The need for Multipath Networks arose when Justin Collery found himself based in rural Ireland where the broadband connection was dismal. He wondered how he might join broadband connections to form one strong connection and thus the Multipath journey began…
Originally, Justin worked from his garage. He found some research known as Multipath TCP that formed the underpinning of the business as it focussed on adding different internet connections together. The Multipath TCP research was developed in UCL in Belgium but as Justin worked through it, he discovered that the original research had been conducted by TSSG in WIT.
Previous to the Multipath project, Justin had another business which he ran for approximately 10 years selling wireless equipment to wireless ISPs around Ireland. This experience meant that Justin had a solid exposure to commercial activities as well as significant technical knowledge.
What Multipath Networks do
Multipath networks created a piece of hardware, a router, that you could plug into all kinds of internet connections so you can plug in various connections from various providers and it combines them to make one single strong guaranteed internet connection.
The key customers for Multipath Networks are large corporates, construction companies and, emergency services. Because network connectivity is guaranteed with the Multipath Networks router, any establishment that had remote monitoring stations were ideal customers.
Multipath Networks is an export-oriented business and sell their routers to customers across Ireland, Germany, France, Holland, the UK and the US.
Multipath Networks and ArcLabs – from a Tweet to an Innovation Voucher to an ArcLabs Client
After many months working through the Multipath TCP research from his garage, Justin had encountered a challenge that he simply couldn’t overcome alone. He posted a tweet to a friend looking for a connection to be made with a professor in Trinity. In the meantime, Mary Roche, the Mayor of Waterford, picked up the tweet and before Justin knew it, he had been connected with John Ronan, who had been one of the TSSG researchers involved in the original project. In Justin’s previous business, John had been a customer and so they met to discuss the issues he was having. At this point, Justin was introduced to Tom, the centre manager in ArcLabs, who facilitated the application process for Justin to conduct an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher with TSSG and to overcome the difficulty he had encountered.
Having completed his first Innovation Voucher with TSSG, Justin took up office space in ArcLabs. John Ronan and Justin worked so well together on Multipath Networks’ Innovation Voucher project, John made the decision to take a career break from TSSG and work with Justin full-time. They brought another previous TSSG staff member on board, Christian Walsh, and that made up the backbone of the Multipath Networks team. Justin used the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher scheme very well to address skills gaps in projects he required for the development of the Multipath Networks technology.
Justin’s experience in ArcLabs was immensely positive. Working so closely with TSSG, it made sense for Justin to take up office space in ArcLabs. He found that he had become very isolated working alone, as he was, and the ArcLabs environment gave him great access to ideas and information and helped him to build a strong network of contacts and supports. He found the infrastructure in ArcLabs highly conducive to getting work done. Justin also highlighted how impressive the building and the location are and how it portrayed an incredibly professional image to clients which also made it easy to do business. Multipath Networks also used the data centre facilities and again this was very well received by Multipath Networks’ clients. When asked to identify the key advantage to being based in ArcLabs, Justin asserted that without doubt, it was the knowledge transfer that occurred there. Justin described ArcLabs as: “A hotbed for innovation” and that the co-location of acaedemic researchers and start-ups is what creates that.
Financing the Venture
Financing new ventures is often one of the most significant hurdles for start-up companies. In the case of Multipath Networks, Justin followed a relatively traditional path for the IT world. Profits from his previous company along with personal investment were used to initiate the venture. The next stage of financing came from a round of VC funding.
The VC experience was non-traditional in that the venture capitalist approached Justin having used the product and therefore, wanting to invest in it. This put Justin in an advantageous position but even still, it took eight months to close the deal.
Venture capital funding is notoriously difficult and the negotiations can take a significant amount of time, with a lot of legal paperwork to navigate. From Justin’s experience, he believes now that it is better to ensure you have a profitable business before you go down the VC route. He also advised that the reality of VC deals is that they are not up for negotiation. Thus, in order to save time and energy he now believes that you should only go with the deal if you are happy with it in its initial form as you can spend so much time and money negotiating to ultimately end up with a deal which is substantially the same as what you began with.
Multipath Networks – After ArcLabs
Multipath Networks has essentially been wound up to be sold. Justin is currently working as a consultant to a company in Dublin but already has plans to launch a new venture and will do so from ArcLabs. The ArcLabs environment is the best that Justin has experienced and he believes it is the best facility in Ireland to be situated in if you are developing a business in the IT space.
ArcLabs represented an ideal location for the development of Multipath Networks. Justin identified that they could never have achieved what they did without ArcLabs and the various support and collaboration that they engaged with. ArcLabs is a hotbed for innovation and an ideal location for the development of businesses such as Multipath Networks.