After visiting 10 venues across Ireland over the past six months, the AIB Start-up Academy returned to Dublin for the final start-up night of 2015.
AIB Start-up Academy visits Dublin
After visiting 10 venues across Ireland over the past six months, the AIB Start-up Academy returned to Dublin for the final start-up night of 2015. Throughout our journey we have had the pleasure of hearing inspirational stories from entrepreneurs and learned a lot of useful business tips along the way. The last event of the year, held in front of a packed audience at the Opium Rooms on Wexford Street, was no exception.
The first elevator pitch of the evening was delivered jointly by Shane Murphy and Darragh Kirby from Groopeze, an online booking platform which aims to take the hassle out of organising group events. Their simple and innovative approach has already attracted thousands of users to the platform.
Seditio was founded in 2014 by digital strategist Antonie Geerts. Seditio provide value to clients by assessing and improving their digital marketing output. In his pitch, Antonie emphasised the importance of delivering a straight-forward and transparent service to customers and delivering measurable results.
Last but not least, 2015 AIB Start-up Academy finalist Philip Martin told the audience about his company, Blanco Nino. Through his other business, the Little Ass Burrito Bar in Dublin, Philip noticed that there was a lack of authentic Mexican tortilla wraps and chips available on this side of the Atlantic. After travelling to Mexico to learn about the process of developing such a product, Philip launched Blanco Nino. In a short space of time the product has exceeded market share expectations and has already secured distribution partners in the UK and mainland Europe.
Our first main speaker of the night was Jennie McGinn, founder of the fashion retail website Opsh.com. Users of the website can search for products from 30 separate retailers in one place, making the process of online shopping much easier. Opsh.com has 85,000 users, growing at a rate of 23% per month.
The website is run by Jennie and her sisters, growing out of a WordPress blog which they set up in 2009. Despite having no tech background, they worked hard to gain an understanding of web development and online retailing. It is a remarkable success story which has seen Opsh.com grow considerably over the past year, doubling their staff and moving to a new office on Leeson Street.
Bernie Kinsella, another of our 2015 AIB Start-up Academy finalists, delivered a lively talk detailing her journey as founder of WorldBox, a shipping company which delivers to over 200 countries. WorldBox is customer-friendly, allowing for packages of up to 20kg to be delivered around the world for a reasonable price. The service has proved to be popular amongst students and tourists who want to send items home.
Bernie shared some great advice with anyone thinking of starting up their own business, telling them to build their brand around what the customer wants. She also stressed the importance of networking with fellow entrepreneurs and investors.
The night wrapped up with a Q&A session, hosted by Gary Quinn of the Irish Times. As usual, the audience had some thoughtful and interesting questions for our speakers. The panel addressed issues such as, encouraging more women to start businesses, learning from mentors and how to secure vital funding. Throughout the night, attendees were polled on business related questions. The most eye-catching result was that over 50% of the audience are currently exploring export markets for their product or service.
That was the final information night of 2015 but the AIB Start-up Academy will hit the road again in the New Year. Keep an eye on @AIBBiz for all the latest news on AIB Start-up Academy events happening near you.
Don’t forget, you can still submit an application to be part of the 2016 AIB Start-up Academy competition. Applying is easy, just go to Submit your application and fill out the form. The closing date for entries is January 4th 2016.