TechBrew event to spur on start-ups in southeast

24 Apr 2012

Spurring on an innovation and tech ecosystem in the southeast

Technology Cluster South East will be holding its first free networking and innovation event TechBrew on Wednesday evening to promote tech start-up activity in the southeast.

Technology Cluster South East itself is a new voluntary group that has been up and running for the past six months. Its aim is to promote the southeast as a region for high-tech jobs.

John McAuliffe, one of the group’s co-founders, is the brain behind TechBrew. He said he has set up TechBrew as an informal way for industry, academia and start-ups in the southeast to network informally and share ideas.

Wednesday evening’s event will kick off at 7pm at Kazbar Bar in Waterford City. The focus of this event will be tech start-ups.

Speakers on the evening will include Gavin Bourke, a partner at NVP. Bourke will be covering the funding environment for start-ups from a venture capitalist perspective.

McAuliffe, who works at Sun Life Financial, said speakers will just have 10 minutes to share their insights and no PowerPoint presentations will be allowed!

“The idea will be to get people asking questions,” he said.

Rory Caren from the IBM Global Entrepreneur initiative will be speaking at TechBrew about how IBM supports early stage start-ups via the programme.

Barry Downes, the executive director of the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG), will also share details of two spin-outs from the group: Zolkc and FeedHenry.

ZolkC, for instance, received a €500,000 investment in January to ramp up its interactive handheld multimedia technology for tourists and to expand into the North American and Canadian markets.

And FeedHenry was involved in a global app deal in January with Telefonica Digital to launch a platform that enables businesses of any size to build their own mobile apps.

As for the Technology Cluster South East group, volunteers from the tech industry, as well as the private and public sector across the southeast, are behind the initiative.

McAuliffe said the idea is to create a type of tech cluster ecosystem in the southeast to link up education institutes with research centres, regional authorities and industry, as well as emerging start-ups.

He said the group also hopes to offer supports in areas such as a proposal writing facility to help SMEs participate in EU funding and e-procurement programmes.

As well as Wednesday’s event, TechBrew will be holding future events in the region down the line.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic