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Stirring tech success in Ireland

posted 29 Oct 2010, 10:06 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 29 Oct 2010, 10:08 ]
The founders of YouTube, Skype, Twitter and Bebo are among a group of 100 top technology executives meeting at the inaugural Founders event in Dublin where they delivered an optimistic message about the country’s tech scene.
IRELAND-TECHNOLOGY - The image of Ireland as a land of opportunity has suffered as the so-called Celtic Tiger turned cautionary tale, its public finances burdened with ballooning debt from the banking sector.

But on this typically grey Dublin day, there are some signs of encouragement from a group of technology entrepreneurs who are taking part in the inaugural Founders event on the sidelines of the Dublin Web Summit.

SOUNDBITE: Chad Hurley, YouTube co-founder saying (English):

"I think it's making some waves what's happening here in Ireland and the rest of Europe."

Chad Hurley is the founder and CEO of YouTube

SOUNDBITE: Chad Hurley, YouTube co-founder saying (English):

"I don't think you necessarily need to be in the Silicon Valley in the future to be successful. There's more and more entrepreneurs but beyond entrepreneurs, people with the crazy ideas, systems in place to support them be it gatherings like this or the investment to make things possible."

Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom is one of those hoping to spur the European tech scene through his investment firm Atomico Ventures which is holding a day of meetings with local tech entrepreneurs.

SOUNDBITE: Niklas Zennstrom, Atomico Ventures founder saying (English):

"We're certainly looking for companies to invest in here in Ireland. What we've discovered (is that) Europe doesn't have one Silicon Valley and I think it never will have. Europe is a very federated market so it's important for us at Atomico to go out and seek out entrepreneurs on the ground."

Bebo founder Michael Birch lives in San Francisco, but his new political networking site called Jolitics is being tested here in Ireland.

SOUNDBITE: Michael Birch, Jolitics co-founder saying (English)

"Everyone else tends to start companies in Silicon Valley and it's not a very typical population. It's very tech-centric so we wanted to launch it somewhere else to see whether it was more effective launching it outside of that kind of insular, slightly-biased community."

Zennstrom says when it comes to trying to build the next big thing, being small and cash-strapped are powerful motivators

SOUNDBITE: Niklas Zennstrom, Atomico Ventures founder saying (English):

"Where you have a smaller country, people have to look internationally for their success. So that's one driver I think is good for Ireland and the other thing is when the economy is bad that's a trigger for people to try to build their future."

And considering the current state of Ireland's economy, anything offering new hope and the potential for growth will be a welcome distraction.

Matt Cowan, Reuters

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