Meet the most exciting Irish enterprises at SXSW


The "Interactive" leg of South by Southwest (SXSW) 2016 gets underway today and a whole host of Irish startups are crossing the Atlantic and descending on the city of Austin, Texas, to showcase their tech wares. Below, you'll get the lowdown on the 20 brightest names in attendance.

Enterprise Ireland is the driving force behind the Irish campaign, as they have been for more than half a decade, with an eclectic Expo floor programme and plenty of networking events up its sleeve.

Simone Boswell, Enterprise Ireland’s SVP of Internet, Media and Entertainment in Silicon Valley, said:

"These entrepreneurs are building cutting edge, valuable technology companies, opening offices in the US, securing significant partnerships, and closing larger-than-ever funding rounds from US investors and international syndicates.

"The 2016 SXSW delegation is further evidence of Ireland’s thriving and growing indigenous start-up ecosystem".

Events specifically tailored to put the spotlight on our capital's creativity and innovation will fall under the new umbrella of 'Dublin Makes Me'.

Things gets underway this evening with the first such event.

Kicking off 7pm CST in the 6th Street vaudeville theatre Esther's Follies (hopefully not aptly named), it should be a display of Dublin's storytelling, accompanied by live music and an open bar.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Office of the Dublin Commissioner for Startups will be hosting office hours, discussing Dublin's tech ecosystem over craft beers, whiskeys and cheese.

The Palm Door then plays host to an Irish Startup Wake from 6pm on Sunday.

Doing exactly what it says in the title, dearly departed companies will be mourned and celebrated with food, booze and live trad.

Click here for tickets and further info.



Without further ado, here's a brief guide to get you acquainted with 20 of the Irish enterprises chasing the American Dream from March 11-15...

A Cork company that is proving to be a genuine life saver. GlowDx is tackling Dengue Fever, a debilitating mosquito-borne virus that causes internal bleeding and organ failure and affects up to 528 million people every single year in Asia, Africa, the Americans and the Caribbean. It has developed an Accessible Diagnostic Platform which provides a cheap and easy solution for developing countries– no wonder it is one of the finalists for this year's SXSW Accelerator.

The brainchild of Mayo's Daniel Loftus, UrbanFox is a tool that helps businesses to engage with their customers, driving conversion rates, revenue and brand loyalty by learning from customers and assessing how well promotions work. Loftus was named Mayo's Best Young Entrepreneur at the Irish Best Young Entrepreneur competition in 2015, with IBYE Mayo dishing out Best Startup and Best New Idea gongs as well.

Kong Digital
Hailing from Ardee in Louth, Kong Digital already has a foothold in the US market. The digital marketing startup won Netwatch's Launch Space competition in December, earning it brand new, rent-free office space in Newtown, Boston, for an entire year. They work with clients to help them get maximum results from their digital marketing campaigns.

Returning to SXSW, Dermot Desmond's e-learning company is now a truly global company, with offices worldwide. Its "Know-How library" is used by 15 million financial markets professionals annually and its other knowledge management technologies have made a big impact.

A Dublin startup that wants to make car theft history. Particularly aimed at taxi drivers, who depend on their motors for their livelihoods, Kabzy's affordable next-gen vehicle security system allows owners to track and safely disable their car from their smartphone or computer.

Giving you the live music experience where you least expect it. This app allows phones to scan a specific 'F' logo that could appear on anything from a business card to a magazine, and starts playing a pre-recorded gig from an up-and-coming talent. Thus far they've teamed up with a host of Ireland's most exciting musical acts, include Hare Squead and Bitch Falcon. SXSW, with its strong musical roots, should be the perfect Firstage showcase as it takes on the world.



Irish born and bred, Overhaul co-founder Barry Conlon actually lives in Austin these days, making for a handy commute. Formerly the CEO of FreightWatch International, his new Overhaul venture is building an online marketplace for moving premium cargo in North America.

It takes a creative mind to see the Greece situation and see an opportunity. TekTalent has recognised the potential in a highly-educated, English-speaking Greek workforce and is now helping to connect Irish SMEs with the country's technical talent in IT.

Headquartered in Dublin, OpenBack has developed an on-device messaging app that intelligently delivers notifications and messages to users at the right time for them. Its innovative tracking reports fully on how the user interacts with messages and adjusts accordingly.

With offices in Dublin, London and California, SynergySuite was founded by siblings Niall and Suzanne Keane. The the pair well-versed in the hospitality industry and SynergySuite offers a cloud-based suite of backoffice tools to aid in the running of clubs, pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and more.

Established just before the millennium but operating like a fast-rising 21st century tech startup, Globoforce is split between Dublin and Boston. The likes of Cisco and the InterContinental Hotels Group avail of their cloud-based human capital management software solutions. Essentially, Globoforce products help employees recognise and reward each other, driving performances in the workplace. Fittingly, the company has often been heralded as having a particularly harmonious office environment.

With its sights firmly set on the US language service and localisation sector – which is worth a cool $40 billion a year – KantanMT offers a cloud-based Machine Translation solution. It prides itself on its easy to use products, which will hopefully set it apart in a rapidly expanding industry.

Last year, Galvanic became the first Irish startup to clear $100,000 in funding through Kickstarter. The Dublin company is responsible for Pip, a handheld, wireless bio-sensor that measures stress levels in the wearer. Ultimately, the app aims to cut down on stress, employing games that have a calming effect.



At the forefront of Dublin's thriving digital agency industry, eightytwenty is all about advertising for the digital age. Clients to date include everyone from the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and Asthma Society to Birds Eye and Bulmers. It was shortlisted at last year's eir Spiders Awards.

Ireland's longest established event production agency, Catapult was founded in 1999. It devises, designs and produces live events with an emphasis on creativity. Web Summit, Sky and Lidl are among its clients. Catapult is about to put on its first gig at SXSW, taking care of 'Dublin Makes Me'.

Co-founded by Dubliner Oisin Hanrahan, Handy has positioned itself as the Uber of cleaning services and is already a multi-million dollar company. The platform offers the services of freelance cleaners, who have all been put through extensive background testing, with Hanrahan saying that less than 3% of those who apply get approved.

Founded in 2013, Crowdsight helps venues to reward fans with sponsored prizes. Its mobile platform encourages people attending events to share photos and text from the shindig online, which in turn helps people following the action at home to cut through the social media white noise. A promising digital sponsorship tool.

Good Travel Software
Peter Souter's startup is behind Drop Car, which claims to be the first company in the world to employ fleet-balancing solutions and yield management techniques to help car-share companies maximise revenues. A partnership with Trinity College Dublin was essential in getting the software off the ground and it is now ready to take on markets in the US and Europe.

Roads Entertainment
A part of Roads Luxury Group, the company founded by Danielle Ryan (daughter of the late Tony Ryan), Roads Entertainment is a film company that can rely on the vast experience of Oscar-nominated producer Eimear O'Kane (for short filmPentecost) and former Irish Film Board executive Alan Maher. Roads was behind acclaimed sports doc Being AP last year and has a number of films in development.

Drop Kitchen
All about innovation when it comes to cooking. Drop Kitchen has created the one-of-a-kind Drop product, a scales that connects to your iPad. From there, its highly-adaptive recipe platform app interacts with your mixing bowl to ensure you get your chosen recipe just right. Drop Kitchen secured a retail partnership with Apple in 2014.


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