Health organizations around the globe are sharply focused on developing tools for minimizing the coronavirus pandemic.
Irish companies are well positioned to provide the solutions that healthcare providers need, and new developments are rapidly emerging from Ireland—one of the leading medtech hubs in the world—and are being used to help stem the advance of the virus.
“Right now, innovative solutions in healthcare are required more than they ever have been before. Ireland is recognized as one of the most innovative countries globally and this is partly due to the great work of these Enterprise Ireland supported companies,” said Amy Robinson, Enterprise Ireland Trade Development Executive. “With the recent shift toward a digital transformation in health, I have no doubt that these Irish companies can play a significant role in helping healthcare systems overcome this global challenge.”
By offering solutions ranging from managing chronic diseases to treating and monitoring respiratory health, to offering technologies that help limit the amount of in-person contact within hospital systems, Irish innovation is working to combat Covid-19.
PMD Solutions has developed the world’s first purpose-designed respiratory monitoring sensor delivering consistent and reliable results. Their solution improves patient safety by effectively enabling the detection of respiratory compromise.
Chronic Disease Management
PatientMpower provides the tools for lung patients to be followed remotely, with integrated spirometry, oximetry, PROs & medication management. Remote monitoring enables clinicians to provide continued high-quality care to vulnerable patients without the need for hospital visits during the COVID-19 crisis.
RelateCare is a healthcare communications consultancy and outsourcing organization that provides patient access and patient engagement solutions to leading healthcare organizations around the world. Over the past number of weeks, RelateCare’s teams of Registered Nurses and Patient Service Representatives have been managing Covid-19 helplines and triage phone calls.
SilverCloud Health provides accessible, scalable, digital behavioral healthcare. SilverCloud enables healthcare organizations to deliver clinically proven, evidenced-based digital content, programs, and support within the area of mental health and long term/chronic illness care and general wellbeing.
Salaso produces custom-made solutions for online care in physical rehabilitation and wellness. Healthcare providers use the care management platform & mobile apps to help patients convert prescribed exercise routines into daily habits, boosting engagement & recovery from injury and support the management of pain and musculoskeletal conditions.
One of the most immediate consequences of Covid-19 has been the rapid global shift towards working from home where possible.
This move to digital remote working gives rise to countless questions and challenges, many centring on employee and device safety and security. According to EY, 77% of organizations want to move beyond having basic cybersecurity protections.
“Once a reactive issue, this is rapidly becoming a proactive concern, as companies race to ensure devices are safe and home WiFi connections are secure, while employees are well trained and understand the risks of phishing and cyber-attacks.”
During these uncertain times, Irish cybersecurity companies can offer innovative solutions to the challenge of managing a remote workforce. Many are free or open to all, including:
- CWSI’s Secure Remote Working Hub
- Cyber Risk Aware’s free Covid-19 Phishing Test & Training
- Sytorus’ free trial of their Privacy Engine Tool Privacy Engine Tool.
Read on to discover best practices and advice from some of the Irish companies that can help your employees work from home safely and securely.
- Edgescan: continuously monitoring threats
Remote working must happen over a VPN or similar solution to help ensure secure, encrypted communications, says Eoin Keary, CEO and founder of Edgescan, an award-winning vulnerability management service (SaaS) and one of Ireland’s largest cybersecurity exporters.
“Access to network systems in the office should be on a least-privilege basis and if your organization has a Network Authentication Server (NAS), make sure it’s configured and enabled appropriately,” he says.
Appropriate patching and anti-virus measures should also be enabled on employees’ computers, he adds, to prevent viruses spreading into the office network once people return to the office.
Edgescan helps its clients worldwide to understand, prioritize and mitigate cybersecurity risks on a continuous basis, including when offices are closed and employees are working remotely.
- CWSI: ensuring secure enterprise mobility
The rules governing data security and cybersecurity don’t go away just because people have to change how they work, says Philip Harrison, CTO and co-founder of CWSI, which specializes in secure mobile and workforce solutions and works with many large organizations from its offices in Dublin and London.
“The cyber-criminals and hackers certainly aren’t taking a break to let us all adjust, so more businesses are more vulnerable than ever,” he says.
A core tenet of any information security management system is that your security or compliance is not weakened during a business continuity or disaster recovery scenario.”
Two-factor authentication, he adds, is critical to protect corporate data. Businesses should also ensure mobile devices are secured with a mobile thread defense (MTD) solution.
Employees should be encouraged to report security incidents to IT while they’re working from home and to be vigilant about keeping data secure at home, even through simple steps such as locking their screen when they walk away.
- Cyber Risk Aware: training on cybersecurity in real-time
Using VPNs and patched applications on encrypted up-to-date devices is critical to security for remote workforces, agrees Cyber Risk Aware’s CEO and founder Stephen Burke, himself a former chief information security officer (CISO).
