George Moore named Enterprise Ireland’s start-up ambassador to the US

18 Dec 2012

Louth man George Moore, viewed by many as the founding father of the decision analytics industry – aka big data – has been named by Enterprise Ireland as its start-up ambassador to the US. Moore sold his company TARGUSInfo last year to Neustar for US$580m.

Moore will play an active role in encouraging overseas entrepreneurs to locate their start-up businesses in Ireland.

He is the fifth entrepreneurial ambassador to be appointed by Enterprise Ireland in the past year. Other appointments include Liam Casey as start-up ambassador to China, Dylan Collins as start-up ambassador to the UK, Paul Kenny for the Middle East and Dr Art Rosenthal as life sciences ambassador to the US.

The announcement follows on the launch late last year of a dedicated €10 million International Start-Up Fund to target investor ready overseas entrepreneurs to start their business in Ireland.  Administered by Enterprise Ireland, the fund is open to company promoters anywhere in the world, but is targeted particularly at the Irish Diaspora, international expatriates, the ‘New Diaspora’ (people from overseas who have previously worked or studied in Ireland), as well as serial and mobile entrepreneurs.  

If data is the new oil, George Moore built the refineries

Moore is a board member of the Ireland America Economic Advisory Board and the New Ireland Fund and in 2007 he received a honorary CBE from Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to the Northern Ireland economy and his international work for all of Ireland.

University College Dublin graduate Moore left Ireland in the 1970s after winning a Ford Foundation scholarship.

He went to work in Silicon Valley where he founded National Decision Systems, which became one of America’s fastest growing companies. He founded TARGUSInfo in the 1990s with Jim Schaffer to provide intelligent call processing information for firms ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, in particular, telecoms providers.

This set in motion many of the analytical and personalization capabilities that most internet users take for granted on sites ranging from Google and Facebook to Amazon and may others.

‘Don’t forget, nobody ever started a large company. Every company began small’

In an interview with earlier this year Moore said: “When I left Ireland in 1973 and came to the US, if I was to compare and contrast, the US was very entrepreneurial and companies were starting up all the time.

“Don’t ever forget, nobody ever started a large company. Every company began as a small company. HP was two guys, Intel was Andy Grove initially. Everybody starts small, some become big and obviously there are lots of failures.

“In Ireland in 1973 it would have been next to impossible for somebody with a great idea to get financing. Plus there was very little empathy for risk taking and less empathy for failure.

“As I look at it today, Ireland has developed tremendously. Not forgetting the debt issues, the country is attracting investment, we’re seeing lots of start-ups and people are taking risks so the culture has clearly moved on,” Moore said.

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