The days of the Celtic Tiger may be behind us, but Ireland is well on the road to recovery. Pro-business policies have made the country an extremely favourable environment for startups, and the capital can lay a convincing claim to be Europe’s Silicon Valley. Here are just seven of the most interesting and highly awarded startups finding success in Ireland.
The best startup concepts are the most simply explained, and it doesn’t get much more straightforward that Fillit: it’s Airbnb for spaces. Whether you’re looking for an event or party venue, advertising space, meeting space or temporary office, Fillit can help you connect with spaces in your area and arrange a hassle-free, competitive booking.
Prospective renters can browse an online catalogue of spaces to find the perfect venue, then pitch their intended use and book with a simple interface. Exhibitors meanwhile can add details and images to illustrate their space, and only accept the pitches they deem suitable. Fillit has already expanded out from the capital and across Ireland, and is likely to make the jump to the UK and Europe before long.
Terms like Big Data and Predictive Analytics have gone under the radar in the last year or two, as cryptocurrency and blockchain have begun to dominate the startup ecosystem. CitySwifter is one of the most promising examples coming out of Ireland, and is looking to apply these concepts to a relatively novel field: public transport.
Buses often operate with very few passengers, and take prescribed routes which can be highly inefficient. CitySwifter aims to use its analytics to assess demand, predicting the capacity and requirements of buses at particular times and locations. Transport companies can then apply this data to optimise schedules, and even only send buses to the stops where they are needed.
No tech startup ecosystem would be complete without an aspiring cryptocurrency business. Mingo are aiming to replicate the success of digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum by floating their own currency called (quite logically) Mingocoin. The difference is that Mingo are targeting a mobile audience, and one that doesn’t necessarily have any experience with cryptocurrencies.
A combined messenger app is the key draw, merging all of your conversations from Facebook, Twitter, Skype and other apps into single feeds. This is then packaged with a digital wallet and gamified elements, giving you rewards and experience points when you play games and use MingoCoins.
It seems like an unusual mashup, but with the explosion of cryptocurrency and contactless payments over the past few years, anything is possible. €650 million in funding and the backing of former One Direction member Niall Horan are certainly sure to make a difference.
When you talk about tech startups, you usually think of app developers and hardware engineers. Yet biotech is one of the many popular and important offshoots of tech – and thanks to the presence of big pharmaceutical companies, Ireland’s scene is thriving. Nuritas is the latest and greatest example of this, aiming to solve common health problems though food.
Nuritas’ work is focused on ‘peptides’, the building blocks of common proteins. It’s already been established that peptides can encourage growth and healing processes, making them a common alternative to steroids for athletes and bodybuilders.
Nuritas believe that these same processes could be turned to healing other chronic conditions such as diabetes – all through the ‘unlocking’ of peptides in existing foodstuffs. Nuritas has already secured more than €25 million in funding, and counts two members of U2 among its backers.
Prominent news stories have made us all aware of the dangers of being hacked. What you might not realise is that attackers can use a more rudimentary form of communication: the voice call. The phenomenon of toll fraud has seen hackers gain control of businesses’ communication channels, and use their numbers to rack up substantial bills to premium services.
Opened in 2016, Velona claims to be one of the only cyber security firms addressing the risks to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) communications. They undertake a deep analysis of businesses’ VoIP channels, using stress tests to identify weaknesses and then providing solutions.
As well as ensuring privacy, security and availability for VoIP services, Velona will also ensure full GDPR compliance. They can also help to protect against TDoS (Telephony Denial of Service) attacks, where a number is bombarded with fake calls until it stops working. The business has been backed by Enterprise Ireland and 465 Holdings, and their board includes experienced telecom executives.
While cryptocurrency has dominated the headline, fintech is very much the darling of the tech industry. Firms are using digital tools to revolutionise the process of transferring and storing traditional currencies as well as digital-only ones. Trezeo are a perfect example of this mindset, and offer a product that’s of use to the everyman rather than the big financial institutions.
Trezeo is a tool for ‘gig economy’ workers who struggle to regulate their income. Careers such as Uber driving, food and parcel delivery, and even dog walking can offer a substantial income and quality of life benefits. Like other freelance work, however, payments tend to be uneven, making it difficult and stressful to keep track of how much you have and what you need to pay.
By partnering with banks, Trezeo ‘smooths’ your income stream into more regular payments, released to you at set intervals. This helps to ensure that you always have the right amount of money at the right time to pay bills in a structured manner. Its two founders have substantial experience in the fintech sector, and their product has already won the Payments Dragons’ Den competition and NDRC Autumn Investor Day. Trezeo’s app rollout is expected in the UK this year.
Flender is one of the success stories from crowdfunded investment platform Seedrs. The premise: peer-to-peer lending, where lenders can set their own rates and terms for borrowers to agree to. Flender calls this approach ‘social funding’, and aims to capture both the consumer lending and business lending markets, worth up to £2.5 billion each year.
Instead of looking to banks with strict conditions and higher rates, businesses can look to source loans from their customers, friends, family and other connections. While this is something that might be happening already, Flender formalises the process with a robust framework and legal protections, and makes it easier for multiple people to contribute towards the loan.
The business has attracted significant talent, including the founder of mobile top-up giant Ding. Flender raised over £2 million in its last funding round, and has already seen millions lent to businesses and consumers alike. This fast, secure and competitive finance platform stands to revolutionise the lending landscape – and has excited fintech fans all over the world.
Former journalist Katya Puyraud is the co-owner of company formation specialists Euro Start Entreprises. Since 2007 Euro Start Entreprises has helped budding entrepreneurs and expanding SMEs with setting up a company in Ireland, and provides services in more than 30 other countries worldwide.