capital Report released by Dow Jones VentureOne and Ernst & Young. Compared year-on-year, both capital and deal flow decreased 11% from the first quarter of 2006.

    Irish Investment Activity Slackens
    In the first quarter, €4.2 million in venture capital was invested in young innovative firms in Ireland, significantly down from €26.3 million in 4Q’06 and the €28.6 million invested in 1Q’06. Only one deal was completed in 1Q’07, down from 4 deals in 4Q’06 and 7 in 1Q’06.

    “The Irish market is quite small, therefore quarterly numbers need to be treated with caution as they can be skewed by cyclical patterns and by the small number of deals. More meaningful data should emerge with respect to the underlying trend for 2007 as we complete the second quarter” said Garry O’Rourke, Transaction Advisory Services Director at Ernst & Young in Dublin.

    There were no seed, first or second round deals in 1Q’07, which represents a decrease from 3 deals in 4Q’06 and from one deal in 1Q’06. A single later stage deal was completed in 1Q’07, just as in 4Q’06, compared to 5 in 1Q’06, raising a total of €4.2 million compared with €2.6 million in 4Q’06 and €27.4 million in 1Q’06.

    No investments were made in the healthcare sector in 1Q’07, compared with two deals in 4Q’06 and a single deal in 1Q’06.

    There was only one IT sector deal closed in 1Q’07, just as in 4Q’06, although this is down from the 7 deals in 1Q’06. The amount invested totaled €4.2 million in 1Q’07, an increase from €2.6 million in 4Q’06 but significantly down from €28.6 million in 1Q’06.

    There were no exits in 1Q’07, compared to the two exits in both 4Q’06 and 1Q’06.

    Ireland ranked fourteenth in Europe in terms of the number of deals, level with Poland, Romania and Italy, but behind Russia and Austria. Ireland was fifteenth in terms of amount raised, behind Austria and Italy but ahead of Poland and Romania.

    European Investors Focusing on IT
    The first quarter found investors renewing their interest in information technology, which showed signs of a significant comeback; there were 9% more deals and 6% more capital invested in this industry than in the same quarter a year ago. In addition, later-round financings were at their highest point in a year and second round financings also showed significant growth. Another positive sign, according to the report, was that median round sizes across all industries improved upon last year’s increases to reach the highest point on record at €2.7 million overall.

    “The continued growth in round size, especially in second and later rounds, indicates that investors are providing the most promising portfolio companies with the resources needed to progress along the path to exit," said John de Yonge, Global Research Director of Ernst & Young's Venture Capital Advisory Group.

    "Last year saw the most venture-backed initial public offerings in Europe in six years and steady acquisition activity. Investors are focusing greater capital and attention on the subset of companies with the most potential to take advantage of the supportive exit climate in the near term."

    Later Rounds Dominate Activity
    Forty percent of the rounds in the first quarter were later-stage rounds, the largest percentage since 1999. In addition, the €606.7 million directed to the 83 later rounds was the most capital invested in this round class in a year and represented more than half of all capital invested in Europe in the first quarter. Capital investment into second rounds also showed a significant quarter-on-quarter increase, growing 21% to €257.1 million. The median size of second and later rounds is now €3 million and €3.5 million, respectively.

    Seed- and first-round financings, meanwhile, made up 37% of the deal flow in the first quarter but only 19% of the total investment.

    Round allocations varied by industry. Healthcare financings in the first quarter were particularly dominated by later rounds, which made up 55% of the deal flow activity to this industry. Conversely, information technology saw more early-stage activity with seed- and first-round deals representing 41% of financings.

    Information Technology Posts Significant Growth
    Information technology had the most significant upturn of any industry in the first quarter, according to the report. In total, €550.2 million was invested in 133 technology deals, representing €30.1 million more in capital and 11 more deals from the first quarter of a year ago. The software and information services segments showed the most activity for the sector. Software deals increased by 20% over the same period a year ago to 73 and investment increased11% to €222.5 million. More dramatically, deal flow in the information services segment increased 131% to 30 deals, and capital increased more than two-fold to €114.7 million.

    “The emerging interest in Web 2.0 technology—which is mostly focused in the information services segment—seems to be fueling this growth in European technology investments,” said Jessica Canning, Director of Global Research for VentureOne. “In addition, the number of IPOs for information services companies doubled over the past year and this is likely a factor in investors’ preference for the segment this quarter.”

    European venture capital investors also invested more in energy companies, according to the report. There were 10 energy deals in the first quarter, only slightly more than the nine that occurred in the same quarter of 2006; however the capital invested in this segment more than doubled to €58.6 million.

    The healthcare industry in Europe was more constrained in the first quarter, the report found. The 38 healthcare deals and €387.8 million invested here represented declines of 42% and 19%, respectively, from the first quarter of 2006. Nevertheless, the €50 million second-round investment in antibacterial company Novexel of France was among the largest deals of the first quarter.


