Dublin’s Commissioner for Start-ups, Niamh Bushnell, has revealed the beta version of TechIreland.org, a database of innovative companies in Ireland that can be searched company-by-company, sector-by-sector and investor-by-investor.
The beta version of TechIreland.org features 500 Irish start-ups and 90 investors but will be expanded significantly to include additional resources and information on the innovation ecosystem in Ireland by the time the full version launches in October.
Speaking with Siliconrepublic.com, Bushnell explained she had been inspired by a similar resource in Israel she discovered during a trip to that country last September that listed every start-up, investor, innovation resource, research resource, you name it.
‘It’s a living and breathing thing that will tell the story of Ireland’s innovation journey through the medium of data’
– NIAMH BUSHNELL, DUBLIN COMMISSIONER FOR START-UPS
She said she was surprised no such resource existed in Ireland and it was vital to provide such a resource, not only to Irish start-ups themselves but also a global audience of media, investors and customers.
I put it to Bushnell that this is a kind of a Crunchbase for the Irish start-up ecosystem.
“It’s better than Crunchbase because it presents data on Irish start-ups specifically to the world stage. Until now, start-ups have been existing incognito for some time with no database to present them or map their progress. It’s not only about finding customers for these start-ups but showing them off to investors.”
Bushnell explained that the TechIreland.org database will enable users to chart the progress of companies, investors and individuals, as well as linking to social media credentials and acting as a hub for company alumni.
Joining the dots on Ireland’s innovation landscape
Her colleague Cathal O’Sullivan, a data scientist, explained that TechIreland.org is, in effect, a relational database that links investors, start-ups and research bodies and which, over time, will provide a picture linking people with companies, investors, accelerators, incubators and research.
Bushnell said that the motivation to build TechIreland.org was to present a story of the start-up scene in Ireland that wasn’t being told.
She said very few countries, with the exception of Israel and the US, have created a central location for start-up, multinational and innovation information.
“When I first tried to compile a list of Irish companies, I had to look at more than 65 sources. This is an attempt to solve the silo problem.
“We have gone about this in a very manual, laborious way because that is the only way to do it well. In fact, very few countries have done this well.”
The beta version of TechIreland.org is already a treasure trove of interesting information. Not only can you search for start-ups and multinationals by name but users can filter their search by parameters such as employee numbers, funding stage, product stage, target market and more.
Described as a not-for-profit venture, Bushnell said that, even when it launches fully in October, TechIreland.org will always be a work in progress.
“It’s a living and breathing thing that will tell the story of Ireland’s innovation journey through the medium of data.”