#IIF13 – ‘Don’t be afraid to do a B2C play from Dublin’ – says Soundwave CEO (video)

11 Oct 2013

Soundwave CEO Brendan O'Driscoll delivers his keynote address at the Innovation Ireland Forum in Dublin. Photo by Robbie Reynolds

Brendan O’Driscoll is the co-founder and CEO of the Irish-born music discovery app Soundwave that is fast making a big name for itself globally. Speaking at the Innovation Ireland Forum in Dublin this morning, O’Driscoll said that as of last night, the app had amassed a global userbase of 650,000 people for its iOS and Android app. And his main message: emerging start-ups should not be afraid to do a B2C play from Ireland.

Soundwave, which O’Driscoll co-founded in early 2012 with his cousin, Aidan Sliney, and later Craig Watson, is a social music-discovery platform. Their success has catapulted from that time, and Soundwave has even attracted the endorsement of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

In June, Soundwave came out of beta testing. Now the plan is to monetise from the app through a “big data play” and that is where the business-to-consumer (B2C) part comes in.

O’Driscoll said Soundwave is now on a mission to “marry a B2C play very nicely with a big-data play”.

“We are building up an analytics dashboard so a band manager, or bands, can purchase byte-sized analytics.”

His lingering message was that start-ups should not be afraid to do a B2C play from Ireland, and that they should try to see beyond the business-to-business marketplace, and instead look to the consumer.

Soundwave entered the LaunchPad venture accelerator run by the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) in Dublin in early 2012.

After its three-month stint on the programme along with other start-ups (it won the overall pitching competition there), Soundwave then went on to close a US$1m seed round, led by ACT Venture Capital. As well as Enterprise Ireland, investment came from US angel investors Mark Cuban and Matthew le Merle.

Down at Silicon Docks – Dublin Docklands

Soundwave has chosen to create home-grown jobs: it now employs nine people from its Dublin base.

“We have everything we need,” O’Driscoll told the audience at the forum this morning.

Since spinning out of the NDRC, O’Driscoll has since led the team in its expansion.

“We’re in the consumer-tech space. Our app shows what songs you listen to and follow friends and see what songs they are playing to discover new music.”

In the summer, after Soundwave came out of Beta, he said the app managed to glean 500,000 downloads. Flash-forward to yesterday, and that figure had gone up to 600,000 downloads. And, since last night, that figure is at 650,000 downloads.”

O’Driscoll said the app is now being used in 190 out of 196 countries. It is available in 14 languages, as well.

“It’s difficult to see us as an Irish company,” O’Driscoll said. “You can really be based anywhere and build a global product.”

Where it all began for Soundwave. The LaunchPad venture accelerator at the NDRC in Dublin, Ireland. Here is a glimpse of some of the start-ups engaged in the current LaunchPad

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic