Hello Readers, on the 8th of December I attended the Get Started Conference held in the Helix in DCU. Many entrepreneurs spoke and gave their stories and advice on how to find your feet and start a successful company. This was an incredible opportunity to learn from people who have been there and done it. My goal is to become an entrepreneur, so I dragged my tired head towards the Helix eager to hear the stories of how these normal people became entrepreneurs.
We got an introduction about the Ryan Academy to begin with. They help many Start-Ups from DCU and I am going to do some background research on them and hopefully use their services in the future. It was very helpful because had they not have spoken I’m sure it would have been several months down the line before I would have heard of them again. By that time someone may have used my idea. Isn’t that what the whole talk was about, getting started now before someone else does. I guess you could say now I have a head start.
The first speaker was Philippe Brodeur. His company was OvercastHQ. OvercastHQ is a company that makes saving and sending videos very easy. Philippe was easy on the ear and offered good advice. His two main points were 1. Differentiate your start-up, and 2. You need traction, his traction was he need more customers in order to get further funding. I couldn’t get over that he said timing was the most important thing for start-ups. It surprised me because I thought the idea or your plan would be the most important. On further reading about OvercastHQ I discovered that cable companies and broadcasters are using it and its making their lives easier. It helps them use the cloud without any hassle and it reduces the costs of having on premise storage facilities.
Next on stage was two young entrepreneurs who looked only three or four years older than ourselves. Brian O’Rourke and Alan Farrelly were their names. They were full of energy and you could tell they were passionate about their business, Cityswifter. Cityswifter cuts out stops and is a more direct bus journey. They were just out of college and went straight into a start-up. They told us they made mistakes but learned from them. They had to do it wrong to do it right. They didn’t give up and kept working. In an attempt to get Cityswifter up and running they worked 12-16 hours a day for three weeks straight. To me this showed serious commitment. They were inspirational to listen to and they showed me it doesn’t matter about your age when it comes to being an entrepreneur.
Following them was another young and enthusiastic entrepreneur, Elva Carri. She was great to listen too. Her story was funny because she set up her company, Girlcrew, by an accident. Girlcrew is a social media platform where girls can meet up a socialize with other women who have the same interest. They can go out and dance if their own friends don’t want to. Her business is tech based and she was able to build it with herself being a “techie”. Another thing from her presentation that surprised me was that she went so public that Mark Zuckerberg invited her to Facebook’s Head Quarters in Silicon Valley. That’s a huge achievement getting to go to Silicon Valley. It’s where every tech business wants to be. Elva has now been there and I presume when she was there she learned a thing or two she brought back which benefited Girlcrew.
Next, we had Gavan Walsh with his company iCabbi. iCabbi is a tech company whereby you can see the live location of taxis and you can book directly without having to call someone. I was impressed with him because he gave a personal story where he was out walking in a remote area in Portugal and got lost. He had to ring for a taxi. But it was there where he came up with his idea of being able to see a live feed of taxis. He told us about his other failed dress company. He was launching a website where females could sell and swap their second-hand dresses. He staged a huge event on Grafton street where he got fifty girls to wear deb’s dresses and walk down the street. There were photographers and journalists covering the event. The event was a success but in the end his company failed. This was what lead him to his point and advice that once you reach the ‘no going back stage’ you must be committed and work hard because from that point on you will either succeed or fail.
Finally, we had Iseult Ward of FoodCloud. FoodCloud is a charity that takes donations of food that is reaching its sell by dates and then they donate it to local charities. This is a genius idea that helps communities so much. All this food that would have been going to waste is now being put to good use. Iseult is also a very ambitious person because she expanded to the UK. She has plans on entering and receiving donations from all Tesco stores in the UK. She put in into perspective for us, there is 148 Tesco’s in Ireland. There are 3000 in the UK. This surprised me and it shows the enormity of her challenge.
It was an interesting day. Some of the stories I heard surprised me. I always knew it would be tough to make it but I really didn’t know how tough it was. I am now informed of that and I’m glad because at least when I do decide to create my own Start-Up I will be ready for a few knocks. They won’t come as a big surprise. Overall it was a very interesting day and I learned a lot from it. I want to give a special mention to all the speakers who came and everyone involved in the event because it was a huge help. Big thanks go out to you.
I will be writing again in a few weeks’ time about the next conference we will be attending. I hope you have a read of that blog too.