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Let's visit the Island of Ireland and see who's making the biggest impact in tech...

Is Ireland’s Celtic tiger roaring again? Could be. The juggernaut that is the Web Summit chose Dublin to host its autumn event, while across both Northern Ireland and the Republic a collection of Irish tech startups are gaining worldwide attention. Let’s take a closer look at them…

Sophia-Irish techSophia Search

Belfast’s big data firm Sophia Search describes itself as “a next-generation semantic analysis solution”. Not the most user-friendly description.

But that hasn’t stopped the firm from forming partnerships with giants like IBM and Logica, and winning clients like Lead Horse Technologies, CASL, Random House and World Irish.

These firms come to Sophia Search to get more user engagement on their sites or higher click-through rates or – without the use of cookies. The system analyses large amounts of unstructured text and data, and can pick out trends running in the background.

In 2013, Sophia Search closed a $3.7 million Series A round led by Atlantic Bridge to fund the company’s marketing and sales efforts in the US and UK.


taggled-Irish techTaggled

Video is becoming hugely important to brands as recording equipment, editing skills and bandwidth become cheaper and more available. Increasingly marketers need to generate their own content.

Taggled, from Northern Ireland, has developed a drag-and-drop technology that enables movie-makers to tag videos with relevant links.

Thus, when tagged content is clicked, a pop-up window displays more information. This can make viewing richer. But it can also act as a new channel for transactions, as tags can link to products and checkouts.

Taggled believes it could be the secret weapon in bringing together brands looking for the best way to reach their customers with the new generation of vloggers looking to monetize their reach.

The firm has received seed funding of £300,000. It recently signed a deal with Nasdaq-listed website builder Wix.


Adoreboard-Irish techAdoreboard

How do customers feel about brands? It’s a question every marketer has wanted to know since the dawn of (marketing) time. And in the online world, you don’t need to ask people, you can just see what they do and draw conclusions.

Of course, this activity is the basis of the surge in big data thinking. Adoreboard has won awards for its approach, which define a brand’s impact ‘as a single metric linked to a set of real time emotions.’

The Irish tech firm stresses that its insights can be imported alongside existing processes and familiar tools, marketers can save time and money by having everything metric in one place. It says its dashboard acts as a slide deck for translating decisions to actions.



Asavie-Technologies-Irish techAsavie

The telco world is all over machine to machine (M2M), which describes the practice of connecting previously ‘dumb’ objects with each other and the cloud.

Indeed, the global M2M market could ship 50 billion SIM cards by 2020. Dublin-based Asavie works with mobile operators to power these connections via its Passbridge service platform.

Customers include Telefonica O2, AT&T, Orange and Vodafone. And it recently added Telenor, whose Telenor Connexion subsidiary already runs M2M solutions for Volvo, Hitachi Construction Machinery and Scania.

In a related move, Asavie has also become active in the bring-your-own-device space. Its iSimplyConnect VPN service offers a pay-as-you-go option so that employees can use their own phones and tablets to communicate with the enterprise without any new hardware.



Teamwork-Irish techTeamwork.com

In January, the company formerly known as TeamworkPM reportedly paid $675,000 to buy the Teamwork.com domain name. A lot of money, but a statement of intent from this Cork-based company.

Indeed, its CEO Peter Coppinger said: “We are 100 per cent confident that the investment will pay for itself in no time as we expand our product range and improve marketing under the new brand.”

Teamwork’s technology simplifies the management of complex management tasks. And its freemium/subscription-based service already has 20,000 customers from video game publisher EA to Hollywood studio Universal.

Teamwork has stern competition, not least from Amazon-backed Basecamp, but it says it can hit $100m in revenues.



NewsWhip-logo-Irish techNewsWhip

Social has transformed news. In a way, we’ve gone back to the old way of transmitting information – person to person, word of mouth. It’s just that, now, the whole world is in on the conversation.

Thus, stories spread quickly and readers consume them where they are: they don’t turn up at the home page any more. So how do you track this activity?

That’s what NewsWhip has been working on since 2011. It claims to monitor more social networks and content than any other technology.

It tracks over 60,000 stories a day and can provide signals on what topics and which people are getting the most attention at any time. The Irish tech firm delivers this to hundreds of publishers and PR people via a dashboard called Spike.



Logentries_Logo_Irish techLogentries

Traditional log management tools are hard work and costly. They ask users to pre-determine what information to log and then charge hefty fees to capture that data.

So says Logentries. The firm claims to have a better solution that lets users log everything without incurring significant upfront costs – from any source and in any format.

Ultimately, this is all a prelude to making better operational decision-making. Like so many other disruptive the firms, Logentries works on a sliding subscription basis starting at $359/month for logging unlimited data from up to 40 hosts.

The Irish tech firm has more than 35,000 users from over 100 countries and clients include Macys, FT and MailChimp.




Bit of a risk naming a company Profitero. Still, this Dublin-based e-commerce specialist seems to be doing OK.

The company’s software-as-a-service platform provides brands and retailers with a rich array of information on things like: competitor prices, promotions and products; customer insights: market share; share of voice and more.

Profitero collects online data on more than 250 million products every day on behalf of clients such as Staples, Sam’s Club, Waitrose and Ocado.

In June of 2014, the firm received $8 million in financing from Polaris Partners. Profitero is already using the funds to expand its presence in North America and worldwide.



boxever-logo-Irish techBoxever

Another big data specialist, but one targeted at a single industry: travel. Boxever reckons travel firms have more data, in more unstructured form, than most verticals.

So it helps airlines and travel operators to gather and analyze customer data in real-time. Its system looks at over 60 million guest profiles and billions of individual shopping, purchase and support interactions to squirt out its conclusions.

Ryanair already works with Boxever to help create messages to send to its customers, taking into account their previous behavior and preferences.

Last March, Boxever announced a $6 million investment led by Polaris Partners, with Dublin firm Frontline Ventures. The Irish tech firm had previously secured a $1m seed round.



Clavis-Insight-Irish techClavis Insight

The world’s giant FMCG companies are adjusting to the fact that their retail partners are changing rapidly. In the last, they paid close attention to how their goods were presented in physical stores.

Now, they have to do the same in the digital space – where the rules are very different.

This is where Clavis Insight can help. The Dublin firm has developed a product it calls ‘secret shopping on steroids’. Its software scours a client’s presence in e-commerce stores in the US, Canada, the UK, China, France, Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, Australia and Turkey.

In so doing, it builds a picture of product availability and visibility. And those FMCG firms are clearly all over this. Clients include Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Kimberly Clark Corporation, and Nestle.