These devices should be company-issued, with password-protected and encrypted files and data, he says. “I know what it’s like being on the inside defending a network. Personal accounts and devices can really leave a business insecure and vulnerable to cyber attacks,” he says.
Clear, secure lines of communication are also critical, he adds, advising companies to avoid channels such as social media and Whatsapp when working with sensitive data. Likewise, businesses should avoid ‘shadow IT’ or the unauthorized downloading and use of software and systems.
Cyber Risk Aware is the only company in the world to offer a real-time cybersecurity awareness training platform. It helps companies worldwide assess and mitigate human cyber risks, the root cause in over 90% of security incidents, by running simulated phishing attacks, assessing cyber knowledge to locate risks within a business and providing security awareness training content when needed.
- Sytorus: specializing in data and privacy management
Companies and organizations around the world have been urgently seeking information on minimizing the risk of data breaches or employees getting hacked while working from home. So says John Ghent, CEO of Sytorus, which offers a SaaS privacy management platform and is a global market leader in data protection and privacy management.
“Many people newly working from home are likely to have smart TVs, gaming platforms, and wireless routers, with some also having Internet of Things (IoT) devices installed,” he says.
“All these can add complexity to the security challenge and vulnerabilities to the network, and home networks are not usually sufficiently protected.
Ghent advises organizations to update their remote access policy or develop one if none is in place, and to ensure all staff complete a full cybersecurity awareness program (covering topics such as malware, acceptable use, and device security) and understand the high risk of Covid-19 related phishing emails.
- TitanHQ: protecting higher education and business
Along with businesses that must suddenly enable remote working, universities and colleges that now have to facilitate remote lectures and study must also be mindful of coronavirus-related cyberthreats, says Ronan Kavanagh, CEO of TitanHQ, a multi-award-winning web filtering, email security and email archiving SaaS business.
“We have seen massive demand so far this year for two products in particular that can be rolled out seamlessly to remote devices,” he says.
“These are SpamTitan cloud-based email security, which protects students and staff from the newest iterations of phishing attacks, and our AI-drive DNS security product, WebTitan. Combined, these create an umbrella layer over all students and staff protecting their devices.”
While the way we work has been evolving significantly in recent years, the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the need for many people to work remotely. And during this seismic global shift, Irish talent technology is helping thousands of employees and employers to transition from working at their office desks to their kitchen tables.
Ireland’s progressive, globalized tech sector has cultivated a particularly innovative group of talent technology companies. Their smart, disruptive products and services are enabling companies around the world to attract, engage, manage, and retain their workforce in these uncertain times.
While remote working had become common in certain sectors, especially those in which skilled talent is in high demand, it’s new for many companies. They need to quickly implement new technology to ensure their employees can adapt and continue to be productive while working from home.
Talent tech is enabling home-based employees to engage with colleagues, maintain their wellbeing while in a new routine, and upskill at home through online courses.
Meanwhile, employers can use Irish-built tech to stay in operation, keep their workforce engaged, and manage, schedule, and pay their employees while the latter work remotely.
While some industries will see temporary workforce reductions, those such as health, retail, and other frontline industries will need to hire more people fast. Talent tech can provide them with remote technology for sourcing and interviewing potential employees.
How Irish talent tech firms can help
These nine Irish companies offer disruptive technologies businesses can use to manage how employees work as they navigate these turbulent times.
With healthcare systems under huge pressure due to coronavirus, optimizing care capacity is crucial. Wellola has collaborated with the Irish public health services provider, the Health Service Executive (HSE), to launch a new online portal that enables GP and healthcare providers to treat people remotely so as to protect themselves from Covid-19.
As the world turns to remote working, Abodoo is there to connect global citizens with remote jobs. With 23,000 members across more than 60 countries, Abodoo’s SaaS platform uses smart matching technology powered by data analytics to match people to roles. This means companies can build highly scalable distributed teams quickly and cost-effectively.
With in-person interviews on hold for now, recruiters must turn to virtual solutions. Sonru is an award-winning global leader in asynchronous video interviewing, which gives both candidates and interviewers flexibility. Importantly, it also removes pain points such as interview scheduling, time zone restrictions, dispersed hiring teams, and time lost on no shows.
To thrive and survive, companies need to promote a high-performance culture. PepTalk is a workplace wellbeing platform that drives team engagement, productivity and connection across organizations in a fun way. Peptalk’s ‘whole person performance’ approach unlocks employee potential, helps companies to reimagine their work cultures and delivers bottom-line results.
During times of crisis, internal communications are critical for engaging and reassuring employees. With the Workvivo internal comms platform, employees can read and post content to an activity feed, and like, share and comment as they would on non-work social media. They can also recognize others through shoutouts, link posts to company goals and values, create community spaces, and publish articles and events.
Especially now, employers need to be able to manage flexible working arrangements and the changing needs of their employees. FlexTime offers flexible working, time and attendance, and scheduling solutions. Its products, which eliminate the need for manual tracking, are used by over 400 customers, in more than 5,000 implementations for over 200,000 users.
