Techstars’ Connor Murphy: ‘ Foundry wants to accelerate some good start-ups’

16 Jun 2017

Connor Murphy, managing director of the Foundry, powered by Techstars. Image: Kevin Abosch

Techstars’ Connor Murphy is calling on promising Irish start-ups in the B2B and enterprise SaaS space to compete for €120,000 in investment.

On Sunday (18 June), applications close for a major B2B and enterprise SaaS start-up accelerator that is due to kick off in Berlin in September.

Leading the Techstars and SAP accelerator is Irish man Connor Murphy, an accomplished entrepreneur who sold his enterprise start-up Datahug to CallidusCloud last year for €13m.

‘Dublin has been identified as one of the passport cities that we are not in yet in Europe’

Future Human

He is one of a number of Irish entrepreneurs who are filling the ranks at Techstars, including Eamonn Carey in New York and Brian Daly, who is now the European marketing manager at Techstars.

A global effort

Ahead of the deadline, Murphy called on European founders with a promising enterprise SaaS or B2B business to join the Techstars ecosystem.

“The programme runs in September and each company that is accepted will get €120,000 in investment.”

He explained that while the accelerator is focused on B2B and enterprise SaaS, there is also a sub-focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Over three months, 10 start-ups will work in the heart of Berlin, with mentors from Techstars and networks.

Murphy emphasised that start-ups joining a Techstars programme are, in effect, joining a global network of 1,100 mentors, 28 accelerators and teams in 18 countries.

“There was no Techstars programme in Berlin three years ago and now there are four programmes in the city, making it the biggest Techstars concentration in the world, which says a lot about Berlin.”

This, of course, prompts a question about Dublin and when Techstars will be establishing an accelerator in the Irish capital.

Murphy said it is more a question of when, not if.

“We look at start-up ecosystems and the maturity of those ecosystems, and if we can get great teams of up to 100 mentors with experience and an entrepreneurial track record, then it’s all to play for.

“Dublin has been identified as one of the passport cities that we are not in yet in Europe, but it is clear that it has that level of maturity.”

He continued: “5pc of all Series A investments in the US are Techstars-backed companies. Techstars and SAP will provide a level of credibility that will be invaluable for any emerging but scrappy start-up.

“The crucial thing to remember [is that] it is a worldwide network with proven deal flow.

“In addition, Techstars has $250m in venture capital with more funding to follow.

“We want to be with start-ups and founders from inspiration at events like Startup Weekend, right through to acceleration to IPO. We want to be with our founders the whole way.”

According to Murphy, there are now 1,100 Startup Weekends happening all over the world, with one taking place now (16-18 June) in Dublin.

“Applications close this weekend for the accelerator and we would love to see an Irish company compete. We know the talent is there, we know the ambition is there, we know Ireland has some of the best entrepreneurs executing right now. If they want to do more faster and tap into our global network and get to their first 50 customers, then we urge them to apply.

“The potential is there to achieve two years of growth in just three months,” Murphy concluded.

Updated, 4.01pm, 16 June 2017: This article was updated to clarify that the closing date for applications is Sunday, 18 June. 

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