Silicon Valley trip earns €29m for Irish firms

28 Mar 2008

A trade mission to Silicon Valley of Enterprise Ireland-supported technology firms has netted €29m in contracts and partnerships for the Irish companies involved, ranging from biometric security to interactive learning services.

Ireland’s economic and technological link to the US has been in place since IBM came to our shores in the Fifties and has grown from strength to strength ever since, with Google, Yahoo!, Apple, eBay and Intel joining the ranks of global tech firms locating key offices here.

On the other hand, Ireland’s indigenous tech companies have also grown in strength and numbers. The deals struck on this trade mission are a case in point, marking a time when much IP and technology is coming out of Ireland and into the US.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Michael Martin TD, noted that in the last year alone Irish companies have opened 47 offices across the US. However, he did not say how many of these were specifically technology related.

But the trade mission to the Valley was dominated by tech firms like Daon, who did a deal with NEC Corporation that will see it rolling out a biometric border control system for Japan.

Irish car-hire technology firm CarTrawler, which already has 1,500 partners in 95 countries around the world, has also just signed a deal with US Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC). This will bring its services to over 20,000 travel agents and corporate travel departments across the US., whose customers include O2, Vodafone and Tesco, benefited from the trip by forming a relationship with Arizona State University to take responsibility for tagging and tracking the mobile devices of its 65,000 students and staff.

Universities spin-outs have also been faring well, with University of Limerick campus company Powervation opening new offices in Palo Alto in the Valley.

Minister Martin said of the trade mission’s success: “Investment relations between the US and Ireland have entered a new era, marked by a dynamic two-way investment flow.

“Irish companies are now investing more in the US than ever before. In fact, in the past decade, such investment has increased ten-fold, making Ireland the 10th largest investor in the US market.”

By Marie Boran