Challenges Of Tech Start-Ups In Ireland
Although we’re not quite up to par with the likes of London, Berlin and Stockholm, Dublin and cities like Limerick, who saw the biggest growth of startups in the first half of 2018, are still bustling with new and exciting companies. Intercom, Currencyfair and Boxever, to name a few, are making big waves in their respective sectors. Intercom, in particular, achieving unicorn status after exceeding a valuation of €1.2billion.
However, there are considerable challenges and obstacles that start-ups face in their initial stages.
Tech Startups Challenges And How To Overcome Them
The number one challenge facing start-ups, according to a survey carried out by Big Red Cloud, is access to funding. There has been a huge fall off in funding as seen in Q1 of this year, only 1% of the total (€332m) came from seed investment which is what startups need to get going.
Even though there are a number of support programmes and Government bodies such as Enterprise Ireland in place, there is simply not enough being done by the Government. They need to provide investment programmes, like seen in Paris, to support the startup scene in Dublin and the rest of the country, to continue the growth and competitiveness of the market here. Without the funding needed, start-ups can’t move into the next stage of their development and into a functioning business.
Structure & Culture
After funding, the lack of structure can be a huge issue, especially for software developers moving from larger organisations with processes and a structure already in place. Everyone must be prepared to work outside their comfort zone and roll their sleeves up to get the work done.
With new companies, it may take a while for a structure to be realised and then for a culture to form. Creating the right culture from the start will dictate a lot of things such as employee turnover, which is costly, and the direction in which the company takes. Neither of these things will happen overnight and setbacks and conflict are inevitable but once these two important elements become more visible, it will be easier to succeed.
The third one worth mentioning is communication. I would say this one applies to all companies, small or big, but in the start-ups’ case since everything is still new and the strategy may still be unclear, this becomes even more important.
In an environment that can change in a blink of an eye, everyone needs to be on the same page so having the right channels of communication open will keep everything and everyone working together. Establishing an open communication path will allow all employees to know exactly where to go and what to do whenever there’s any problem, solution or suggestion for improvement.
Creating a Strategy
The last one I’ll mention is strategy. Having a clear vision and goal can be a major challenge in a market that is always evolving. You need to have an understanding of a number of factors such as your competitors, customers and financial constraints.
Without understanding these factors, implementing a strategy to get you from A to B will be very difficult and can lead to disillusionment within the team.
Being an entrepreneur and building a startup in Ireland, especially a tech one, is all about facing challenges and quickly overcoming them. Having worked with startups and new companies across Ireland, I have seen first hand how many have flourished and some have struggled but hopefully, with better funding and mentoring programmes, Ireland’s startup scene will continue to grow and produce great things.