In early January 2017, it was announced that Engager was accepted onto the Google Adopt A Start-Up Programme. We were very excited to attend the launch party on the top floor of Google HQ Dublin; the room was filled with start-ups and mentors (along with mini cheese burgers) sowe knew this experience was going to be something special.
The aim of the programme is to accelerate the growth of high potential Irish start-ups by using the skill sets, knowledge and expertise of Google’s digital consultants (we were assigned the dream team – Marcus and Sezer) to help start-ups structure for scale and get the most out of the web.
We took part in a number of lectures and workshops at Google HQ throughout the last 12 weeks which covered topics such as AdWords and goal setting, analytics, design thinking and (everyone’s not so favourite) presentation skills. Our dedicated mentors “AKA The Googlers” worked hands on with us to develop a digital audience development strategy and market strategy (thanks Chris Jones for your amazing input!) We are already reaping the benefits of this new approach
On 29 March, Aisling our COO pitched (alongside the other 30 start-ups) to a panel of Google directors in the semi-final. Everything we had learned throughout the programme was squeezed into a five-minute presentation (thanks to Sean our fabulous graphic designer for a very eye-catching slide deck) in the hopes of wowing the judges enough for a place in the grand final. It was nerve wracking, but like everything in the Google process the atmosphere was relaxed and welcoming – with only a minor grilling from the panel!
We were lucky enough to be named as one of the 8 Grand Finalists competing for the top prize on 6 April, with an opportunity to pitch our developed business plans and results of the programme to members of Google Ireland’s leadership team as well as prominent figures from the Irish start-up community:
Joe Healy – High Potential Start-up Unit, Enterprise Ireland;
Patrick Walsh – Managing Director, DogPatch Labs;
David Grunwald – Head of Global Partnerships, Google for Entrepreneurs, Google;
Cera Ward – Country Director, Large Customer Sales, UK & Ireland, Google; and
Colin Goulding – Director, Global Customer Experience, Google.
The audience consisted of the 30 start-up participants, Google Ireland employees, Irish start-up community leaders and the Irish press/media. When the MC took to the stage with a large gong in hand we knew this was not going to be the usual pitching competition! It was a great afternoon with some incredible Irish start-ups showcasing their results following a busy 3 months as a Google start-up contestant.
When Patrick Walsh the managing director of DogPatch Labs announced that we had won 6 months’ office space in the wonderful DogPatch Labs based in the CHQ we were thrilled – Engager HQ is currently getting a little tight for space with five full time employees (and the newest addition Millie the dog!). The other winners on the day included: Oboe, Campsited and LogoGrab – we hope they all put their AdWords credits to good use!
Joining the DogPatch Labs Family
We wasted no time moving into our new home as we packed up our office and headed for the CHQ last Friday. First Fridays for Start-ups was in full swing when we arrived- what an amazing event to attend on our first day in DogPatch! First Fridays is a platform, powered by Google For Entrepreneurs, where members of the start-up ecosystem can come together on a regular basis, enabling them to learn, connect and grow. Stephen McIntyre from Front Line Ventures explained the essential elements of a seed pitch deck and NDRC, Google’s Adopt a Start-Up, Startup Next, Startup Weekend and Ulster Bank all participated in the lighting talk seminar.
The whole Engager team are so excited to have the chance to be in such a creative environment and be around other start-ups and feel that entrepreneurial spirit in the air! We can also brush up on our pool skills in the ‘break out space’ and ‘The Vaults’ will be an amazing area to bring our clients and hopefully pitch to our future investors!
Thanks Google Adopt A Start-Up for such an amazing experience, we are so grateful and really looking forward to our next chapter in Dublin’s Silicon Docks!