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Dublin: 20 °C Sunday 23 July, 2017

#Startups

# startups - Today’s News

From Business ETC Dublin's one-time 'least popular' man now hangs out with the Silicon Valley mafia Food And Drink

Dublin's one-time 'least popular' man now hangs out with the Silicon Valley mafia

As part of our weekly Startup Spotlight series we profile Swiftcomply.

'After 10 years I wasn't enjoying the job at all. I was CEO, but I'm a nuts-and-bolts guy'

During his many years in startups, Jonathan Maliepaard has seen the same mistakes repeated.

'I’m actually quite introverted. I have to do a lot of mental preparation for public speaking'

Republic of Work’s DC Cahalane tells us about his worst job, bad habits and penchant for gin.

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# startups - Yesterday’s News

From Business ETC 'Investing may not be an angel's day job, but the notion that VCs are better is bulls**t' Funding

'Investing may not be an angel's day job, but the notion that VCs are better is bulls**t'

HBAN head John Phelan says large syndicates are starting to lead investments in Irish startups.

# startups - Friday 21 July, 2017

From Business ETC 'At the start we totally underestimated how shelf life works. It could have bankrupted the business' Insights

'At the start we totally underestimated how shelf life works. It could have bankrupted the business'

Cassandra Stavrou double jobbed and moved home to save €10,000 to start her popcorn company.

# startups - Thursday 20 July, 2017

'We don't have an office – but that hasn't stopped us from making progress'

As part of our weekly Startup Spotlight series we profile TravTab.

'I’m actually quite introverted. I have to do a lot of mental preparation for public speaking'

Republic of Work’s DC Cahalane tells us about his worst job, bad habits and penchant for gin.

'After 10 years I wasn't enjoying the job at all. I was CEO, but I'm a nuts-and-bolts guy'

During his many years in startups, Jonathan Maliepaard has seen the same mistakes repeated.

# startups - Tuesday 18 July, 2017

From Business ETC 'I’m actually quite introverted. I have to do a lot of mental preparation for public speaking' Insights

'I’m actually quite introverted. I have to do a lot of mental preparation for public speaking'

Republic of Work’s DC Cahalane tells us about his worst job, bad habits and penchant for gin.

# startups - Saturday 15 July, 2017

From Business ETC 'We don't have an office – but that hasn't stopped us from making progress' Funding

'We don't have an office – but that hasn't stopped us from making progress'

As part of our weekly Startup Spotlight series we profile TravTab.

# startups - Friday 14 July, 2017

From Business ETC 'After 10 years I wasn't enjoying the job at all. I was CEO, but I'm a nuts-and-bolts guy' Insights

'After 10 years I wasn't enjoying the job at all. I was CEO, but I'm a nuts-and-bolts guy'

During his many years in startups, Jonathan Maliepaard has seen the same mistakes repeated.

# startups - Thursday 13 July, 2017

'Think Netflix - that's what we've built for CVs'

As part of our weekly Startup Spotlight series we profile Opening.io.

Two Italian tech developers with a sweet tooth have launched Ireland's 'Just Eat for cakes'

Online marketplace Bakenet started taking orders last month.

'Sometimes festivals just don't work for us. The food doesn't sell and you lose a lot of money'

Over the years, Kanum’s Marc Fitzharris has learned when it’s the right time to cut your losses.

'It's easy on social media to look successful. I was all smiles online but a mess inside'

After managing hotels in the Middle East, Shane Ryan came back to Ireland to launch a healthy food startup.

From Business ETC Consumer goods giant Unilever wants Irish startups to help solve its problems Startups

Consumer goods giant Unilever wants Irish startups to help solve its problems

The UK multinational is teaming up with Dublin co-working space Dogpatch Labs.

# startups - Tuesday 11 July, 2017

From Business ETC 'It's easy on social media to look successful. I was all smiles online but a mess inside' Insights

'It's easy on social media to look successful. I was all smiles online but a mess inside'

After managing hotels in the Middle East, Shane Ryan came back to Ireland to launch a healthy food startup.

# startups - Sunday 9 July, 2017

From Business ETC Two Italian tech developers with a sweet tooth have launched Ireland's 'Just Eat for cakes' Food And Drink

Two Italian tech developers with a sweet tooth have launched Ireland's 'Just Eat for cakes'

Online marketplace Bakenet started taking orders last month.

From Business ETC 'Think Netflix - that's what we've built for CVs' Work

'Think Netflix - that's what we've built for CVs'

As part of our weekly Startup Spotlight series we profile Opening.io.

An ex-Paddy Power marketer wants this startup to become 'the Airbnb for business'

As part of our weekly Startup Spotlight series, we profile Popertee.

Meet the Dublin woman sitting on a €180m war chest for startup companies

Draper Esprit’s Nicola McClafferty talks about Irish companies exiting early, talent wars and gender bias.

# startups - Friday 7 July, 2017

From Business ETC 'Sometimes festivals just don't work for us. The food doesn't sell and you lose a lot of money' Insights

'Sometimes festivals just don't work for us. The food doesn't sell and you lose a lot of money'

Over the years, Kanum’s Marc Fitzharris has learned when it’s the right time to cut your losses.

