A closer look at the start-up culture in Waterford
It’s often thought that to succeed in the tech sector, you need to be based in a major city. Dublin, Cork and Galway have excellent reputations when it comes to encouraging the start-up culture, but what about other parts of Ireland? I took a trip to the sunny south east to see what Waterford has to offer.
County Waterford was hit hard by the recession. Thousands of jobs across the county were lost but as I walked around the city last week, there’s no denying that there is a buzz about the place right now. There’s a sense of innovation that is bubbling away – particularly around the WIT campus. I heard there were many start-ups with a tech twist that based down there, so I went along to check them out.
First up on my to-do list was a visit to a micro brewery. You may wonder where the tech link is, but bear with me for a few minutes! I met with Grainne from Metalman Brewing. This is a Waterford company that employs 7 people. Grainne told me why she deceided to set up her brewery.
Grainne used to work for Amazon here in Ireland, and as part of her job she and her husband used to travel to the West Coast of America quite a bit. There, they discovered their love for certain types of beer and began to develop their own style of brewing.
As we moved through their micro-brewery, I asked Grainne to talk me through the various pieces of technology within her site.This is a very manual process. As I was there, I watched people washing out kegs, checking temperatures and tasting… Now, that being said, there is a very neat piece of technology that is unique to Metalman Brewing in Waterford.
Another company making waves from a Waterford base is NearForm. The company founded by Waterford men Cian Madeen and Richard Rodger, based in Tramore. They are a technology company working with some of the biggest brands in the world to expediate their software development. This allows companies to change their mobile apps in a short period of time… Some of their clients include Walmart, Conde Nast and The Times.
I met with Des Martin, CMO with NearForm and he told me why they’ve opted to base themselves in the sunny south east.Des actually explained to me how the company has a motto “talent first, location second”. So while the company is anchored in Tramore, they can have employees working remotely from anywhere in the world – they just want the best of the best.
Obviously, the leaving cert results were just released yesterday and with that in mind, I asked Des if today’s graudates have up-to-scratch- skills for the work on offer.
NearForm are currently hiring and ask that anyone interested in working for the company get in touch via their website.
The final stop on my tour of the county was Kollect, an on demand waste-collection service. Founder Robbie Skuse told me a bit about his company.
These three companies are just some of what Waterford has to offer.