Irish entrepreneurs to share insights at Startup Grind event in Silicon Valley

4 Feb 2013

Patrick Collison, co-founder of Stripe. Image via InterTradeIreland

Today an event called Startup Grind will be kicking off in Silicon Valley to bring together entrepreneurs, investors and founders of technology start-ups from around the globe. Two Irish entrepreneurs will be sharing their tech insights at the event: Patrick Collison from Stripe and Connor Murphy from Datahug.

Enterprise Ireland will also have a presence at Startup Grind in order to connect with self-starters and to spread the message about Ireland as a location to start a tech venture.

The Startup Grind movement was spawned in Mountain View in Silicon Valley back in 2010 as a monthly event series, explains Darren Mulvihill, the director of Startup Grind’s Irish chapter. In his day job he is head of seed investing at the Lucey Fund.

“It brought in a series of monthly events where you would have speakers such as Jason Calacanis to talk to the community about issues that mattered to people who were actually founding start-ups,” said Mulvihill.

The formula has since spread to have 25 chapters in the US and 15 international chapters, including the Irish one.

“The events bring in founders, investors and notable people in the tech industry in those communities to interview them in front of members of the start-up ecosystem in that area,” explained Mulvihill.

Ireland’s first Startup Grind was held last September.

The Silicon Valley Startup Grind will differ, however in that it is a global event to bring chapters together for three days.

Ireland’s start-up ecosystem

Enterprise Ireland is also involved in the Silicon Valley event and is hosting a lunch to bring together all of the directors of the different Startup Grind chapters.

“Enterprise Ireland just wants to spread the ‘start in Ireland’ message to those people,” explained Mulvihill. This ties in with the agency’s €10m International Startup Fund that is targeted at attracting international start-ups to locate in Ireland.

Interestingly, the event will feature two Irish entrepreneurs: Patrick Collison from Stripe and Connor Murphy from Datahug.

Collison is best known for having sold a start-up he founded with his younger brother John for €3.2m when they were both just teenagers. Since then the Collison brothers have launched an online payments engine called Stripe.

Last February Stripe raised US$18m in venture capital from Sequoia Capital and other investors.

Mulvihill will be interviewing Collison on Wednesday at Startup Grind.

“Patrick is coming along to feature as one of the speakers. I’ll be doing a fireside chat with him and we will be talking about the main problems that Stripe is solving in the online payments area. We’ll also be talking about Ireland as a place to start a business,” said Mulvihill.

Murphy, meanwhile, is one of the co-founders of Datahug, which has created a cloud-based search-engine platform to allow companies to tap into previously unknown relationships to help with their business development.

Datahug scooped two awards at the recent Europas, which were held in Berlin – one of these awards was for best Irish start-up.

Last October, Datahug secured US$3.2m in Series A financing from the venture capital firm DFJ Esprit. This financing was on top of the US$1.5m seed funding it raised in 2011.

At Startup Grind, Murphy will be talking how start-ups can go about building a Silicon Valley company outside of Silicon Valley.

The Silicon Valley Startup Grind event will kick off this evening with a fireside chat with Bing Gordon, a venture capitalist with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Notable speakers at Startup Grind over the coming days will include Dave McClure from 500 Startups and the US blogger and tech evangelist Robert Scoble.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic