UL student wins Deloitte tech talent competition

11 Jun 2012

Alongside the winner of the Deloitte Top Technology Talent Competition, Philip Hayes, are, from left, judging panel member Paddy Holahan, a tech and business entrepreneur, and Brendan Jennings, managing partner, Deloitte

University of Limerick student Philip Hayes has won the Deloitte Top Technology Talent Competition for his new site Goforagoo.com, which aims to shake up the social networking space by exploring aspects of user interaction both on a virtual level and on a physical level by drawing on the cloud as well as geosocial networking.

The Deloitte competition, which runs annually, sought innovative ideas from university students at all levels across Ireland on how technology can solve a business problem.

Hayes (21) has just finished his first year at UL, where he is a business studies student.

Goforagoo.com and social networking

Speaking following the win, he said the idea for Goforagoo.com came to him because he felt there was a gap in the social networking market.

“Sites such as Facebook gives users the chance to speak to people they already know, while Twitter allows users to talk to people they may never know. The goal behind Goforagoo.com is to give people the chance to speak to new people and make new friends with people they could know,” he said.

Goforagoo.com will differ from current social networks out there, according to Hayes, because it will explore aspects of user interaction both on a virtual level and on a physical level.

He said the site will target 18-35-year-olds, with an initial emphasis on third-level students.

Hayes will be drawing upon cloud computing, as well as geosocial networking, in order to collate user details, such as locations and interests, in addition to targeted advertising.

Deloitte’s partner in its technology integration segment Harry Goddard said the judges were not only impressed with Hayes’ idea, but also the fact he had developed his technology strategy in terms of exploiting the capabilities of cloud computing, Web 2.0 and geosocial networking.

“Philip had also given serious consideration to the business model. From his marketing strategy to potential investors, buy in from venues, additional revenue streams and international expansion possibilities, we were all in agreement that he had presented a comprehensive proposal and that Goforagoo.com has great potential,” he said.

The winner of the competition each year can opt for either €1,000 prize or four weeks’ paid work experience in Deloitte’s technology integration practice.

Future knowledge economy

Goddard said Deloitte was, once again, impressed with the response that the competition received from university students throughout Ireland.

“There were a number of excellent ideas for the judging panel to consider which made it a challenging task. The competition proves that entrepreneurial spirit, along with the technological knowledge and innovation, is in abundance in Irish universities,” he added.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic