Guiding Irish and other European companies into North America
Former Enterprise Ireland representative in Silicon Valley David Smith is staying in the US to act as a consultant for businesses who want to work there
After six years as a representative for Enterprise Ireland in Silicon Valley, David Smith has moved to the private sector, offering his knowledge of American business to give Irish and European firms a helping hand in the US.
Smith has set up Tirna Partners, joining with Canadian consultants doing similar work for European firms looking to enter America’s northerly neighbour.
A graduate of the Smurfit Graduate Business School in University College Dublin, Smith calls himself “the best networked Irishman in Silicon Valley” where he has established himself as the first point of call for many Irish businesses.
At Enterprise Ireland (EI) Smith developed an impressive contacts list, including 14,000 LinkedIn connections. So when his EI contract to work in America ran out last July he saw an opportunity to use what he had learned.
“This is home for me for now,” he says. “My family is settled here and I had made so many contacts that I felt there was more work I could do here, more work I could do for my clients.”
While his new venture seems similar to the role EI is already carrying out, Smith insists he’s providing a different service and looking to clients with different needs.
“All of our Irish clients would continue to work with Enterprise Ireland so we are confident we are not a substitute. We are an added resource.
“I’m most interested in funded companies in the tech enterprise space. I’m talking about companies that are established in Ireland or Europe that are looking for market entry advice in the US.”
The companies he is consulting for, he says, are looking for hands-on help and a person who can dedicate a lot of time. While he speaks highly of Enterprise Ireland, he points out that every EI rep is looking after many companies and can not give the time and resources that a larger firm might want.
He says: “Once you need more in-depth support, that’s where Tirna comes in. We are deeply tied to the companies we work for because our success is based on their success.”
As a consultant he offers help and advice from initial market assessment in America to product development and sales. He also offers the potential to meet investors and like-minded innovators.