Top 10 Start-Ups To Watch in the West

The west is alive with entrepreneurial talent, startups and business success stories. To mark next year’s designation of the western and northern region as European Entrepreneurial Region 2018, we have a look at 10 to watch next year:

  1. Co Galway – Orreco

The company co-founded in Sligo by Dr. Brian Moore is going from strength to strength and has just collected a major new award – Best Use of Data Science Within an SME at the prestigious DatSci Awards in Dublin. Commenting on the award, Brian said: “It’s great to have DatSci recognise the impact Orreco’s analytics and machine learning solutions are having on elite sports,” he said. Orreco, now headquartered at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUIG, has opened an office in Los Angeles and launched a ground breaking new app aimed at women who exercise during the menstrual cycle, called FitrWoman. Investors include pro-golfers Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell. Former Ireland rugby captain Keith Wood is chairman. Orreco has jut appointed Ralph Greene, the former VP of Basketball and Football at NIKE, as General Manager of its US operations https://orreco.com/

2. County Galway – FeedThePulse

 feed the pulse

FeedThePulse are a family of chefs from Galway who are fueling elite athletes and helping them to victory. The name for the company was inspired while they were watching the Galway hurlers in action and now they have the contract to feed the Galway GAA teams. The award-winning company was set up in March 2016 by husband and wife team, Owen and Helen McArdle. Owen has more than 30 year’s experience as a chef and is joined in the kitchen by the couple’s two sons Glen and Dan who were both chefs before returning to Galway to get the company off the ground. feedthepulse.com

3. County Donegal – CloudRanger

The Donegal company founded by David Gildea offers a simple backup solution for Amazon Web Services (AWS). In September, it announced a $1.1M seed round, with investments from Enterprise Ireland and several private investors in both the United States and Ireland. CloudRanger received High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) funding from Enterprise Ireland, and its proprietary approach to visual server management has driven incredible growth, including a 150 percent increase in monthly recurring revenue and doubling the number of users, since the launch of its Server Management Platform in June 2017.  Its aim is to become the leading provider of cross-cloud automation and disaster management worldwide. See: www.cloudranger.com

4. County Sligo – House/EDIT 

House/EDIT was set up by two interior architects Claire Price and Elaine Regan who had been running an interior design company together before launched the interior design platform in 2016. Claire, who is from Donegal, and Elaine, who is from Mayo, set up the company in Sligo in 2016. They have since developed Ireland’s first interiors roadshow called ‘Insiders Secrets’. The masterclasses in interiors, design and style toured all over Ireland earlier this year to packed houses, with even a few famous faces spotted in the audiences. Expect more big things in 2018. houseedit.ie

5. County Galway – RealSim

“Visualise before you realise” – thats the message from RealSim who are innovators in the field of merging technologies from high-end game engines with 3D survey data and graphic design. RealSim stands for Real Time Simulation. With multiple awards for its city, marine and heritage environment application, the RealSim team have over 20 year’s experience in various 3D visualisation and spatial technologies. realsim.ie

6. County Donegal – Shine’s Seafood

A Donegal seafood company is bringing a unique Irish species of tuna – Wild Irish Albacore Tuna – back into the country and selling it across the island. Shine’s Seafood, a family-run business located in Killybegs, are the only Irish company to source and sell the product in Ireland. Husband and wife John and Marianne Shine launched the company in April 2015 and now a number of the couple’s children are working in the company. The superior tuna is sold in SuperValus across the county and in high-end independent shops including Avoca, Fallon & Byrne and Cavistons. shinesseafood.ie


Secret Life of Plastic

7. County Clare – Secret Life of Plastic

Oonagh Herbert is the founder of Secret Life of Plastic, which creates a stunning range of products – including lamps, jewellery, flowers and wedding decor – from plastic waste. Based in County Clare, the company’s aim is to give renewed value to plastic material and to make people aware of the amount of plastic waste in the world. She believes that any plastic item we own should be a treasured thing, like an heirloom, because it will survive down through a number of generations. However, 50pc of the world’s plastic is being used in the production of single-use disposable items – such as water bottles, cups, containers, straws, cutlery and plastic packaging. secretlifeofplastic.com

8. County Sligo – StoryLab

Martha Kearns & Ciaran Byrne of Storylab. Image Credit: James Connolly

StoryLab started in 2014 and has quickly become one of Ireland’s leading content and PR agencies. It creates storytelling campaigns and original content for brands and businesses including the National Lottery, Guinness Storehouse, GroupMail, Abbott, UCD and IT Sligo. Founded by Ciaran Byrne, former Irish Independent associate editor and Martha Kearns, former news editor of the Sunday Business Post, StoryLab delivers content and PR that has measureable impacts on a business’s bottom line. Clients can expect engaging, journalism-driven stories that get noticed in the national media. storylab.ie

9. County Leitrim – The Shed Distillerygunpowder gin

“In deepest rural Ireland on the edge of a lake in Drumshambo, Co, Leitrim….” so goes the introduction on the homepage of The Shed Distillery’s website. With his distinctive blue bottles, serial entrepreneur PJ Rigney has created an award-winning global gin brand that consistently tops the popularity charts and graces the bars of the world’s finest hotels. Gin is riding the crest of a wave and 2018 promises to be another bumper year for one of Leitrim’s most successful new businesses. See: thesheddistillery.com/

10. County Mayo – Achill Island SeasaltAchill Sea Salt

Founded in 2013, the idea for this unique family business was inspired by a sea salt documentary and the long-forgotten tradition of salt production on Achill Island.  Achill Island Sea Salt is a hand harvested sea salt from the Wild Atlantic waters, that surrounds the island. The company, owned by the O’Malley family, last year opened a new facility and its list of national stockists includes upmarket food stockists Avoca, Fall & Byrne and supermarket chain SuperValu. Social media plays a big role in connecting with customers. See: www.achillseasalt.ie