In 1995, I was living in Barcelona, trying to decipher Catalan from Castellano, when my father called with news that surprised me. He said the economy was improving back in Dublin and that I should come home and take advantage of the boom that was coming.
I took his advice and shortly after co-founded Pan Research in Dublin, a market research focused SME that’s still going strong today.
19 years later, a group email about the Dublin Commissioner role landed in my New York inbox, but this time I was almost expecting what I read. Dublin was fast evolving into a global innovation hub and I wanted to be a part of it.
Dublin is full of surprises
I’m now well settled back into my new old city. But today’s Dublin is full of surprises for returning ex-pats like me. I’m surprised at just how large and impactful the born-on-the-internet multinationals are here, how diverse and global the tech talent is and, most importantly, how great the food is.
Hey, old Bill Me Later buddy Mark Lavelle, it’s time to come back and give dining in Dublin a second chance. From Brother Hubbard to Vintage Kitchen to Ely to Mourne Seafood Bar, at the river’s edge and far beyond, there is now a multitude of restaurants in Dublin that’ll knock your socks off, I promise!
As for our city’s tech street cred, we started building that years back with companies like Iona and Smartforce, Riverdeep and Kindle (I hope that great name was trademarked). The new kids on the block have just as much potential: Movidius, Log Entries, Phorest, NewsWhip, Drop, Building Eye, Restored Hearing, Konnect again, Kwikdesk.
Our numbers of startups run well over a thousand now and they keep on building.
Dublin a young startup ecosystem
It’s true that Dublin is still a young startup ecosystem and relatively small of scale but yet, there’s no underdog mentality here.
We punch well above our weight in the potential of our startups and I think we know it. Now is the time to start sharing their stories. In November last year, the Kauffman Fellows held Europe’s largest ever VC conference in Dublin. After an exciting full day at Kauffman, DFJ Esprit VC Brian Caulfield and I shared a cab across town to take up our WebSummit hosting duties. I wondered aloud if I had the energy to keep my pub crawl pumping, but I had no need to worry.
My group were just so happy to be in Dublin. The city and the WebSummit made them feel important. I was just there to take photos and let them shine.
Many great people and organisations make Dublin shine today and we’re delighted to support them all. We’ve also launched some new initiatives of our own like Dublin Globe, to document our city and the world class Irish and international tech companies who call it home.
We’ll be sharing stories of tech and innovation from all sides of Dublin and the best news of all – we’ll be eating lots of world class cuisine while we’re at it!