Galway Airport site ‘an ideal IT hub’

Galway Airport site ‘an ideal IT hub’

Galway Airport site ‘an ideal IT hub’

Galway’s two local authorities are to employ consultants to carry out a feasibility study on the 115-acre site that contains Galway Airport.

Last November, Galway city and county councils purchased the site for €1.1m in a bid to ensure that the economic potential of the large strategic tract of land was realised.

The move followed the State ending subsidies for the airport in 2011, which led to a gradual withdrawal of commercial air services from the facility.

The most recent accounts for the firm that operated the airport — Corrib Airport Ltd — show that it had accumulated losses totalling €5.6m at the end of December 2012.

In the tender documentation, the local authorities state that a host of uses can be considered for the future of the land — including manufacturing; R&D; aviation activity renewable energy activity; food production; logistics and providing a site for the film industry.

According to the councils: “the scoping study should also examine the short, medium and long-term potential of the site in recognition of the current capital investment limitations within the Irish economy”.

The site contains the airport terminal building, two adjoining hangar units and three car parks.

The councils have also asked the successful tender to provide a rationale for the selection of proposals for the site and the financial implications of the various options.

The consultants are to also examine the possibility of a public-private partnership for the site, and bodies to be consulted during the study phase include third-level institutions in the region; private sector business and agencies including the IDA, Teagasc, Enterprise Ireland and Údaras na Gaeltachta.

Former Galway city mayor, Cllr Pádraig Conneely (FG) said yesterday that the site “is ideally placed for an industrial IT hub”.

“It is very accessible, as it is very close to the Dublin motorway, and is on the right side of Galway in terms of traffic.”

Consultants tendering for the work have until September 11 to lodge their tenders.

Original Article via The Irish Examiner here

Game Golf device tracks how US president plays and lets him share data with others

Game Golf device tracks how US president plays and lets him share data with others

Game Golf device tracks how US president plays and lets him share data with others

US president Barack Obama has started to improve his golf game using a wearable device created by an Irish tech start-up.

Mr Obama, who is on holiday in Martha’s Vineyard, was photographed last Saturday using Game Golf, a wearable device developed by Galway- and San Francisco-based Active Mind Technology.
The company, founded by Galway-born John McGuire, has raised $15 million (€11.2 million) since 2010 from an array of Silicon Valley and golf heavy-hitters.
Backers include golfers Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood, as well as technology investors Venture51; AME Cloud Ventures, an early-stage fund set up by Yahoo founder Jerry Yang; and Seagate Technology.
Game Golf has partnered with the PGA of America and the Golf Channel to roll out its device, which was designed by Yves Béhar, the Swiss chief creative officer of fitness wearable technology company Jawbone.

Monitoring Obama’s game

Mr McGuire told The Irish Times from California yesterday that his product would allow Mr Obama to monitor exactly how he played his golf and to share the data with others too if he wanted.
“Wearable [technology] is huge right now,” Mr McGuire said. “We’ve seen everything spike since President Obama was seen wearing our device.”
Mr McGuire said Game Golf was only launched 170 days ago but already its users had uploaded 80,000 rounds of golf and six million individual golf shots.
“It’s been used in 55 countries around the world,” he said, adding: “Both the PGA of America and the Golf Channel are investors in the company. They are interested in how to grow the game of golf and how you create something for the 21st century. We are helping them do that.”
Mr McGuire said Game Golf was pitched at both avid and aspiring golfers and it not only tracked how well individuals were playing but also allowed them to compare their play with friends or professional golfers on individual holes.
He said Active Mind Technology planned to create wearables for “multiple sports” but it was growing so fast that golf was its primary focus at the moment. “There is just no time right now,” he said.

Distribution deal

“We’ve just signed a distribution deal in the UK and that will bring Game Golf to shops in Ireland too by Christmas,” he said.
“At the moment you can only buy us online in Ireland.”
Mr McGuire moved to San Francisco in 2010. “We are based between Galway and San Francisco,” he said.
“We are hiring at the moment in Galway, where about one-third of our staff is based, with the remainder out here.”
Mr McGuire said Active Mind Technology employed 32 people in total. He said it was a private company so he could not disclose revenue or sales figures.


Original Article via The Irish Times here

Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway, Michael O’ Dwyer.

NUI Galway researchers identify enzyme which plays key role in spread of blood cancer cells

Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway, Michael O’ Dwyer.

Groundbreaking research being carried out at NUI Galway could lead to new ways of overcoming resistance to treatment for the blood cancer multiple myeloma.

Researchers at the university have identified an enzyme that plays a key role in the spread and survival of blood cancer cells.

