Myself and Conor O’Neill, Walter Higgins, Tom Corcoran, Joe Drumgoole and Keith Bohanna have been discussing the idea of creating a kind of showcase event in the next while. The idea is to have a competition which will hopefully have 16 Irish Tech startups show off their wares in front of a judging panel comprised of VCs and tech people from Ireland, UK, Europe and the States and around this event itself would be talks about how to start a business and the various lessons that need to be learned.
There’s a huge lot of stuff that needs to be done though. We’re currently hunting for a location. Digital Hub and Alexander Hotel are options. We are also trying to line up judges and until we have them we can’t confirm a date OR a venue. Chicken and an egg really. One European judge has said she’d get involved. We are also looking for sponsors.
I would think we will need serious sponsorhip money if we have to cover the traveling costs of the judges and we want to give a great prize. We’re hoping that the majority of judges will themselves be VCs and we want to use the event to show off the emerging talent of the Irish tech industry. We do want to see companies get investment, afterall. Know any VCs that would make good judges? I’m currently working on getting a media partner for this event too. My fav part of this is everyone has to send in a video of their pitch so the website should be a bit of fun and will get everyone talking and get attention for everyone that enters.
The organising of this has been hard going and I’m disappointed that many companies will only get involved if their competitors are not involved. Getting enough interest internationally is another issue too and I had hoped to use the Paddy’s Valley trip as a way of talking up the Irish Tech Startups but finding people willing to go to Paddy’s Valley apart from the usual suspects, has been really tough, almost like pulling teeth.
Perhaps we need a more established partner like the Irish Venture Capital Association or someone like that to get involved or perhaps, we are planning too big and for the first few years of this we should grow this “organically” and let the name and reputation build by starting off with a small prize and with local judges. I really do wonder with the lack of feedback from Enterprise Boards and Incubation Centres when contacting them about various things including Paddy’s Valley, whether there are enough quality startups that we could show off to international investors without them saying “Just these 10? That’s all of them?”
Feedback on this is most welcome.
Here’s the current one-sheeter:
What is StartupCamp/Tech Audition Ireland?
A one day competition to find the best new technology service/company in Ireland. Judged by international and national peers. 16 companies will be invited to present their products to a panel of judges. They have a total of 15 minutes to show off their idea and answer questions from the panel.
When: To be decided
Prize: Cash prize.
How to apply: See website for further details.
All companies have to send in an “Audition Tape” to be considered. Judges will then select the best 16 who will go forward on the day to the final round. No restrictions with regard to companies being incorporated, trading, revenue generating but this is for emerging companies/startups.
Have you tried the likes of Enterprise Ireland? If they’re not interested in getting involved, I’m sure that they could point you in the right direction in terms of sponsers etc.