Darren Hayes, Founder, Dare Technology
Ahead of the Our Ocean Wealth Summit 2018, Darren Hayes of Dare Technology gives us an insight into his marine technology business, entrepreneurship and how the Competitive Start Fund (CSF) helped take his business to the next stage.
Dare Technology specialises in the development of innovative marine technology. We set up the company in January 2015 to develop and commercialise patented renewable energy technology that harnesses freely available renewable energy resources usefully and quickly while removing conventional barriers to market, such as required market supports, and access to the electricity grid. We also use our expertise to provide consultancy in technology development and marine operations to clients.
I began developing the idea for the business over a period of a couple of months, and it became something to which I was giving a lot of my spare time. It got to the point where I realised it was something I had to take on full time or pass on completely. I was naturally concerned about the high likelihood of failure, but I didn’t want to look back in a few years and wonder what could have been, so I decided to go for it.
Our first year in business was full of new challenges – many of them were difficult but they were also exciting! The hardest challenge to overcome was the initial lack of access to the funding we required to even get started. This slowed us down but is also made us think about everything we were doing and focus on our priorities. As a start-up business, it’s easy to become overly invested with raising finance which can pull your energy away from other aspects of the business. This was not the case for us fortunately, and we were able to focus on the other core areas of Dare Technology.
Applying for CSF
CSF, for us, seemed like a perfect start point; firstly, to get connected with Enterprise Ireland and secondly for funding. The application process was well structured, and it was beneficial to go through it even if we hadn’t been successful. It helped us to tighten up our business plan, understand our weaknesses and areas of exposure, and forced us to address them head on.
Getting the CSF was the real launch of the business as it allowed me to leave my job and to work full time while designing and building the first prototype. Committing full-time to my idea and combining this with the finance provided by the CSF, meant I was able to quickly grow and develop my business.
Advice for someone considering applying for the CSF
The advice I have for anyone applying for CSF is to make sure you have a realistic plan, and the right people around you to deliver it. Assembling the right team around you is one of the most important decisions you must make.
We hope to continue our growth in the year ahead through a ramp up of research on the vessel energy system and rolling the technology out to pilot projects. We continue to grow our consultancy base in order to continue to contribute to exciting and cutting edge marine technology projects around the world. The future of Marine Technologies is exciting and we are eager to explore its depths.
- Interested in applying for Marine & Agtech Competitive Start Fund? Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply here.