From Donegal to Silicon Valley – a new start-up is born

5 Oct 20111 Share

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Donegal and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jenni Timony

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An enterprising young Donegal entrepreneur has opened her new e-commerce venture in Silicon Valley – a convenient underwear-by-subscription start-up called Frankley.com that delivers underwear to families across America.

Born of an Irish father and Indian mother, Jenni Timony grew up in Donegal before emigrating with her family to Australia and returning to Ireland when she was 18. Instead of waiting around for the Department of Education to recognise her Australian school results and allow her to pursue her chosen business degree, Timony just went straight into business at 19 years of age.

Her first venture, Doolittles, began as a coffee shop and grew into a sandwich company supplying packaged sandwiches to Aldi and Topaz stores across Ireland and she featured in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2007. She has also worked as a mentor on Jerry Kennelly’s Endeavour programme.

Her latest venture, Frankley.com, is what Timony describes as a product-as-a-service company that is at the spearhead of an emerging underwear-by-subscription trend that is beginning to boom in the US.

She told Siliconrepublic.com that the business has been in development for the past 18 months and she has been travelling the world working with suppliers and identifying products.

She lives in Donegal town but spends a week per month in San Francisco.

The company has recently taken on €300,000 in private investment from Irish investors.

“The key to what Frankley.com is about is supply chain,” Timony explained. “We’ve created a brand and a product around what allows families across America to order underwear. It’s a subscription service aimed at the 29-to-39-year-old working mom who is time poor and would benefit from this service.

“The customers simply go to the site, pick their items and what frequency of delivery they need – every two months, quarterly or half yearly – and the shipment will be delivered within three days of their order. The customers only pay as we ship so it’s flexible.”

Timony has taken a very grassroots US approach to promoting her new company, which launched in San Francisco today. As well as sponsoring an outdoor concert in a downtown park in San Francisco, she has launched the company on the popular Sarah & Vinnie morning show on ALICE 97.3 radio station in San Francisco today and has already been featured on websites and in newspapers across America, including Yahoo Finance, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Daily News, the Dallas Morning News and the San Jose Mercury News.

Frankley.com already employs three people in the Bay Area of San Francisco. “San Francisco and Silicon Valley are a hotbed of technology and creativity and it’s a city that’s very supportive of new start-ups. Technology and creativity are here in abundance.

“Also, there are digital citizens over here. In Ireland, we are getting there but really we are just digital tourists.

“The capacity to utilise technology and leverage things as they happen is incredible here. And because the concept is new and unique I want to give it the best possible chance to succeed,” Timony said.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com