Why Dublin is probably the best place in Europe to launch your startup
When deciding where to ‘do’ a startup………you’re looking for: Human capital, financial capital, an established tech community combining both the most successful tech companies in the world and early stage peers. An environment that’s pro-business . A location that’s easily accessible and somewhere that’s vibrant, energetic and where you have a great quality of life. Across any and all of these measures……….Dublin is that location.
Human capital – whether that’s management or top tier graduates, they can be found in Dublin. There’s a cadre of management in Ireland with global experience across all functions whose skills have been honed leading and building out both Europe-wide and global operations for companies like Microsoft, Google, Ebay, Paypal and more recently Facebook and Linkedin – all here in Dublin. On the more junior side, Ireland ranked first in the world for most-highly employable graduates according to a European Commission Study of international recruiters last year.
The presence of companies like Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Microsoft and Twitter means emerging companies who are developing on their platforms or looking to partner with them in some shape or form can access key personnel easily – they’re all located within a couple of miles of each other and most of them within walking distance.
From an investment and financing perspective, there’s never been a better time for early stage teams forming a business to locate in Ireland. There’s over US $250m available in seed funding in Ireland at present. Again that’s US $250m! This is comprised of four dedicated seed funds totaling US $145m, further matching funding from Enterprise Ireland of $80m, add in initiatives such as the Competitive Start Fund, angel funds from structured groups such as HBAN and private investment from high net-worth individuals and……………………well as I said you’ve got a quarter of a billion US dollars available in seed funding in Ireland right now. For a country with a population of 4.5m people……..that’s a lot of money and non-Irish entrepreneurs should take note and perhaps re-think where they’re going to launch their next business.
In addition to the above, there’s a bunch of other supports available here. There’s more than five Y-combinator inspired accelerator programs in Dublin alone, including Propeller, Startupbootcamp, Create, Launchpad and Hothouse that provide the classic 3 month program with mentors and funding by way of stipend. For companies further down the track, there’s the opportunity to potentially be part of Dogpatch Labs Europe.
Less than 10 days ago, one of Europe’s largest tech events, the Dublin Web Summit drew an audience of over 1500 people over 2 days. In tandem with that, F.ounders for the second year running brought 150 of the worlds’ most prestigious and successful tech founders to Dublin – including the founders of Netflix, Rovio (Angry Birds), Linkedin, Skype and Paypal – on an invite only basis for an intimate get together. F.ounders has since been lauded by the Wall Street Journal, Techcrunch, Mashable and more as amongst other things “the best event I have ever attended”.
Dublin is a vibrant and energetic city – those who move here love living here and comment frequently about the great quality of life. In addition to that, one can hop on a plane and be anywhere in Europe in less than 2 hours. And NYC/Boston is a pretty short hop in the other direction. In fact one of my colleagues from NYC who was over here last week noted that it was a quicker flight for him than heading out west to California.
So again, I think by any measure Dublin is a phenomenal location to launch and grow a startup and the question that founders from across Europe and further afield should ask themselves isn’t why would l locate in Ireland………… it’s why would I not?
By Noel Ruane on November 7th 2011