July 17, 2020

094: Natural Born Starter: Gene Murphy and Startup Boost

Gene Murphy, co-founder of Startup Boost joins our first video edition of the podcast to talk about his earliest entreprenurial experiences, the overnight evolution of Startup Boost to the virtual world, the art of mentorship...and his short-lived reign as Ireland's number one male Health and Beauty reporter!

This episode is kindly sponsored by Ireland’s fintech and financial services recruitment specialists, Top Tier Recruitment.  If you would like an intro to the team at Top Tier Recruitment, please click here.

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This week Eoin and Pete talk to Gene Murphy, co-founder of Startup Boost, a global pre-accelerator program with a mission to lead pre-seed and seed stage startups towards accelerators, investment, and revenue. Gene is also involved with Techstars Startup Week Dublin, the Nadifin Fintech Accelerator with Middlegame Ventures and previously was the Entrepreneur in Residence at Bank of Ireland and the founder of multiple businesses.  

Eoin and Pete have known Gene for a few years, and many of our listeners in startup land have gotten to know Gene as well as he’s been everpresent in the Irish startup ecosystem for a while now. Gene shared a lot of great insights on this episode, including:

  • "Working with startups it feels like there's a scrambled up Rubik's Cube in front of me, and the journey is about putting that together little by little and getting it to the next stage."
  • "In the old days, pre SpaceX, the Space Shuttle had these huge orange booster rockets that were not the sleekest looking things in the world, but they had a certain purpose to get something very technologically advanced to a certain point. Then, they break off and they're gone, and its down to the finely tuned jets and all the great engineering for that mission to go wherever it needs to go.  Once it punches through the atmosphere, it’s incremental changes. I think working with early stage startups, it feels like being those orange booster rockets."
  • On working with early-stage startups:  "It doesn't matter what age you are going into this. It's all brand new. It's all pretty overwhelming. We're not here to do jobs for these poeple. We're here to open a door to a room that's labeled entrepreneurship and see if they stay there or they don't."
  • On Startup Boost's overnight evolution from the physical world to the virtual world:  "We'd started getting emails in on American time. Venue after venue, just going down like dominos and saying, sorry, we can't support you. It’s no venue’s fault - those people still supply us with some great mentors and speakers and we're very fortunate. But we knew the writing was on the wall."
  • On getting the platform right quickly:  "I have to credit Blake [Caldwell], I absolutely love working with him, he worked around the clock, reviewed 35 different online platforms, and it was very quick.”
  • On the art of mentoring:  "It's another thing to be able to have a conversation that goes both ways, where if I've been able to help someone I know that I can rely on them for help in the future as well. So, I think a mentor is a perennial learner, it’s about wanting to give something and then by doing that, you get something back. There has to be some exchange in some way, shape or form, even if it's in the future."
  • "We ask our BoostX members every month what's a big rock in your way, and by asking those questions, we can target how we curate our content and actively listen to that audience."
  • "I always say with mentorship is that it's kind of like you’re Dr Frasier Crane - the person has the answers there and you have to help them find the questions.  The more you mentor and the more seriously you take yourself, the more time you're gonna put into improving that."

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