Now more than ever, it’s vital to protect employee mental health and wellbeing and promote self-care. PulseLearning, an award-winning, global top 10 learning company founded in 1999, developed the I Am Here program to facilitate a cultural change within organizations so team members know it’s absolutely OK to ask for help and how they can.
Managing finances can be challenging at the best of times. Flexiwage, which integrates with existing payroll packages, empowers employees and employers to make smarter financial decisions. Employees gain a fully flexible pay schedule, getting paid when it’s best for them, while employers can consolidate payroll, reduce costs and promote financial responsibility.
It’s still vital for employees to learn and train while they work remotely. LearnUpon is a powerful learning management system (LMS) platform with a practical approach. Organizations can use it to manage, track, and achieve their learning goals. Trusted by over 1,000 customers worldwide, LearnUpon is one of the fastest-growing LMSs in the world.
Digital health technology company patientMpower announced that it has developed a “hospital avoidance” remote monitoring solution for healthcare providers in the United States. The solution can be used to remotely monitor patients with underlying serious respiratory conditions who are at high risk of complications should they contract Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The hospital avoidance solution ensures that specialist healthcare teams can continue to monitor their respiratory patients while keeping them out of the hospital, where they would be at high risk of being exposed to the virus. This solution uses a clinical-grade assessment of lung function (spirometry) as well as monitors oxygen saturation, symptoms, and more.
Irish-based company, patientMpower, is an experienced provider of remote monitoring applications for patients with respiratory conditions. Their technology is already used in leading centers in the U.S., UK, and Ireland. The introduction of the patientMpower platform at a major U.S. transplant center, NYU Langone, reduced the need for hospital outpatient visits for patients recovering from a lung transplant by two-thirds.
Enterprise Ireland is proud to support patientMpower as it continues to innovate and offer essential digital health solutions globally during this challenging time.
patientMpower has also recently developed a COVID-19 remote monitoring solution that is available in several hospitals across Ireland. The application enables remote monitoring of otherwise healthy patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms who have self-isolated.
The COVID-19 application, on a patient’s phone or tablet, links to a wireless device called a pulse oximeter which measures patients’ oxygen saturation. All information captured by patients in the app is immediately available for health service staff to view in a secure patient data portal. From this, healthcare staff can then make appropriate decisions about the ongoing care of patients being monitored while in self-isolation.
“It’s great to see our client companies like patientMpower stepping up and innovating their technologies to help keep people healthy and safe during this tough time,” says Amy Robinson, Life Sciences & Digital Health, Enterprise Ireland. “Their remote monitoring solutions enable those who are at high risk of contracting Coronavirus, to remain safely at home in self-isolation and still be able to receive the professional healthcare that they need.”
At a time when there will be massive demands placed on the health service, remote monitoring technology can preserve hospital resources for those who need them the most. It also allows patients who are at high risk of complications to avoid the hospital and be supported by their healthcare team all while staying at home.
Healthcare providers seeking solutions for remote monitoring of their respiratory patients during the current pandemic can contact patientMpower at info@patientMpower.com.
As the global battle against Covid-19 intensifies, Irish medtech and life sciences firms are ramping up production to meet soaring demand for nebulizers, ventilators and other badly-needed treatment and protection equipment.
Half of the existing ventilators in acute hospitals around the world were made in Ireland, which is ranked as one of the top five global medtech hubs.
Doubling production of critical devices
Medtronic, the world’s largest standalone medical device maker, produces ventilators in a large manufacturing plant in Galway, in the west of Ireland. It is doubling its capacity by more than doubling its workforce of 250 and moving to round-the-clock production.
Another firm increasing production to meet high global demand related to coronavirus treatment is Enterprise Ireland-backed client Aerogen. It’s the world’s leading supplier of aerosol drug delivery products through ventilators to patients in critical and intensive care.
Before the current crisis, Aerogen already provided hospitals in more than 75 countries with its products, benefitting 10 million patients.
Aerogen CEO John Power expects the company could ship 3m or 4m units in 2020, up from 2m in 2019. It is also investigating how to address the global ventilator shortage by adapting non-invasive ventilation systems.
Power and his team are striving to ensure they can meet the sudden and unprecedented growth in demand. “We are a global company and we are balancing demand from across the world,” he says.
Demand up by as much as 300%
Galway-based M&M Qualtech manufactures products for the medtech, aviation, ICT and other sectors. It produces ventilators, nebulizers and medical monitoring equipment for its medtech customers, including Aerogen and Medtronic. It says it’s seeing capacity demand three to five times higher than the usual pre-crisis level.
M&M Qualtech began to see this spike in manufacturing demand in early March and already expects to produce 4m nebulizers this year, up from 2m last year. It also anticipates a similar rate of increase in production of nebulizer controllers (likely to produce 45,000, up from 35,000) and ventilator AC modules (expecting to make 18,000, up from 5,000 in 2019).
