Google’s new Dublin Tech Hub puts city on global start-up map

27 Aug 2015

A bridge across the Liffey - Google has added Dublin to its global Tech Hub Network through a partnership with Dog Patch Labs

In a move that puts Dublin firmly on the global start-up map, Google has added Dublin to its Tech Hub Network through a partnership with Dogpatch Labs.

In what is a major coup for the city’s burgeoning start-up community, the Tech Hub Network increases the amount of start-up resources available from Google in terms of mentors, access to new technologies and access to co-working space in other cities that are part of the Tech Hub Network.

Dogpatch Labs’ members will now also have access to Google Tech Hub co-working space in more than 20 locations around the world, including London, San Francisco and Tel Aviv.

Specifically, the Tech Hub will see more and more Google start-up events moved to take place at Dogpatch Labs, which is expanding the 200-year-old vaults beneath the chq Building at the IFSC into an 8,000 sq ft start-up space in partnership with Ulster Bank.

It will also make access to Google start-up programmes more easily accessible as well as mentorship from Dublin Googlers more possible.

Dogpatch Labs’ companies will also be eligible for Google product offers relevant to start-ups.

Start-ups will also have access to the Google for Entrepreneurs Global Passport where entrepreneurs from each hub can work for free at spaces designated at any other hub in the global network.

The move comes almost a week after Google announced a new €150m data centre for Dublin that will generate 400 new jobs in the construction phase.

Google already employs up to 5,000 people in Dublin – 2,500 directly and 2,500 indirectly.

Google’s start-up spirit — boosting Dublin’s start-up ambitions

Google came to Dublin first in 2002 when it was just a five-year-old company with plans to generate just 80 jobs and it is now one of the largest employers in Dublin city.

Paddy Flynn, director of product quality at Google in Dublin and the driving force behind the arrival of Tech Hub in Dublin, explained that the new hub is an extra layer on top of the existing community engagement Google has with the start-up community in Dublin, including Start-up Weekend and Adopt A Start-up.

Google in Dublin has also been a key driver behind the involvement of Irish start-ups in programmes like BlackBox Connect and in bringing start-ups over to Google’s campus in London.

‘The ultimate aim is to help create a focal point for the start-up community in Dublin’

On the question of why Google doesn’t have a dedicated start-up campus in Dublin like it has in London and Barcelona, Flynn said it is a matter of ticking the right boxes. Dublin doesn’t have the scale of London and actually has more advantages for scaling than Barcelona.

“For start-ups in Dublin it is very easy to go west and scale up in the US while retaining a strategic foothold in Ireland.

“Ireland does have a strong partner co-working ecosystem and we felt that the Google Tech Hub partnership model would work best in Dublin as it has in Paris and Berlin.

“The ultimate aim is to help create a focal point for the start-up community in Dublin.”

Dogpatch Labs is scaling up in Dublin


The Google Tech Hub investment comes hot on the heels of Ulster Bank investing in developing the 8,000 sq ft vaults beneath Dogpatch at chq Building.

Dogpatch Labs’ managing director Patrick Walsh described the partnership as another feather in the cap for Dublin’s growing start-up ecosystem.

He said that it will also play in neatly with Dogpatch’s ethos of hosting a strong mix of local start-ups and IDA-backed start-ups from overseas.

‘We are already seeing amazing network effects through interaction with overseas start-ups visiting Dublin’

Dogpatch Labs’ reincarnation as a co-working space became formal back in February with the opening of new offices at the chq Building in the IFSC. Prior to that, it existed as a start-up incubator linked with venture capital player Polaris Ventures.

The new Dogpatch Labs headed by Walsh operates on a “pay-to-play” basis. Current tenants include some of IDA Ireland’s most promising clients — including NuoDB and Twilio — while local start-ups include ChangeX as well as regionally-headquartered but fast-moving start-ups like Cork’s Teamwork and Waterford’s NearForm.

“One of the things that excites me about the Google Tech Hub partnership is how start-ups can now access a global network of co-working spaces and communities across the world from San Francisco to Tel Aviv, Chicago, Hong Kong and many more.

“We are already seeing amazing network effects through interaction with overseas start-ups visiting Dublin,” Walsh said.

“Key programmes like BlackBox Connect and Adopt a Start-up will continue, only perhaps more of them, and expect plenty more mentoring sessions, international demos and other programmes and workshops.”

Dublin image via Shutterstock

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