A Belfast-based entrepreneur is flying high after his company received its first investment from a prominent Silicon Valley investor.
Marty Neill, Managing Director of point-of-sale software company Air Pos, was in San Francisco to attend the Irish Leadership Technology Group (ITLG) Silicon Valley awards when David Kirk, the former Vice President of AOL, Inc and ex-Senior Vice President of Cisco Systems, made the surprise gesture.
“It was St Patrick’s Day and we were having a drink in an Irish bar in San Fran, The Chieftain, when he called me outside to hand me the checque”, he laughed.
Hailed as the “evolution of PoS software”, AirPOS allows retailers to connect their in-store sales with online sales. According to its website, www.airpos .co.uk, “AirPOS allows companies of all sizes to sell from a single stock across unlimited points of sale. It solves the age old problem of till and web integration and will help lead to greater customer satisfaction, reduction in human error, better detection of fraud and theft, easy access to multi channel sales and much more AirPOS also allows sales to be performed anywhere that an internet connection is available, which is essentially everywhere in today's mobile connected world.”
“AirPOS is a different approach to PoS. PoS hasn’t progressed in about 15 years. We created the problem we’re trying to solve when through our other web company, No More Art, we created a system for a client which didn’t hook up their in-store stock and sales with their online stock and sales. This created huge problems for them, but in those problems we spotted an opportunity. Air POS is PoS evolved to the new web.”
The company is currently creating a stir in the US after attending the SXSW interactive conference in Austin, Texas, where it attracted interest from corporate giants such as PayPal.
“Staff from their Manchester office are coming to Belfast to meet with us as they’re really interested in seeing the software”, says Marty, “That was a huge lead for us. The US as a market is perfect for us; it’s basically a cashless society. I don’t think I saw one person pay with cash the whole time I was there, everyone pays by card, and that’s perfect for AirPOS.”
And Marty is calling on other Irish companies to make the trip to the US and consider it as a potential market.
“Invest NI offer trade missions to the likes of SXSW every year. The best thing about the US is that everyone is interested in what you’re doing; the American mentality is real. Out of 400 stands at the SXSW tradeshow event, we spoke to 399, including companies like Google and PayPal.”
But success in the US isn’t the only thing the Shankill Road man has to smile about.
“My fiancée and I have decided to go to San Francisco and get married in September”, he said. “We’re going to stand outside the Chieftain on the same spot David gave AirPOS its’ first investment and have a champagne toast to celebrate.”