The ‘Start-up 3’ report a rich harvest from Silicon Valley

1 Apr 2010

Three Irish technology start-ups who took it upon themselves to head to Silicon Valley to meet technology giants and venture capital companies have reported strong gains in terms of nascent and potential business relationships.

In recent weeks, Learnpipe, and imeeGOLF headed to Silicon Valley on their own steam and met with some of the region’s highest profile technology companies, including Google and Sun Microsystems, and will pitch their businesses to some of the Valley’s most respected venture capitalists.

Endeavour Programme participants

Selected from more than 500 applicants, all three companies are currently partaking in the Endeavour Programme, which is based out of the Tom Crean Centre in Tralee, Co Kerry.

Since returning, John McGuire of has continued to forge ahead with – the game-changing golf analytics system.

He says he has garnered serious interest from investors and business angels on both sides of the Atlantic. He has returned again this week to Silicon Valley for a week of follow-up pitches to several VCs who are focused on online communities, technology and location-based services.

“The meetings being held over the next seven days are with some amazing venture capitalists – one in particular I keep asking myself how did I manage that, as he himself, let alone his investment arm, is a global brand.

“From distribution, to software development, to contract manufacturing – we’ve made substantial progress on all aspects of the business since we last met. The response from the investment community has been phenomenal and our story is getting stronger and gaining momentum every day”.

Results from Silicon Valley trip

Phil McNamara of – the app that better informs local shoppers – is also gathering momentum. McNamara stopped over in Texas, on the way back from the February Valley trip.

He met with a world leader in smart phone shopping apps and is in the process of securing a solution that will see them working together on a new project.

“This is a huge step forward for us. Getting the world leader to buy into what you are doing is a massive vote of confidence. They’re coming on board with knowledge transfer commitments,” McNamara said.

John Dineen of Learnpipe – the site that helps you find training courses and classes around the world – says his company has seen its growth curve reach impressive levels in recent weeks.

“Over 3,000 new courses are being added to our sites each day. We’re seeing excellent traffic growth levels across the domains. For example, for the Indian market is showing a 600pc growth in traffic for the last 30 days.

“Since returning from Silicon Valley, our focus has been very much on two things: commercialising the sites (generating revenue); and scaling our offering (more courses, more cities).

“Both are critical to us gaining the investment that we need to take the business to the next level. The most important takeaways from Silicon Valley for me were, firstly, the scale the opportunity that’s over there if you really go after it, and secondly, having a presence there is essential if the US market is important to you,” Dineen said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: John McGuire of, John Dineen of Learnpipe and Phil McNamara of

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