Ireland is making headlines – not just for extinction rebellion’s protests, or the new synthesised Irish voice that’s been launched for Irish local radio (read more about that here) but in case you missed it, Silicon Valley Bank announced they’ll be lending an additional $300m to Irish innovation companies over the next 5 years, bringing the total to $.5b to Irish innovation companies by 2024. This is big news, and a big neon sign of things to come.
We chatted with Clive Lennox from Silicon Valley Bank (proud member of the Huckletree family) on what’s bubbling beneath the surface and what it takes to scale.
“The ambition of indigenous Irish companies is growing. Ireland has always produced successful companies, but there’s a new wave of founders coming through,” says Clive.
“There’s a willingness to take risk in Ireland, go harder earlier, not just with new founders but with serial entrepreneurs. We need to celebrate our successes, to show the world that this is one of the best tech hubs on the map.”
We loved reading John Kennedy from Silicon Republic’s views on this: “So what if all the tech jobs are not exactly core engineering or software development roles? The engineers we do have are among the best in the world and we will always need more of them. But, equally, having people who can apply empathy and a good dollop of ‘cop on’ and emotional intelligence to sales and retaining customers is also making Ireland stand out.
Scale-up capital of the world
You may have heard that Dublin was the scale-up capital of Europe, if not the world (thanks Brian Halligan, co-founder of HubSpot!). With its strong engineering hub and big tech giants setting up HQs like Amazon, we’re seeing more customer functions moving in, and a boom in funding for AI and blockchain.
“Most Irish companies have global ambitions to crack the US sooner than later. It’s not really a choice. They’re Irish today, they’re international tomorrow.” says Clive. “We’re seeing repeat founders on their 2nd company or 2nd exit and we’re seeing spinout of the US, bringing more skills and nationalities to the Irish tech scene.”
Sweating it out & giving back
“It’s not easy to be a founder, you’re in the trenches, long hours, you’re always on the phone, your relationships come under pressure…It’s a tough slog building to the next stage or succeeding in a new geography.”
“So for any early stage company it’s important to get the right people and skills around you and make sure you hire the right person for the right stage. You’re going to trip up, that’s part of the journey and part of the fun, but try to lean on mentors and use your network to help you avoid the “time consuming mistakes” because time is one of the most precious assets for founders.”
“I would like to see ambition realised for Irish companies. Ireland has that ability to connect so use your network. People will give you their time and expertise, because they want to see Irish companies succeed,” says Clive.
Home of innovation
Huckletree D2 open doors for high growth tech companies to come together and innovate under one roof in the heart of central Dublin. About 44% of Huckletree Dublin companies are international.
For those companies who are part of our community, now’s the time to extract knowledge from those around you, ideate together, get immersed and soak it all in. One day you’ll be the teacher and the time will come when you’ll give back to new Huckletree founders.
For those who are interested in learning more about our community, visit our location page.