Our start-up of the week is Wia, a NDRC-based internet of things start-up that originated in Belfast and aims to provide makers with a platform to bring home and school projects to life.
Founded by Conall Laverty, Wia is an internet of things (IoT) start-up that aims to fuel and transform the maker revolution with readily-accessible tools.
“Wia provides developers with a cloud infrastructure for building real-time sensor and location applications,” explained Laverty.
‘We want to turn the next billion devices into truly innovative applications’
– CONALL LAVERTY, WIA
“Instead of spending months writing code, developers can use our simple APIs to create an application in minutes, requiring no knowledge of the underlying complexity of the infrastructure.”
Wia is targeting both consumers and businesses.
“On the consumer side, we provide makers with a platform to bring home and school projects to life.
“For businesses, we target the small to medium companies who can’t afford to spend massive upfront costs on building and maintaining their own bespoke system.
“Every second, 100 ‘things’ are connected to the internet and more than €22,000 is spent on IoT-related products and services.
Laverty studied for a Masters in Computer Games Development at Queen’s University Belfast.
“My first job after education was with Big Motive, a creative technology company with offices in Belfast and London.
“There I became CTO, developing and managing projects with BBC, Net-A-Porter, Channel 4, National Trust and SendMyBag.
“I then set up my own consultancy where I worked with Cambridge Silicon Radio (now part of Qualcomm), Deezer and numerous start-ups throughout the
UK and Ireland.”
Wia’s SDK provides an interface between a hardware device and its real-time service.
With just a few lines a code, a developer can create a production-ready product, as well as a complimentary mobile app.
‘In 2016, you no longer get brownie points for using servers, you only get points for serving users’
– CONALL LAVERTY. WIA
“We want to turn the next billion devices into truly innovative applications.
“One of the biggest pain points for our customers is that they spend too much time on the technology instead of the experience.
“In 2016, you no longer get brownie points for using servers, you only get points for serving users.”
Empowering the makers
Wia’s free maker platform is being used by developers across the world and that continues to expand today.
“We will soon be releasing Wia for Organisations, which will enable companies to create the ‘next big thing’.
“From the product side, it’s a pretty big piece of development. For us, this validated how big a problem it must be for the thousands of other companies that need something similar and are trying to do it themselves.”
Start me up
Laverty established Wia in Belfast but moved the company to Dublin when it was offered a place on the NDRC LaunchPad programme.
“It’s a much bigger scene down here and, according to AngelList, there are more than 10 times the number of startups! Though it’s not just the quantity, the quality of the start-ups I’ve met down here is really high, it is definitely one of the best cities to start in Europe.”
‘A lot of people think a MVP is a technical prototype that they should spend months developing, it is simply a proof of the business model’
– CONALL LAVERTY, WIA
His advice to fellow entrepreneurs is not to get caught up in the CTO dilemma until they are crystal clear on what their offering is going to be about.
“Stop worrying about the tech. I see a lot of people pull hairs out over their ‘CTO dilemma’ before they are even sure about what their business does.
“A lot of people think an MVP is a technical prototype that they should spend months developing, it is simply a proof of the business model.”