Enterprise Ireland fast-tracks Irish tech companies to Silicon Valley

Minister Bruton announces ‘Access Silicon Valley’ initiative

Pictured at the pitch event are, L-R, Max Shapiro, founder and CEO of PeopleConnect and Cathal Furey of 45 Sound at the Enterprise Ireland Access Silicon Valley pitch event at RocketSpace San Francisco.
Pictured at the pitch event are, L-R, Cathal Furey of 45 Sound at the Enterprise Ireland Access Silicon Valley pitch event at RocketSpace San Francisco and Max Shapiro, founder and CEO of PeopleConnect.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, today (5 July 2013) announced details of Access Silicon Valley - an Enterprise Ireland initiative designed to fast-track early-stage Irish tech companies who are targeting Silicon Valley and San Francisco – the leading start-up ecosystem for high-tech innovation and development in the world. The programme will start in September 2013.

Using Enterprise Ireland’s significant industry contacts in San Francisco, the objective of Access Silicon Valley is to accelerate innovative Irish tech companies’ entry to the US market. The initiative, which aims to help Irish companies draw up strategies and sales plans which will enable them to break into the Silicon Valley/San Francisco market, has three phases:

  • Online assessment followed by video-conference with industry experts.
  • Three-day bootcamp in Dublin including one-to-one mentoring by industry experts.
  • Continued one-to-one mentoring and two-week tailored itinerary to Silicon Valley including introductions to potential partners, specialists and mentors

Making the announcement Minister Bruton said:

“A central part of the Government’s plans for jobs and growth is creating a powerful engine of Irish enterprise. We must not only continue to support strong growth in our multinational sector, but also achieve greater levels of growth among Irish companies. A key part of this is targeting the sectors where we have attracted multinational companies and building strong Irish companies out of this base.

“Access Silicon Valley is a key part of our plans to accelerate our jobs growth among Irish ICT companies. This is a practical, hands-on programme designed to fast-track innovative and ambitious Irish companies into a highly competitive marketplace – ultimately resulting in the creation of more jobs in Ireland”.

The pilot programme for Access Silicon Valley is currently underway in San Francisco, where seven Irish companies are undertaking an intensive two-week itinerary which includes meetings with companies like Sony, Facebook, Apple and One King’s Lane among others. These meetings have already resulted in signed partnerships for Irish company Pubble with Cogswell College, a technical college located in California.

Speaking from Silicon Valley, Cathal Furey, Director of 45sound.com, one of the Irish companies who made it through to the final phase of the programme, said:

“Access Silicon Valley has been an intense and challenging 10 days, but very productive for 45sound. Our US mentors took the time to understand our business and opportunity, and set up some great meetings for us using their networks. The Irish pitch event in RocketSpace Labs gave us valuable feedback and advice from experienced technology investors, and we also gained some useful connections to potential customers from members of the audience. Overall we are really happy with the progress we have made through the programme and would definitely recommend it”.

The programme will introduce successful companies to key industry contacts to fast-track them into the marketplace, and provide insights into the nuts and bolts of launching in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, including the funding required to do so. It will be run twice a year for four years - the next programme starts in September 2013. It is anticipated that

a minimum of 50–60 Irish companies will benefit from the bootcamp phase per annum, with approx 25 Irish companies expected to progress to itineraries in San Francisco (phase three of the programme) each year.

Details of Access Silicon Valley are available on: www.enterprise-ireland.com/accesssiliconvalley


For further information, contact:


Paula Chase

Press Officer 
Enterprise Ireland

+353 1 7272842

Paula Chase

Note to Editors:

Access Silicon Valley will be delivered in the US by USMAC - the US Market Access Centre. Part of the San Jose State University Research Foundation, USMAC has developed and delivered similar programmes over the last 17 years, assisting non-US technology companies to enter the US market. To date they have worked with over a thousand companies from more than 50 countries around the world. The programme will be delivered in three phases:

Phase 1: Companies are asked to complete an-online assessment followed by a video call with USMAC to evaluate their product or service offering and market fit. This ensures that the content of bootcamp (Phase 2) is designed to meet companies’ specific needs.

Phase 2: A three-day bootcamp will be held in Dublin, focusing on helping participants to understand the unique corporate culture of Silicon Valley and San Francisco, business model validation, pitch perfection and generating meetings with potential prospective customers, partners and/or investors. Participants have the opportunity for one-to-one mentoring sessions with the USMAC team to help them apply the learnings from bootcamp to their businesses.

Phase 3: Bootcamp graduates benefit from ongoing, one-to-one mentoring with key industry specialists from the US and a tailored two week itinerary to Silicon Valley and San Francisco. This includes introductions to relevant industry contacts, insiders and experts who will provide the Irish participants with valuable feedback on the suitability of their product or service to the marketplace. Enterprise Ireland’s team in Mountain View will work with the participants to ensure the programme delivers maximum benefit.

Access Silicon Valley helps Irish companies draw up tangible strategies and sales plan relevant to Silicon Valley. It introduces successful companies to key industry contacts to fast-track them into the marketplace. It also provides insights into the nuts and bolts of launching in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, including the funding required to do so. The programme is delivered in three phases as outlined above. The programme compliments Enterprise Ireland’s successful iGAP alumni and the incubators present in Ireland.

26 Enterprise Ireland clients participated in phase one of the pilot programme with seven companies successfully making it through bootcamp (phase two) to travel to San Francisco on a competitive call to participate in the third and final phase of the programme.

The facilitators of the programme have been selected by an international tender process and are all long-standing successful members of the tech and business community in San Francisco. The facilitators are endorsed by leading US tender specialists, Kauffman, and have a strong working relationship with RocketSpace in San Francisco, an aaccelerator for high-growth, seed-funded technology start-ups and corporate open innovation.