Monday 5 December 2016

READY BUSINESS PODCAST: From 80 sheep to mobile apps - Shane Byrne's journey from farming to tech entrepreneur

Published 07/09/2016 | 16:06

“We had nothing to lose – I had 80 sheep and Philip Kirwan my co-founder had €4000 – and within two weeks we had our first contract and never looked back.”

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Shane Byrne had left UCD after a year of science and knew it wasn’t for him.  He wanted to get some business experience but after four years in AIB felt it was time to move on.  

Coming from a farming background, being self-employed was always in his genes and it was time to take the leap.  His old school-friend, Philip Kirwan, was also looking to go out on his own and Showoff, the mobile app company, was born in 2012.

“It was about rolling up the sleeves and getting stuck in.,” says Byrne.  “It started with a lot of cold calling and handling rejection but at least it started to get our name out there.  The harder you work the luckier you get I firmly believe.”

“Quality was the big thing for us.  There are a lot of apps and a lot of rubbish out there but we differentiated ourselves through quality, customer service and standing over our product.”

Based in Rathnew, Co. Wicklow,  the company made a conscious decision to locate where they both grew up in rural Wicklow and proves that developing a tech company doesn’t have to be limited to Dublin or other major urban towns. 

Clients include Glanbia, Safe Food, the ISPCC and Wicklow County Council and Shane says there’s a great opportunity for a Silicon South-East tech hub to be developed right around the region.

He believes the future of apps is very much in wearable tech and one product that they’re focusing on with international ambitions is their Responder app which aims to help save lives via a wearable app which can detect if the person wearing it has had a fall or a seizure.

Looking to launch in 2017 they’re currently raising seed funding for the app development which the company believes will be a real game-changer for their future growth and development.

Going from farming to launching an international tech company in rural Ireland proves that with big enough goals and enough determination, anything can be achieved.

The Ready Business show, in association with Vodafone, is available every Thursday via iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and Independent.ie. Or subscribe to the RSS feed of the Ready Business Podcast using your favourite podcatcher.

You can check out the full Ready Business Podcast series here.

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