It started with a muffin — UPRISE Startup Festival

3 coffee’s, 3 muffins and 3 difficult to understand people (mostly due to the affore mentioned muffin feeding frenzy that was occurring) was the basis for my first interaction with Paul O’Connell founder of the UPRISE Startup Festival.

Within a few weeks I was en route to see UPRIS3 which took place earlier this year in Amsterdam. I had been invited to chat about how startup communities are built and also had the chance to get a first hand experience of what a startup festival is through the lens of UPRIS3.

It was during this time that the gang at UPRISE were looking to broaden their geographical foot print and were looking at Dublin for their next festival. I knew this was something to get involved with as #UPRIS3 had proved itself to be a brilliant way to meet up and coming startups, get some really great conversations in with folks and also was simply, a ton of fun!

It began for me with a set of regional pitch heats with the goal of selecting Startup Team Green from across Ireland with pitch heats in Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Cork.

After 4 consecutive days, of meetups, pitches and judging judges we had assembled team green to go head to head with their international counterparts which was to take place on the 20th of October at UPRIS4!

A little under a month later and it was UPRIS4 week. It turned out to be a lengthy fair as Monday saw DublinBeta a quarterly startup showcase since 2011 take place.

Next it was the pre UPRIS4 opening event at Startup Grind hosted by David Scanlon, where Sean Blanchfield gave an in-depth insight into the ups and downs of startup life as well as the reasons for him getting started in his own company in his 20’s straight out the door after university.

Finally. It was the big day! With a startup market place, workshop rooms, office hours and a pretty cool band and bite (food not computer bytes) we are all setup and set for some great chats with startups.

Outside of seeing Shane McCarthy who seemed to constantly be getting into deep meaningful conversations on literally matter as illustrated in the above factually based picture, UPRIS4 was a whirlwind of great catch ups with folks working in the startup ecosystem in Ireland and abroad.

I even had a chance to chat all things ‘Gorillas in the Mist,’ aka my take on why large corporates can work with startups and even including a few ruminations on intrapreneurship to boot with one of my fav gingers Mr Neill Gernon from Atrovate.

The day however, faster than expected, came to a close but not before the final pitch battle where we saw Ireland take on the rest of the world to pitch it out for a €5,000 prize fund kindly sponsored by Dublin City Council (who had a great team at UPRIS4 throughout the week of satellite and main day events).

In the immortal words of Duncan McLoed of the the movie Highlander (literally immortal words)… ‘there can be only one’. The ‘only one’ in this particular competition was Smith and Sinclair who produce delicious edible treats for adults.

So that was it. UPRIS4 was over. Honestly, I miss it already.

The opportunity to get to meet people in a relaxed environment akin in some respects to having a really great town hall vibe was exactly the type of event I love. For me an added bonus was having an event in Dublin in 2016 that celebrated startups and gave an opportunity to showcase homegrown and international talent while getting to learn some new skills with workshops and panels was for me, perfect.

Good job UPRIS4 and hope to see you back in Dublin in 2017!