It’s increasing capacity by focusing factory production on the most critically needed medical products, hiring up to 25% more Production Operators, engaging with suppliers daily to expedite materials into production, and redesigning its factory to meet social distancing requirements.
Ripple effect of Covid-19 crisis
Also based in the west of Ireland, Vitalograph is the world leader in the analysis of cough drug trials. It specializes in cardiorespiratory and related devices that measure lung and cardiac function, diagnose lung disorders and also produce associated products and software.
Vitalograph is working to meet increased demand for spirometers and consumables such as bacterial-viral filters and test kits and seeing a significant increase in orders of remote monitors. Over the past 15 years, Vitalograph remote monitoring has mainly been used in clinical trials but is now rapidly being adopted by mainstream healthcare.
“Remote monitoring enables the most vulnerable patients with conditions such as COPD, cystic fibrosis and IPF to remain in their homes and not travel to hospitals or clinics and risk picking up infections,” said Frank Keane, the company’s CEO.
“As the patients we serve will be the most vulnerable to a respiratory disease of this nature, we are doubling our efforts to ensure we can fulfill our mission and serve them at this time.”
Vitalograph has also recruited more staff, and increased both capacity and orders from sub-suppliers, and activated their comprehensive business continuity plan.
Deirdre Glenn, Head of Lifesciences with Enterprise Ireland, Ireland’s trade and innovation said; “In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, Irish medtech companies are rising to the challenge of meeting the increased global demand for essential equipment needed for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19. As the second-largest exporter of medtech products in Europe, and with the highest number of people per capital employed in medtech in Europe, Ireland is primed to play its role in the global fight against Covid-19”
Irish companies are taking up the fight against Covid-19. New developments rapidly emerging from Ireland, one of the leading medtech hubs in the world, are being used to help stem the advance of the virus.
New rapid Covid-19 diagnostic test
Dublin based HiberGene Diagnostics develops and manufactures molecular diagnostics tests for human infectious diseases. It specializes in the manufacture of rapid and highly accurate testing solutions that are cost-effective and simple to use.
Now it is developing a new and rapid test for the novel coronavirus, which it hopes to bring to the market shortly after clinical evaluation at potential sites in China, Italy & Ireland.
HiberGene’s tests are based on non-invasive human samples such as swabs, and minimal sample processing.
Because the test for the new coronavirus is a “near-patient test”, samples will be taken and tested on location, without needing to be sent offsite to a laboratory, it expects to diagnose a positive COVID 19 result in approx. 20 minutes, many times faster than the fastest existing molecular diagnostic tests.
New Protein to fight Covid-19 through diagnosis, vaccines, and research
Fellow Irish biotech company Aalto Bio Reagents has launched a new protein with the power to fight the Covid-19 on three fronts – diagnosis, vaccines, and research.
Its new recombinant SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (code CK 6404) is available for diagnostic test manufacturers, vaccine developers and researchers globally, all of whom are working to stem the current pandemic.
“Patients are currently being screened for the virus by PCR”, explained Philip Noone, CEO of Aalto Bio Reagents, “however there is an important need for serological tests as well to detect all those mild or even asymptomatic cases that may otherwise be missed. Sero-epidemiologic investigations, such as those aimed to better understand transmission characteristics and severity of COVID-19, are also essential.”
The medical field and diagnostic industry have an unrelenting requirement for access to scientifically proven raw materials in outbreak situations like this, where fast diagnosis is required, he said. “With our new SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein we endeavor to meet this urgent demand.”
Irish company Aerogen has pioneered new ways to help people in respiratory distress. To date, more than nine million patients worldwide have benefited from its innovative aerosol drug delivery technology.
Unlike conventional nebulizers, Aerogen has an in-line circuit design, which means the ventilation circuit does not need to be broken for drug delivery. Its management team believes it could, therefore, be a viable option to help deliver industry-leading care to patients infected with Covid-19.
Its products offer a lower risk of transmission of patient-generated infectious aerosol for health care professionals in acute care settings than traditional nebulizers.
For patients requiring ventilation, its vibrating mesh technology, and closed-circuit design, makes it a viable option to help deliver industry-leading care. Recent UK government guidelines state that when treating respiratory patients a closed suctioning system must be used, and that ventilator circuits should not be broken unless necessary.
Unlike conventional nebulizers, the Aerogen Solo device has an in-line circuit design and is designed so that the medication reservoir is isolated from the breathing circuit, minimizing nebulization of contaminated fluids.
Air Purification System to Kill Airborne Viruses
Pioneering plasma technology developed by Irish company Novaerus is already being deployed to purify air for patients and medical staff.
Novaerus helps control the spread of pathogens by closing the infection control loop made up of hands, surfaces, and now air. It uses a patented technology that kills airborne viruses by sucking air from a room and passing it through patented plasma coils that destroy them, reducing the risk of cross-infection.
