Happy and Proud

July 11, 2009

My son, Robin has designed some software called Decisions for Heroes (D4H), to help emergency services record and analyse their rescue operations and recently he entered it into a competition for start-ups. The competition was held by iQ Content, a Dublin-based internet consultancy, which offered €10,000 of it’s own money for the most interesting technology-based business plan. The competition was launched in March and received 249 entries. The winner was chosen after eight finalists made pitches to judges from Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, as well as indigenous internet firms Daft, Stat-Counter and LouderVoice.

This is Robin’s interview with iQ Content’s Managing Director, Morgan McKeagney…

Robin was the overall winner! The final took place in Dublin last Wednesday evening and news of his win filtered through to me in my hospital bed. It did me more good than any drip ever could.

BTW… if you haven’t already heard… I was discharged from hospital yesterday to continue treatment from home. This development was totally unexpected and the best surprise I’ve had in a long time. I’m one very happy and proud Mama right now.

And He’s Off!

September 15, 2008

You’ll remember I blogged about my son, Robin last week in his bid to make the final shortlist for Seedcamp in London. Well, he’s made it!  Have a look at this!

I think Robin’s infectious enthusiasm must have got to the judging panel as despite not making the final list initially, the ‘D4H‘ team has now been allocated a place at Seedcamp.  Robin’s new business venture ‘D4H’ is the sole representative from Ireland and it joins a diverse set of teams from across the globe – including Austria, Poland, Finland, Romania, Ukraine, France, Germany, Slovenia, US, India and Sweden.

Robin set off for London last night brimming with enthusiasm for the week ahead.  There’ll be no stopping him now!

That’s My Boy

September 9, 2008

There’s been a real air of anticipation around here for the last week or so.  My whirlwind son, Robin arrived home from Chicago and within an hour of touchdown, he had heard that his latest venture Decisions for Heroes (D4H) was short-listed for Seedcamp.  Life has been somewhat in limbo ever since.

Seedcamp is an intensive week-long event in London, targeted at young entrepreneurs.  Once a year, Seedcamp brings together a group of top young founders to spend a week with Europe’s leading technologists, company founders, venture capitalists, and marketing strategists. This diverse mentor network is on-hand to help the selected teams put together the foundations of a viable business.  The aim of the week is to condense the time it takes start-ups to make and develop critical relationships, and to establish an unrivalled foundation on which a business can be built.  At the end of the week, 5 teams are selected out of 20, to receive an investment of up to €50K per team. The winning teams are invited to stay in London for a further 3-month period to work on building their business idea and product further.  Decisions for Heroes is one of 40 new fledgling companies short-listed for the coveted places at Seedcamp.

Robin recently gave up a promising career with Reuters to work full-time on promoting his new business venture Decisions for Heroes (D4H). He’s designed a stunning collaborative rescue team management tool, to record and analyse rescue operations.  The aim is to help the emergency services save lives by making better decisions. Instead of archiving information as paperwork, D4H acts as a platform, generating real-time profiles of members, available resources, and activities.  Geo-referenced data from many sources can be analysed as statistics for entire organisations regions and countries. Robin is a volunteer cliff rescue climber and boat crew with the Irish Coast Guard.

The D4H team was in London last week to strut it’s stuff in front of a panel of 14 judges. Think Dragon’s Den and you’ll get the gist. It was definitely not for the faint-hearted.  Since then, Robin has been calmly waiting to hear if his company has been selected for Seedcamp while his mother has been agonising as the judging dragged on and on.  Even Grannymar had candles burning all week for D4H (thanks! GM). Today we finally heard that Decisions for Heroes is not in the final list of companies selected.  It was apparently, a very close call but it’s not to be.  Robin took this news onboard like a real hero. That’s my boy! I’m so proud of him for everything he’s achieved to date and I suspect that with his powers of innovation, we ain’t seen nothing yet!  Seedcamp have been very encouraging in their feedback to Robin. It’s been a very positive experience for him overall and now he’s ready to move Decisions for Heroes forward for the market for which it’s actually intended. Remember, it’s all about making “better decisions”.

My ‘Puter

June 8, 2008

When I was expecting my first baby, my husband’s two young nieces came to Ireland for a week’s holiday, in anticipation of seeing their new little cousin. I was already one week overdue when the girls arrived so the excitement was mighty. As luck would have it, nothing stirred all week and the two little girls went home disappointed. At 42 weeks plus 2 days, I was admitted to the maternity hospital to be induced the following day. Shortly after midnight, I went into labour spontaneously and as the sun came up on a beautiful morning in June, our son, Robin arrived into the world.

Robin was an exhausting baby. The image of having a peaceful sleeping baby, very quickly dissipated. He would sleep for very short periods of time and then be awake and alert for hours. Life it seemed, was too exciting to waste time sleeping. Robin wanted to see the world. Our early days of parenthood are blurred from lack of sleep. We took it in turns throughout the night to walk the floorboards with babe in arms to allow one another some sleep. By day, I would walk for hours pushing the buggy around our locality in an effort to get Robin to sleep. I would arrive home with him sleeping peacefully but as soon as I put the key in the door, his eyes would spring open again and I would almost weep from exhaustion. Things improved when Robin became mobile enough to reach for toys to keep himself entertained. By nine months, he was already practising his mountaineering skills by scaling the side of his cot and falling onto the floor in the process. There was no stopping him. The breakthrough came at almost two years old, when we went to stay with friends who had two children. Their older child had a Tomy toy computer exactly like the one above and Robin was completely captivated by it. We bought him one for his second birthday and ‘My ‘Puter’ as it became known, was a lifeline. He still didn’t sleep much but he was happy in his own little imaginary world as long as he had his ‘Puter for company. Little did we know then what lay ahead in terms of Robin and his computer.

Robin went through school with one purpose in mind. To spend as much time as possible learning more about computer technology and design. And he didn’t waste any time either. All the promises we’d been given by the experts that he’d sleep once he became a teenager, never materialised. He of course, had a ‘real’ computer in his bedroom at this stage and spent every available hour surfing the net. Before long, he began to win awards for his design ability and he’s gone from strength to strength ever since. His powers of innovation, design and enthusiasm know no bounds. While in college studying for a degree in Digital Media Engineering, he launched his blog ByteSurgery which charts his success story to date. Robin’s other big interest in life, is outdoor adventure sports so when he’s not in front of a computer screen, he can be found planning and executing his next expedition. His blog Team Geared Up is testament to this. He is presently based in Chicago putting the final touches to a new niche technology service he’s designed, called ‘Decisions for Heroes’. He plans to take the world of emergency services by storm with a brand new concept based around decision-making. The next chapter of his life is about to begin.

Today is Robin’s 25th birthday. He’s packed more into that quarter century than most people could hope to achieve in a lifetime. All those sleepless nights have more than paid-off. HAPPY BIRTHDAY old fella! We’re hugely proud of you. You were well worth the wait, all those years ago!