Meet the start-ups at the Enterprise Ireland 2019 HPSU showcase

15 Feb 2019

Image: Luke Maxwell/Silicon Republic

The class of 2018 continues to carry the torch of entrepreneurship for Ireland’s start-ups

We caught up with some of the young start-ups inventing for the world of tomorrow at the Enterprise Ireland 2019 Start-up Showcase.

The showcase at Croke Park in Dublin, which was attended by hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors, was all about putting the class of 2018 on display.

‘We are on course to meet the ambitious target of creating 60,000 new jobs by the end of 2020’

Enterprise Ireland yesterday (14 February) announced that it had invested €23m in Irish start-ups in 2018, supporting a total of 132 companies. Among the figures Enterprise Ireland cited as being significant included 82 high-potential start-ups (HPSUs), 50 Competitive Start Funds and 15 spin-out companies from third-level institutions.

Additionally, Enterprise Ireland said that there were 28 women-led HPSUs, as well as 26 HPSUs that received follow-on investment funding as their business scaled.

The ones to watch

Among the start-ups we encountered was Payslip, a payroll management software company from Westport headed up by Fidelma McGuirk. Last year we reported how the company raised €1m in an investment led by Frontline Ventures and AIB, with leading tech investors Tribal, Bloom Equity and Enterprise Ireland.

We also met Thomas O’Connell, who heads up Moby, which focuses on designing, developing and bringing to market a range of products for the emerging micro-mobility market. This includes its own electric scooters and the forthcoming JyroBall product, which improves on the design of the familiar hoverboard and is capable of speeds up to 15km.

We heard from Lucy O’Keefe, co-founder of medtech firm CroíValve, which has developed a safe, effective, easy-to-use, percutaneous solution for treating all patients with severe tricuspid regurgitation.

Andrea Reynolds of Swoop spoke to us about new routes to funding for Irish start-ups, including examining options in the UK.

We also spoke to Luke Feeney from Trinity College spin-out DataChemist, which has ambitious plans to disrupt the traditional database world.

And finally, we heard from John Goulding of Cork-based employee engagement and internal communications platform Workvivo, which already has customers in 23 countries and is growing at a phenomenal rate.

Cultivating the right environment for entrepreneurs

“Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for 2017-2020 is to support more start-ups with global ambition to build scale and expand reach,” said Joe Healy, divisional manager of the HPSU unit at Enterprise Ireland.

“Now at the halfway mark into our four-year strategy, we are on course to meet the ambitious target of creating 60,000 new jobs by the end of 2020. Key to reaching this target is cultivating an environment for more entrepreneurs to develop their business and succeed.

“Working with the government and our partners, Enterprise Ireland will continue to support and nurture an ecosystem that ensures the availability of appropriate supports including finance, mentorship, peer-to-peer learning platforms and access to overseas markets, priming early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs to grow,” Healy concluded.

“I would like to congratulate the start-up class of 2018 and we look forward to continuing to work to help them scale into international businesses in the coming years.”

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