Several of its medical-grade, clean air solutions have been donated to hospitals in Wuhan, China.
These include its latest model, Defend 1050, a mobile solution designed for rapid remediation in large spaces and situations with a high risk of infection.
Coronaviruses spread via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. “The most difficult disease transmission-route to guard against is airborne because we have very little to protect us when we breathe,” explained Dr. Kevin Devlin, CEO at WellAir, the Irish parent company of Novaerus.
New Augmented Reality Hand Washing App
Leaders across the world have stressed that the primary tool we have at all our disposal in the fight against Covid-19 is the ability to wash our hands. Stemming the virus’ spread depends on how often, and how well, we do that.
If hand hygiene is done properly it can be over 90% effective in preventing the spread of harmful germs, yet a large number of people are unaware that they are not washing their hands correctly.
SureWash is an augmented reality handwashing app developed to provide proper hand hygiene training to healthcare workers, patients, and visitors worldwide.
It ensures compliance in hand hygiene to the World Health Organisation protocol by delivering training in an engaging manner that encourages participation. By providing real-time feedback, it helps users to improve their technique.
The software system also provides infection control personnel with the data necessary to monitor hand hygiene progress and to guarantee positive results.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has launched its app to the general public, so that everyone can play their part.
New Covid-19 online portal allows GPs to treat patients remotely
Patient portal developer Wellola responded to a call from Ireland’s Health Services Executive (HSE), Ireland’s national health authority, to develop and launch a new secure communication portal for clinicians and primary care providers in response to the pandemic.
Called HSE Covid 19 Portal, it’s an easy to use digital tool designed to optimize doctor and patient safety. Patients access it via an app which is downloadable via the HSE Covid 19 website. The new online portal allows GPs and healthcare providers to treat people remotely so as to protect themselves from Covid-19. The portal allows GPs and primary-care providers to easily offer patients a range of services, including online bookings, a video consultation service, secure messaging and form completion to assist in triaging.
The Covid 19 app is based on existing technology already developed and tested by Wellola and so was ready to launch just four days after receiving the call from the HSE.
Finally, in the face of a worldwide shortage of life-saving ventilators, an international initiative called the Open Ventilator Project quickly came together on Facebook to design and build a 3-D printed ventilator.
In Ireland, the project was led by Colin Keogh of Sapien Innovation, a specialist in applied innovation, creativity and design thinking services. Within a week it had produced a prototype it hopes will be validated by Ireland’s health authorities for use in the fight against Covid-19.
Boston’s elevation to one of the key U.S. centers for innovation and entrepreneurship has achieved a new international dimension with the addition of several Irish MedTech companies that now operate in Massachusetts. Supported by Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government agency for the advancement of international business by Irish firms, five Irish MedTech companies now have U.S. operations out of Boston adding jobs, investments, and ideas to the city’s already thriving tech ecosystem.
“We are very proud that our Irish companies in Boston are a part of the impact and great contribution of medical technology to the United States,” said Jennie Lynch, Vice President of Life Sciences, Enterprise Ireland. “These companies have developed incredible technologies and solutions that help organizations within the healthcare industry and patients globally.”
Below are some of the top Irish based MedTech companies in Boston.
NovaLeah provides medical device manufacturers with efficient technology solutions for implementing and maintaining cybersecurity across medical device product portfolios. Its technology continues to be adopted by top medical device companies.
HealthBeacon develops smart technologies to support patients through their journey of care by helping them manage medications by providing digital schedules and customized reminders.
Applied Process (APC) provides key processing information to accelerate the development of quality life-changing medicines to patients. APC utilizes its state-of-the-art technology platforms across chemical and biological molecules to reduce the time, cost and risk of launching a medication.
Nuritas, a unique discovery platform, aims to tackle the health challenges facing the world and improve the lives of people around the globe through targeting, predicting, and unlocking the health benefits of naturally occurring Bioactive Peptides.
SilverCloud Health delivers an accessible, scalable, digital behavioral healthcare platform for over 250 customer organizations as well as for many individuals who use its programs.
All of these Enterprise Ireland supported companies continue to make a big impact, adding jobs and providing innovative solutions and technologies in the Boston area.
Texas is one of the key U.S. centers for innovation and entrepreneurship, creating an ideal environment for several diverse Irish businesses to flourish. Multiple companies ranging from thriving start-ups to Fortune 500 make up the innovative business scene that Texas is known for. Supported by Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government agency for the advancement of international business by Irish firms, many diverse Irish-based companies now have U.S. operations in Texas adding jobs, investments, and ideas to the state’s already-thriving innovative business scene.
According to Sara Hill, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Ireland, Ireland’s contribution to the U.S. economy is significant and growing. “We are proud that Ireland is ranked ninth in foreign direct investment into the United States economy and that our companies employ over 110,000 people in largely skilled positions,” Hill said today. “The contribution’s impact to the United States is evident here in Texas where we have a strong contingent of Irish-based companies operating across a diverse array of industries.”
