By Patrick van der Valk Helping CEOs and other leaders take advantage of marketable opportunities. Over 20 years of experience with startups in San Francisco, London, and Lisbon.

Last October twelve startups in Ireland battled for the ESB Spark of Genius award and be one of three startups to be flown to the WebSummit in Lisbon and receive an ALPHA Exhibitor Package. The Spark of Genius is open to all early stage Irish startups that have received under €1 million in funding. At the WebSummit they had to pitch their idea in front of a crowd and there a jury selected a winner of the 2016 ESB Spark of Genius award.

In its fifth year at the Web Summit, the ESB Spark of Genius Award creates a global platform for young Irish entrepreneurs to showcase their companies and their ideas. Patrick van der Valk caught up with the finalists just before they had to present. Here are the interviews:

David Shackleton – OpenBack. OpenBack is software that help streamline notifications on your phone. This is a B2B play where they integrate with various app developers. It does resolve a problem because notifications on your phone really are becoming overwhelming, even though they are useful.  OpenBack ended up to be there winner of the ESB Spark of Genius contest.

Garrett Flower – ParkPnP. Parkpnp is an online marketplace for parking. It helps people to find parking spaces and users can list their unused spaces to drivers to generate income. It has potential because we all frequently face the problem of finding parking spots yet seeing open spots where we cannot park.

Conall Laverty – Wia. Wai provides developers with a real time platform for building Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The platform is being used by developers across the world. With the explosion of IoT this looks like an interesting play.

Energy, IT and Telecoms sectors are merging in a perfect storm of new opportunities, John McKiernan ESB


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