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And finally the closing panel discussion from the Dublin Web Summit. Panelist include Dave McClure of 500 Start-Ups, Jeff Clavier of SoftTech and Paddy Holohan of Newbay.
Jeff: Post 2004 Web 2.0 companies were much more efficient than their predecessors so a handful of experienced entrepreneurs got involved in funding these companies and got labeled as Super Angels.
Dave: Most of the people they are investing in are first time entrrepreneurs so it is harder to guess on the future success of those businesses. It’s often less about the products and more about the personalities.
Jeff: Mobile is exploding at the moment so we have two major platforms that are not controlled by the carriers. This represents a tremendous opportunity for developers. However he is very careful on betting on individual trends and focuses more on individual companies.
Dave: what’s different about the iPad is that people of all generations are using them. It’s the one device that really seems to have captured everything into one device.
Paddy: Wi-fi is potentially more important tan the devices. Without wireless these devices are no longer powerful. It is everything together. In Ireland Paddy sees the exit strategy of investors as being much longer than Silicon Valley, somewhere in the region of 10 years. There is huge State support for entrepreneurship in Ireland but this can result in people being too cautious, taking too long, potentially smothering a good idea. Study the failures and decide if the timing was wrong or if the product was wrong.
Jeff: He has had 16 exits in the last 4 years; the shortest was 6 months, longest was 3 years but typically you expect to exit within 7 years.
Dave: most of the C funding that he does results in an exit after 3 years. In the last 5 years there has been a massive change in how you acquire customers with the advent of search, social media, smart phones etc whilst at the same time the cost of development has fallen also. You can develop a product with 25k of equity or eve no money, just sweat equity.
Jeff: of his 55 active investments, these companies employ on average 2-15 employees. The challenge to acquire talent is really important.
Paddy jumps in to point out that it is extremely hard to find good staff in Ireland and he employs 30% of his workforce from overseas and finds it cheaper to employ staff in Seattle than Dublin.
About the author:
Jonathan Campbell is a Director of Select People, a specialist headhunting firm and also the co-founder of social media consultancy Social BPO/ Social Talent, which grows and manages talent communities on social media sites for recruiters. Check out our Facebook Page: Facebook.com/socialbpo for more information.