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    EU startup environment improving but still a gap in early stage support

    From alarm:clock euro:

    "'Startups are being funded at a faster pace lately and some projects are really interesting with global ambitions and presence but there is still a huge gap with other countries and the USA. There is in particular a lack of light investment structure like YCombinator or CRV quickstart or even experienced business angels to support projects at very early stage before they arrive in VC hands.'"

    I will write more regarding this as I feel this is a key element in the startup eco-system. I've had some talks with David Cohen from TechStars on what get him onto his idea and will also talk with Brad Feld regarding whats the 'magic ingredients' necessary for startups at an early stage.

    I have more 'bodies' lined up to talk with (especially as regards Ireland) but if you know of anyone that can help lead some experience/advice please let me know.


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    How's this for an exit - Zanox - without VC funding

    From alarm:clock euro:

    "Affiliate marketing startup Zanox, has been acquired by Swiss PubliGroupe and German media company Axel Springer for €214.9M plus an additional undisclosed performance related payment. It took less than a year for Zanox, which grew into a hundred million a year company within six years and without the aid of VC, although it did raise an undisclosed single digit million euro amount from unnamed Asian private investor in 2005, to be acquired after making sure the business press knew it was looking for a buyer."

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    Web 2.0 VC Dealmaking On The Upswing in UK/EU

    From alarm:clock euro::
    "Europe can do well if we learn to live with the losses. Some companies will fail. In the US, when that happens, people say ‘hey, we tried’ and start again, but in Europe people remember the failures more readily than the successes.”

    Today the Financial Times has a report inspired by fresh research from Paul Fisher of First Capital on Web 2.0 and Internet investments in the European region in 2006. It reports the amount raised last year jumped to more than £144M (about €219M). It also has commentary from active online service investors, such as Barry Malone of Benchmark Capital who talks about the "spray and pray" approach to investment and Fred Destin who talks about what it will take for Europe to grow.

    Fisher posted the original data on his blog along with some good analysis, and created a good table showing all the deals in question. He writes:
    More than £144mn was raised in Europe across seed and first rounds in 2006 by 54 European web2.0 companies. This total doesn’t include the “undisclosed investment” rounds, of which there were 16.

    The growth is remarkable.

    In the UK in 2005, just £24mn was invested into web2.0 companies. In 2006 that figure increased threefold with £79mn worth of early stage investments into 21 companies.

    The FT's article is currently not behind its firewall, so you can read it now. Here are some quotes from Benchmark's Malone:
    These [Web 2.0] companies are also much cheaper to set up than other technology businesses.

    "It is very difficult to build up a semiconductor company or an enterprise software business. You need to invest $40m to $50m before you know if you have a product that works," Mr Malone said. "With web 2.0 companies you can find out after three or four million dollars whether it will work."

    As a result, Mr Malone said, many European venture capital companies were using a "spray and pray" strategy, spreading small amounts of investment over dozens of companies in the hopes that two or three would make it.

    Just in case you think Barry doesn't know what he is talking about -
    Prior to joining Benchmark, Barry spent five years as CEO of Esat Digifone, Ireland's second largest GSM mobile operator. Under Barry's leadership, Esat Digifone expanded to a profitable company with 900 employees, more than 1 million customers and IR400 million in revenues. Esat Digifone was acquired by British Telecom at a market value of IR£2 billion and is now part of the O2 Group.

    Before Esat Digifone, Barry spent two years at Xerox Corporation in Palo Alto, California, where as Vice President of first Business Development and then Channel Operations, he was instrumental in revolutionizing Xerox’s approach to global marketing. Before this Barry enjoyed a pan-European career at Digital Equipment as European Pricing Manager, Director of Software Business Europe and Vice President of the Component and Peripheral Business Unit Europe.

    Previously looked at Enterprise Irelands 2006 startups and mentioned FinFacts current report on economy and investments etc.. - not good reading.
    Only six jobs were created in the €110m Information Age Park Ennis (IAPE- Shannon Development) in the past 12 months...
    Professor Danny Breznitz of the Georgia Institute of Technology says our research infrastructure is too narrow in its focus and may not be sustainable...not creating enough new businesses,...
    ......GEM...found the percentage of people who were either thinking of going into business or had just started a new venture slid substantially in Ireland...

    Also posted about Irish VC Investment slackening in Q1 2007
    Only one deal was completed in 1Q’07, down from 4 deals in 4Q’06 and 7 in 1Q’06.
    There were no seed, first or second round deals in Q1
    There was only one IT sector deal closed in 1Q’07, just as in 4Q’06, although this is down from the 7 deals in 1Q’06.
    There were no exits in 1Q’07, compared to the two exits in both 4Q’06 and 1Q’06.
    Ireland ranked fourteenth in Europe in terms of the number of deals

    Mentioned goverment subsidies and views in a previous post.
    Bridges Ventures..VC group.. invest in deprived parts of the UK... make its 27th investment

    Bridges raised £40m for its first fund, including £20m from the UK govn... as well as private equity executives ..and 3i. But its second fund of £50m had no government money.

     micro financing may look unattractive to many VCs ... claims his funds are outperforming the rest of the VC market.

