The digital business week

22 Mar 2010

A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

Weedle secures US$4m funding for US growth

An Irish-based internet company has received funding of US$4m to expand its social-media platform in the US and other global regions.

Weedle combines developments in social media and semantic web technologies with its own search and social graph algorithm to create an internet platform aimed at facilitating increased demand for skills and employment in the US and globally. 

The announcement was made during an Enterprise Ireland-supported trade and investment mission to the US led by Taoiseach Brian Cowen.  

Weedle’s investors include well-known Irish business entrepreneurs Dr Michael Smurfit and Weedle co-founder and CEO Iain MacDonald, as well as Enterprise Ireland.

50 cyber warfare jobs for Belfast

Q1 Labs Ltd., a global developer of security intelligence solutions headquartered in the US, is to establish its European, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) headquarters in Belfast, creating 50 high-quality jobs.

Q1 Labs is a rapidly growing security intelligence software company focused on combating cyber crime and cyber warfare. Its flagship offering, QRadar, enables companies to stay ahead of cyber threats and to meet compliance mandates.

Invest NI has offered £750,000 of support towards the investment which will generate stg£2million annually in salaries by 2012.
“As we promote the benefits of developing trade and investment opportunities with the US, this new project is a timely and welcome endorsement of the skills base which continues to attract high-tech companies to Northern Ireland,” Northern Ireland’s Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster explained from Washington.

Openet’s R&D investment creates 35 new jobs

Dublin software company Openet is to invest €3.65m in a major R&D development programme which will result in the creation of 35 new high-value jobs over the next year.

The R&D investment by the Irish transaction processing and management firm is supported by the Government through Enterprise Ireland.

Openet employs 145 people in Ireland and the 35 new jobs are high-value positions, including program managers, engineers and senior software engineers. Recruitment for the positions is beginning immediately.

Angel investors raise €4m

The Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) has said its members have raised €4m in 2009 to support early stage enterprises in Ireland via regional networks and investment syndicates.

The group said it intends to create an Irish “angel capital” industry to support early stage investments, specifically in high-tech enterprises.

The group came together last year with the objective of creating a €6m fund that would initially support up to 20 early stage ventures.

HBAN, which is a joint initiative of InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland, raised these funds for 21 early stage firms in a range of different high-tech areas, including medical devices, mobile security solutions, life sciences, biotechnology solutions and software development.

Ex-VMware exec to lead EazyBusiness US cloud growth

A fast-growing Irish cloud-computing company has appointed a senior former executive from VMware and Interwoven to lead its expansion into the US from a new hub in Silicon Valley.

Jeffrey Engelmann has joined EazyBusiness’s executive team as chairman and chief executive officer. As CEO, Engelmann is responsible for company strategy, go-to-market execution, operations and board and investor relations.

The company’s new hub in the US was revealed by Taoiseach Brian Cowen TD during his trade and investment mission in Silicon Valley.

Founded by Pat Bolger and Christopher Karatzinis, EazyBusiness technology leverages industry-leading open-source business applications into a cloud-based offering.

The resulting suite eliminates the high cost of hardware and technical staff while providing high-value business applications at an affordable price. 

Govt to act on Innovation Taskforce report – Taoiseach

The Irish Government will be acting on the recommendations of the Innovation Taskforce, Taoiseach Brian Cowen confirmed while launching the Enterprise Ireland Trade Mission in Silicon Valley.

Speaking before senior Silicon Valley executives and a large group of Irish entrepreneurs, Cowen confirmed the Government will be acting on the recommendations of the Innovation Taskforce.

“The Government will be acting on the recommendations and will strive to position Ireland as the best place in Europe to turn research and knowledge into products and services; the best place in Europe to start and grow companies; the best place to relocate or expand and scale an SME; and the best place in Europe for research-intensive multinationals to collaborate with each other and with clusters of small companies.”

Portable PCs – not desktops – drive industry back to black

The global PC market has slipped from the red back to the black due to improving economic conditions with portable computers – not desktops – leading the charge. However, it will be 2012 before the industry returns to 2008 levels.

After a severely constrained first half, steeply discounted PCs, along with improving economic conditions, steered the global PC market back into the black in the latter half of 2009.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the yearly growth rate for the worldwide PC market in 2009 was 2.9pc.

Portable PCs remained the key market driver, with shipments increasing 18.4pc in 2009 compared to 2008. Consumer purchases of portable PCs were the sole driver of the market, growing at 38.5pc.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Q1 Labs is a rapidly growing security intelligence software company focused on combating cyber crime and cyber warfare

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years