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20 Inspiring Irish success stories to motivate aspiring entrepreneurs

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For start-ups and entrepreneurs with big dreams, these 20 examples showcase what’s possible.

From acquisitions to investments, securing big funding to signing big clients, these Irish start-up and entrepreneur success stories should provide plenty of motivation.

This list is by no means definitive, just a taste of the great stories from Irish and Irish-led start-ups making significant gains around the world. Our selection serves to highlight the world of opportunities out there for Ireland-based and Irish-led companies and start-ups, and provide a bit of a boost to start the week.

1. Stripe
The biggest Irish-led start-up success story of recent years, Stripe was founded five years ago by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison when they were just 22 and 19, respectively.

Operating out of Silicon Valley, the company, which enables websites to accept credit and debit card payments easily and without friction, was recently valued at $5bn after raising just under $100m from investors.

2. Hostelworld
Founded by Irishman Ray Nolan in 1999, Hostelworld’s rise to the top has been stratospheric.

Hostelworld was the first site to offer online booking for hostels, and filling that niche has been key to the start-up’s success. Nolan is no slouch either – in 2009, he returned $500m on an initial investment of $130,000.

Last month, Hostelworld was valued at €245m ahead of an IPO in Dublin and Ireland.

3. Hassle.com
Hassle.com, a kind of Hailo for cleaners, was founded by Irishwoman Jules Coleman with friends Alex Depledge and Tom Nimmo back in 2011.

The service – which won Start-up of the Year at the Tech City Awards in 2013 – raised $6m a year ago from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Accel Partners, which has also invested in Facebook, Etsy, Spotify, Dropbox and Atlassian. This summer, Berlin-based Helpling acquired the company for around €32m, with Coleman’s scaling plans integral to the deal.

4. FeedHenry
FeedHenry, which is headed by Cathal McGloin, spun out from Waterford Institute of Technology’s Telecommunication Software and Systems Group (TSSG) in 2010. With offices in Dublin, Waterford, Staines and Massachussets, FeedHenry creates a ‘mobile first’ platform for organisations that include Aer Lingus, Baystate Health and O2 UK.

Last year, open source software giant Red Hat acquired the start-up for €63.5m in cash with the aim of aligning FeedHenry’s technology with its open hybrid cloud strategy.

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National Digital Week 2015

digi weekIreland’s first National Digital Week was held in Skibbereen, Co. Cork from 3rd – 8th November 2015.  In attendance were over 1,600 delegates, a mix of digital entrepreneurs, marketers, technology enthusiast and SMEs, all looking to extend their knowledge and start their journey into the digital world. It also brought together some of the country’s top digital experts to speak at the conference, as well as a number of high profile guests.

The National Digital Week was organised by a steering group of the recently established Ludgate@Skibbereen initiative, which aims to create a digitally enabled rural society in West Cork, allowing innovators to create and expand their businesses in a rural setting while also being able to compete at the larger global scale.

Waterford Institute of Technology Telecommunication Software and Systems Group (TSSG) were invited to talk on the Internet of Things (IoT) and the research they carry out in this space. Following on from this was a panel discussion on how IoT could be of benefit to various industries and individuals.

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Annie Ibrahim Rana conferred with a PhD

Annie Ibrahim Rana Conferral Photograph

New TSSG PhD Graduate Dr Annie Ibrahim Rana with (left) one of her supervisors, Dr Brendan Jennings and (right) President of Waterford Institute of Technology, Prof. Willie Donnelly

Former TSSG PhD student Dr Annie Ibrahim Rana was conferred with her PhD at a conferral ceremony in Waterford Institute of Technology on October 29th. Annie, came to Waterford in 2009 from Lahore, Pakistan to pursue a PhD with the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group. Her research, which was carried out as part of the FAME Strategic Research Cluster (http://www.fame.ie) addressed the application of semantic web technologies to automate the configuration of devices in the context of a home network. Annie developed novel techniques that allow a network management agent infer the context in which a home user interacts with network devices and automate the identification and application of an appropriate device configuration. Annie’s research was supervised by TSSG’s Dr Brendan Jennings, Dr Steven Davy and Dr Mícheál Ó Foghlú. Since completing her work Annie has left Waterford and is currently a researcher in the Cloud and Services Laboratory in Intel Labs Europe, Leixlip, Co. Kildare. Her friends and colleagues in TSSG wish her every success in her future career.

Waterford Institute of Technology leading policy and technical dialogues between European Union and Brazil in Cloud Computing and Security

BrazilWaterford Institute of Technology’s Telecommunication Software and Systems Group (TSSG) have been successful with the awarding of an International EU – Brazil project in the ICT 2015 call of the Horizon 2020 (H2020) programme.

The EUBrasilCloudFORUM project: Fostering an International dialogue between Europe and Brazil is a Coordination and Support Action (CSA) project, whose principle goal aims at establishing an organisational cooperation forum that enables the European Union and Brazil to formulate and develop a common strategy and approach for research & innovation in cloud computing, including trust and security aspects, in line with the priorities of each region.

The EUBrasilCloudFORUM project, which officially starts on 1st January, 2016, is the consolidated result of the efforts pooled together by representatives of an EU-Brazil Working Group formed at an EU-Brazil workshop held in July 2014, in Brasília, which was attended by Mr. James Clarke of Waterford Institute of Technology. The working group was formed to take forward the results from the workshop and create a report for the European Commission (EC) and for the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MCTI) on areas related to cloud computing and security aspects. The main players in this working group decided to work together on a proposal submission and it has been selected for funding by Europe and Brazil under their 3rd EU – Brazil Joint call since 2010.

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Sustainability Summit held at Aviva Stadium

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The 2015 National Sustainability Summit was held on Tuesday at the Aviva Stadium

The theme of this year’s Sustainability Summit was ‘Securing Ireland’s Future’ with a focus on sustainable production for our agri-food sector

Despite a certain well-known gathering of the global tech industry attracting the majority of the attention this week, another significant albeit smaller summit was also taking place in Dublin.

The 2015 National Sustainability Summit was held on Tuesday at the Aviva Stadium and attracted a strong attendance in its own right. According to the organisers, the aim of the summit is to connect stakeholders from various industries, business leaders, regulators and Government at a forum designated to sustainability.

Many of the stakeholders at the summit were from the agri-food sector, with the entire morning workshop given over to speakers with backgrounds in food and agriculture. Representatives from Alltech, Keelings, Aryzta, Wyeth Nutrition, Bord Bia and even chemical companies Dow and BASF gave presentations on the day about sustainability programmes within their respective organisations.

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