PlayerTek – sports performance science for everyone

PlayerTek is one of Ireland’s leading firms in the sports science sector. Co-founder Ronan Mac Ruairi reveals how PlayerTek started and grew into a market leader.
How did you get into this business?
My background is in physics and I landed my first job in data and analytics. I moved to IBM and spent a few wonderful years working there and much to my parent’s dismay, I left the company to join a startup called Web Factory in the early 90s. It was a time when very few people used the internet and we saw ourselves as innovators. We even invented our own version of Facebook which was called PaddyNet and at this point the term social media was unheard of. We then sold it to Horizon in 2000 and I spent the next decade working in academia (in computer science). I then moved into the sports science field as I felt there was a gap in the market which I could fill.
“We’re able to answer all the questions coaches ask.”
Is the sports science sector big in Ireland?
It’s a big market in relation to our population. We’re a country that’s sports-mad and by that I mean the level of participation, not just fan engagement. The GAA is one of the major drivers in that because they are able to get communities all across Ireland to back their local teams from grassroots level up.
“It’s an easy-to-use system for coaches who don’t have deep sports science experience.”
What is PlayerTek?
We’ve developed a small physical device which weighs about 50 grams and it’s placed on your back when you play football. It has a high-precision GPS tracker. It can track you down to within 30cm of your location so it’s incredibly accurate and we try to do that ten times per second. This will then

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/improve-your-performance-with-playertek/ on thinkbusiness

€750,000 funding for startups

€750,000 in funding will be made available for startups in Enterprise Ireland’s final Competitive Start Fund of 2018.
Up to €50,000 in equity funding will be given to 15 innovative startups.
The fund is open to all industries with a focus on manufacturing, life sciences, and renewables sectors.
The fund is designed to help businesses advance critical technical and commercial milestones.
“This is the eighth and final CSF funding round of this year,” says Joe Healy, divisional manager, high potential startups, Enterprise Ireland. “The CSF provides an initial critical fuel injection to help launch early-stage startups and bring innovative business ideas to an international market.”
Who should apply?
Early-stage projects that can demonstrate that:

the product or service has reached a minimum viable product stage, at a minimum, live in beta;
the product or service has demonstratable customer validation with (trial and/or paying) customers;
there is a fully articulated proposition addressing an apparent gap in the market with market research conducted with customers/potential customers;
proper channels to international markets have been identified.

This CSF is open for applications on Tuesday, 18th September and will close on Tuesday, 2nd October.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/funding-for-startups-in-ireland/ on thinkbusiness

Diary of a student entrepreneur, Vol 5

In the fifth and final diary entry, our student entrepreneurs talk about their experiences taking part in Trinity’s Launchbox – the highs, the lows and the valuable life lessons. 

Cian Fogarty, Greener Globe
The past three months LaunchBox have been a rollercoaster with many challenges and successes. Our main problem when coming into the programme was to get the product our on to shelves in stores. It’s tough to make that transition from having the product manufactured and ready to sell to actually having it in a store. However we’re delighted to say we have overcome that challenge, and you will all be able to buy an Aquacica shower head in shops very soon. This has been a significant success for Greener Globe.
When we came into LaunchBox, we had our minds set on the retailer market, whereas we now have plans in motion to access many other avenues which have significantly expanded our business.
From everything we do at Greener Globe we try to learn from it, whether it be a success or failure. At the beginning of the summer, we were spending lots of time ‘cold messaging’ people. We would scrape through LinkedIn, find everyone of interest and drop them a friendly message. We soon learned that no matter how nice your message is, the reply rate won’t be high. It was in LaunchBox that we learned the power of a ‘warm introduction’.
“Startup life will stand to you.”
Over the coming three months we have big plans. We have recently secured a new deal to roll out Aquacica, and we are also participating in the Climate KIC Accelerator programme. The next three months will probably be the biggest for Greener Globe. But then that tends to be right every three months. 
I would advise everyone to think about getting involved with or founding a

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/diary-of-a-student-entrepreneur-vol-5/ on thinkbusiness

A new school for Irish food startups

A new digital ‘School of food’ has been launched in Ireland to help food startups succeed. 
The ‘School of food’ is designed to help people building, or in the process of establishing, a new small food production business.
“It supports food companies to develop and grow, with advice from some of the leading practitioners in Ireland. It is part of our commitment to the food sector in supporting their development and growth,” says the head of LEO, DúnLaoghaire Rathdown, Owen Laverty.
The school was built by the Dublin Food Chain and the Local Enterprise Offices in the Dublin region. It’s the first of its kind in Europe, giving food entrepreneurs access to expert advice from their own home or office.
To learn more and apply, go here. 
Useful topics that can be studied include:

Plan your journey
Route to market
Think about finance
Grow your sales
Expand your business
Support for experts

