Ireland’s vibrant indigenous software industry has more than 500 companies and employs around 10,000 people. Though it began with corporations like Microsoft and IBM establishing European bases around Dublin, enticed by government incentives and tax breaks, by the 1990s, indigenous start-ups like Iona Technologies, Baltimore, and Changing Worlds had developed out of Irish universities’ research.
Today’s start-ups are just as exciting, and even if they’re not household names yet, many are already picking up awards and prizes. Some, like Dublin based High Andes, even offer free products.
The Irish software industry produced revenues of €1.4b billion in 2009, the vast majority from exports. While much of this came from large international companies like Microsoft, and IBM, which conducts most of its Lotus research in Ireland, start-ups are becoming increasingly important. Here are Six of our favourites.
Dublin-based High Andes’ trakAxPC Pro application offers a professional-standard studio for Windows desktops that enables the rapid creation of music and video content.
Launched in December 2009 trakAxPC Pro offers music and film makers of all skill levels access to free or very cheap tools that allow them to create YouTube videos, home movies, original audio tracks, and multimedia slideshows.
Building on the popularity of High Andes free-to-download trakAxPC application, trakAxPC Pro introduces new features and functionality, including one-click upload to YouTube; support for YouTube HD, instant file conversion, Video Credits and Text, automatic crossfading for quick mixes, collaging and support for all popular file formats. you the pro DJ feel.
TrakAxPC can be used by small businesses to create interactive videos and slideshows to highlight their product offerings. These videos can then be quickly and easily uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, or the TV screen on your premises.
Catriona Barry, lead project manager for trakAx.com said “The goal of traxAxPC Pro is to empower the average PC user to create professional-level content to share with family, friends and beyond. “trakAxPC Pro is as powerful and sophisticated as applications sold for hundreds of dollars by other companies. Apart from price, there is one major difference between our product and other content-creation software—with our tools you don’t have to be a software or music whiz to begin creating something impressive.”
Finglas, Co Dublin-based iphone apps developer Redwind Software launched its Twitpod application last week, which allows music lovers to listen to tracks and tweet their lyrics at the same time. Twitpod use could get a bit annoying and it ought to win a prize for the silliest name, but we still think Redwind is worth watching, if only because it is working on applications that twitter users won’t be able to resist. It has had great success with quiz and music based iphone applications developed over the last two years and has also established a Silicon Valley office, where its partnering with film and TV companies to develop iphone applications based on movies.
Rendezvu, a NovaUCD- based start-up founded by two ex-Baltimore Technologies Employees, is developing an immersive, games-based online learning environment for language students. It recently won around 10,000 euro worth of start-up support to develop its product by pipping NovaUCD rival Heystaks to the David Manley prize.
Dublin's NewBay is a leader in digital lifestyle solutions for mobile operators. Newbay was named Best Technology at the Global Mobile Awards, at Mobile World Congress 2009 for its Social Networking solution. Newbay’s LifeCache Social Networking Gateway and Social Networking Client, aggregates social networking experience into an operator branded environment. The 2009 judges called LifeCache an impressive product for stimulating network usage and revenue. LifeCache’s unique SONA API allows online communities to connect easily and efficiently. Founded in 2002 by Dublin entrepreneur Paddy Holohan, Newbay's products enable subscribers to create, store, share and view user content such as photo and video albums, blogs and address books. Following sustained investment in its LifeCache platform, it won contracts frorm tier one operators and in 2008 was listed in the Deloitte Fast 500. By 2009 it was number six in Deloitte’s list of the 50 fastest growing software companies in Ireland.
Bandon, Co Cork-based Newsweaver which began trading in 2002, was listed in the 2009 Deloitte & Touche Technology Fast 50 Awards for its fourth consecutive year. It is expanding, backed by Enterprise Ireland and has just taken on 33 new staff to help its research.CEO Andrew O'Shaughnessy said: “Email newsletters help build strong customer relationships which are absolutely essential in difficult economic conditions. That is the basis for our growth. We are very grateful to Enterprise Ireland for their continued support of our R&D, which has been crucial."
Avvio, which is based at the National Technological Park in Limerick, is creating 30 new high skilled roles over the next two years by investing around €1.6 million in R&D and innovation. The company, which employs 40 people, provides reservations software and online marketing for the hospitality industry, and is on track to quadruple its revenue by 2010, to over €6 million.
* Last week the Irish Government body Enterprise Ireland gave the Irish Software Association 200,000 Euro to launch the Irish Software Innovation Network, a body designed to draw commercial interest to Irish university research to speed up the process of turning research into commercial products. And last week the leasding companies and researchers in Ireland’s wireless community launched their own innovation network, wirelessLAB.ie, too.
The ISIN hopes to link at least five research groups with companies already working in their fields this year. Michael Martin, ISIN manager, believes the network has massive potential to boost innovation, enterprise and employment by getting software companies to work more closely with research institutes. “This network will be of interest to any business that wants to commercialise a specific technology, but which may not have the internal resources needed to do the research themselves, "Martin said.