First Fridays in Dublin notches up 10,000 minutes of start-up mentoring

31 Aug 2017

First Friday for Startups mentoring at Dogpatch in Dublin. Image: James Keating/Yohei Ishikawa

The First Fridays for Startups series is celebrating its first birthday.

Tomorrow (1 September), First Fridays for Startups at Dogpatch Labs in Dublin will mark its first anniversary as a go-to resource for early-stage start-ups from all over Ireland.

Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, the series aims to equip founders and their teams with skills and know-how to navigate the choppy waters of entrepreneurship.

‘The night after attending First Fridays for Startups, we were offered and later accepted pre-seed investment from one of the mentors’

According to figures provided by Dogpatch, around 170 start-ups received 10,000 minutes of mentoring in the first year. This involved more than 500 attendees, 400 mentoring sessions and more than 100 mentors and speakers.

Dogpatch Labs managing director Patrick Walsh said that year two will improve on the format and content, bringing more mentor sessions, keynotes, lightning talks and facilitated networking.

“Participants have been coming to the event from across the land, with start-ups from Cork, Galway, Skibbereen and even Belfast,” Walsh said.

“By acting as a platform, we’ve seen participation from the NDRC, Enterprise Ireland, Startup Weekend and more. First Fridays also provides easier access to other programmes such as Google’s Adopt A Startup and Silicon Valley’s Blackbox Connect.”

One start-up, Cerebreon, has already landed an investment. “The night after attending First Fridays for start-ups, we were offered and later accepted pre-seed investment from one of the mentors,” said Gillian Doyle, founder of Cerebreon.

“The sessions allowed us to ask questions that you often are afraid to ask. My advice to start-ups thinking of attending: go! Be prepared, open and honest. Be ready to take criticism and adapt your business.”

Let’s go mentor!

Early- and seed-stage tech start-ups can engage one on one with mentors, ranging from Google experts (online sales, growth strategy, product development and more) to mentors from across the tech ecosystem.

These include founders such as Brett Meyers of CurrencyFair and Charles Dowd of Plynk, to experts on topics such as UX design, accounting, legal, funding, pitch training, PR and more.

Events also include talks and keynotes, presented by individuals such as Mark Cummins, co-founder of Pointy, and Stephen McIntyre, ex-Twitter EMEA VP and now partner at Frontline VC.

Tomorrow’s edition will see Brian Norton discuss what he’s learned raising €115m in funding for Future Finance, while the lightning talks are focused on cap table management, with speakers in the form of a VC investor, a tech start-up lawyer and a start-up accountant.

Mentors include Paul Hayes of Beachhut PR and venture capitalist John O’Sullivan as well as experts in UX, sales, Facebook marketing and more. On the same day, start-ups can also join other ecosystem events, such as The Commissioner’s Brekkie and The Silicon Drinkabout.

Google’s director of trust and safety, Paddy Flynn, said the important aspect of First Fridays is community development.

“The high attendance of the event is a clear indication of the value brought to Ireland’s start-ups from Google’s ongoing partnership with Dogpatch Labs.

“First Fridays for Startups provides an important focal point for the community for sharing learnings and engaging with other members, and complements our very successful Adopt A Startup programme.”

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