    Also mentioned some views on angel/VC investing from EU Innovate conference.

    So it will be interesting to see how Ireland does over 2007 as so far it looks sloooow, besides MapFlow.


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    Irish/ EU R&D funding for SMEs seminar, May 28th, Cork UCC, IRL

    from Business Plus  online news

    University College Cork is to host seminar on how SMEs can take better advantage of Irish and EU R&D funding

    On May 28, UCC, in conjunction with the South West Regional Authority (SWRA), Enterprise Ireland and CorkBIC, will host a seminar entitled “Research for SMEs – How to Benefit from New Funding Programmes” to highlight the latest supports for industry to gain access to R&D both nationally and in Europe.

    SWRA, as part of its DRIVE for Growth Initiative, is working in conjunction with all regional research organisations and business development agencies to address deficiencies and barriers in the way academia and business exploit public R&D and knowledge transfer. These include cultural differences between the business and science communities, legal barriers and fragmented markets for knowledge and technology.

    Sinead Crowley, projects manager at SWRA, said: “If we can increase the number of indigenous companies who participate in R&D and build the levels of knowledge being shared, then we have new opportunities to create economic spin-offs for local companies and support their economic sustainability and competitiveness moving forward.”
    'TTI facilitates the effective transfer and commercialisation of technology between university and industry'

    Crowley said that a major innovation is taking place to help Irish companies benefit from the world-class research expertise available in UCC through its Technology Transfer Initiative (TTI), an industry outreach programme to provide access for Irish companies to world-class research facilities. “Funded by Enterprise Ireland, the TTI facilitates the effective transfer and commercialisation of technology between university and industry, applying new knowledge and technologies for the economic benefit of the region.”
    'Recognising the concerns and constraints of small industries is the key to the TTI's success'

    According to Miriam Collins, TTI programme manager: “Recognising the concerns and constraints of small industries is the key to the TTI's success together with the provision of an easy-to-access entry point to the resources and expertise within UCC. As a prime source of knowledge, UCC has a significant role in the process of technology transfer to Irish industry.”
    'Speakers will give participants a greater understanding of what's involved in national and European funding programmes'

    Collins said that innovation can be an “expensive and lengthy course of action”, adding that many companies find it difficult to begin the process. “Negotiating the minefield of funding agencies and bureaucracy often puts people off trying. However, help is available and this seminar aims to assist industry through the process. Speakers will give participants a greater understanding of what's involved in national and European funding programmes as well as ways to access that funding. A number of case studies, involving local companies, Science2Business (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK?) and Cybercolors (?), will highlight the advantages and benefits of collaborative R&D.”

    Artie Clifford, managing director of Dingle Bay Seafood Soups, feels that “with the assistance of the TTI at UCC, food producers are being given access to the huge depth of knowledge which is available in our universities and which will help to give us a major competitive advantage in Europe”.

    For more information on the seminar contact Sinead Crowley, Projects Manager, SWRA on 021 487 6877 or e-mail or contact Miriam Collins, Programme Manager, TTI, UCC on 021 490 2823 or e-mail


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    EU VC: What have we learned?

    From Paul Fisher's blog-European Venture Capital: What have we learned?:

    "I think that the European VC scene is a notably better place and that THNGS ARE GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME.

    The ecosystem for entrepreneurs is getting better: from uni spin-out hubs & clubs to booze fuelled dinner table debates.

    The quality and segmentation of investors is getting better; from international success-stories like Index to small, ultra focussed funds like Eden Ventures.

    The DIALOGUE is getting better;
    I doff my cap to initiatives like open coffee club which fosters mutual understanding.
    I believe VC –entrepreneur relationships are far less adversarial and far more informed than they were 8 years ago. (Fred has a nice angle on this too)"

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    Anyone apply for Top 15 EU Startups competition?

    (OOPS - this one got stuck in the Web2Ireland blog Drafts Q :(    )

    Anyone know or enter for this?
    Deadline was by May 2nd, and happens on May 10th in Madrid.
    I found it via Richards post on ReadWrite

    StartUp2.0 is a competition of European web 2.0 sites whose objectives are to promote and reward the European startups (either created or willing to do so in the future) that work in the field of 2.0 technologies.

    The Irish boys not up 4 this and fancy a trip 2 Spain (with cheap RyanAir flights) ?

    I see our man Tom is on the panel...

    Should EI or someone be keeping a 'diary of relevance' for Irish startups?

    Fergus gave a mention earlier


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