The discovery, which focused on multiple myeloma, was published recently by the internationally acclaimed journal, Blood.

The condition results from an overproduction of plasma cells, the white blood cells which produce antibodies. It leads to problems such as anaemia, bone damage, kidney failure and elevated calcium levels. There are about 240 new cases of multiple myeloma diagnosed each year in Ireland.

The research team was led by Health Research Board (HRB ) clinician scientist, Professor Michael O’Dwyer and Professor Lokesh Joshi of the university’s Glycoscience Group, which is supported by Science Foundation Ireland.

The group studies the complex sugars which cover all cells in the human body and many of the proteins in the bloodstream. Dr Siobhan Glavey, a medical doctor funded by the HRB, also had a key role lead in the study and was lead author on the paper.

Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway, Michael O’ Dwyer, says while treatments for multiple myeloma have improved over the last decade, and most patients are living longer, there is no cure.

“Our research is crucial because it sheds new light on the biology of multiple myeloma which could lead to new strategies to overcome resistance to treatment.

“Working in close cooperation with Dr Irene Ghobrial from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard in the US and colleagues from the Institute of Cancer Research in the UK, we focused on alterations in a process called glycosylation, a process whereby proteins and lipids are modified by specific sugars, because of its role in cell-cell interactions and the spread of cancer cells in the blood.”

In essence we have linked the overproduction of a specific enzyme called sialyltransferase to disease progression and worse outcomes in multiple myeloma, he explains.

“The increase in this enzyme activity causes a series of knock-on effects; increasing glycosylation, which in turn increases the interaction of the cancer cells with receptors on the walls of blood vessels called selectins which then encourages their circulation, spread and retention in the bone marrow.

“Our aim now is to prevent these interactions that cause the spread using specific enzyme and selectin inhibitors.”

Dr Graham Love, CEO of the HRB, commented on the importance of the research: “Understanding what causes multiple myeloma to progress, or generate worse outcomes, is the first step towards improving treatment. This discovery reinforces the transformational role our clinician scientists have in bringing real clinical questions to a research environment and delivering results back to the bedside.”

Original Article via The Galway Advertiser here



Annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship Evening 2014 with some exciting events and guests!

Annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship Evening 2014 with some exciting events and guests!

Annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship Evening 2014 with some exciting events and guests!

This year’s annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship Evening will take place on Monday 15th Sept from 4.30pm in St. Mary’s Hall.
Firstly there will be an exhibition of client companies of the GMIT Innovation Hubs and Enterprise Support Agencies. Check out some of our exciting company and their products.

Entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den Investor Bobby Kerr will then host two discussions. The first will be on Starting & Building a Business with serial entrepreneur Elenor McEvoy, 14 year old Programmer Jordan Casey, local entrepreneur Aiden Corcoran and winner of the Seedcorn Intertrade Ireland Competition 2013 Dorothy Creaven.

The second discussion will be on Funding & Finance and will look at how local company Irish TV raised 15 million euro privately, how Vincent Breslin from Sian’s Plan participated and raised over 100k through a Crowdfunding Platform and Rory Hynes from Enterprise Equity will talk about Venture Capital along with a Private Angel Investor.

We will also host a real pitchcomp, just based on the actual pitch of four minutes. You, the audience will get a chance to decide who wins.

We will also be looking for your questions for the panel in a lead up to the event.

Promises to be an enjoyable evening on entrepreneurship

Places are limited so book today through or for more information on speakers / schedule check out

Galway entrepreneur shakes up rich list





Paul Kenny left Galway for Dubai in November 2007 in the middle of a Masters degree at NUIG and returned six years later a millionaire.

The Sunday Times places him fourth in its list of millionaires aged 30 or under: just behind Rory McIlroy and ahead of One Direction’s Niall Horan.

‘That attracted a fair bit of attention in Ireland and abroad,’ says Paul, ‘although the article seriously over-estimated my financial worth.

How did a self-confessed college drop-out go from a lowly internship to digital media magnate in six years?

‘It wasn’t a straightforward path,’ he says, ‘as I didn’t set out in 2007 with a clear aim to be at the top of this or any other business.

‘One thing I learned early in Dubai was to ask myself ‘What can I do now?’ when faced with a new situation and to not be afraid of failure when deciding what action to take.

‘The answer became apparent very quickly,’ he says.

‘It was – anything I wanted to do. I was unconstrained by background or education, in an environment where people were accepted for their abilities and where there was huge opportunity for personal and business growth.

He was recruited by Emirates as a marketing consultant and felt that he had landed in the right company in the right role. He quickly found that he had a knack for generating revenue and helped bring in almost a half billion dollars income in his first five months.

