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Irish media startup becomes a worldwide trending hit – Spike from Newswhip

by on August 15, 2015 in Ireland, Latest News, Lead Article, News you can use, Regional, Research

“Spike, a product that helps organisations monitor the impact of content that’s put out on the internet”
Within three years of launching its first product, NewsWhip counts ESPN, BuzzFeed, ‘The Guardian’, ‘USA Today’ and other newspapers among its customers.

With around 300 customers expected to generate over €2m revenue this year, and 15 staff split between the Dublin headquarters and a New York office, the firm is growing fast on the back of Spike, a product that helps organisations monitor the impact of content that’s put out on the internet.

Spike tracks what NewsWhip calls “the social velocity” that content picks up through likes and shares on social media.

The media industry loves it because they get real-time visibility of news stories that go viral.

Ironically, NewsWhip is serving an industry that it originally planned to join. Co-founder Paul Quigley had intended to fulfil a long-standing ambition and launch an online news site, pitched as Ireland’s answer to ‘The Huffington Post’. It went live in 2010 but proved to be a hard slog with regular readers proving almost as elusive as online advertising spends.

Quigley pulled the plug when he had his Eureka moment. “Someone said to me that the most interesting companies online – like Facebook and Google – are not producing content, they are arranging everything else that is out there,” he recalls.

  • “The platform is easy to use and very powerful for news monitoring. I personally am calling it the ‘Google Alerts’ replacement platform.”

    Adam Hirsch – Global EVP, Emerging Media and Technology, Edelman Digital

With co-founder Andrew Mullaney they set about developing an algorithm that would form the basis of Spike. The two had met on a course for new digital businesses run by the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology.

They developed an idea that they took further with help from the NDRC LaunchPad accelerator programme, and secured initial investment from entrepreneur-turned-investors Shane Naughton and Hal Philipp, who today sit on the NewsWhip board.

Next, the founders tapped deeper into Ireland’s burgeoning startup ecosystem, receiving investment from the AIB Seed Cap Fund managed by the Dublin Business Innovation Centre (BIC).

This was supplemented by angel investors in the States and then matched by Enterprise Ireland to take it to around €850,000.

NewsWhip – a good example for budding entrepreneurs

Eugene Smyth, an investment manager for Dublin BIC, considers NewsWhip a good example for budding entrepreneurs.

“Paul and Andrew have shown how to use all the disparate initiatives that were put in place after the economic meltdown,” he says.

“It shows that everything the State has been doing for start-ups over the last seven years has been the right thing. Smart investment money such as the AIB Seed Fund is available for good companies that come to us well-prepared with guidance from organisations such as Dublin BIC and strong support from Enterprise Ireland.”

Startup initiatives help to smooth a path, but they don’t knock down walls. You need entrepreneurial chutzpah to do that, something that the two founders have in abundance.

  • “NewsWhip Spike has given us the ability to truly stay on the pulse of the internet. I’m yet to encounter a tool that gives us this level of insight and granular analysis.This is how we stay one step ahead of the competition.”

    Dean Praetorius – Former Director of Trends & Social Media, The Huffington Post

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