Tech business week: Dublin a Tech Hub, and UPC becomes Virgin

31 Aug 2015

This week in tech business news, Dublin is added to the Google Tech Hub Network, and UPC is to be renamed Virgin Media in Ireland.

Google’s new Dublin Tech Hub puts city on global start-up map

Google has added Dublin to its Tech Hub Network through a partnership with Dogpatch Labs.

In what is a major coup for the city’s burgeoning start-up community, the Tech Hub Network increases the amount of start-up resources available from Google in terms of mentors, access to new technologies and access to co-working space in other cities that are part of the Tech Hub Network.

Dogpatch Labs’ members will now also have access to Google Tech Hub co-working space in more than 20 locations around the world, including London, San Francisco and Tel Aviv.

Specifically, the Dublin Tech Hub will see more and more Google start-up events moved to take place at Dogpatch Labs, which is expanding the 200-year-old vaults beneath the chq Building at the IFSC into an 8,000 sq ft start-up space in partnership with Ulster Bank.

It will also make access to Google start-up programmes more easily accessible as well as mentorship from Dublin Googlers more possible.

UPC to be renamed Virgin Media in Ireland

Cable TV and broadband player UPC is to be renamed Virgin Media in Ireland, the company confirmed last week.

UPC Ireland confirmed that all operations, products and services will move to the new Virgin Media brand.

UPC’s parent company Liberty Global acquired Virgin Media in 2013 in a deal valued at about US$23.3bn.

“We are delighted to bring the Virgin Media brand to Ireland,” Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said.

VMware names Ray O’Farrell its CTO and CDO

Just as VMware marks 10 years in Ireland, the virtualisation giant has promoted Limerick native Ray O’Farrell to the roles of chief technology officer and chief development officer.

In the combined CTO and CDO roles O’Farrell will be responsible for orchestration across all of VMware’s R&D business units and he will lead VMware’s CTO team.

Prior to this O’Farrell served as general manager of the Software-Defined Data Centre Division of VMware. The appointment is effective immediately.

Intercom raises €35m, plans to double Dublin workforce

Intercom has raised US$35m in Series C funding, bringing its total funds raised to US$66m, it was announced last week.

Intercom will use the new funds to continue investment in research and development, and to double the staff in its Dublin and San Francisco offices. In Dublin, this will see the creation of 70 new engineering jobs.

Funding was led in this latest round by Iconiq Capital, a global multi-family office and merchant bank, which manages funds of high-profile people including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, with further participation from Series A and Series B lead investors The Social + Capital Partnership and Bessemer Venture Partners.

Paddy Power and Betfair agree potential merger

Betting and gaming rivals Paddy Power and Betfair have agreed to a potential merger, which would create one of the world’s largest betting and gaming platforms.

The two companies announced to the stock exchange last week that they plan to create Paddy Power Betfair Group.

Paddy Power shareholders would own a 52pc share in the new equity and prior to completion would also receive a special dividend of €80m.

The potential merger is anything but a done deal and negotiations will continue, as well as due diligence processes. The proposed merger is also subject to Irish takeover rules.

Best city for female entrepreneurs study ranks Chicago No 1

Findings from a new study into where the best city to be a female entrepreneur is appears to show it’s ‘sweet home, Chicago’ with the city just beating nearby Boston to the title.

The findings of the report, which was compiled by Compass, a software company, and entitled the 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking, show that overall it has been a relatively good year for female entrepreneurs, with a marked increase on the previous year.

Compiled into a chart by Statista, of Chicago’s portfolio of start-ups founded in 2015, 30pc were led by women, followed closely by Boston on 29pc.

Somewhat incorrectly, it has to be said, the region of Silicon Valley (in San Francisco), is counted as a city and saw 24pc of its companies founded by women, more than Los Angeles and Montreal, which both saw 22pc. The highest-ranked European city was Paris (21pc).

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Image of Dublin via Shutterstock

Brigid O Gorman is a former sub-editor of Silicon Republic.