Helping businesses set up pop-up shops

AIB Start-up Academy finalist: Lucinda Kelly, Popertee

Lucinda Kelly

gained her experience in corporate business, spending several years with

Paddy Power

before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship.


“I was with Paddy Power for four and a half years and I always knew that I wanted to set up my own business,” she says. “That’s why I went through the whole corporate piece, just to get education. It was brewing in the background, I was quite comfortable with what I was going to go ahead with when leaving.”

Taking a month off to ride her beloved horses and clear her mind, Kelly set about putting a business model in place.

“I had seen and loved the success of Airbnb and the whole shared-economy model, and I was thinking about how we could replicate that for another business,” she says. “My dad’s business was always commercial property, so I always had an interest in that.

“He was also into retail, having had a men’s clothing store on Grafton Street, FX Kelly. That’s where I translated what Airbnb was doing to bring it to commercial retail, which has evolved as I go along.”

Having scoped out the competitive landscape and spoken to business contacts, a name was chosen, a logo designed and Popertee was born.

She says Popertee is an online marketplace that connects businesses or marketing agencies with pop-up locations.

“The model is really simple. We are trying to make it a three-step-to-pop process where, on our website, you can view, consult with the owners and book your location straight away,” she says. “I have been really lucky so far, as in there has not been a huge road block on what I’m doing. What I’ve really learnt is that Popertee won’t be working with estate agents.

“Initially, when I went out to validate the market, I thought we could do something with them or there was a partnership, but quite frankly they are not interested in the short-term market or what we are trying to do.”

She says the biggest challenge is finding out who owns the properties. There is a land registry in Ireland, where an amount can be paid to find out, but that is costly for a start-up.

Kelly only registered the business on November 2nd last year, so is proud to have customers already. The changing face of retail is where she feels the future of Popertee lies.

“We’re going after online brands looking for bricks-and-mortar presence,” she says. “The face of retail is changing. It’s not now that a retail shop will go sell something in it; it’s about tech-enabled retail, and that’s what we want to be at the fore front of.”