Super T and 104 entrepreneurs make Startup Weekend in Dublin sizzle

19 Jun 2017

Participants at the June 2017 Startup Weekend in Dublin. Image: Kehlan Kirwan

While most of Ireland was being cooked by the sun, industrious entrepreneurs were cooking up world-beating ideas.

The winner of the June 2017 Startup Weekend in Dublin was Super T, a company that is looking to use 3D printing to increase drug adherence for kids.

In runner-up position was one for the comic lovers, ReachComics, which wants to provide a subscription service for indie comics and a focus on fairness for creatives, by giving them an outlet to sell simply online.

‘It’s phenomenal to see how much people can achieve in 54 hours in such a fast way to introduce them to entrepreneurship’

Future Human

Now in its seventh year, Startup Weekend Dublin was supported by Google For Entrepreneurs and Bank of Ireland (BOI).

The event opened its doors to 104 attendees on Friday evening (16 June). There were more than 35 ideas pitched, ranging from new ways to split bills in restaurants, to chatbots and AI travel assistants.

During Saturday and Sunday, teams were coached and pushed to validate their ideas by getting in front of customers, either offline or online, while building prototypes to start proving the validity of their ideas.

Late into Saturday evening, there was a surprise visit from Adeo Ressi, founder of global pre-accelerator programme The Founder Institute, which had its launch last week in Dublin.

Pitch perfect

Each team had an opportunity to pitch and get some great feedback. These were eventually whittled down to 11 ideas, which made it through to the team formation stage.

“We’re now into year four supporting Startup Weekend at Bank of Ireland across the country, with events happening in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway each year,” explained Gene Murphy, BOI entrepreneur in residence.

“It’s phenomenal to see how much people can achieve in 54 hours in such a fast way to introduce them to entrepreneurship, thanks to what Startup Weekend aims to achieve in such a short amount of time.”

More than 160 people had signed up to attend and watch all of the attendees’ work from the weekend. They were joined by the Startup Weekend judging panel, which included: Tom Early, Enterprise Ireland; Sean L’Estrange, Head of BOI, Dublin city; Jane Gilson, director of emerging markets at Google; and Gary Leyden, commercial director at NDRC.

Zoheb Iqbal, this year’s facilitator for Startup Weekend Dublin, had flown in from London on Thursday evening to work with the local organising team here.

Iqbal opened proceedings to a packed Google Foundry and began to explain the ethos behind Startup Weekend, while preparing the crowd for the 11 start-ups about to pitch in the grand final.

“Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs everywhere by helping them engage with their communities and connecting them to the resources they need to launch their ideas,” Iqbal said.

“At Startup Weekend, our mission is to inspire change in the lives of entrepreneurs, and it’s so exciting to see all the creative energy that is coming out of Ireland’s start-up ecosystem. We can’t wait to see and support these amazing entrepreneurs on their journey.”

Once the pitches had been pitched and the judges had judged, Gennadii Nissenbaum of Google, a key local Startup Weekend organiser, took to the stage to introduce a panel discussion from previous participants and organisers on what to do after the event.

Startup Weekend will be 10 years old globally on 7 July, with the event to be celebrated by a 200,000-plus attendee alumni and 10,000 volunteers, taking place in more than 150 countries.

Participants at the June 2017 Startup Weekend in Dublin. Image: Kehlan Kirwan 

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