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The Western Front: How PorterShed Backs Startups
It’s a balmy day in mid-May and PorterShed, a co-working space in Galway backed by AIB, is a hive of activity. John Clancy who is CEO of ChatSpace, one of the companies based in the thriving business hub, explains:
“Every week there’s something on here that helps connect start-ups to the wider support ecosystem and beyond. For example, last week, we had an exhibition for local artists here after hours. It’s that kind of social connection that really makes the difference.” And PorterShed is well equipped for socialising, with monthly meet ups complete with free beer from a Connemara-based brewing company.
Oh, and the coffee is good too. This place is buzzing with passionate innovators. “People talk all the time about synergies, and since we’ve been here, we’ve been networking and reaching out to other companies that are in complementary spaces,” John says. “We’ve put business their way and they’ve put business our way. Everyone is in the same boat really. The companies here are by and large either at start-up stage or moving to scale stage. There’s a common goal and excitement amongst everyone and I have to say the dynamics work.”
Cutting Edge of Innovation
ChatSpace are certainly innovating, and their team of six have created an analytics tool which combines AI with natural language processing and deep learning to create a truly cutting edge piece of technology. “Unlike traditional analytics tools or chat analytics offerings, ChatSpace is built purely for chat from the bottom up,” John explains. “We deliver conversational analytics that enables brand owners to see how every customer is engaged, what the customer feels, and detect if their needs are being met. They can also seamlessly bring a human into the conversation when needed to listen to the true voice of their customers on chat channels.”
ChatSpace’s groundbreaking analytics enables their clients to analyse the content, context and sentiment of conversations their customers are having with their brands at scale and as they are happening. “In this new transitioning world of social media, the goal is engagement through private, meaningful, conversational moments,” John explains. “Content will still be important, but the individual will be the focus of the experience. Brand communications will have to be more immediate, expressive, and intimate.” Where ChatSpace distinguishes itself is in its ability to understand the context and organic flow of a conversation, allowing brands to foster a meaningful connection based on an individual customer’s personality.
A Space to Grow
For John, moving to PorterShed made perfect sense for the business. “We decided to move to PorterShed because it’s a connected space and it’s much more involved in the startup community in Galway,” he says. “From a tech point of view, there’s another 20-30 tech startups here. They bring in support structures through AIB, KPMG and Enterprise Ireland. Noreen from AIB comes in here once every week. She sits here for a couple of hours and it’s great for us as I don’t always have time to go to the bank. So, for example, if we have any questions regarding international transfers, she can deal with the query here and I don’t have to leave the facility.”
And why would you leave, with facilities like hot desks and top class meeting rooms at your disposal? But John’s favourite facility is the mini auditorium. “What I love to do is to go there late in the evening. I can stand up on the stage and practice my pitch just to the guys,” he says.
And it’s a pitch that’s clearly been resonating - as Chatspace’s disruptive tech has caught the attention of several top brands. As John puts it: “I would say if you’re a technology startup, PorterShed is the place to go.”
Find Out More About PorterShed in Galway
PorterShed is just one of the ways that AIB are backing business in Ireland. Find out more about renting a space for your startup on their website.
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