Canadian backing for Galway start-up
Canadian property group Camgill has made what's thought to be its first foray outside the country - by investing in a Galway-based shared office space operator Superpixel Labs.
The investment by Camgill is small, but possibly hints at the Canadian company's aspirations of expanding its footprint in Ireland.
It has injected €150,000 into Superpixel Labs, which was founded by brothers Barry and Mike Duffy.
Superpixel Labs opened a new co-worker office almost a year ago, having initially opened its first premises in the city in 2015. It filled half its available desks at its new office within three weeks of opening.
The open-plan Galway premises includes break-out meeting rooms, a food garden, roof terrace and games room. It also hosts weekly networking events designed to let clients interact with each other.
The Superpixel Labs premises in Galway includes a mix of ventures, such as a PR firm, and an Irish unit of Canadian firm Shopify.
Camgill's investment in Superpixel Labs could see the Irish company seek out opportunities for additional labs in other cities, or import the brand and concept to Canada.
Camgill, based in Edmonton, has a portfolio of 50 offices across western Canada, with a total of two million square feet of space.
It includes both commercial and retail properties, and the company also has a development pipeline.
It has developed a number of residential and retail projects from scratch, and also works with car dealerships and with companies involved in the oil and gas industry.
Its chairman and co-founder is Neil Macgillivray.
In a 2013 interview, a Camgill executive said that the company considers itself an "opportunist" and "gravitates towards where the action is".
Barry Duffy also runs Superpixel, which is based in Superpixel Labs in Galway. It also has an office in London's Shoreditch, and in Poland.
Superpixel uses its own platform called Advokit to develop mobile apps for businesses, primarily those involved in gaming, retail and leisure.
Its clients have included BoyleSports, Voxpro and Mothercare Ireland.
Barry and Mike Duffy both qualified from NUI Galway with degrees in civil engineering, and both also received Masters in project management from the Smurfit Business School. Mike Duffy previously worked in Accenture before co-founding Superpixel.
Investors in the Superpixel app business include Enterprise Ireland and Limerick-based firm MW Ireland, a holding company for a fuel oil distribution business with €70m in revenue. It is owned by managing director James O'Mahony.