Below are just some of the leading Irish based companies in Texas ranging across multiple different industries from adtech to security to software and more.
Linesight, a global leader in construction consultancy services, has expanded its presence in Texas with the opening of its fourth U.S. office in Dallas recently. Increasing its team on the ground in Dallas allows them to work more closely with their partners and clients and enables them to leverage new business opportunities in the region.
Wisetek, recognized as a global leader in manufacturing and data sanitization, is just one of a few vendors who offers businesses a complete one-stop solution including IT asset disposition and re-use.
Netwatch equips businesses with best in class detection and monitoring technologies to prevent and catch intruders.
Overhaul provides the first real-time visibility and risk management system designed to oversee and protect shipments of goods or transportation services from the start of a journey to the end.
GridBeyond, an award-winning DSR technology provider, finds flexibility in energy usage so businesses can save money in energy costs, earn higher revenues, enhance operations, and boost sustainability efforts.
SticherAds powers personalized social media advertisements for businesses to drive sales online and in-store.
Diona Mobility turns smartphones and tablets into tools that can be used to achieve better business outcomes and improve how employees collaborate.
WorkHuman is shaping the future of work with the world’s fastest-growing social recognition and continuous performance management platform.
TestTriangle adds value to business operations by providing tailored IT consulting services to companies spanning over multiple industries including Finance, Healthcare, Retail, IT, and Education.
NanoDiamond launched a complete range of diamond products from 50 nanometre to 10/12 US mesh, all of which can be used in several ways, including industrial and biomedical research projects, processing natural stone, and the construction industry.
SEPAM has been assisting businesses in the engineering and construction industry for over forty years by managing and delivering engineering, procurement, and construction project solutions.
iQuate is an innovative software company that delivers data and insight into a company’s Hybrid IT service and infrastructure to speed up transitions to using the cloud. Many Fortune 500 companies rely on iQuate to set them up for success with any cloud platform.
All of these Enterprise Ireland supported companies continue to make a big impact, adding jobs and providing innovative solutions and technologies in Texas.
Enterprise Ireland, Europe’s leading venture capital organization by deal-count, has made cooperation with Silicon Valley a key to its emergence as a global force in investment and entrepreneurship.
The cooperation has yielded successful commercial deals, partnerships, co-investments, and exits. It has also created an environment in which Irish entrepreneurs make Silicon Valley a hub for starting U.S. businesses.
Ireland has a strong cluster in Fintech and e-commerce: Immedis are now world leaders in the provision of global payroll and mobility solutions to many of the largest and most successful firms in the Bay Area; Transfermate, who are simplifying international B2B payments, Luzern’s e-commerce platform enables leading brands to grow profitably & sustainably online; Taxamo is solving the problem of cross border tax compliance for fast-growing digital product & service providers. All operate successful businesses here in the Bay Area.
Site of the world’s first-ever wireless transmission, it’s not surprising that Ireland has a strong profile in Telcom / IoT / 5G: Taoglas creates next-gen IoT solutions and RF antennae; Sweepr is driving the evolution of customer support through the complexity of connected home environments; Spearline services Cisco, Intel, Google, and Twillo proactively monitoring global toll, toll-free and premium-rate numbers to optimize customer experience and communications.
Ireland’s fabled storytellers have long made the leap to digital and partnerships with Bay Area powerhouses like Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) have accelerated success. Case in point is Dublin-based visual effects house SSVFX, who worked alongside ILM on the de-aging process for Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci in Oscar-nominated “The Irishman”. While Irish studio Giant Animation is currently in production on the Netflix Original “Mama K’s Team Four” Season 1, which is slated for Worldwide release in 2021. Cartoon Saloon’s 2D animated feature “Wolfwalkers” is scheduled for release later this year on Apple TV+.
Markets have recently acknowledged the value of Irish technology. Earlier this year, Enterprise Ireland-supported Decawave was acquired by Qorvo for a reported $400m for its ultra-wideband wireless technology; Accuris, provider of carrier-grade Wi-Fi Offload and Roaming Inter-Working solutions for data, voice and messaging was acquired by Zephyrtel in late 2019 and Bay Area stalwart, Google acquired Dublin startup, Pointy, in January of this year.
According to Paul Burfield, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Ireland, Ireland’s partnership with Bay Area businesses is the product of a shared determination to innovate and get business done. “Working with Irish companies is easy for Bay Area businesses because we operate at the same speed; we’re similarly versatile and we understand the importance of innovation over commoditization,” Burfield said today. “I’m pleased to see Irish companies excelling here in the Bay Area and I am confident in the mutual success of our enterprises and our ecosystems.”
