These are the 5 most popular Irish start-up trends of the past few years

14 Jun 2019

Image: © oneinchpunch/

PR agency ClearStory has published a report documenting growing and falling Irish start-up trends, with AI dominating the conversation.

In what might not come as much of a surprise to those at the coalface of the Irish start-up scene, artificial intelligence (AI) has absolutely dominated trends for the past few years. Now, a report published by the PR agency ClearStory has put this into numbers.

The findings document 37 growing and falling start-up trends in the Irish media between 2016 and 2018, and aim to help fledgling companies tap into a potentially lucrative space.

Looking at the top five trends in terms of media appearances, AI has more than tripled its media coverage over the space of three years. This was particularly noticeable between 2016 and 2017 when the number of discussions grew from 361 to 988, or a 173pc increase. Interestingly, the number of posts by Irish media in 2018 totalled 1,065, or just a 7pc increase on the previous year.

Coming in second place was the distributed ledger technology blockchain, which was talked about 136 times in 2016 and rose to 492 in 2018. Third place on the list was the catch-all term fintech, which was also the first to show a decrease in popularity among the Irish media. The number of pieces grew from 379 to 669 between 2016 and 2017, but this fell by 31pc to 455 in 2018.

While AI as a whole made the top spot, subcategory machine learning came in fourth place with a total of 329 media appearances in 2018 versus 155 in 2016. Finally, e-commerce is another trend experiencing a slight dip in popularity, from 334 in 2017 to 309 in 2018.

Rising stars and worrying nosedives

There are some rising stars among the various tech trends out there at the moment, most notably the gig economy led by Uber, Deliveroo, and other delivery and ride-sharing platforms.

In 2016, just nine media appearances discussed the gig economy, but in 2018 this had surged to 122. The bitcoin bonanza of 2017 has also had a noticeable effect on the ranking of cryptocurrency, with it showing just 18 appearances in 2016, but totalling 234 in 2018.

Among the trends that have experienced a nosedive in media coverage, according to the report, are drones, which has fallen from 137 media appearances in 2016 to 75 in 2018. Likewise, the sharing economy has fallen in the same period from 86 to 28, and virtual reality from 167 to 128.

“Overall, media coverage of tech and start-ups is growing in Ireland, and the implications of emerging tech on the everyday lives of Irish citizens is becoming a key focal point in the news agenda,” the authors of the report said.

“The ‘buzz’ cycle of most trends can take up to seven years to peak, with AI still burning bright in Ireland. We will be watching with interest on what trends lead in 2019 and hope to provide further detailed analysis with future reports.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic