10 incredible Inspirefest speakers you won’t want to miss


9 Jun 201761 Shares

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Nilofer Merchant, the ‘Jane Bond of Innovation’, is just one of the amazing speakers set for Inspirefest 2017. Image: Cooper Bates

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Inspirefest 2017 is edging closer and there are some speakers we can’t wait to see take to the stage in Dublin.

Got your tickets to Inspirefest yet? The sci-tech event of the summer returns to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and surrounding Silicon Docks from 6 to 8 July 2017. Here are just some of the speakers set to blow you away.

The Silicon Valley disrupter

Silicon Valley is a place known for its disrupters but Ellen Pao is making change where it matters, forcing the tech community to face up to its gender diversity problem and greater inclusion struggles. This summer at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre will be the first time the famed investor, entrepreneur and start-up adviser will speak in Ireland.

The tech leader with a different vision

The role of president of Bell Labs and corporate CTO of Nokia might not sound very artistic, but Marcus Weldon is a tech supremo who is fired up by the possibilities of STEAM – that is, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) with an injection of the arts. Bell Labs isn’t new to the STEAM bandwagon, having established the EAT (Experiments in Arts and Technology) initiative more than 50 years ago. Weldon says, “We are trying to create new, human, cognitive magic,” and he will be bringing his vision for transformational technologies to the Inspirefest stage.

The ‘Jane Bond of innovation’

Nilofer Merchant has been described as the person most likely to influence the future of management and ‘the Jane Bond of innovation’ because of her ability to guide companies through impossible odds. The Silicon Valley business guru and TED speaker appeared at Inspirefest 2016 as part of a spirited panel discussion on the sharing economy and returns this year to reveal ‘The Power of Onlyness’ based on her upcoming book on making “wild ideas mighty enough to dent the world”.

17 reasons not to miss Inspirefest 2017

The Scissor Sister

Scissor Sister, broadcaster and witch Ana Matronic recently added ‘author’ to that string of qualifiers when she wrote Robot Takeover: 100 Iconic Robots of Myth, Popular Culture & Real Life, a visual and informative collection of 100 robot icons. Matronic brings her love for all things robotics and tech to Dublin this summer and promises, “If anybody makes robots, I will want to talk to them and shake their hand.”

The gaming legends

Once again, Inspirefest brings you two Romeros for the price of one with both Brenda and John returning to the stage. This husband-and-wife team are gaming royalty with roots deep in industry classics such as Dungeons and Dragons and Doom and new developments coming from their Galway-based company, Romero Games.

The World of Warcraft maestro

Joining the Romeros to talk gaming and game design will be Eimear Noone, the Irish composer who turned a 10p gig for Metal Gear Solid into a phenomenal career in video game music. To name just a few of her credits, Noone has worked on classics such as Diablo III, World of Warcraft and, more recently, Overwatch, a game that has a dedicated following of millions of players.

The incredible Irish inventor

Inventor, CEO and super-successful crowdfunder Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh is the woman behind Sugru, the wonder material referred to as “21st-century duct tape”. Invented to help people repair and improve things, this mouldable glue has sold 10m single-use packs since its launch in 2009. The company recently raised around £2m through crowdfunding platform Crowdcube and Ní Dhulchaointigh recognises that it’s not just funding that comes from the public, but inspiration, too.

The female founder to watch

Armed with many years’ experience in the industry, Patricia Scanlon gambled on speech technology taking off – and, boy, was she right. At the start of the year – through an Inspirefest event – SoapBox Labs raised €1.2m in seed funding, helping to get its children’s speech technology off the ground. Now, the plan is to get a product to market before the year is out, with something lined up for the end of the year that should, Scanlon hopes, “make a big, big splash”.

The fintech change-maker

In 2004, while working as a programmer at TiVo in San Francisco, Matt Flannery co-founded Kiva, a non-profit allowing people to lend money online to low-income entrepreneurs. In the next 10 years, about $1bn would be lent to small businesses in more than 80 countries. Flannery has since moved on to build Branch, a branchless Android-based smartphone bank offering small loans to people in Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria. “We’re in three countries right now and the plan is to create a pan-African branchless bank,” the ambitious Flannery told John Kennedy.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Book now to join us from 6 to 8 July in Dublin.

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