He also discovered that it was his ability to work at speed, changing direction quickly to adapt to markets and technology which was key to delivering this performance.

But after six months he says that he wasn’t a fit for the company and again found difficulty with having a boss.

‘I was 25, a college drop-out who had spent less than three years in the workplace and had left three different jobs,’ he says.

‘I wasn’t exactly an ideal candidate for another marketing role, so I had to ask myself again, ‘What can I do now?’

The answer this time lay more within his own control.

He contacted some venture capitalists he knew and within four weeks, in August 2010, he had raised €1.4m in equity and had started Cobone. He was now a full-fledged entrepreneur.

By the end of 2012 the company was attracting the interest of investors looking for opportunities in emerging markets and in March 2013 US investment firm Tiger Global acquired Cobone in a deal reputed to be worth $40m.

Paul and key members of the management team were retained and funds were made available for future growth.

Cobone reached profitability in 2013 and he quickly turned his attention to a travel business Triperna.

‘Cobone continues to grow but the market is possibly no greater than $100m in total,’ he says.

‘The travel market on the other hand is estimated at $35bn, so there’s a lot more scope for growth.

Between the two businesses about 80 people are employed and they are experiencing month on month growth in excess of 70%.

When asked what advice he’d give to a start-up entrepreneur in Galway, he says that once they have a working product they should aim to grow quickly. Having ‘early-mover’ advantage in a market is really important he says.

‘If financing is needed and not available locally, then get on a plane and find it,’ advises Paul.

‘There are investors looking for opportunities all over the world.

Looking to the future, Paul says that there is so much that he’s about to do that he will be kept busy for a short while at least.

‘I love trying to do the impossible,’ he says.

In his own words: ‘What can he do next?

The answer would appear to be an awful lot. Watch this space.

Original Article via The Connacht Tribune here

A longer version of this interview and more on Paul’s plans for the future can be found in this week’s Tribune here


The Sounds of the Wild Atlantic Way

The Sounds of the Wild Atlantic Way

Wild mission

Solomon Grey is Joseph Wilson and Tom Kingston. The two met while studying in Oxford University, but it was during a period of work and recording in Co Cork when the duo’s sound really emerged. Surrounded by West Cork’s gorgeous scenery, the two musicians soon found the landscape shaping and inspiring their music.

Who better then to be sent out into the countryside to distil the sound of the raw, the rugged and the regal Wild Atlantic Way?

A feast for the senses

And so, in their mobile recording studio, Solomon Grey set off on a musical journey through Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. With audio equipment galore, their mission, if they chose to accept it, was to go on a journey of inspiration, to capture the sounds of not just the land, but of the locals, too.

Now, considering that the Wild Atlantic Way is 2500km of rugged coastline, ancient castles, dazzling sunsets and colourful local characters, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a treat for the eyes only. In fact, it’s more.

As Solomon Grey found out, a journey along the way is akin to diving headfirst into a thundering sea of creativity. It is a coastline where the places and the people add up to a unique experience, that insist on inspiring you.

The sounds of the west

Luckily for Solomon Grey, the west of Ireland is a wild landscape that produces a cacophony of sounds. Think a morning chorus of birdsong, fizzing surf on Barley Cove and the thunderous stampede of hooves from galloping horses on Omey Beach.

Watch the video and you’ll even see Solomon Grey treated to a rendition of an ancient Irish love song courtesy of a local songstress on a Galway strand.

As a result of their west coast odyssey Solomon Grey have fused the land, sea, wind, history and people together in their unique production style. The result?

A stunning piece of original music that will be available for you to download for free on and enjoy again and again and again. But enough reading. Feast your eyes and ears on the video of Solomon Grey’s journey for a mind-blowingly inspirational insight into the Wild Atlantic Way.

Don’t forget that you can begin your own Wild Atlantic Way adventure right here.

To view the original article and beautiful video which accompanies it from The Irish Times click here

Why Galway has become the city of the start-up tribes

Why Galway has become the city of the start-up tribes

Why Galway has become the city of the start-up tribes

Galway is testing the concept with some interesting results. The city that many people associate with music and culture has been carefully building up one of the strongest regional biotech clusters in Europe with multinational outfits such as Boston Scientific and Medtronic adding to local heavyweights such as Creganna. Now, the city is adding to this with a new wave of start-ups that are redefining what it means to grow a tech company in an Ireland outside of the Dublin area.

Start-ups such as OnePageCRM, Duolog, Element Software and Altocloud have broken out to win funding, awards and business all over the world.