The school is available to food businesses in the Dublin region initially, following which, it will be rolled out nationally.
The need to know more
Supported by Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and the Dublin Institute of Technology, the school came about as a result of the keen interest among food entrepreneurs to learn about succeeding in business from key industry experts.
Pictured is Maria Betts of Maria Lucia Bakes who has worked closely with dlr’s LEO office in the development of her award-winning gluten wheat and dairy free cereals.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/a-new-school-for-food-startups-in-ireland/ on thinkbusiness

A traditional Irish pub delivered to your door

Functions and events often take place in pubs across Ireland, but wouldn’t it be great if the entire Irish pub could come to you? The Shebeen may just be the answer. 
‘The Shebeen is a mobile traditional Irish pub,’ says John Walsh. ‘I bought a caravan for Electric Picnic in 2013 and after a year of looking at it in the garden, I thought it would be fun to design and create something unique. I have always been interested in traditional Irish bar interior, and the warm feeling you get from having a pint of Guinness, a sing-song or a joke or two. Since then, we have built and shipped a Shebeen to Boston USA, and we are now creating other concept mobile bars, such as The Hayshed which we launched last year.’
“You can rent The Shebeen for an event and we’ll deliver it to the site.”
Did you work in the alcohol industry?
I have never worked in the alcohol industry, but I grew up in a business family where creating experiences and entertaining was part and parcel of our home. It’s in my blood. I’m a creator at heart, a problem solver and a trained craftsman. I worked in Australia, the U.S. and Canada before returning to Ireland in 1998 to start J.W Design, a furniture design and interior fit-out business. In 2010, I founded Clinical Cabinets which specialises in designing and fitting out laboratory, cleanroom and healthcare spaces. I love designing furniture and space solutions and working with a variety of specialist materials to improve people’s space.
“I have never worked in the alcohol industry, but I grew up in a business family where creating experiences and entertaining was part and parcel of our home. It’s in my blood.”

How does it work?
We have two arms to The Shebeen business: rentals and custom

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/a-traditional-irish-bar-that-comes-to-you-the-shebeen/ on thinkbusiness

Diary of a student entrepreneur – Vol. 4

In the fourth diary entries, our student entrepreneurs discuss the importance of money and raising funds for their startups. 

Anika Riley, Work Smarter
Few startups can just grow organically without funding. I know we can’t. Merely getting to MVP can be a costly and challenging process. That being the case, I think one of the toughest things to hear as an early stage startup is “we don’t invest in ideas”. It made me frighteningly nervous the first time I heard it, so I think the phrase warrants some context.
“One of the toughest things to hear as an early stage startup is ‘we don’t invest in ideas’.”
An idea means different things to different people. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I chronically understate everything to make sure I can over-deliver. So when we were starting out, I thought that phrase meant “we’ll invest when you have serious revenues”. Since my co-founder and I have known from the start that we’ll need funding to get past our MVP stage, that statement was rather crushing. Having investors speak with us in LaunchBox has really helped me form more realistic views of the investment process.
An idea is something you have in a dream, while on a run or over pints. If that’s what you’re pitching, then yes, I wouldn’t invest either. After idea and before sales, however, there’s a whole lot of work. Here, founders are doing endless hours of market research, talking to industry leaders and testing feasibility. Writing a business plan, creating a regulatory strategy, planning execution. Starting to write code, getting input from all sides and then don’t forget: pivot, pivot, pivot.
Now, after some more research and a few more pivots, you’ve got yourself an opportunity. While that might seem like a nuanced linguistic difference, it’s a difference of a few thousand

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/diary-of-a-student-entrepreneur-trinity-launchbox-raising-money/ on thinkbusiness

How safe is the water you are drinking?

Having spent most of his professional career with Colgate Palmolive in various project roles, Stephen O’Connell is now the managing director of Safe2o, a company which tests the safety of drinking water.
What journey did you take to arrive at where you are?
I completed my Masters Degree in business studies in the Smurfit Business School and spent twenty fantastic years in Colgate Palmolive in various project-based roles and I was part of the original team of their EMEA Service Organisation based in Dublin. I gained invaluable experience working on international assignments, leadership roles and commercial projects.
Why are you doing what you are doing?
I wanted to take my Colgate experience and apply it to a business in Ireland. Establishing a company really appealed to me as a challenge and also for my personal development. Last year I set up my company Bring It To The Lab Ltd to simplify the experience of accessing Irish laboratory services, and started by testing the quality of drinking water. There are plenty of excellent companies providing this service with different offerings, but I felt there was an opportunity to simplify the whole experience, by taking a more consumer centric approach and revise the channel approach. I launched the brand Safe2o with a mission to ‘simplify the experience’ end-to-end for the consumer.
“Safe2o is as much about water education as it is about simplifying the experience”
What need is Safe2o meeting?
In the current environment with the shortage of water, there is a greater appetite to understand more about this resource which we often take for granted. Safe2o is as much about water education as it is about simplifying the experience. Everyone has an opinion on the quality of their home drinking water but not everyone would know where to start to get the facts about it. Water consumption

