Last week, Enterprise Ireland, hosted the 2018 edition of West Coast Week, in Dublin, Ireland. This prestigious event connects senior executives from the USA’s Silicon Valley with Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs and technology companies from a host of key growth-driven markets. This year’s West Coast Week focused on the connected and autonomous vehicle market, the creative and digital entertainment industry, and featured a special event titled “Startup to Scale” where business leaders shared inspiration and best practices to help new organizations scale their business.
Unique “Startup to Scale” event for aspiring start-ups
The first event of the week, Startup to Scale, brought together Silicon Valley executives from across a range of industries and roles to share best practices to help organizations scale their business. This invitation-only event included various presentations, panel discussions and one-on-one meetings between Irish entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley executives.
Key executives shared strategies and tactics for driving growth based on their expertise and discussed the ability to scale from initial idea to IPO. They also discussed ways to engage customers and accelerate growth as well as how to recognize and invest in promising new businesses.
“West Coast Week is an exciting opportunity to connect global thought leaders from some of the world’s most advanced technology ecosystems with Ireland’s best and brightest aspiring entrepreneurs and early-stage technology companies,” stated Paul Burfield, SVP West & Southern United States, Enterprise Ireland.
The Startup to Scale seminar focused on three major themes:
- Funding for Growth: The process of obtaining VC funding
- Growth Marketing: Focusing on the entire funnel and the importance of strategic partnerships
- Crossing the Chasm: Succeeding from early adoption to mainstream market
Featured speakers included executives from Crux Capital, Microsoft, Box, Stitch Fix, Asana, Shell, Silicon Valley Bank, Uber, and Draper Espirit.
Today, over 140 Irish companies have a physical presence on the US west coast, and close to 100 of those are in the San Francisco Bay Area. West Coast Week serves to strengthen the level of engagement between Irish technology companies and potential partners in the region.
Connected and autonomous opportunities
As the globally connected car market is expected to grow in the next five years to $180 billion, this growth will be driven by comprehensive software and hardware platforms driving new advanced vehicle solutions. Intel predicts the economic opportunities tied back to autonomous vehicles could grow to as much as $7 trillion (USD) by 2050.
This year’s event featured a special, invitation-only, day-long seminar focused on the future of connected and autonomous vehicles, bringing together industry experts and leading Irish companies to explore the intricacies of data collection, and the dynamic challenges of privacy and security. Today, Ireland is home to some of the leading names in autonomous and connected vehicle technology including IBM, Intel, Analog Devices, Valeo, Magna, Uber, and Jaguar Land Rover.
Enterprise Ireland is a major source of strategic venture capital in the European connected and automated vehicle (CAV) sectors. The organization also co-funds pure research in these sectors and facilitates strategic partnerships between Irish firms and global brands operating in these markets.
“We don’t make the network or the car but we’re enabling connectivity, autonomy, and exciting applications and experiences,” noted Sara Hill, Senior Vice President of Advanced Technologies, Enterprise Ireland. “Our pioneering client companies are key partners to leading brands at the intersection of automotive, IT and hardware and are now critical to the ecosystems that these brands operate on and the value that they provide.”
Creative and digital entertainment
Ireland has a rich heritage in animation and has developed a global reputation for combining storytelling, visual artistry and digital innovation to produce award-winning entertainment for the world’s biggest networks. Over 2,000 people are now employed in the industry, and award-winning Irish companies are globally recognized for creating innovative creative content for TV, film and gaming industries.
“We are currently witnessing a rapid growth in the Irish animation industry and West Coast Week presents an opportunity to expand the number of productive partnerships between Irish animation companies and U.S. studios on a range of collaboration opportunities,” said Hannah Dobson, VP Entertainment & Media, Enterprise Ireland. “More often than ever, Irish creative organizations are being tapped by international studios to deliver exciting creative that will ultimately be seen and consumed in multiple countries by unique and diverse audiences.”
This year’s participants included executives from the Jim Henson Company, JAKKS Pacific, Warner Bros, Sony, Universal Pictures and the Walt Disney Company. With a strong focus on R&D, innovation, upskilling and new talent development – much of which is supported by Enterprise Ireland – Irish visual entertainment is set to continue enchanting international audiences for decades to come.