7 start-ups shaking up Ireland’s data science scene

17 Oct 2019

Dromore Castle in Limerick. Image: © Patryk Kosmider/Stock.adobe.com

From optimising athlete performance to developing predictive analytics for public transport, we’ve rounded up some of the most exciting data science start-ups from around the country.

All October, we’ve been shining a light on some of the business opportunities and STEM innovation in Galway and the west of Ireland.

And as it’s Data Science Week on Siliconrepublic.com, it only makes sense to look at some of the most interesting players emerging in Ireland’s data science scene, with a primary focus on the west coast.

Orreco (Sligo)

Founded by Dr Brian Moore and Dr Andrew Hodgson, Orreco uses cutting-edge machine learning and AI to optimise athlete performance. The business, which was set up in 2009, works with coaching, performance and medical staff to make sense of data relating to athletes.

Orreco applies advanced research-driven solutions in science and analytics to deliver actionable insights and strategies that help keep players off the bench and ready to perform.

Hodgson and Moore share the same goal – they love sports and they are fascinated with what drives performance in athletes, so are aiming to use proven sports and data science to enable elite athletes to consistently perform at their best.

The Galway company’s tech has been adopted by some of the most well-known sports organisations and teams in the world, with clients from the NBA, the NHL, UEFA, PGA Tour and Formula 1, to name a few.

CitySwift (Galway)

Founded in Galway by CEO Brian O’Rourke and COO Alan Farrelly, CitySwift is a cloud-native, data-driven technology platform for urban bus networks. O’Rourke, a former Citibank analyst, and Farrelly, who was born into the bus industry, founded their business in 2016.

In March 2019, the company raised €1.5m from investors including Irelandia Investments, ACT Venture Capital and former CarTrawler CEO Mike McGearty, to continue developing the two products on the CitySwift platform: SwiftInsight, which delivers predictive business intelligence, and SwiftSchedule, which automatically generates optimal bus schedules.

Combining operational information with a vast array of big data sources to develop rich datasets that are unique to each bus network and location, the start-up also uses machine learning models to train the platform to deliver highly accurate predictions.

Asystec (Limerick)

Limerick-based Asystec is an award-winning data management company that designs solutions to help users identify, secure and manage their key data assets within their organisation.

The company was founded by Les Byrne and Brendan McPhillips in 2011. The company now employs around 50 people in Limerick, Cork, and Dublin. The company’s clients include global brands and multinationals in Ireland and the UK, and the firm is also involved in data analytics projects in China and the US.

In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the company was named in Deloitte’s Fast 50. It was also named Storage Partner of the Year by Dell in 2019, and scooped the prize for Enterprise Partner of the Year at the Tech Excellence awards this year.

Derilinx (Dublin)

Derilinx was founded in 2014 by former research associate in digital government, Deirdre Lee, and her co-founder Fergal Marrinan. The business is a spin-out of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics in NUI Galway, but is based in Dublin.

Derilinx provides linked and open data solutions, paving the way for evidence-based decision-making and cost savings through greater organisational efficiencies and improved use of business intelligence.

The goal at Derilinx is to ensure every individual in an organisation that uses and publishes data is comfortable with finding and using this data in a consistent and secure manner. We spoke to Lee in greater detail about this last month, when she discussed how we can harness the power of data.

Siren (Galway)

Founded by Giovanni Tummarello and Renaud Delbru in 2014 and now led by CEO John Randle, Siren is one of the Galway Technology Centre’s most exciting residents at the moment.

The start-up has developed a modern investigative intelligence platform, which coordinates business intelligence-style dashboards with best in class, full text search, knowledge graph link exploration and domain specific visualisations.

In 2018, Siren raised €3m in seed funding in a round led by Atlantic Bridge University Fund. The funding is being used to help bring the company’s platform to new markets. The business has strong ties to NUI Galway, where it was originally formed to research big data at the university. It now services life sciences and financial services firms. In a financial services context, Siren can be used to detect fraud and insider trading.

Output Sports (Dublin)

While not based on the west coast, this Insight spin-out is worth a mention. The winner of 2019’s National Best Business Idea at Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Awards, Output Sports was founded by UCD’s Dr Darragh Whelan, Dr Martin O’Reilly and Julian Eberle.

Eberle, O’Reilly and Whelan merge the worlds of sports science, engineering and data science to create scientifically valid wearable technologies that can change the way coaches optimise their athlete’s performance.

The Output Sports team has developed a wearable for exercise analysis that will provide strength coaches, rehab professionals and athletes with laboratory-standard measurements and analysis in a single user-centric, fully integrated system.

Analytics Engines (Belfast)

A Queen’s University Belfast spin-out that has received recognition in Silicon Valley, Analytics Engines specialises in accelerating applications for databases and big data.

The company was founded by Dr Scott Fischaber and has grown into a data analytics partner for local and international customers across industry and the public sector. The business describes itself as seeing data differently, giving it the ability to deliver creative, agile data solutions that are as unique as the challenges they solve.

The start-up’s founders also created Big Data Belfast, which is one of the leading data and technology events on the island of Ireland. This year’s event launches on 24 October, and brings Big Data Belfast into its seventh year.

Updated, 2.50pm, 22 October 2019: This article was updated to clarify that Derilinx is based in Dublin.

Updated, 11.10am, 25 October 2019: This article was updated to include Renaud Delbru as a co-founder of Siren.

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Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic