Bottleneck wins pitching contest at 2019 revival of Dublin Beta

24 Oct 2019

From left: Victoria Almazovaite, WeWork Labs; Alex McGonagle, co-founder of Bottleneck; Rob Walsh, COO of Bottleneck; and Mike Brennan, Finch Capital. Image: Bottleneck

For the first time since 2017, Dublin Beta’s mixer for start-up founders, the tech community and investors was held as part of Dublin Startup Week.

From 2011 until 2017, tech networking event Dublin Beta took place in the capital city, giving members of the Irish tech community a platform to meet investors, PR professionals, founders and like-minded people.

When it was launched in 2011, it was an extension of SF Beta, San Francisco’s longest running start-up mixer, which was established in 2006. The last time the event ran in Dublin was in 2017 but, this week, it returned as part of Dublin Startup Week.

Dublin Beta 2019 was held in Dublin’s WeWork Labs, where it was co-hosted by Finch Capital. Founders were given an opportunity to showcase their business to the community and receive feedback from peers, potential customers and investors.

Commenting on the return of the event, Mike Brennan, principal at Finch Capital, said: “Dublin Beta was at the heart of the start-up scene for many years and Finch Capital, with our friends at WeWork Labs Dublin, are delighted to have brought it back for one more night.”

Brennan said that the return of Dublin Beta during this year’s Startup Week provided a platform to enable 15 exciting new start-ups to get their product out there.

The pitch event

When spectators arrived to Dublin Beta, they were given three poker chips to distribute to their preferred start-ups, as founders pitched their ideas and plans for the future. By the end of the night, the company that received the most chips would be named the winner.

At Dublin Beta 2019, the winner was Bottleneck, a company founded by Alex McGonagle. Bottleneck uses machine learning, AI and Facebook Messenger to reduce the workload needed to provide 24/7 customer service online.

At the event, McGonagle said: “The future of customer engagement is through conversation. Bottleneck automates customer service using artificial intelligence on Facebook Messenger and automatically segments your audience so you can re-engage to increase conversion. If your customers are messaging you on Facebook, then talk to us.”

Shane Curran’s start at Dublin Beta

Earlier this week, we reported on the Dublin infosec start-up founded by a former BT Young Scientist winner, which received $3.2m in investment in a round led by Sequoia Capital.

This BT Young Scientist was Shane Curran, who’s now 19 years old. His company Evervault is building privacy tools for secure cloud hardware across both web and mobile applications, with the aim of taking privacy away from compliance and making it a product feature.

While Curran has made a name for himself in the business and science world with his recent achievements, the young man launched his first start-up at Dublin Beta at the age of 12.

Speaking to at the time, he described his first business: “Libramatic provides an automated smartphone and web-based library system. You had to type everything in manually and it was just so hard on the librarians, so I decided it needed to be more modern and updated.”

Before launching his product at his own school, Curran decided to share it with the public at Dublin Beta. Back in 2012, he told “It’s really one of the only events around like it, so I just decided to launch there.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic