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Luke Brennan and Paula O'Connor from myVolts
we have lift-off

Meet some of the first Irish entrepreneurs to make their projects happen with Kickstarter

Several local startups have been given a big boost through the crowdfunding site.

A DIGITAL GUITAR system and a bedside gadget charger are among the first Irish projects to hit their targets after crowdfunding site Kickstarter went live for local entrepreneurs.

With about 40 hours still to run, Z-Charge has already beaten a funding target of €40,000 for its “bedside charging solution” – which provides storage and plug-in space for up to six devices.

Designer Paula O’Connor told the site had given her and the other entrepreneur behind Z-Charge maker myVolts, Luke Brennan, the chance to reach a global market – although she was surprised there hadn’t been more of a “buzz” at home.

“Most Irish people don’t even know about (Kickstarter) – the people who have been supporting it are from all over the world, but the Irish supporters were in the minority,” she said.

When you try to launch something, nobody really cares so we saw it as a way to reach people all over the world.”

O’Connor said the company would focus on filling its current orders for now, but it would look at expanding its output and adding more products to its line-up soon.

Z-Charge's bedside leather pouch Z-Charge's bedside leather pouch

“There aren’t a lot of opportunities for designers out there in Ireland; hopefully we will employ more people out there and be a success,” she said.

The successful pitch included over 50 people signing up for their €189 handmade, leather Z-Charge – which the company has pledged to deliver in time for Christmas.

Late last month the popular portal was opened up to Irish projects after previously only being available for would-be entrepreneurs in countries like the US and UK.

Until recently, local creators had to partner with people in those nations to get their projects online.

Digital guitar also a winner

Another project to hit its target came from Kerry-based Rob O’Reilly Guitars, which easily topped the €15,000 goal for its Expressiv digital guitar system.

Company founder O’Reilly said Kickstarter was a good way to get feedback on his product as well as raising funds to get the project running.

“For startups on a shoestring, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are great for raising funds for new products and ideas and for testing the viability of those ideas in the market, for very little cost,” he said.

O’Reilly, an electronic engineer and guitar designer who previously featured on the Dragons Den TV show, said the product had taken 3 years of development and testing to come together.

ror-expressiv-midi-guitar The Expressiv system from Rob O'Reilly Guitars

But another out of the first batch of Irish projects to go live on Kickstarter, digital artist Kevin Smyth’s comic Bounty Hunter Sakura, looks in danger of falling flat after drawing only €184 towards his €2,300 goal with about 50 hours to go.

Originally published at 5pm yesterday

READ: Kickstarter is live for Irish projects so now you can support this teenage bounty hunter >

READ: Creative crowdfunding site Fund It has raised €3 million for projects like this >

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