Belfast Telegraph

Nightlife app inventor says more private investors needed to help support tech start-up firms

By Clare Weir

One of those taking part in the Web Summit for the first time is the creator of a new nightlife app.

Richard Graham, a qualified chartered accountant, who has worked at a senior level for Microsoft and BAE, has already tasted success with his Cloud Accounting firm, based in Belfast's Northern Ireland Science Park.

However, a chance visit to a nightclub in Japan inspired his new venture, PulsateDate, which enables people to connect to each other in public venues.

The app matches two people based on personality and looks and can also be used on college campuses, at concerts or at sports events.

As the online dating craze grows ever more popular, the app has already has expressions of interest from superclubs in Las Vegas and Ibiza.

Mr Graham said he is looking forward to connecting with potential investors in Dublin.

"It is going to be a competitive atmosphere with hundreds of start-ups on show and tens of thousands of people visiting over the three days," he said.

"It will be important to stand out and do something different to attract attention."

Mr Graham said that more and more savvy entrepreneurs are embracing the digital world in order to help grow their businesses.

"I think technology is a much less geeky thing now, and people are using technology to quickly scale up their ideas and concepts, even if they are not from a tech background themselves," he said.

"A combination of the financial downturn and incentives from Government for entrepreneurs and start-ups has helped people think more strategically and develop their ideas in a more intelligent way.

"But marketing is key - it doesn't matter how good the ­product is if you can't market it well."

However Mr Graham said that more private investors need to support tech start-ups.

"With the budget cuts that are coming, it will be more important for start-ups to look to private and angel investment for funding, but in Northern Ireland investors tend to look for more traditional concepts and this needs to change.

"We are a growing knowledge economy but we still suffer a bit from a lack of collaboration."

Belfast Telegraph