Speaker Sessions

As part of our investment programmes, each week we invite a speaker in to share their war stories with the teams.

For this cohort our speakers have included:

Thursday 9th June 10.00am

Derek Anderson, CEO and Founder of Startup Grind

Derek Andersen is the founder and CEO of Startup Grind, a global community powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, designed to educate, inspire, and connect every entrepreneur in the world. Founded in 2010 from humble beginnings with only 9 people attending his first event, 6 years later Startup Grind has grown to more than 200 cities, in 85 countries around the world.

In 2009 he founded Vaporware Labs incubating many products, including Startup Grind and professional social network Commonred, which was acquired by Income.com in 2012. His entrepreneurial career consists of mostly spectacular failures with occasional successes. Previously he worked at Electronic Arts in marketing roles on games like Burnout Paradise, Mirror’s Edge, Sims 3, Need For Speed, Battlefield, and others. He lives in Palo Alto with his wife and three children.


Friday 24th June 10.00am                    

Claire McHugh, CEO and Founder of Axonista

From a sports broadcast background, Claire co-founded Axonista in 2010 with Daragh Ward and, over the last 6 years, the team has been working to realise a vision where all video is intuitively interactive. Claire is a digital and future TV enthusiast and is a frequent speaker at global industry events. Claire is passionate about giving back to the startup community, and is a mentor for Startup Next Ireland, She’s honoured to be the Irish ambassador for Silicon Valley accelerator Blackbox Connect and she is on the advisory board of the Irish Digital Youth Council.


Friday 1st July 10.00am

Richard Barnwell, CEO and Founder of DIGIT Game Studios

DIGIT is a cross-platform game developer based in Dublin, Ireland. It is the largest game developer in the country with an exceptionally talented, international team. VC backed, profitable and growing aggressively.
They develop strategy MMO games for all devices, their first game, Kings of the Realm, was launched in September 2014 and is available on browser, iOS, Android and Windows platforms. Their second title – based on a phenomenal IP – is launching summer 2016.”


Friday 8th July 10.00am

Robin Blandford, Director of D4H Technologies – “Right Information When Things Go Wrong”
D4H Technologies is the #1 information management software for emergencies and incidents worldwide, recording over 15 million response hours per year. D4H solutions are deployed in more than 16 countries, driving efficiencies within clients industrial facilities, public safety teams, and corporate crises.

Founded in 2008, and driven by a talented executive team, D4H Technologies provides the “Right Information When Things Go Wrong”. Combining an accomplished team of computer scientists and emergency managers, D4H Technologies has injected global visibility into tens of thousands of operations on every continent in the world.”


Friday 29th July 10.00am Claire Burge, CEO and Founder of This Is Productivity.

“I’ve been described as part chaos, part rocket fuel.

The chaos part is because I believe deeply that the future of work is chaos. The thing about chaos is that we misunderstand it, rather than embrace it. It’s a dynamic environment with micro changes occurring all the time. This dynamic ever-changing world of work is the one we currently live, move and breathe in. Our company, This is Productivity, sits on the bleeding edge of this space. We position and transform companies across their humans, their technology and their physical spaces.”


Friday 5th August 10.00am Niamh Bushnell, Dublins First Commissioner for Start Ups

“Recently returned to Ireland to take up a role as Dublin’s first Commissioner for Startups with responsibility for spearheading the development of the city as a global hub for innovative companies.

Angel Investor at ERANYC.com

CoFounder IDIRUS www.idirus.com and EIR Talent Tech Labs www.talenttechlabs.com

In 1996, cofounded her first company, Pan Research. www.panresearch.ie

Honored as one of the 50 Most Influential Irish American Women by the Irish Voice in July 2010 and Small Business 50 by the Irish Echo in April 2012.”


Tuesday 9th August 10.00am Kim Pham, Head of Platform at Frontline Ventures

Kim is the Head of Platform at Frontline Ventures. She graduated from New York University’s Stern School of Business, where she majored in Marketing and Computer Science.

She has been working at early-stage startups in New York and Boston since she was 16, at companies like Blue ApronOnswipe, and HowAboutWe. She serendipitously fell to the other side of the table, learning the ropes of early-stage venture at Atlas Venture (now Accomplice) in Cambridge and SoftBank Capital in NYC.

Kim has a love for enabling passionate creators, which led her to becoming President of Tech@NYU, NYC’s largest developer and designer organization of 8000+. With the help of her executive board, she coordinated programs such as Startup Week and DemoDays, to further the student technology culture. She was also founding partner of Dorm Room Fund, a $.5M student-run venture fund investing in student startups throughout the East Coast.


Friday 12th August 10.00am

Caelen King, CEO and Founder of whatclinic.com


Caelen King is an experienced founder and executive in the Technology and Internet industry. Experienced in all aspects of company life-cycle from founding, funding, market penetration and scaling. Caelen is also an angel investor and provides early stage advice market-fit, product, pricing and marketing.

Specialities: Competitive intelligence, engineering management, market analysis, usage patterns and modelling, product strategy, service architecture, service delivery, sales.



Friday 19th August 10.00am Niall Norton, CEO of Openet

Winner – Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 (Ireland).
Winner – Irish Software Association Company of the Year 2012
Winner – The European Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2013 (TECHTOUR)
Winner – ITLG “Silicon Valley 50” – Top Irish and Irish-American Tech Executives 2014

Niall’s experience varies from working with Deloitte in Corporate Finance (post qualification as a Chartered Accountant), CFO of a private company acquired by a public company and then spun off to an IPO, extensive start up experience (both executive and non-executive advisory roles), and leading a great Irish software company to growth.