Seeking to create quality start-ups, as well as a greater number of spin-off companies, Tyndall realise the need to assemble a team with varied skills to establish a successful business - both in the entrepreneurial and the technical side to create the conditions for quality technology startups to thrive. The most important consideration is that the technology is as close to commercialisation as possible.
In support of the Founder Programme Tyndall has appointed an entrepreneur-in-residence, Declan O’Mahoney - a successful serial entrepreneur who has headed up companies including Firecomms, originally a Tyndall spin-out, and HeartSine Technologies. Working with researchers, he will assist in formulating business plans and assessing whether projects are commercially viable.
With O’Mahoney’s input, Tyndall researchers will collaborate with founders who want the opportunity to invest in their technologies and develop them into profitable commercial ventures. The programme will offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to start a technology business in conjunction with expert researchers, while contributing directly to the national drive to create employment and sustainable economic growth.
“I struggle with the title – ‘entrepreneur in residence’ — I’d fear it would present me as someone in tweed with a pocket watch,” says Mr O’Mahoney. “Where I believe I can do the most for Tyndall is by not being within the institute on a constant basis, but by meeting people as I do in my normal course of business, and telling them about the Founders Programme, and trying to encourage them to look at it.
“I will of course be in Tyndall on a weekly basis, but my meetings will be more in the canteen than in the boardroom; I’m much more of a corridor guy than someone hidden in an office”.
Currently the CEO of HeartSine, a defibrillator company with customers in 70 countries worldwide, O’Mahoney is an engineer and entrepreneur with extensive international experience in the high technology sector. As CEO of Firecomms, a company providing fibre optic solutions and optical transceivers to medical device, automotive and industrial customers globally, he presided over Ireland’s first high-tech company to be acquired by a Chinese corporation.
During his time as Firecomms CEO, O’Mahoney collaborated deeply with Tyndall Institute and attracted major investments from Irish, European and Japanese venture capitalists and strategic partners. “There is so much technology in Tyndall, we are primarily looking for business people for the Founders Programme. I’m an engineer by profession, but a sales guy in my heart, and when I look at the potential of Tyndall, I see a field of corn that hasn’t been harvested. There is a conveyor belt of opportunities in there, and what is needed most is to marry them up with the right kind of entrepreneur in that space. Business people are constantly in search of the right idea, my job is to bring them together”, he adds.