Ireland is the ninth-largest source of foreign direct investment into the United States at $235.7 billion. 110,000 people employed by Irish companies in the US
In planning for the impact of Brexit on Irish business, Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government agency for the international development of Irish firms, has successfully pushed diversification into North America as a growth strategy. The agency reports employment by Irish businesses in the United States at over 110,000 and foreign direct investment from Ireland into the United States economy at $235.7 billion* — ranking Ireland in the top ten investment sources to the United States.
This shift in regional emphasis is being explored today at a business roundtable in Washington DC hosted by Irish Ambassador to the United States, Daniel Mulhall, attended by United States Ambassador to Ireland, Edward F. Crawford, and featuring senior representatives of leading Irish firms. The roundtable includes Kerry Group who today announced a $125m investment into a new world-class food manufacturing facility in their Georgia plant. The facility will provide Kerry Group with integrated taste and nutrition solutions to help their customers meet growing consumer demand in the poultry, seafood, and alternative protein markets.
“Ireland has a mutually-beneficial partnership with the United States anchored by significant two-way flows of trade and investment,” Ambassador Mulhall said today. “This partnership pays dividends in terms of jobs, investment and economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic. I am pleased to celebrate this exceptional partnership alongside Ambassador Crawford. I look forward to participating in the roundtable with the leaders of global brands that originate in Ireland and add value all over the world, not least here in the United States.”
Today’s roundtable will feature senior executives from Kerry Group, Aerogen, Icon, NovaLeah, and Kingspan. The group will discuss opportunities to advance partnerships between Irish and United States businesses. The ambassadors will join Gerry Behan, Global President and CEO at Kerry Taste & Nutrition and Catherine Keogh, Group Vice President – Corporate Affairs and Communications at Kerry Group to announce details of a $125m investment by Kerry Group into a new world-class food manufacturing facility in Rome, GA.
Commenting on the announcement, Gerry Behan, said: “North America is our largest market, and as such, it is fitting that it is here that we announce our largest ever capital expenditure investment. We already employ nearly 6,000 people in 70 locations across the region and we are looking forward to growing our footprint in the coming years. This new facility will be one of the most advanced and modern food manufacturing facilities in the world which will support our customers as they produce tasty and nutritious food products which will be consumed all across the US and Canada.”
Commenting on the strong performance of Irish businesses in the United States, Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland noted, “Innovation and entrepreneurship are inherent to Irish business and that’s evident in both the executive group we have gathered at this roundtable today and in the caliber of Irish businesses operating throughout the United States. I am very pleased to see the impact of Irish innovation and entrepreneurship here in the United States. I have strong confidence that US-Irish business partnerships will further strengthen in the years ahead.”
Enterprise Ireland is one of Europe’s leading venture capitalists: the agency is ranked first in Europe and second globally for its seed investments. Enterprise Ireland operates from New York, Boston, Austin, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco. In addition to funding support, Enterprise Ireland also provides services including export assistance, assistance with research and development as well as a broad network of key global industry-specific contacts.
Enterprise Ireland-supported companies opened 75 new offices in the US in 2019, resulting in a two-year total of 125 new offices. More than 87,000 people are employed by 613 Enterprise Ireland supported companies operating across all 50 states at 954 locations. Today, 900 Irish-owned companies operate across all 50 states. The companies cross a broad range of industries including construction, education, energy, environmental, medical devices and software.
*The United States Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Leading Irish based technology company, CliniShift, is planning for further expansion into the United States healthcare industry. A huge concern currently within the healthcare market is the decreasing number of registered nurses. The shortage of nurses has caused major staffing issues in healthcare facilities across the U.S. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, insufficient staffing raises the stress levels of nurses, impacts their job satisfaction, and causes them to leave the profession altogether.
One way to combat the issues with staffing and keep nurses content with their shifts and working hours is to implement scheduling technology solutions. CliniShift, an award-winning state-of-the-art communication platform, enables healthcare organization managers and their staff to ensure that every shift gets filled. This software solution is customizable to suit any healthcare organization including hospitals, community care centers, Senior Living Nursing homes, and home care providers.
Over 90-percent of healthcare facilities still use spreadsheets to keep track of their nursing and clinical schedules and hours. The CliniShift platform increases the efficiency of staffing administrators by reducing the time required to fill a shift. CliniShift makes scheduling easier for all clinical or non-clinical staff with its software application, which allows employees to see upcoming schedules, respond to shift requests, share availability, and message other staff members. The company also offers a unique implementation approach where they send a designated team of experts to assist on-site with the rollout, training and change management.
“As a former hospital CEO, I understand the challenge when it comes to filling vacant shifts in hospital rosters last minute,” said Aimée Madden, Founder of CliniShift. “I quickly became passionate about finding a better solution to this problem so that my focus and our resources could shift back to where they belonged, on patient care.”
Over the last 10 years, Ireland has emerged as a significant player in the start-up space, with a strong focus on leading-edge and disruptive technologies.
Ireland’s world-class start-up ecosystem and skilled entrepreneurs were celebrated last week at Start-Up Showcase 2020. The event, organized by Enterprise Ireland, the trade and innovation agency, brought together 127 companies in which it had invested in 2019, to the tune of €24 million.
