Friday 19 January 2018

SpeakTalkChat heads to Silicon Valley to raise €2m

Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

SpeakTalkChat, a Galway-based video chatting social media platform, is going in search of a further $2m as it aims to reach one million registered users within one week with the help of a class of NUIG students.

The face-to-face chatting platform was set up by Aidan Duggan (45), originally from Wexford but living Galway.

Mr Duggan started the company in 2013 and he says that both parties will get a lot out of the exercise as it aims to boost registrations from ten thousand to one million users.

“We are on our way to Silicon Valley and we’re looking to raise money out there and what we need is a following wind. We need momentum from Ireland,” Mr Duggan said.

“We’re going on a chatter drive to get one million people registered and we would use that as part of our pitch when we go to Silicon Valley for fundraising.”

SpeakTalkChat currently has three investors here in Ireland and one in San Francisco and is looking for between $1.75m and $2m in capital from its next round of funding.

Mr Duggan estimates that after the next round of funding they will increase its staff to 35 people across the areas of administration, coding and marketing.

Following that SpeakTalkChat has set a five year goal with the aim of employing 350 people in its Galway base.

The language-based chatting platform is the brainchild of Mr Duggan who concocted the idea while on a small island off North Africa.

“I’ve always had an interest in different cultures and languages and meeting people and I thought the best way to bring my Irish up to standard was to talk to people about whatever I was interested in.

“From there I created the first Gaeltacht Ar Line, which was the first Gaeltacht online, and that’s where it came from. So then people turned around and said well if you’re going to do it for Irish then why not do it for everybody.

“It then grew into something that we don’t have out there which is a social media where we have an emphasis on interacting socially via face-to-face chatting.”

Mr Duggan explained how the site works.

“You go into our site and you’ve a choice of as many as 101 interests as you wish to choose from and then there’s 35 languages and you can choose as a fluent speaker an intermediate speaker or just a beginner.”

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