A graphically bright idea
PROFILE Oliver Mooney - GetBulb:Software that helps users to translate their data into easy-to-read and beautiful graphics is proving popular
There are far too many steps involved in making graphs even in Excel. It shouldn’t be that hard and time intensive.
TURNING RAW data into meaningful graphics is usually a labour- and cost-intensive task. It can also be really boring sifting through reports and documents filled with spreadsheets and charts. Getbulb aims to solve these problems by transforming dry and complex data into eye-catching, memorable graphics simply and quickly.
Founded in 2010 by Oliver Mooney, Getbulb provides a web-based data visuals generator, which transforms figures into clear pictures.
Mooney had previously worked as a statistician and analyst with the Higher Education Authority (HEA), a role that involved a lot of data gathering, analysis and statistics.
“Fascinating research was done but I found it hard to communicate the information in an interesting way visually. I had to create a lot of graphs and charts that were not that enticing. I wanted to produce a tool to present more interesting ways of displaying ordinarily dry data.
“Creating the graphs and charts was also very time consuming as each one had to be designed entirely from scratch. There are far too many steps involved in making graphs even in Excel. It shouldn’t be that hard and time intensive. I needed something to help me make graphs simply and quickly.
Thus the idea for Getbulb was born.
Mooney left his job with the HEA in June 2010 and set about developing Getbulb.
He enrolled in DIT’s hothouse incubation course, where he spent a year researching the idea and meeting potential customers. The company was then accepted onto the Startupbootcamp Dublin programme, which provides 12 start-up teams with mentoring from industry experts, seed funding, work space and preparation for launching.
“I met Eoghan Jennings, the head of Startupbootcamp, at the Dublin Web Summit. Approximately 200 companies applied for a place on the bootcamp so I was lucky to get one.”
It was at Startupbootcamp that Mooney met Anton Shihoff and Ian Hunter, who have since joined the company in business development and technical positions.
Shihoff was, and still is, a partner at investment and private equity firm Altostrata. He previously founded renewable energy company Finavera which was floated in 2006. Hunter is currently undertaking a computer science degree at Trinity College Dublin
So how does Getbulb work? Users pay a monthly or annual license fee to get unlimited use of the data visuals generator. They input the figures on the Getbulb website. The software then produces both printable and live web graphics.
“You then click whether you want the graph as a PDF or whether you want to embed it on your website. It’s all very easy. Users want simplicity.”
The company is primarily looking to media companies as their first potential market.
“The Irish Times needs to create interesting visual data quickly to accompany stories. For example, they might need graphs to show election results, referendum results, or big movers within the ISEQ Index of Irish shares. We provide them with charts and graphs, the figures are entered, and a chart/graph displaying the election/referendum results is created instantly.
“Data journalism is becoming more popular, and media companies don’t have the resources to have people employed just to do graphs, so we provide a cost-friendly and quick solution,” Mooney says.
“The software can ultimately be used by anyone though. For example, a mining company can use it to show regional variations in their ores simply and quickly. People won’t need to be literate in HTML or Excel to make beautiful graphs and charts.”
The company is already revenue positive, having made its first sale, according to Shihoff.
“We’ve already started making sales, but won’t properly launch the site and license fee payment method until the end of August.
“We envisage the site being used by people all over the world. It cannot just stay in Ireland. It’s software as a service and can be used anywhere. The beauty of it is that it takes the labour out of creating beautiful graphics.”