Serial entrepreneurs fixing digital strategy
START-UP NATION TECHTEAMS:The latest in a long list of successful tech companies by serial entrepreneur Sean Blanchfield, Techteams aims to connect entrepreneurs and companies with web and mobile developers.
Local business owners who need technology projects completed can find local teams and contractors on the recently launched site, according to Blanchfield.
For example, a restaurant wanting a Facebook app or mobile app can log on, outline what they are looking for and find people on the site to develop it.
“The site helps small businesses improve their digital strategy. Small businesses can opt to have a new website or facebook app developed. In the past, this area has been a big problem for SMEs, not wanting to take on or employ a developer just for one job.
“They could go off to a consultancy company or agency to get the job done, but that option is very expensive.”
The site has 70 teams of developers available, with companies typically fitting the SME profile.
The business is a spin-out of Scale Front – Dublin’s first start-up lab which already has three other companies up and running.
The lab, which Blanchfield co-founded with technology entrepreneur Brian McDonnell, hopes to emulate the success of Betaworks in New York. Technology development firm Betaworks created Tweetdeck which they sold to Twitter.
The other businesses under the Scale Front umbrella include: Block Metrics, which helps analyse and recoup revenues lost through AdBlock plugins; Reverb, a plugin that allows website visitors to chat with each other in realtime; and Utopia, an online fantasy role-playing game.
“We want to set up lots of companies and have other people manage each company we make. We can take on individuals who want to be an entrepreneur, and who are very good at what they do, but might not have their own idea for a business.”
“We currently have Neil O’Connor as CEO of Block Metrics. He did a PhD in the Computer Science Department in TCD, so I knew him from there. It’s about utilizing the talents of good people who don’t necessarily have a start-up ideas themselves.”
Blanchfield co-founded a mobile solutions company, Phorest, in 2000 as an undergraduate.
In 2003 he co-founded Demonware, providing online technology and services to the video games industry.
The company created server-side networking software and services for video games such as Guitar Hero, Call of Duty: Black Ops and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
After Demonware’s acquisition by Activision Blizzard in 2007, Blanchfield served as CTO of Jolt, a social gaming publishing house, and later founded and invested in Front Square, creating “serious” games to teach operational excellence.
In 2011 turned his attention to Scale Front, and is now building a portfolio of lean start-up opportunities.
“I realised it was not possible to take on multiple projects at once as an entrepreneur. A company can though. Things like bank accounts and legal services can all be taken care of by the central company so there is less stress on the individual start-up.
“The start-up ecosystem has boomed in Dublin over the past 14 months. More than 300 new start-ups have come on the scene.
“The Dublin start-up scene is on a high growth curve. It’s not a bubble that will burst as there is no wild speculation happening. Companies are held to account.”
Despite having four companies under the Scale Front umbrella, Blanchfield and McDonnell are still looking for business opportunities.
“We go looking for ideas and we generate them ourselves. We have 40 concepts currently in the pipeline.
“Everyone is doing a lot of innovative stuff. They are not trying to sell locally, they are looking at international sales. From a commercial point of view, Ireland is too small a market to rely solely upon.”