Cork Innovates talked to the CEO and Founder of TIC and BizTweet, Paul Brugger, about the challenges and opportunities facing Cork startups today.
Tell us about yourself and your startup.
My name is Paul Brugger. I’m originally from the UK and moved to Cork with my family in 2008. TIC was formed at the end of 2010, our concept was way ahead of the curve so instead of going to the market with a minimal viable proposition we developed to software so that it was ready to market once the market had caught up.
TIC is an innovative technology company based in Cork, Ireland. Serving customers across four continents, it designs bespoke and user friendly software solutions that businesses can use and adapt to communicate more efficiently with their customers. BizTweet is TIC’s flagship product, and has won numerous business awards since its inception in 2011. The innovative software provides corporations with the ability to segment their customer base depending on their customer’s data and send pre-configured tweets which are sent in real-time. Helping businesses to overcome the problems of impersonalised or time-sensitive social media replies and responses, BizTweet helps businesses to stand out from their competitors, easily and effectively.
What is your vision for BizTweet?
BizTweet has massive potential in terms of functionality and sectors. Initially we launched with Twitter in the aviation sector and have recently integrated and launched with Facebook Messenger. We’re now in four continents, working with some of the largest airports in the world, with plenty of scope to evolve into new markets and new sectors, as well as additional social platforms.
What have been your biggest hurdles as entrepreneurs, and how did you get over them?
The biggest hurdles would be the sales cycle, and the cash flow to cope with a long sales cycle. We’ve been fortunate in that we won and IATA Passenger Innovation award which gave a sizable prize fund, and New Frontier Phase II followed by CSF funding. This has all helped during the period from initial client contact to contract and receiving payments which could be in excess of twelve months. The next challenge for us will be to scale up.
What are your views on entrepreneurship in Cork?
We’re based in the Rubicon which is an incubation centre on the CIT campus. There is a cluster of agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, IDA, the Nimbus Centre and access to CIT itself so the environment for start-ups and entrepreneurs is very strong. The Local Enterprise Offices aren’t far away and offer some great supports too. There is lots of help out there, but knowing what is available can be a challenge at times.
What motivates you – in other words – why do you do what you do?
For me it’s about being successful at what I do, not necessarily in monetary terms but seeing my software being used by major blue-chip organisations around the world by tens of thousands of people is rewarding. Achieving the next small step and moving onto the next, lots of small steps.