Recently, I travelled to the other side of the world – from Melbourne to Dublin – to complete an internship with NDRC. Through investment and mentorship, NDRC helps tech startups develop their ideas and accelerate their business.
On my arrival, I was thrown straight into the action! In the first week of my internship, NDRC’s partnership with an accelerator in Oman was announced, it was the final week for applications for the Dublin Spring call, and preparations were being made in advance of the announcement for NDRC’s second regional accelerator, this time in Waterford.
And the following four weeks were just as busy.
I quickly had to learn how NDRC functioned, while getting an understanding of the tech startup scene in Ireland as a whole - who the key companies were, as well as the biggest growth areas and funding organisations.
Working in an old Guinness Storehouse building (can’t get much more Irish than that, right?) it’s your stereotype of the modern co-working space. Exposed brick walls, sun umbrellas, big desks and potted plants. They even had racks to hang your coat on - a new experience for me coming from Australia, which I never remembered to use. All of the NDRC staff sit in the big open space with the startups, creating a really supportive, motivating atmosphere to work in.
Even better than the building itself though, is that everyone working there, both staff and startups, love what they do. And it shows. They are passionate about helping others and want to come in to work every day. Being a part of this culture not only made for an exciting work environment, but also made me think about my own career, what I enjoy doing, and how to get there.
Over the five weeks of my internship I worked on a variety of different projects. These ranged from researching the startup culture and tech scene in various cities and countries, to analysing data from applications in order to find general trends such as where the applicants came from, or how they heard about the program.
By attending as many pitches and meetings as I could, and talking to the staff around me, I learnt what an investor looks for and how to use different tools to better understand potential markets.
Previously, my experiences had primarily been in the startup and science commercialisation side of the industry, so to see it through a venture capital perspective was really eye-opening.
Along the way I also completed a lot of market and competitor research for the various startups who are part of NDRC.
For me, one of the key learnings from this activity, which I will take with me back to Australia, was the importance of strong networks. Throughout my university degree I had always been told how valuable networks are, but had never really needed to draw on my own until this internship. Being able to call on past colleagues or lecturers back in Melbourne when I had questions about the Australian market was invaluable.
I want to thank everyone working at NDRC who made my time here so rewarding and enjoyable. In particular, though, my supervisor, Alan. From the lunches and coffee breaks, to always making sure I had plenty of interesting work to do. Thank you.
NDRC is fast paced and exciting. And my time there allowed me to see a very different side to the entrepreneurship and commercialisation world to what I had previously experienced.
I will be sad to leave Dublin and say goodbye to the NDRC team, but the knowledge I’ve gained and networks I have formed will be invaluable.