Could the Celtic Tiger rise again?

Europe's answer to Silicon Valley
Europe's answer to Silicon Valley

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Europe's answer to Silicon Valley 02:06

Story highlights

  • Twitter announced in September it would set up shop in Dublin
  • Google and Facebook have their international headquarters in Ireland
  • Dogpatch Labs Europe provides space for entrepreneurs
  • Its head Noel Ruane believes Dublin can rival Silicon Valley
Ireland --- once Europe's 'Celtic Tiger' -- was last year felled by its black hole of a banking sector, and forced to tap Europe's bailout fund.
The country continues to live off bailout funds -- yet in September internet giant Twitter announced its intention to set up headquarters in Dublin. It will join Facebook and Google, which both have their headquarters in the Irish capital.
The move suggests Dublin could again become a major player in the technology industry, despite the country's financial woes.
According to Noel Ruane, head of Dogpatch Labs Europe -- which likens itself to a 'frat house for geeks' -- the city has enough of an internet community to rival Silicon Valley.
Dogpatch Labs was created by the U.S.-based venture capital company Polaris Venture Partners, and provides a space for aspiring entrepreneurs to brainstorm with like-minded people.
The center has also chosen to call Dublin its European home, with Ruane as its entrepreneur in residence.
Ruane believes Dublin is a good base for emerging companies, despite their consumers being located elsewhere. Many companies are web based, and don't need to be near their customers, he says.
He acknowledges language barriers can prove more difficult for companies in Europe than in other parts of the world, such as the U.S.
"There is a localization requirement; we don't have one homogenous market like the U.S. where there are 300 million plus people that companies can target." But he says the nature of the web means businesses can be successful from wherever they're located, including Dublin.
But while Dublin's reputation as an internet hub is growing, many developers are still honing their skills in the U.S first before establishing themselves in Europe.
"I meet companies all the time where the founders have returned home after perhaps graduating from Stamford University and spending some years with the large internet companies in Silicon Valley," explains Ruane. "They have all that experience so that they can set up business back in Europe."