# startups - Thursday 6 July, 2017

'Everyone thinks their product is the best, but screw up and supermarkets won't deal with you'

After finishing college, Paul Moore turned his part-time farmers market stall into fully-fledged company.

A Galway coffee chain is one of the first SMEs to crowdfund using Irish lender Flender

The Galway Roast will use the €25,000 it raised to help bankroll its fifth café.

This ex-Paddy Power marketer has the solution for vacant shops

As part of our weekly Startup Spotlight series, we profile Popertee.

Meet the Dublin woman sitting on a €180m war chest for startups

Draper Esprit’s Nicola McClafferty talks about Irish companies exiting early, talent wars and gender bias.

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From Business ETC A Galway coffee chain is one of the first SMEs to crowdfund using Irish lender Flender Financial Services

A Galway coffee chain is one of the first SMEs to crowdfund using Irish lender Flender

The Galway Roast will use the €25,000 it raised to help bankroll its fifth café.

# startups - Tuesday 4 July, 2017

I DON’T HAVE a background in the food industry, but that didn’t stop me launching my own chilli sauce startup when I was in college.

Back in 2010, I started my Business Information Systems (BIS) degree in UCC. It’s a course geared around business development and also a bit of coding. I got into the course purely for the business aspect – coding was never my forte.

During my course, I started Rebel Chilli, a chilli sauce startup, with my brother purely to make a bit of cash on the weekends – and for a bit of craic.

We started out quite simply, just selling in our local farmers market and then travelling all over the country to food festivals.

Yes, we had launched our own business, but we just saw it as a weekend job and it was never anything too serious.

After a while my brother went on to pursue other interests, so I took over the company and kept it going during college. Then I reached the first big crossroads.

In 2014, I was finished college and suddenly I was left thinking, do I go at this full-time or take a handy graduate job offer that was on the table.

But those job offers didn’t really appeal to me at all. I kind of knew there was potential in Rebel Chilli and so thought I may as well give it a go. “Sure, if it doesn’t work out, so be it,” I thought at the time.

Capture4 Paul Moore Source: Rebel Chilli

Starting off

It was actually the bit of time I spent working in the US – a year before I finished college – that convinced me to go at Rebel Chilli full-time.

I was left so frustrated by the pace at which some larger companies move. I just wasn’t used to it. So I made the call that if I can avoid the corporate world, I will.

When I went full-time, it was a big change from just doing it at the weekend. It was tough to adjust to.

When I left college, the main piece of advice I was getting from people was “don’t do it”, “you’re mad” and “you’ve got a good degree you may as well use it”.

The way I looked at it, I had a good degree and I can still use it if this company doesn’t work out. What’s the worst thing that could happen? I’d lose a year or two, that’s not too bad.

I was young then and I’m still young now, so I didn’t feel like I was throwing anything away. If anything, I would be doing exactly that if I just packed up the business I built during college.

In a way, the advice I was getting made me think I had to prove those guys wrong. I’m the kind of person that if someone tells me I can’t do something, my brain starts thinking of ways around that.

Adjustment period

So I went overnight from having Rebel Chilli as a weekend gig to it being my full-time job.

I was on my own and left thinking that this has to work – it’s all down to me.

There were times where I felt I always had to be doing something. I never had anyone to tell me to switch off or to say “that’s enough work for today”.

I was left finding my feet for a long time and learning what tasks are a priority, how often I do those tasks and how much time I need to spend on them.

That took a while, but once you get a routine, you start to settle. But what I’ve found is that every six months I have new tasks and responsibilities that are more important. It took me a while to sort out the menial tasks from the crucial ones.

It’s very isolating to work on a startup by yourself. And I’ve spoken to other business owners and they all say the same thing.

As amazing as it is, you can be left lonely. It’s something you probably can’t completely grasp unless you’ve gone through running your own company and not just worked in an office.

It was scary and I’ve always enjoyed it, but I was worried and left second-guessing myself about whether I was doing the right things.

Then after a while when you start to see sales trending upwards, you start to get a bit more comfortable and have a bit of confidence in yourself.

IMG_3609 (1) Source: Rebel Chilli

Ups and downs

It’s nice when I do achieve something because I know it was all down to my own hard work. But those moments are few and far between.

One of those big moments was when the company won gold in the Blas na hÉireann award for best sauce.

I was down in Dingle at the food festival that runs at the same time as the festival. I was setting up the stall and doing the bits and pieces I needed to do – I wasn’t even going to go over to the awards.

I really didn’t appreciate the situation until I changed my mind at the last minute. Then they read out Rebel Chilli had won and only afterwards I realised how big a deal that would be for us.

That was really fantastic – even if I didn’t realise it at the time – and got us loads of new customers.

Similarly getting into my first store was a watershed moment. That was in SuperValu in Clonakilty and it’s much different from having your stall set out at a farmers market. It was mad to see it on the shelf and selling.

Bouncing ideas

As I said, being an entrepreneur can be lonely.

