Nxnwtech X is a one day, technology themed, not for profit, community conference to be hosted in LYIT Campus on Thursday 4th June. We caught up with one of the organisers Joe Dunleavy, VP, Head of Innovation at Pramerica to find out more.
Tell us how the conference came about and what it hopes to achieve?
A number of years ago a couple of colleagues came together, Ryan Bradley, John Brady and Paul Wallace to form a tech community meetup here in Donegal called North By North West Tech. That group meets monthly, is open to the public through meetup.com and covers themes across areas such as AI, Cloud and IoT. It rotates around a different theme each month and locations in Letterkenny and has also held joint meetups with groups in both Derry and Sligo. It is really well attended and supported by over 700 members. Based on the success of that working group the founders discussed the idea of having a full day tech conference and floated the idea past the community. The group loved the idea and a team of volunteers from large companies to start up joined together with Ryan, John and Paul to make the conference a reality. The vision for it is to drive the technology agenda in the region and it is an event ran by and for the regional community with any money made being donated to local charities. It would not be possible without the support of the community and partners like LYIT who have been very supportive in providing us with access to their very impressive campus for the event.
Letterkenny has become a hive of activity over the past number of years with FDI companies such as Optum, Pramerica, Sita and indigenous start-ups working together. Tell us a bit about the community?
Letterkenny’s tech scene is buzzing at the moment and is great to see. There is many vibrant companies and start-ups in the region working on very interesting things. The monthly tech meetup is well attended by folks from many of these companies and we finish every meetup with a My Startup Story slot where a funder gets some time to share their journey and details of their companies. What is really nice about that is we have seen companies who started working together off the back of introductions made at the tech meetup. We have examples of senior tech folks in some of the FDI companies act as mentors to startups and in some case also become customers of those start-up firms as they scale to product offerings. Another success in the region has seen start up founders who have had a career with local FDI and IDA supported companies and then leave to pursue their own idea and build a company from it. David Gildea the founder of CloudRanger, that was recently acquired by Druva is a past employee of Pramerica. So a real melting pot of talent in tech within the region.
You launched a call for proposals this week. What are you looking for and how can people apply?
Yes the team was delighted to get our site up and running recently with a big thanks to Darragh Coll who built it for us. The site is critical to be able to provide information about the conference as well as have potential speakers to put their name forward with a proposal for a topic. We welcome anyone interested in speaking to put a proposal in at this link. The focus of the conference is tech and business but we know the success of the conference will be based largely on the quality of the speakers and their topics..
If companies are interested in sponsoring the conference who can they reach out to?
We are open to sponsorship and have been very excited with the initial commitments we have secured but for anyone interested please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org