Being in Galway hasn’t hurt one bit, say some of the home-grown entrepreneurs who have made it.

“Galway? Dublin? I deal mostly with US people and they see it all as the one thing,” said Mic Fitzgerald, founder of OnePageCRM, an online customer management software firm that now employs 13 people in Galway city.

“The motorway has made the whole thing a moot point as we’re under two hours from Dublin. So if there’s a meeting there I don’t think twice about it. The ecosystem now is Ireland, not Galway or Dublin.”

For early stage start-ups, there are even some infrastructural benefits to being in a regional city.

“You would probably have less of a queue in getting access to supports here than in Dublin,” said Breda Fox, chief executive of the Galway city and county enterprise board. And there are advantages of stability when trying to grow a company, say founders here.

“We’re not competing with as many rivals who might try to poach staff, which is a big issue when you’re trying to grow a company,” said Dorothy Creaven, co-founder of Element Software, one of the city’s fastest growing tech start-ups.

Then there is the city’s unusually large student population. Between NUI Galway (formerly known as UCG) and the Galway Mayo Institure of Technology, Galway has a whopping 26,000 students, with is roughly a third of the area’s population.

But one element increasingly being used to lure talented engineers to companies is lifestyle benefits. While Galway can’t quite match Dublin’s plurality of cafes, restaurants and hangouts, it has some other significant lifestyle attractions.

“We like to think we’re the cool and trendy place compared to Dublin,” said John Breslin, an online entrepreneur who advises some local start-ups and who is also a senior lecturer at NUI Galway.

“When you’re trying to attract people to a place, it’s great to talk up the standard of living. It’s more important than some might think.”


Breslin’s point was recently made by a kitesurfing event in nearby Achill Island, where one of the world’s most successful technology investors convened a kitesurfing retreat that combined investors, start-ups and other technology experts. Bill Tai, who has backed A-list digital companies such as Tango, Tweetdeck and Voxer, chose Ireland’s west coast specifically for its proximity to world-class natural outdoor facilities.

“What I found is that it [kitesurfing and its lifestyle] becomes a magnet for super-interesting younger tech folks that are differentiated by an interest in extreme sports and who have often been successful their whole lives,” said Tai. “For me, it has become a good filter and a flywheel for attracting people who achieve great results.”

This lifestyle tie-breaker was recently summed up by Barry O’Sullivan, former senior vice president of Cisco and now chief executive of online Galway software start-up Altocloud.

“If Ireland is Europe’s new Silicon Valley, Galway is its San Francisco,” he recently told a gathering of entrepreneurs and investors in Galway.

One sign that the start-up ecosystem is reaching a critical mass in the city is that entrepreneurs such as Shankar Ganesh, founder of the digital signage firm Instillo, are seeking it out to start their companies there.

Other indications that the city is reaching a tipping point include the emergence of specialist networking organisations such as Founded late last year by a group of founders and executives, the outfit now attracts over 100 people to talks and networking events that focus on local success stories and how start-ups are making it abroad.

“We drew inspiration from Boulder, Colorado,” said John Breslin, one of the group’s founders. “That city, which has a great tech ecosystem, has a lot of similarities with Galway. It’s a university city with a similar population and lifestyle.”

Still, with such a relentless spotlight on Dublin as the Irish centre of technology, isn’t there a temptation on founders to relocate there for their new venture?

“A lot of it is coming down to the entrepreneur,” said Barry Egan, programme manager in Galway for Enterprise Ireland. “There are lots of founders who are well able to grow international operations while not being in Dublin. There are also significant benefits in terms of retention of staff, as people are less inclined to jump from firm to firm.”

Others agree.

“It comes down to personalities,” said NUIG’s John Breslin. “I look at Galway firms such as Spamtitan and OnePageCRM who have customers all over the world and whose founders have such drive. Of course they could go elsewhere if they wanted. But if you‘re driven enough and single-minded, it doesn’t matter where you are. It comes down to the individuals who want to do it.”

Where to look for resources

For young companies with a great idea, where do you go or who do you talk to? One option is to consider the local enterprise board. Galway’s enterprise board has seen some solid start-ups come through its doors in the last three years.

“We’re the third most active enterprise board in the country,” said Breda Fox.

“Last year, we paid out about €1m in cash across around 25 start-ups and that doesn’t include other supports, such as employment supports. There are some really good start-ups here in Galway with a very active ecosystem, supports and peer network.”

Fox says that she has overseen 13 transfers to higher-funding supports from Enterprise Ireland. “And 80pc of these would be tech start-ups,” she said.

Another avenue is Enterprise Ireland itself. Traditionally, the organisation has dealt with more advanced start-ups, including those that have attracted funding independently.

