Startup networking at a 153 year old media company

If a 153 year old newspaper is to adapt, to experiment, and take useful risks, it makes sense to work with startups. Since The Irish Times’ initial eight week experiment in 2012, both the NYT and the BBC have followed with their own ways of incubating early stage digital businesses. But beyond incubation there is a wider opportunity. Established media businesses ought to make themselves aware of startups’ ideas, skills, and ways of working. And they should support the startup community with a view to increasing the flow and cross pollination of ideas and knowhow.

The more openness, networking, and cross-pollination the better, or at least, so the relative success of the Silicon Valley startup scene versus that of Massachusetts appears to suggest [hat tip to Brian McDonnell, whose recommendation has put Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128 on my reading list].

In short, a smart media organisation will help disruptors to network and learn.

StartupGrind at The Irish Times

With that in mind I approached Darren Mulvihill of StartupGrind‘s new Irish chapter, among other startup groups, about working with The Irish Times. The idea is to make The Irish Times’ building, right in the heart of Dublin, a place where startups, coders, entrepreneurs, designers, and financiers network. But beyond that, I wanted to apply The Irish Times particular focus on rigorous thought to a small set of key themes that matter to startups.

After a little experimentation, we are zeroing in on a format that seems to work. At the Grind At The Times event in early March 2013, Darren quizzes Barry O’Brien, Managing Director of corporate ventures at Silicon Valley Bank, on the challenges, pitfalls, and opportunities for Irish startups tackling US funding.

Let me know what you think. And if you have ideas for ways you would like to use The Irish Times as a space to meet and mingle with coders, entrepreneurs, designers, and financiers, let me hear it.

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