Ireland Venture Capital/Startup Events

Continuing with the Startup Events theme, I thought I’d start posting what I’m seeing around Europe. Conor over at Argolon gave me the low-down on what’s happening on the green isle:

Dublin has traditionally been the mobile dev centre here (Movidia, Newbay, Xiam, Puca, S3, Rococo etc etc) and I think that is still the case. Scattered around the country you have start-ups like Cubic Telecom and YouGetItBack in Cork, VoiceSage in Limerick, Nubiq in Waterford. We’re only just dipping our toes into mobile/wireless etc in LouderVoice with SMS reviews/customer feedback. Medium term aim is full LBS functionality along the lines of Socialight or Whrrl.

We had the big success with DemoBar last autumn and there was supposed to be a follow-up in January but it hasn’t happened yet. TechLudd is a new monthly meetup but it is mainly concerned with the web (and techies). The OpenCoffees in Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Galway, Belfast and Dublin are still pretty small (we average 15 or so in Cork) but particularly strong mobile presence in Limerick. They are also kicking off a BarCamp there pretty soon. Web2Ireland is still probably the best place to keep an eye on for events. The TechLudd guys have also recently started which looks good. Finally, Mobile Monday Dublin seems to be a bit quiet at the minute (

I found out via about the upcoming Adobe Air developer day here in London (too late, now full)…

What other resources/upcoming events should the budding europreneur know about? Post any thoughts in the comments…

(+ I’m planning a trip to Denmark in the near future- anything I should be sure to catch?)

London Venture Capital Events

A comment was posted earlier in the week asking what events are relevant for new arrivals in London looking to get involved in the venture/start-up comunity. I was looking for the same in 2004 and posted a short list in 2005. Here’s a revised short list of VC-related events in and around London, no particular order:

Regular events:
Internet People (no link)
Open Coffee
City Zone
Mashup events
Mobile Monday
Geek Dinner
Second Chance Tuesday

Symbian Smartphone show
Paid Content UK events
Library House events

Mike Butcher over at TechCrunch UK tends to post lists of upcoming events on a regular basis. Latest list here.

Any events I’ve left off, feel free to add them in the comments section.

World Mobile Conference- The Year of the Browser

The number one thing that jumped out at me during the conference was Google’s report that there are 50x more searches originating from the iPhone than any other mobile handset.

Just to put that in perspective there are 4 million iPhones in the wild compared to 3 billion other mobile devices. This goes hand in hand with O2’s report that 60% of U.K. iPhone users are sending or receiving more than 25 MB of data a month- which is unheard of on other handsets.

Android was only available on a few booths- AMD, Qualcomm, etc. From the demo I saw, it’s clear that Android will offer iPhone-like touchscreen functionality along with a tightly bundled suite of Google Apps and browser. It’s important to highlight that Android is using WebKit- the same as Safari on the iPhone (and Mac OS X desktop).

Opera was demoing their latest 9.5 release- showing off Opera Desktop, Opera Mini, Opera Mobile and Opera Wii. They’ve created a browser for many, many other non-handset devices (Wii, Airplanes, Archos, etc.) They allow users to sync their profile, bookmarks, widgets, etc across all devices. (This is the exact same functionality that Apple should be offering.)

I didn’t see Mozilla, but Firefox is coming soon.

Great browsers, combined with device specific site optimization (e.g. iPhone) or server-side optimization (e.g. Novarra) mean 2008 could finally be the Year of the Browser on mobiles.

Symbian Smartphoneshow

I heard from DoCoMo, Vodafone and Nokia this morning (but Sling Media stole the show in the early afternoon).

I wanted to highlight a few key points that jumped out at me:

Smartphones represent LESS than 10% of the market in every western country except Italy

Smartphones are primarily used by males, over 35 earning circa six figures (except Italy).

Smartphone use is going from “snacks” to “utilities” (no mention of Italy)


The smartphone show as really packed- and they’re all rushing for sub 10% market? Obviously, this is going to grow and obviously more services are going to become available, but today’s conference has really reinforced how risky it is to be making early stage investments in the mobile application space (unless there’s a solid web tie-in?). You definitely want to be selling the shovels, not digging for the gold…

Some of Tim O’Reilly’s Address Book 2.0 thoughts came out, but on balance, I was pretty disapointed with what I heard… hopefully FOM will be much better.

Busy Week

The Alarm Clock reported on our follow on investment into Mirriad last week and also picked up my recent post on RSS- highlighting one of our other portfolio companies- Magpie.

