I had only ever worked in the hedge fund industry before launching my technology startup. The programme management solution I built, Gecko, was designed to help me run my consultancy firm by enabling me to manage dozens of client projects from a single user dashboard. I hadn’t planned for it to be a business in its own right, so I was fairly clueless about what running a tech firm was all about!
How the journey started
It was a chance encounter with the head of the DKIT Regional Development Centre, at the Digital Dundalk startup forum last February, that gave me the confidence to apply for a place on Phase 1 of the New Frontiers programme.
It’s hard to believe that was less than a year ago.
New Frontiers gave me the confidence to grow the business and filled the gaps in my startup knowledge. The quality of the programme and its tutors, as well as the guidance from our excellent course mentor, enabled me to access a huge number of opportunities for expansion and build up an extensive network of contacts in the software industry.
Meeting industry peers
This encouraged us to apply for a place at the Dublin Web Summit, where we met dozens of interesting companies among the 20,000 delegates, culminating in a great interview with Pat Kenny on his morning show, live from the RDS!
New Frontiers also allowed us to find out about other, key start up programmes available in Ireland. We applied for a place on Enterprise Ireland’s Access Silicon Valley programme for high potential start-ups and were thrilled to win a place on the November 2014 programme!
Getting a global perspective
We flew out to San Francisco the very morning after the Web Summit, and over an amazing three weeks met 18 companies in Silicon Valley – potential clients, investors and partners (including Google). The programme really opened our eyes to the opportunities that exist for Irish companies globally and what can be achieved in a short space of time. Access Silicon Valley gave us the opportunity to put in place a whole network in California, which we can plug into when we are ready to scale the company.
Since returning from the US, we have also started to work with other great local support programmes, such as the Dell Centre for Entrepreneurs, and we recently found out that we have qualified for a place on Phase 3 of New Frontiers.
We have now launched Gecko in Ireland and have two live clients currently piloting the software. Their reactions have been really enthusiastic, so in the next few months we will be on-boarding two more. We then have another half a dozen clients in Europe and the US waiting to pilot. We are hopeful that this will transform the company and provide the springboard we need to expand the company globally.
We have also opened an office in the US and brought a new business advisor on board (a former Enterprise Ireland manager).
The development of Gecko has been a rapid and exciting journey, none of which would have been possible without participation on the New Frontiers programme.
About the author
Shane Brett worked in the hedge fund industry for nearly 20 years before becoming a “reluctant” technology entrepreneur. It was while running his consultancy firm that Shane created a solution to help him manage his client projects. His programme management software, Gecko, is now live in Ireland and will soon be piloted by some key clients in Europe and the US… [Read Shane’s profile]