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Conor Ryan

Director and Chief Technical Officer, own business

Degree subject BSc Commercial Software Development (2000); Masters by Research in Telecommunications (2002)

Job title Director and Chief Technical Officer
Employer Hash 6 Ltd, trading as Catch

When I graduated from Waterford Institute of Technology I received several job offers from Dublin-based software companies. However, I could not understand why these companies needed to be based in Dublin city centre. I resolved to try and create similar opportunities for future graduates in Waterford.

I made a decision early in my career that I would never remain in a position where I knew what job I would be doing the following year. The easiest way to avoid this is to bite the bullet and get out on your own. I was involved with several start-up companies based on spinning out technology from research I was working on at WIT.

I have now joined forces with four other people in our new venture, an interactive radio service (www.catch.fm). Three of us wrote the patent in 2004 and we are busy executing it in different regions around the world. We currently employ sixteen people.

As Chief Technical Officer I am responsible for building and rolling out the technology behind our service. I also set up partnerships and manage contracts and integration with music suppliers, telecoms enablers and so on. In my role as Director I develop the long-term technological strategy and work with other Directors to align this with our financial, marketing and sales strategies. My goal now is to take the company to a successful exit and then do it all over again.

Part of the process of setting up the company involved participating in the WIT-run South East Enterprise Platform programme, which I would best describe as a real-time MBA. Everyone on the programme was starting their own business and what you learned on Monday you put into practice in your business on Tuesday. This programme was supported by Enterprise Ireland and I have since received further funding and advice from them.

The best thing about self-employment is having control over what I do. The worst is that there is nobody else to blame when things go wrong! I would advise anyone considering self-employment to get experience in as many industrial streams as you can to ensure you gain the necessary knowledge and experience before you start a business.