Tomorrow, I’ve been asked to join a panel at Mashup Demo. Magpie are demoing their latest version of Brandwatch- hopefully there will be some prospective portfolio companies in the mix as well.

After that, it’s off to the Blognation launch party. Then Wednesday/Thursday it’s the London Edition of FOWA.

And if you don’t have enough on your plate this week, go visit Mahalo’s site. They’re delivering some great content- on everything from Amazon’s MP3 Store debut to Halo 3.

Promoting Europreneurship- what’s next?

San FranBrightoncisco, Silicon Fen (Cambridge), Silicon Glen (Scotland), Silicon Isle (Ireland), Silicon Ditch (London)- whatever you call it, how do we make it better?

Saul has spearheaded seedcamp, we’re running our accelerator program for the 4th time, some universities have speaker programs, corporates are actively supporting start-ups (Microsoft, Oracle, Google) and there’s an ever-growing list of great events to attend (even first tuesday is back)- which is great, but it’s all top-down and by nature available to all of about three companies.

I ran across a few posts from Ireland over the weekend which were good food for thought: Conor’s post on David Heinemeier Hansson, a response over at Pinstripe and further comment at waveson.

Basically, what we seem to need are guys like David to start inspiring others to start writing amazing code- and then we’re really onto something…

What do you think- what’s next and what’s needed?

Oxford University Entrepreneurship Competition

Just in case you missed my post earlier this year, Oxford are running their 21st Century Entrepreneurship Competition:

The Oxford University 21st Century Challenge Competition is a new and ambitious international entrepreneurship competition being run by the Said Business School, Oxford.We are looking for bold and innovative business ideas that can help to solve the key environmental, health and social challenges of the 21st Century.Entries are now invited into the following challenge tracks:• Tomorrow’s Planet – the environment• Tomorrow’s People – healthcare and medicine• Tomorrow’s Wealth – wealth distributionThe deadline for all submissions is 5pm (GMT), Friday 12th October.Nine short listed finalists (3 from each track) will be invited to pitch their idea to a panel of judges at the Said Business School in Oxford on Thursday 29th November 2007.The overall competition winner will receive the top prize of £35,000 in cash, with three further prizes of £10,000 for the winner of each challenge track.

You don’t have to be an Oxford student to participate. The application deadline is 12th October. Continue reading “Oxford University Entrepreneurship Competition”

Search, Europe and the essential web [updated]

Last week was really busy, with Library House’s essential web splitting the week in half. The first session was on one of my favorite topics: Search

The lineup of new search/vertical search engines were Quintura, Migoa, extate, trexy, garlik and the todeka project.

I caught up with Douglas of extate (pic on the left) the day before at the Atlas Venture event (thanks Fred!), and he’d let me know they would be announcing funding the following day. Glad to see that extate has raised initial funding- what these guys are trying to achieve is difficult and I wish them lots of luck…

A few key points worth drawing out of the session with the corp dev teams at Google, Yahoo and News Corp are: capital efficiency is king, build to run/profit don’t build to flip plus a few things from their shopping list: geospatial apps, checkout and mobile.

The final point was the pervading theme throughout the event: Europe is hot, and London is hotter.

…and I couldn’t agree more (after all, not living in the US was a conscious decision).

Elsewhere in the World of Search, I’ve been using lijit (now the default search engine on this site), Spock and last (but not least!) Mahalo (adding mahalo to firefox’s search bar is dead easy tutorial here).


Library House published their weekly newsletter yesterday which focused on the search companies at the essential web event. Newsletter available here.

Continue reading “Search, Europe and the essential web [updated]”

Oxford Start-up Contest

Oxford University’s Said Business School has announced their 21st Century Challenge Competition offering up to $70,000 to the competition winner:

Applicants will be required to submit a 5-page Executive Summary of their idea by Friday 12th October 2007. The first round judging will take place in October by a
panel of entrepreneurs, academics and other key figures in the field and will reduce
the field to nine finalists (3 from each category).

The final of the competition will be held at the School on Thursday 29th November
2007. The nine finalists will present their applications to a judging panel before an
audience of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, policy makers,
academics and corporate guests.

A first prize of up to £35,000 will be awarded to the competition winner, along with
three runners-up prizes of between £5,000 – £10,000.

Chris Sacca (Head of Special Initiatives, Google) will be speaking at the launch next week as well.

Start your engines!

Continue reading “Oxford Start-up Contest”