Dublin Trade Mission

Dublin Trade Mission


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Earlier this month the UK PropTech Association crossed the Irish Sea to Dublin for a two-day
trade mission involving meetings with Irish PropTech founders such as; Healy Hynes,
(Beagel), Tom Courtney (Property Basecamp) and Gavin Brangan (Access Green). We also
attended a PropTech meet-up on the top floor of a traditional Irish pub (the perfect place to
try an original pint of Guinness!).
We achieved three key outcomes:
1) Access to the best connectors and influencers in market;
2) An understanding of the cultural and economic factors affecting the growth of
PropTech; and
3) Knowledge of where to look if you’re considering entering Ireland.
A common topic of conversation throughout the trip was the financial crash in 2007 and its
significant impact on the property market in Dublin. Robert Hoban, previously MD at BIDX1
– an auction company which is now expanding into the UK- shared some fascinating stories
of the early days of BIDX1 bringing the concept of auctions to Ireland shortly after the crash
when property prices were at an all-time low. BIDX1 received an overwhelming response to
the auctions, so much so they had to turn people away and stream the auctions on the TV
screens at the local pubs. Forward to 2018 and Robert is now working on his own new
venture – details of which are yet to be revealed. Interestingly, whilst the Irish talk openly,
there is a reluctance to share new business ideas early pre-investment/funding. This is quite
different to the open culture of London, where forums such as PropTech Den allow people to
pitch their ideas as early as the conceptual stage.
Similar to London, the PropTech scene in Dublin is very close-knit. In and around the city,
there are clusters of PropTech companies, based in the tech focused co-working
spaces/incubators, with key influencers like Carol Tallon and Tom Courtney connecting them
together. Carol Tallon (a woman wearing multiple hats – author, speaker, strategist in
PropTech and Property) is keen to promote and encourage collaboration – something which
is high on the UKPA agenda and welcomes UK PropTech companies to explore the Irish
market and benefit from using the close-knit community in Dublin as a test bed for new
ideas.
If anyone is interested in connecting with Carol, we are happy to facilitate an introduction.
Dublin is also turning into a hotspot for young professionals looking to move to a new city
for work, with the likes of major multinational companies such as Facebook, Google,
Twitter, LinkedIn, Airbnb, Dropbox and Etsy setting up shop there. As a result, the rental
sector in Dublin is growing and we are starting to see an evolution of co-living spaces and
short term accommodation. Gavin Gallagher, a local property developer, kindly invited us
to visit a new development project with Node – co-living providers. The space will include
apartments of 3, with a community kitchen and living space, shared bathrooms and a
community area for the whole apartment block. They will also have a community manager
in change of organising social events for the residents. They expect to attract working professionals from all over the world who have come to Dublin and are keen to meet new
people.

 

UKPA Steering Committee Member and PropTech Giraffe, James Dearsley, visits Node

 

PropTech start-up Property Basecamp, also provides rental solution for individuals re-
locating to a new town/city or even country. Property Base Camp is a service which works
with local accommodation providers and HR departments of businesses to speed up the
process of finding a property to rent which currently takes a minimum of 2 weeks a
significant amount of money on hotel/short term accommodation. Property Base Camp
recently joined the PiLabs accelerator scheme for 12 weeks in London. If you’d like to
connect with them while they’re in London let us know.
Tommy, Founder of Property Basecamp, also runs the local PropTech meet-up, which we
fortunately got the chance to attend on the trip. Attending the meet-up were around 40
PropTech and Property professionals in and around Dublin who listened intently to Nick
Polley (Founder of 3D Design Bureau), as he opened up about the ups and downs of running
the business during the property crash. Nick talked about learning to detach yourself from
your business in order to make the right decisions for the business.

James Dearsley followed with an engaging presentation on ‘PropTech Now and in the
Future’. James talked about how the dominant players in the tech market have changed from the traditional IT companies to companies like Facebook and Amazon, and the shift in
attitudes towards technology and expectations from consumers. The presentation sparked
a number of questions from the attendees and a lengthy Q&A session followed.
A special thanks to Tom Courtney for organising the meet-up and to everyone we met on
the trip for sharing their insights and knowledge of the Irish PropTech market. We look
forward to meeting again.

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