Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Visionary entrepreneurs on board for upcoming Friday Night Mashup



The tech visionary behind one of the world's first social networks and Northern Ireland's top business angel are set to share their knowledge and experiences at the forthcoming Friday Night Mashup on March 28.

Gapyear.com founder and Acorn Incubator CEO Tom Griffiths will be joined by HALO business angel Stephen Houston for the event at Titanic’s Dock and Pumphouse in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. Both are proven entrepreneurs who have overseen multi-million pound venture capital and acquisition deals.

Having set up Gapyear.com in the pre-Facebook era, Tom has the added distinction of having created one of the world’s first social network platforms.

Sponsored by Invest NI, Cleaver Fulton Rankin and the University of Ulster, the event is being held in partnership with the Pub Summit – a global phenomenon that is now present in over 100 cities and 40 countries.

Through the partnership, winners of the Friday Night Mashup startup competition will win a place at the Dublin Web Summit's 'Pitch Battle' event – a major international platform for innovators to showcase their technology.

Friday Night Mashup events organiser Rachel Davis said: “We are very pleased to be able to have Tom Griffiths and Stephen Houston involved as both have a huge level of experience in all aspects of the innovation cycle – from the generation of an idea right through to securing major exits.

“The tie up with the Pub Summit really internationalises the Mashup as one of our startups could be pitching at a tech conference which attracts more than 10,000 innovators from across the globe.”

At 23 years old, Tom Griffiths set up what was to become the global gapyear.com brand. He oversaw £1.65m venture capital funding into the business and finally exited in 2011. Tom is now CEO of Acorn Incubator which offers support to early stage start-ups.

Stephen Houston is the the Northern Ireland Business Angel Network's 'Angel Investor of the Year' for 2013. He has delivered $5 million in Angel and VC rounds at Halo over the last three years, including Halo’s largest series A round in 2012 of $3.7 million.

Friday Night Mashup aims to connect, engage and inspire tech talent by acting as a launchpad for local companies seeking to make an impact in export markets in the US and Europe. Anyone interested in attending should log on to http://www.fridaynightmashup.com/