By @SimonCocking

Describe the company.

SpeakUpp is an audience engagement platform that facilitates the conversation between an audience and a speaker. We allow event attendees use their smartphone as a microphone and facilitate a more conversational, inclusive experience for an audience.

How are you different?

Existing solutions involve a text based platform or expensive hardware. We think text based solutions prevent a human connection and hardware is cumbersome and expensive. Our solution leverages existing hardware to create a similar platform.

Why will the company/product do well?

SpeakUpp is easy to use, deploy and scale. Our web app makes it easy for users to begin using our service without the hassle of downloading and registering for an app. We have received significant traction with leading Universities and Corporations. In the last 5 years there has been a shift away from the traditional lecture style approach of one speaking to many to a more conversational approach. Similarly, event technology has become more prevalent within the event industry.

Where are you based?

We are operating in Ireland with our base in County Dublin.

When was the company launched?

The idea originated whilst our CEO, Liam was in a lecture in Trinity College. The lecturer wanted to engage with the class of 200. She was struggling to get the class engaged whilst walking around the lecture with a roving microphone. Liam noticed this was an inefficient process and began building a team to solve this issue. We then began developing during our summer holiday and we are close to our MVP.

What have been your biggest wins to date?

We have had a number of successes to date. We were accepted into Lunchbox, Trinity’s summer accelerator program which allowed us time and space to build our platform. During this time we had lots of small wins, we secured several test partners, Universities, Corporations and Event Organisers where we will begin testing in October. We were accepted into New Frontiers Phase One, but perhaps our biggest win was acquiring our first customer. Up to this point we had lots of market validation from Universities, Corporations and Event Organisers but having customers pay to use SpeakUpp gave us validation that we have a platform that offers real value and that we are on the cusp of bridging the gap between a speaker and audience.

What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?

As we have conducted research we have realised how our platform is not only applicable for conferences and events but also useful in lectures and corporate meetings. At the moment we are trying to attract event organisers and venues because this is where we add most value. For attendees, we allow them to be more interactive and as a result learn more from their experience at an event. For organisers, a more engaged attendee results in a happier attendee. Attendees will walk away from events informed and enthused by their experience resulting in a positive reflection upon the event.

Tell us about your team?

Our team consists of Liam Quigley (CEO), Liam Farrelly (CTO) and Eoin Gannon (COO). The team met whilst studying Computer Science and Business at Trinity College Dublin, this has given them all a good programming ability and understanding, mixed with a good business knowledge. Quigley initially brought the team together and leads the team as they move forward. Whilst the whole team has a background in Computer Science it was Liam Farrelly who naturally became CTO. With his natural coding ability and desire to use his talent to create something useful, he has strived at leading development to date. Eoin leads our operations and manages our sales.

What tips would you give to others looking to build their business?

From the time we began building our company we have learned so much. We are constantly evolving, as a team and as a company and there are lots of things that we would love to go back and do differently. Quigley’s advice is don’t be afraid to get your idea out there, if it is a good idea it will carry you far and if not you will learn a lot. Farrelly’s advice is to give it your all from the off and don’t be afraid when things don’t go to plan: “Every moment is a learning experience”. Eoin would advise someone looking to build their business to ask for help and utilise all the resources available. In Ireland particularly, people with experience in starting their own companies are more often than not happy to meet and help you on your journey.

What are your long term plans for your product/company?

After our launch in March we plan to have improved the delegate experience at 100 events in the following year. As our platform is so easy to deploy we plan to become the leading players worldwide in bridging the gap between speaker and audience.

What are your favourite tech gadgets?

Quigley’s favourite tech gadget, old fashioned as it may seem, is his self-built gaming PC which has pride of place on his desk at home. Farrelly’s favourite gadget is his Huawei smartwatch. Eoin’s favourite gadget is his Nikon D3400.

What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?

We think VR will become more prevalent in the future, as people having been saying for years, but we do believe that VR can create a virtual attendee experience

How do people get in touch with you?

We love hearing from people as everyone seems to have a use for SpeakUpp and an opinion on how it can be leveraged for their event. The best way to reach out to us is email [email protected] or follow us on Twitter @speakupp.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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