Host of new appointments at Irish start-ups see new leaders take rootBlathnaid O’Deaon March 8, 2022 at 15:09 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic


Several new executive appointments have been announced by Irish start-ups and Irish-linked companies operating in the STEM sector recently.

Quantum computing start-up Equal1 appointed chief operating officer Jason Lynch as its new CEO on February 1. Lynch stepped into his new role while the company’s co-founder and board member Dirk Leipold moved into the role of president to focus his energy on accelerating the development of quantum-enhanced processor technology.

Equal1 was founded as a spin-out from University College Dublin (UCD). It has R&D teams working at NovaUCD and in Silicon Valley.

It recently secured a total of €20m in grant and equity funding through the European Innovation Council (EIC), as well as a venture capital funding round led by btov Industrial Technologies with long-time investor Atlantic Bridge. Enterprise Ireland also contributed.

“With our recent funding and the substantial progress we have made toward enabling affordable, functional quantum computers, it’s key that I focus on overseeing our technology strategy and development execution,” said Leipold.

He added, “Jason has been instrumental in building out the team and leading our fundraising efforts and is well positioned to lead the company into the next stage.”

One month on from Lynch’s appointment as CEO, Equal1 appointed former Intel Movidius VP of engineering Brendan Barry as CTO and Elena Blokhina as CSO.

According to Lynch, “Elena and Brendan, along with our co-founder Dirk Leipold, are the perfect team to bring the best of silicon technology and quantum technology together to enable our quantum AI solutions.”

Carlow-headquartered start-up HaloCare has yesterday (March 7) appointed Sarah Jane O’Dwyer as CEO. O’Dwyer will join the company which develops tech to facilitate the care of elderly people who want to live independent lives.

HaloCare’s current CEO and co-founder David Walsh is to become the company’s first chairperson. According to Walsh, O’Dwyer’s two decades of experience in leading and advising health care organisations across Europe and the Middle East will be “invaluable” as she leads the new company in its next phase of growth.

The start-up’s clinical advisory board includes Dr Rhona Mahony, Prof Dermot Power and Dr Edwina Dunne. It currently employs 25 people at its Carlow headquarters.

David Walsh and Sarah Jane O’Dwyer of HaloCare.

Irish climate action AI company Future Planet appointed sustainability pioneer Donal Sullivan as its new CEO. Sullivan has 25 years of experience in technology and sustainability, having held senior positions at Johnson Controls, Tyco and Flextronics. His interest in sustainable buildings and how technology can be used to accelerate sustainable progress at enterprise scale led him to oversee the construction of Ireland’s smartest building in Cork. The building is the global headquarters for Johnson Controls.

Donal Daly, co-founder of Future Planet said that Sullivan’s vision for sustainability was clearly aligned with the company’s. “With his experience in building high-performance teams that deliver results, we know that he is the right person to scale up Future Planet after our successful launch last autumn,” he said.

SME funding provider Accelerated Payments appointed Neil McMillan to lead its continued North American expansion. As the company’s head of North America, McMillan will base himself out of Toronto.

Accelerated Payments is based in Dublin, with offices in London and Toronto. It has reported more than 56,000 invoices financed to over 300 companies since it began. Last year, it expanded its UK office to support businesses that have been struggling with supply chain issues and the ending of furlough schemes as SMEs switch from state funding back to the private sector.

Also in North America, Irish-based e-commerce unicorn Wayflyer announced today that it was appointing Rebecca Weizenecker as head of US sales. The experienced saleswoman joins from Atlanta-based fintech Now, where she was VP of sales and marketing.

Wayflyer is valued at $1.6bn, and it recently secured a $150m Series B funding round. Weizenecker will lead its ambitious expansion plans, which involve hiring more than 100 new sales people by the end of the year.

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