“We define a start-up as an early stage company less than five years old,” said Barry Egan, Enterprise Ireland’s director for the Western Region. “Last year, about five high-potential start-ups from the area made it across the line.”

But the agency has begun to get more involved with smaller start-ups in the last year. One programme, in particular, allocates €15,000 to approved start-ups with some office support and no quid pro quo in terms of company equity.

Called New Frontiers, the programme is administered through 14 college campuses throughout the country, including the Galway Mayo IT in Galway city.

“This year, we had 15 young start-ups who made it to the €15,000 grant stage,” said Tony O’Kelly, programme manager for New Frontiers in Galway. “That would have been from around 80 initial applications. The beauty of this grant is that it’s paid directly to the entrepreneur so it gives them time, space and flexibility.”

The programme also sharpens the start-ups’ minds on things such as product development and selling to potential customers.

“We take a ‘lean’ start-up approach,” said O’Kelly. “The key is to start market testing as quickly as possible, which means getting the founders in front of customers. A lot of people who come in to the programme have an engineering mindset and focus very heavily on product. While that’s good, it can sometimes lead to a ‘feature bloat’. Getting them in front of customers often results in a radical change in the product, branding, price-point or route to market.”

So far, this approach seems to be paying some dividends.

“At the end of our first six months, nine of the start-ups had a product on the market, eight had customer sales and seven out of these eight were exporting. So it is possible to get a robust process in place to move the odds in favour of the start-up.”

Original article via Irish Independent here


Galway med tech firm ArraVasc wins multi-million euro contract in China


Med tech firm ArraVasc Ltd., based in Galway, has signed a new contract with a leading medical device distributor Shanghai Micro Medical, based in Shanghai, China. The announcement was made during the Enterprise Ireland Trade and Investment Mission to China led by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD.

ArraVasc CEO Jonathan Akehurst commented: “We are delighted to be working with our distribution partners here in Shanghai – this contract is worth at least $3.5m of business for new peripheral vascular products and is an important part of our global expansion which is planned to create at least 20 new jobs over the next 2-3 years”.

Speaking from Shanghai, Minister Bruton said: “At the heart of our Action Plan for Jobs is the development of a powerful engine of Irish enterprise alongside the strong base of multinational companies we have in Ireland. ArraVasc is a great example of what we are aiming to support – here is an Irish company, operating in a sector of traditional strength for Ireland, manufacturing products to the highest international standards, winning new contracts in fast-growing foreign markets, and creating jobs in Ireland. Today’s announcement of a multi-million euro deal with Shanghai Micro Medical, which will result in the creation of 20 new jobs, is very welcome and represents a great achievement for ArraVasc. I wish them every success on this project”.

ArraVasc is the new name for Cappella Medical Devices Ltd, which has been based in Galway, Ireland since 2007.

Image Caption:

HE Paul Kavanagh Irish Ambassador to China, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mr Richard Bruton TD, Kevin Sherry, Enterprise Ireland Director International sales and partnering, Austin Gormley Irish Consulate General Shangha. Front Row – Jonathan Akehurst, ArraVasc, Mr Tony Liu, President Shanghai Micro medical Devices Co., Ltd

Image Credit: Enterprise Ireland Facebook

IDA Ireland launches ‘Invest in Galway’

IDA Ireland launches ‘Invest in Galway’

IDA Ireland launches ‘Invest in Galway’

IDA Ireland launches ‘Invest in Galway’

IDA Ireland launches ‘Invest in Galway’ – a new marketing initiative to promote Galway and the West region

Thursday, July 17th 2014 – IDA Ireland today launched ‘Invest in Galway’, the seventh phase of its digital marketing initiative for attracting inward investment by highlighting the specific attributes of individual regional urban centres.

‘Invest in Galway’ is an interactive experience designed for use on tablet, smartphone and PC.

Information on location, education, lifestyle and existing IDA client companies and indigenous companies is provided through rich images, video and text which will be continuously updated. The website allows IDA executives to showcase Galway in face-to-face client meetings.

Ireland boasts the leading cluster of MedTech industries and the West Region, and Galway city in particular, is home to a number of world class Medical Technology companies and is the hub of this globally recognised MedTech cluster. Companies such as Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Covidien, Hollister and Baxter located in the West Region employ almost 8,000 people. Galway is also becoming a major technology hub, particularly around internet and collaborative working technologies with the presence of IDA supported companies such as Fidelity, Avaya, SAP, EA Games, Cisco, Synchronoss, Valeo and HP amongst others. These international brands are an attraction for additional overseas companies to potentially locate to the West Region.