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Monday 5 December 2016

Adrian Weckler at the Web Summit: Forget Lisbon and San Fran for the world-beating entrepreneurs, look to the Dublin-Kildare border

Adrian Weckler's Web Summit Diary: Day Two

Published 05/11/2015 | 02:30

Sean Rad
Sean Rad
Oisin Hanrahan

Forget Lisbon. Forget San Francisco. To find the latest crop of world-beating online entrepreneurs at the Web Summit, you have to look to attendees from the Kildare-Dublin border.

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The evidence comes in the form of Oisin Hanrahan (pictured right) and Jules Coleman, two young entrepreneurs who grew up about 10km from each other without knowing it.

Mr Hanrahan, from Rathcoole, just closed a $50m funding round for his $500m online home services start-up Handy.com.

He did so just a few months after Leixlip-raised Ms Coleman sold the online cleaning service she co-founded, Hassle.com, for €32m to German rival Helpling.

Between them, this thin corridor of the Kildare-Dublin region has managed to produce the kids that have cornered the online home services market.

"There's definitely something in the water," Mr Hanrahan told the Irish Independent at the Web Summit.

There may also be something the water that Tinder founder Sean Rad (pictured far right) is drinking. Taking to the main stage yesterday, he insisted that 80pc of those who use the dating app do so "for long term" relationships.

This intelligence, he claims, is based on a survey of 400,000 Tinder users. It is unclear whether Tinder-using Web Summit revellers in Copper Face Jacks, the scene of a Summit party the night before, shared this far-sighted motivation.

But one relationship that came under scrutiny again and again was former Apple chief executive John Sculley, another speaker at the event.

Mr Sculley is famous for being the man who fired Steve Jobs in the 1990s, causing the near-collapse of Apple.

Although he now has a totally separate (and successful) career with two other companies, all anyone wanted to ask him was about how he was portrayed in the upcoming Michael Fassbender film, 'Steve Jobs'.

Mr Sculley, who is played by the 'Dumb And Dumber' actor Jeff Daniels, said he was "impressed" with Daniels's portrayal.

There were few who weren't impressed by John Collison, the 25-year-old Limerick co-founder of the $5bn firm Stripe.

Mr Collison told the main stage at the event yesterday that he and brother Patrick were just "scratching the surface" of what was possible with their online payments company.

Being a paper billionaire and employing 300 people does not mean you've made it, he said.

Among those who might disagree were the hundreds of young European start-up hopefuls furiously pitching anyone walking by with a jacket.

"Heard about Refeedly?"

"Hey, can I show you this smart eye-patch?"

"Do you need a wearable aggregator for your social media accounts?"

To qualify for the manic attention of the hundreds of start-up hopefuls present, all you really needed was the faintest look of a grown-up.

Curiously, none of them appeared to share any fascination with the price of burgers nearby.

Maybe if they ever get with the 'real' world, they'll get anguished about it like 'real' people.

Irish Independent

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