Ireland is steadily building an impressive pipeline of high potential start-ups (HPSUs) that are benefitting from a highly developed start-up ecosystem, an unrivaled culture of connectivity and innovation, and a broad range of supports from Enterprise Ireland.
“Strategically, start-ups are critically important to the Irish economy, as they operate at the leading edge of innovation,” says Niall McEvoy, manager of the HPSU ICT team at Enterprise Ireland.
“Among the start-up companies that we support every year, there will be some that go on to be the great Irish companies of the future that are globally scaled and internationalized. So it’s absolutely critical to the future of the economy that the State and other funders continue to invest in start-ups.”
It’s that rationale that has made Enterprise Ireland unique in a global context in being a significant investor in early-stage businesses. In fact, Pitchbook recently ranked it the number one investor in Europe and number two in the world for the number of investments in start-ups in 2019, by VC deal count.
Supporting start-ups through early challenges
Every start-up faces similar key challenges: refining the product to attain optimum product-market fit, fundraising and, once market validation is achieved, building a company that can deliver real scalable growth.
“Enterprise Ireland has a wide suite of programs and financial supports, as well as a team of advisers that have built up a huge bank of experience around helping our clients overcome these early challenges,” explains McEvoy. “We work with start-ups at the pre-seed/validation stage and also at the seed and scaling stage.
“Our pre-seed support focuses on mentoring, helping companies with market intelligence, skills development, and customer engagement all the way up to starting to win business and preparing for investor funding. Financially we support pre-seed companies via our Competitive Start Fund, and through feasibility funding and Innovation Vouchers.”
Stage 2 support is about accelerating the early-stage growth of the company, Enterprise Ireland is a significant direct investor at this stage through its iHPSU funding mechanism and also participates in follow-on investment at Series A stage for those companies making the most progress.
“As well as this financial support, we have an extensive network of international offices that start-ups can work with to explore overseas markets,” says McEvoy. “That’s a key differentiator when you compare Enterprise Ireland with other agencies around the world.
“Companies also get very intensive advisory support and we encourage peer-to-peer learning, for example through the HPSU Founders Forum, which connects companies to each other, and to previous generations of entrepreneurs.”
The strength of the ecosystem
McEvoy believes that one of the things that makes Ireland such a great place to start a business is how connected the ecosystem is.
“Enterprise Ireland is a significant player but you also have VCs and accelerator and incubator programs across all of the key verticals that help companies test, validate, grow and attain product-market fit,” he says. “It’s very much about the power of the network and the wider connectivity to investors, to other entrepreneurs and to international market opportunities.”
Connectivity to universities and research centers is also important. Last year, 13 of the start-ups supported by Enterprise Ireland were spin-outs from third level organizations.
“A lot of innovation is coming out of research labs; through our Commercialisation Fund and other supports Enterprise Ireland provides the conduit to spin-out and turn the research into real-world, commercial opportunities.”
There’s also a healthy interest in start-ups within Ireland’s multinational business community, which recognizes the value of the innovation and disruption that are a natural part of the start-up arena.
“The level of collaboration between indigenous companies – established and start-up – and multinational companies has never been greater, particularly through initiatives like the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund, which encourages indigenous companies, multinationals and third-level institutes to work collaboratively,” says McEvoy.
Ireland has a growing global reputation as a tech hub and this, says McEvoy, is down to the emergence of technically strong and focused start-ups.
“To be a strong tech hub it’s not just about having the people, you need to have resources, education and training, and the connectivity. Whether a new HPSU is emerging from an indigenous company that has already scaled or whether it’s emerging from university or from the multinational sector, they all need to be able to progress rapidly and get the supports that come from the ecosystem. The strength of the ecosystem is absolutely key.”
Sectors and standouts
ICT continues to be the dominant sector for Irish HPSUs, with some 70% of new companies funded last year falling broadly into this category.
“Fintech has been particularly strong, and in recent years we’ve been seeing a growing focus on deeptech. A lot of our early-stage companies are starting to employ artificial intelligence and machine learning in their software solutions. That’s a very strong and exciting trend,” says McEvoy.
Dublin company, Aylien is one such company. Its AI-powered news intelligence platform digests the world’s news content and identifies what matters to a business with human-level accuracy. Artificial intelligence is also at the heart of EdgeTier’s technology, which increases the efficiency of customer service centers by helping human agents to respond to customer queries by suggesting responses and providing context-sensitive and personalized data.
In the medtech / life sciences sector, which after ICT is the next biggest focus for Irish start-ups, Nuritas is combining artificial intelligence and genomics to discover and unlock natural bioactive peptides with health benefits.
“I believe that Ireland is punching above its weight in terms of the strength of its start-up ecosystem and the cutting-edge innovation that is driving new company establishment and growth,” says McEvoy.