Irish AI and biotech founders make the Forbes 30 under 30 list

7 Mar 2023

Image: © Araki Illustrations/

The founders of Protex AI and Ochre Bio were some of the Irish names included in Forbes’ latest 30 under 30 list.

Forbes has released its latest 30 under 30 list for Europe, with multiple Irish entrepreneurs among the latest cohort.

A total of 300 founders and entrepreneurs were included in this year’s list for Europe, who collectively raised more than $3bn in capital, marking a $1bn increase from the 2022 list.

A number of Irish names made the list, including Dan Hobbs and Ciarán O’Mara, the founders of workplace safety start-up Protex AI.

Founded in 2021, this company uses AI technology to provide a “third eye” to existing CCTV infrastructure. This technology lets Protex AI audit workplaces across the port, logistics and manufacturing industries to ensure conditions are safe for staff.

Last month, Hobbs told that the company was created after reviewing CCTV footage of an accident and realising “freak accidents aren’t so freakish”.

The start-up has had a busy period since it was founded two years ago. Protex AI was one of five start-ups with Irish roots that bagged a spot in the prestigious Y Combinator programme in 2021.

Last summer, Protex AI raised $18m in a funding round led by British private equity firm Notion Capital to expand its technology across Europe and North America.

Another Irish founder to make the prestigious Forbes list was Jack O’Meara, a co-founder of Oxford-based biotech Ochre Bio.

Founded in 2019 by the Athlone native and Quin Wills, Ochre Bio is working to improve the viability of donor livers by testing RNA treatments on donated human livers that can be kept alive for several days inside the lab.

These therapy treatments aim to regenerate poor quality donor livers to give more people access to quality organs for transplants.

Last October, Ochre Bio raised $30m in a Series A funding round to help test for these treatments. The start-up plans to conduct human liver pre-clinical testing throughout 2023 to help determine which therapies should move into clinical development in 2024.

Other Irish entrepreneurs included in the latest Forbes list include Ailsing Byrne, founder of clothing exchange app Nuw and Liam McMahon, co-founder of Beyond Creative which makes games for brands on Fortnite.

Last year’s 30 under 30 list for Europe had three Irish visionaries including NASA research scientist Caoimhe Rooney, who spoke to about her role at NASA and trying to improve diversity in STEM.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic