Pat Phelan on the Irish Tech Scene, Startups & His Ones To Watch for 2015
Pat Phelan is the co-founder and CEO of Trustev. He's also known as one of Ireland's best known entrepreneurs and has built a number of companies in the technology sector over the past 15 years. He has also has won a handful of awards for his innovative approach to business, including the IIA Net Visionary Award in 2008.
How did Trustev come to fruition?
Trustev was founded in early 2013, Chris [
Kennedy] and I had worked together and always had ambition to go again, we looked at a number of avenues and settled on this.
Explain Trustev to someone who may never of heard of it before
Its a global security company which identifies anonymous purchasers and confirms that they are who they say they are using over 1000 pieces of data around behavioural, location and other parameters in real time. It increases revenues by helping companies to know who they are selling to. This is a $20 billion a year issue globally so demand is pretty enormous.
On Startups- "I think we need to rethink the whole grant process, we need to get people started younger"
What are you working on right now?
We just launched Trustev for publishers to eliminate trolls/gamergate etc. which was recently covered extensively in the following articles:
Do you work remotely a lot?
I moved to New York in May so yes, absolutely, my co founder Chris Kennedy is our CTO and we have offices in Cork/Dublin/New York and Dallas.
Have you seen a lot of change in the tech scene in Ireland since moving stateside?
I probably haven't been as close as I have in the past but listening on the grapevine I hear amazing things, global ambition of Irish startups now appears to be a given. When I started over 10 years ago, it was a very small scene where we all knew each other but its inspiring now to see young people blowing up these global startups from our small island.
Too many startups run out of money too fast due to a lack of focus on customers and lack of commercial focus
What more can be done for the young entrepreneurs and start-ups in Ireland?
I think we need to rethink the whole grant process, we need to get people started younger and then figure out how to scale them globally earlier in their life cycle. The population in Ireland is too small to scale at any size so we need to get the Irish Diaspora working with these early stage start ups as soon as possible and use these incredible Irish "address books" to get the companies traction.
Would you advise start-ups to join incubators or "head out on their own"?
Its an interesting question, some great companies have come out of incubators and some great companies have "headed out on their own" I think its a question of where the company is rather then incubator or not, if the company has an MVP and customers I would advise to go alone, if its at concept stage with some code built out I would suggest incubator. Too many startups run out of money too fast due to a lack of focus on customer and lack of commercial focus.
What's the best advice you can give for a start-up to get their name out there?
Build a network, identify early the people who write about your sector/space, get engaged with them, its not all about you, talk to them about your space, new innovation in it. Once you have engaged its easier to get coverage. Don't send press releases to journalists/bloggers you have never engaged with, they will never cover it. Event and events and events in the evenings.
What is your tech?
MacBook Pro 13, iPhone 6 and iPad mini 3G, then lots of chargers and extra batteries! Here's a screen grab of my home screen:
Who are your ones to watch for 2015?
- Rhona & Eimear of Restored Hearing
- Jayne Ronayne of Konnect Again
- David Coallier and his new startup Barricade
- Eamon Leonard (watch out for news)