Third annual LIBStech event a huge success
Full house of LIBS members decamp to Deloitte Digital to hear the pitches of 3 of Ireland's hottest early-stage disruptive start-ups
This was the third successive year that LIBS have run a technology start-ups focused event. Our first event was held in the Embassy of Ireland in 2015 before we moved to Google's Tottenham Court Road offices for the 2016 edition. This year we accepted a very gracious offer from Deloitte Digitals to set up shop in their Garage in Farringdon.
LIBS members arrived to a tech-wonderland, surrounded by virtual reality headsets, Playstations and even a Nerf gun, but soon we got down to the serious stuff.
Ed Greig, Disrupter in Chief at Deloitte Digital and our MC for the night welcomed a packed room and introduced our cohort for 2017:
Enda Leahy, CEO of Courtsdesk
Garrett Cassidy, Co-Founder and CEO of Trezeo
Cian Farrell and Neville Flynn, Co-Founders of Recroot.ie
These exciting start-ups were connected with LIBS by the outstanding people at TechIreland who track and support over 1200 Irish start-ups.
Facing these budding entrepreneurs was LIBS' own panel of mythical fire-breathing beasts, carefully selected for their background in supporting, building and growing early-stage and high-growth tech companies:
David Tighe - Head of Innovation at Bank of Ireland
Denise McQuaid - Commercial & Strategy Director at Everywoman Ltd
Toby Wooton - Global Head of Programmes at World First
Conor Treacy - Partner Engineer at Facebook
Enda Leahy from Courtsdesk was the first to pitch. Their reporting platform provides a hugely valuable tool for journalists, banks, law firms and many more by capturing every court-case in the High Court, and every Circuit Court listing since the 1970's. These are easily searchable with matching, relationship maps and more. Added to this is a Twitter-like newsfeed of new cases being filed so those using the service are the first to know if their clients, customers or others are involved in legal proceedings that could influence their decisions.
Following a highly polished pitch Enda was grilled by the panel:
Toby Wooton wanted to know how they would stay ahead of the game? Enda believes that Courtsdesk will replace in-courtroom journalists by providing them with a platform for data-focused content across all courts that they can use for their reporting. First mover advantage is key here as he believes that journalists won't use more than one platform.
Next up was Garrett Cassidy, Co-Founder and CEO of Trezeo, who provide an income smoothing service and financial stability for the self-employed and those in the "gig economy," all for a low and predictable monthly fee. The service helps manage incomes and provide a regular income for those using the service, helping them to save money and secure cash advances when needed. Garrett was joined at the event by his fellow Co-Founder and the CTO for the business, Flavien Charlon.
According to Garrett the way people work is changing, and there will be more and more self-employed workers in the future, so his product has major application for the future economy.
David Tighe got straight into a line of questioning:
How will Trezeo survive if the gig economy becomes more regulated? According to Garrett the product is built for the self-employed and that will become the target market. Discussions with operators have been very positive to date, "believe it or not, operators want their employees to have a life"
The final pitch was from our youngest entrepreneurs to date, Cian Farrell and Neville Flynn of Recroot.ie. Recroot is a platform built for the hospitality and retail sectors. The Recroot platform replaces traditional CVs with 30-second videos allowing prospective employers to assess the personality of the applicant and if they would be a great fit for their team! Cian and Neville built the first generation of the product while completing their final year of university and in just 9 weeks since launch, they have "recrooted" a host of household names onto the platform including Starbucks, TGI Fridays and indigenous burger chain Bunsen. The product is free at point of access for candidates and is monetised by charging the employers a subscription fee.
Denise McQuaid wanted to know if Recroot would socialise the videos to give retailers access before they subscribe? Recroot have privacy at the forefront of their thinking and only share uploaded (and pre-screened) videos with employers who are subscribed to the platform.
Following their excellent pitches our panel had some advice for these budding startups:
- Put customer validation at the heart of your business! It is the first thing Bank of Ireland talk about with any startup
- Find someone who has gone before you and learn from them! Ask their advice! Someone in the same space, but not a competitor!
- Don't arrive at any meetings with your luggage, it shows you aren't committed to the market! Find somewhere to securely store it, even if you are only in London for a couple of days.
- Decide if this is something you want to be doing in 10 years, or if this is for the now as you're on the verge of something really exciting.
- The final advice from Ed Greig - "fall in love with the problem, not the solution!"
3 fantastic startups and another brilliant LIBS event!
Watch this space!
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