While most places desire to keep their members for as long as they can, the PorterShed wants to see start-ups come in to grow before flying the coop and developing into their best selves.
Owing to its tech focus, the PorterShed aims to be the den of tech start-ups, where future giant companies can contribute immensely to the global community. Mary Rodgers, PorterShed CEO, spoke on Jess Kelly’s PorterShed-focused Tech Talk podcast, about her love of seeing PorterShed members become success stories. After all, PorterShed alumni remain strong advocates for the innovation hub by sharing the role it has played in their wins – companies like Rent the Runway, Diligent, and Altocloud (now Genesys).
The PorterShed’s location in the heart of Galway city attracts all sorts of excellent tech minds into the city, and this has helped revitalise the tech scene and grow the community enormously.
Getting back to the Tech Talk podcast, PorterShed member Robert O’ Shaughnessy, Co-Founder CTO, Product Management, of MetaDomo, touched on his own experience working remotely in Dublin for 10 years. He told Jess how he had wanted to move back to Galway for a long time and waxed lyrical about how Galway has grown as a vibrant, collaborative environment – and he mentioned how the PorterShed has been key to this identity. As Robert said, “The PorterShed was really a catalyst for bringing it all together and enabling a focal point for start-ups to come together and learn off each other, and grow together.”
Encouragingly, the role of the PorterShed has become stronger after the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new system of ‘remote work’ which was introduced to the world back in early 2020. Of course, while some people enjoy the concept of remote work, others can find it an isolating experience which can negatively impact their work.
As Robert added, “When you do it for long enough, you realize you need connection, you need community.”
This is where the PorterShed comes into play by creating a sense of community for tech start-ups who are on the same path, enjoying similar interests, and facing the same challenges. Most importantly, as Rob said in the podcast, the PorterShed offers a hybrid approach; twenty-four/seven access means that members can make use of the facilities whenever they want.
Joe Smyth, formerly CTO and co-founder of Altocloud, who is now the SVP of R&D, Digital, and AI at Genesys, is another success story that started in PorterShed. Altocloud were the first company in the PorterShed, growing to 22 people before Genesys came along.
The tech scene is growing worldwide, particularly in Ireland, and Galway certainly has a role to play in helping catalyse it further. “The requirement for software engineers is going to grow over the next 100 years”, said Joe, and with so many PorterShed tech companies continuing to expand, we are sure to see many emerge from Galway in that time.
The Tech Talk podcast highlights just how crucial innovation hubs are to helping start-ups, not only through practical support, programmes, and funding guidance, but also in terms of creating a community. The PorterShed started with one building and a few members, and it is growing into two buildings with over 350 members and high-end facilities; it’s sure to nurture many more start-ups in the coming years.
By Amanie Issa & Megan Delaney