This will be the second Dublin Startup Weekend, and the concept is simple – a roomful of people are brough together (c.50 – 70 developers, coders, marketers, product managers, web evangelists and startup enthusiasts) to go from concept to launch (or at least prototype) in 54 hours. The format is basically:
- Pitch an idea on Friday night
- Work with your team on Saturday
- Present your product on Sunday
The last Dublin Startup Weekend in May 2010 saw four start-ups formed, all of which are still plugging away (see BragBet; GeoDealio; CauseHere and HittheRoad). These start-ups emerged from the 60 participants, all of whom pay to take part, and form teams around good ideas.
Startup Weekend started in the US, but now has run in over 100 cities across the world with over 15,000 people having taken part. Billed by Forbes as a ‘Name You Need to Know in 2011’, two Startup Weekend originating companies have recently raised investment (Memolane.com raised $2m, and Foodspotting raised $750k)
Amy Neale and Sean Murphy (who are facilitating the event on the ground in Dublin) are passionate about creating a successful event for Dublin. The Dublin Start-Up weekend is run on a voluntary, not-for-profit basis by the duo (participants pay for tickets, which cover their food costs for the weekend), to see what great new ideas emerge from the community, and to help in any way to get them off the ground. The only agenda is to bring together great people with good ideas and support them to build a community and start companies.
Ireland’s National Pension Reserve Fund [NPRF] invests $50 million in Venture Capital through Innovation Fund Ireland
The National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) today announces a $50 million investment in Polaris Venture Partners. The investment is being made through Innovation Fund Ireland, a Government initiative to attract leading international venture capital fund managers to Ireland.
Polaris is a leading US venture capital firm. The firm will be increasing its focus on Ireland and Europe, providing a local and active source of venture capital from a leading international investment firm. Polaris will also be working with the IDA, Ireland’s inward investment agency, to identify opportunities within its network to bring fast-growing venture-backed companies to Ireland as a point of entry into Europe.
As part of the announcement, Polaris has confirmed that it has chosen to open the company’s first Dogpatch Labs facility outside of the United States in Dublin in support of Innovation Fund Ireland. Dogpatch Labs typically house 30 to 50 entrepreneurs working on new technology and life science related businesses at early stages of development. Polaris has had significant success with its existing Dogpatch Labs facilities in San Francisco, Cambridge (Massachusetts) and New York, where there is a fresh intake of entrepreneurs and start-ups every six months. Polaris expects to have similar success in attracting high quality entrepreneurs from across Europe to Dogpatch Labs Dublin. For more information go to http://dogpatchlabs.com
Terry McGuire, Managing Partner Polaris, said: “Dogpatch Labs has been highly successful in establishing hubs of entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. We are excited to be taking that model to Ireland, which has already attracted the likes of Google, Facebook and LinkedIn, and are hopeful that, in partnership with Innovation Fund Ireland, Dogpatch Dublin will emerge as a key hub for entrepreneurs across Europe.”
Speaking today, Paul Carty, Chairman of the NPRF said: “This investment, which forms part of our commitment to Innovation Fund Ireland, is a strong commercial opportunity for the NPRF and the establishment of a Dogpatch Labs in Dublin creates an important new catalyst for entrepreneurship in Ireland.”
About the NPRF
The National Pensions Reserve Fund was established in 2001 to meet as much as possible of the costs of Ireland’s social welfare and public service pensions from 2025 until at least 2055. The NPRF is controlled by the NPRF Commission, which has a statutory commercial investment mandate, and is currently invested globally across a diversified range of asset classes including quoted equities, bonds, property, private equity and commodities. The NPRF also has investments in Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks plc, made at the direction of the Minister for Finance in order to recapitalise these institutions. Recently it was announced that the NPRF will be required to contribute up to €10 billion to the EU-IMF programme of Financial Support for Ireland. Subsequently the NPRF Commission has reaffirmed its commitment of €125 million in total to Innovation Fund Ireland. The NPRF’s value at end September 2010 was €24.5 billion.
About Innovation Fund Ireland
Innovation Fund Ireland is a €500 million Irish Government initiative designed to attract leading international venture capital fund managers to Ireland.
Innovation Fund Ireland funding comprises three elements. The first is Exchequer funding of €125 million, which will be managed by Enterprise Ireland. The second allows the NPRF to invest a similar amount providing its commercial investment criteria are met. The balance will be raised privately by participating venture capital managers. For more information go to http://www.innovationfundireland.com
Polaris Venture Partners is a partnership of experienced investors, operating executives and entrepreneurs. The firm’s mission is to identify, invest in and partner with seed, early stage, and middle-market businesses with exceptional promise and help them grow into market-leading companies. Polaris invests in businesses across a number of markets including technology, digital media, consumer, enertech and life sciences. Polaris-backed successes in life sciences include: Adimab, Adnexus (sold to BMS), Advanced Inhalation Research (sold to Alkermes), Alimera (ALIM), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY), Asthmatx (sold to Boston Scientific) Glycofi (sold to Merck), Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA) and Ironwood (IRWD). Polaris-backed successes in technology and consumer include: Akamai Technologies (AKAM), Allaire, Art.com, Athlete’s Performance, Automattic (WordPress), e-Rewards, LogMeIn (LOGM), LegalZoom, LivingProof, MarkMonitor, Powersoft, Solidworks, TechTarget (TTGT) and Quantcast. For more on the firm, its mission and its portfolio companies: http://polarisventures.com.
About Dogpatch Labs
Dogpatch Labs was created by Polaris Venture Partners to connect entrepreneurs and help founders conceive and launch startups. Dogpatch Labs has three locations in Cambridge, MA, New York, NY and San Francisco, CA and will open its fourth location in Dublin, Ireland in the first quarter of 2011. Dogpatch labs offer desk space, bandwidth, coffee and lunch to aspiring entrepreneurs but are much more than physical spaces. The Labs collectively are a community of like minded entrepreneurs who share a spirit of “open source entrepreneurship,” the idea that, particularly at the very earliest of stages, we all benefit by fostering connection points between and amongst entrepreneurs and startups. Whether it is sharing space, sharing ideas, sharing referrals, networking, or just hanging out, the members all thrive on the flow of ideas, people and relationships. So, in addition to a workspace, they also use the lab frequently as a meeting place — for lunch talks, workshops, conferences, symposia etc. For more information go to http://dogpatchlabs.com