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/how-safe-is-the-water-you-are-drinking-safe2o/ on thinkbusiness

Learn how to sell at a farmers’ market

Are you a food producer? Do you want to learn the skills you need to sell at farmers’ markets?
In September, Bord Bia will host a series of ‘skills workshops’ designed for farmers’ market producers.
The training is open to Irish food, drink, seafood and horticulture producers and aimed at both existing stall holders and first-time producers.
The training is by experienced stall holder and farmer, Margaret Hoctor of Kilmullen Farm in County Wicklow. The half-day workshops will cover a wide variety of skills needed to sell at farmers’ markets including sales and marketing skills, budgeting, stall management and customer service.
“Places are limited, so interested parties are encouraged to register now.”
The interactive half-day workshops will take place around the country:

Kinsale, County Cork on Tuesday 4th September (Acton’s Hotel)
Dundrum in Dublin (Airfield Estate) on Wednesday 5th September
Lough Derg, County Tipperary on Tuesday 25th September (Coolbawn Quay)
Westport, County Mayo (Knockranny House Hotel) on Wednesday 26th September

All workshops begin at 9 am and run until 2 pm. A €20 charge per person applies, and you must register at least three days in advance of the workshop date.
Places are limited, so interested parties are encouraged to register now to avoid disappointment. For registration and further information see www.bordbia.ie/FarmersMarketsTraining or email maria.stokes@bordbia.ie.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/how-to-sell-at-a-farmers-market/ on thinkbusiness

Diary of a student entrepreneur, Vol. 3

In this series, three student entrepreneurs on the LaunchBox programme at Trinity chronicle their adventures. Here, in their third diary entries, they talk about lessons learned and the people they admire in business.

Anika Riley – Work Smarter
During my MSc of Entrepreneurship program, we covered a lot of ground, but we didn’t focus on many of the technicalities of founding a business. Founders’ agreements, vesting shares and some of the legal points around investment might not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of being an entrepreneur, but messing up any of them can kill a company regardless of how good the product is. The speakers that have come into LaunchBox have really pushed us to think about these things early and manage many of these legal necessities on a startup’s budget.
Someone who I very much admire is Céline Lazorthes, the founder of the fintech companies Leetchi and Mangopay. As a female CEO in the financial services sector, she and her female CTO heavily emphasise company culture and are a welcome glimpse into a more diverse future. And, while she is an impressive woman on all accounts, the fact that she founded Leetchi straight out of university resonates with me in particular.
“Work Smarter exists because we sincerely believe that freelancing should not come at the cost of financial security.”
Jumping over to an entirely different sector, I am consistently impressed with the ethics and transparency of the company Dr Bronner’s. What I find most inspiring is their refusal to accept the status quo and their unwavering commitment to a vision. In pursuit of this vision, they hold themselves to high standards such as by capping the CEO wage at five times the lowest paid warehouse employee.
Building such a vision-driven company is what my co-founder and I aspire to.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/diary-of-a-student-entrepreneur-vol-3-trinity-launchbox/ on thinkbusiness

WeWork celebrates the Mavericks and the makers

WeWork is hosting ‘We, the Creators’, a startup event in Dublin in the lead up to its global Creator Awards.
 
In celebration of the 2018 Creator Awards, WeWork Dublin will host an event called ‘We, the Creators’ on August, 29. The Creator Awards, run by WeWork, is a global showcase of the Mavericks and makers who “make it their life’s work to disrupt the ordinary in pursuit of the extraordinary”.
The purpose of the Dublin event is to “inspire people from diverse and different backgrounds to do innovative things with startups”. 
The Dublin panel will be hosted by Newstalk’s, Jessica Kelly (pictured bottom left) and will feature investor, Jamie Heaslip; entrepreneur Ailbhe Keane of Izzy Wheels; and the founder of Metalman Brewery, Gráinne Walsh (pictured right).
You can register here to attend. 
The Creator Awards
If you are interested, you can find more about The Creator Awards here and the $360k in funding that the winners can receive.
About WeWork
WeWork’s first Irish location at Iveagh Court quickly filled up and four further locations have been announced in the past months. These locations include Central Plaza, George’s Dock, Dublin Landings and 5 Harcourt Road.
WeWork, the space and services provider, was founded in 2010 in New York by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey. The business currently has over 253,000 customers using over 280 locations worldwide, from Los Angeles to Jakarta.
 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/wework-creators-awards-dublin-coworking/ on thinkbusiness