In 2014, I was approached by Graham Clarke, formerly of another food startup called Kooky Dough, because he was interested in joining the Rebel Chilli brand.

I decided to bring him on board with a view to using his expertise. You can talk to family and friends, but they give different kinds of feedback. Graham has been there and done that, and can be an objective voice.

Getting another person who you can bounce ideas off is a key piece of advice I’d relay onto other entrepreneurs.

But also I would say to anybody starting out to try and strike a balance between work and life. But admittedly, I say that as someone who hasn’t done that yet and doesn’t really know how to.

If I take a day off, I would still be thinking of things to do with work. Some weeks I prefer to keep working instead of taking Sunday off so you have momentum going into the next week.

Momentum is something so massive when you’re growing a company. If I have five good days of work, I’m tempted to keep going rather than take a day off.

LEO_Cork_Portraits_10 Source: Cathal Noonan

Transitions

The nature of the business and how we do things has definitely changed. It would have been more casual when we started, but now it has to be professional.

Transitioning from being a stall at a farmers market to a proper business is a hurdle a lot of businesses stumble at.

But you have to transition well because if you’re dealing with big supermarkets, everything has to be perfect. If you screw up once they will not deal with you again.

We all think we have the greatest product in the world, but you need to be professional and match that.

We may have started from a small stall in a market, but we’re in the UK, Abu Dhabi and Dubai now and I hired my first employee, Fergus, a few weeks ago.

So we’re growing as a company and I’m getting to a point where I’m happy with where we are at in Ireland.

That means I will have more time to focus on the UK, so by the start of next year I’m hoping to be in one of the main retailers over there.

It feels like a long time since I started out with my brother, through trial and error, trying to find the right chilli recipe in our mother’s kitchen. And I still spend a lot of my time in the kitchen these days.

It’s bizarre to think this is my full-time job, but it has been my life in a very intense way for so long that it’s hard to imagine not doing it.

Paul Moore is the co-founder of Rebel Chilli. This article was written in conversation with Killian Woods as part of a series on unlikely entrepreneurs.

If you want to share your opinion, advice or story, email opinion@fora.ie.

# startups - Sunday 2 July, 2017

From Business ETC This Dublin startup wants to become 'the Airbnb for business' Retail

This Dublin startup wants to become 'the Airbnb for business'

As part of our weekly Startup Spotlight series, we profile Popertee.

# startups - Saturday 1 July, 2017

From Business ETC Meet the Dublin woman sitting on a €180m war chest for startups Startups

Meet the Dublin woman sitting on a €180m war chest for startups

Draper Esprit’s Nicola McClafferty talks about Irish companies exiting early, talent wars and gender bias.

# startups - Friday 30 June, 2017

From Business ETC ‘I had no income for two years – I couldn't do that to myself or my family again’ Insights

‘I had no income for two years – I couldn't do that to myself or my family again’

This scientific researcher learned some tough lessons while trying to launch his fantasy sports company.

# startups - Thursday 29 June, 2017

Let's Get Checked is the STI-testing startup that wants to be taken seriously

As part of our weekly Startup Spotlight series, we profile the Dublin company.

'We were unlucky': A Galway native's $20m-backed US space startup has gone bust

Firefly Space Systems had agreed a launch contract with US state space agency Nasa.

'The hype dies down after you open, and you're faced with the realities of paying the bills'

After leaving his job to open a café, Barry Lennon was forced back to accountancy to make ends meet.

From Business ETC 'A radio interview is just like doing a business pitch - except in a soundproof box' Media And Arts

'A radio interview is just like doing a business pitch - except in a soundproof box'

This broadcasting guru delivers a masterclass for startups in how to do a live interview.

# startups - Tuesday 27 June, 2017

From Business ETC COMPETITION: Got a smart business idea? Win €5,000 in cash to make it reality Startups

COMPETITION: Got a smart business idea? Win €5,000 in cash to make it reality

The VidPitch Competition is the chance to get cash, office space and exposure for you and your product.

From Business ETC 'The hype dies down after you open, and you're faced with the realities of paying the bills' Insights

'The hype dies down after you open, and you're faced with the realities of paying the bills'

After leaving his job to open a café, Barry Lennon was forced back to accountancy to make ends meet.

# startups - Sunday 25 June, 2017

From Business ETC Let's Get Checked is the STI-testing startup that wants to be taken seriously Health

Let's Get Checked is the STI-testing startup that wants to be taken seriously

As part of our weekly Startup Spotlight series, we profile the Dublin company.

# startups - Friday 23 June, 2017

From Business ETC 'After nine years in business without a summer holiday, we're taking a week off this year' Insights

'After nine years in business without a summer holiday, we're taking a week off this year'

This school teacher went from giving French lessons to delivering pizza at 6am before work.

From Business ETC Paddy Cosgrave: 'Maybe one day we can make this a 20,000-person event in Dublin' Financial Services

Paddy Cosgrave: 'Maybe one day we can make this a 20,000-person event in Dublin'

The Web Summit head says next year’s Moneyconf will be focused on retail.

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