Case Study The Weatherman Forecasts Growth
The Weatherman Forecasts Growth
Executive Chairman Dr Patrick Hartigan, a 25-year career wireless communications veteran, founded Nowcasting International in 1999 while working at the University of Limerick. Born in the UK of Irish descent, he recently sold the successful company to MeteoGroup and has spun out a new venture, Askmoby, also based in Ireland.
Nowcasting International specialises in providing high-level marine weather forecasting for professional users in passenger ferries, coast guards or oil and gas exploration companies. Hartigan's new venture, Askmoby.com, uses similar precision weather forecasting to help consumers, for example when planning outdoor activity. The service is free, supported by advertising and subscription for premium services. The company provides the weather pages for many of the leading media and mobile network operators in Ireland. The company is currently recruiting
What attracted Hartigan to Ireland as a place to do business was the sense of change and dynamism. The country's relatively small size is a plus on several counts, he says. "You could get near to users and really understand what the customer's requirement was." He believes the size of the market also makes entrepreneurs focus on selling beyond Irish shores from the start. "You design the product straight away for the export market, and I would say yes, it leads to stronger products." "When I was in the UK I wanted to set up a venture. I didn't look elsewhere [than Ireland] and I wanted to set it up in my adopted county Clare," he says. "I came home after a generation". Other pluses to Ireland include availability of skilled candidates. "Our proximity to third level colleges in Limerick and Galway has been useful and we've found that an excellent source of graduates over the years," he says. A minimum of red tape makes administration and setting up business a painless process; many of the essential services needed to register a company and comply with tax and other legislation are available through efficient, user-friendly online portals. Hartigan also praises Enterprise Ireland's support, particularly its network of overseas offices. "At Nowcasting, we had offices in the US, the Far East and the Middle East. Each of them to some extent was kicked off with Enterprise Ireland's assistance, telling us the lay of the land. Introductions from them were very significant."
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