Devan Hughes co-founded the grocery delivery platform Buymie in 2015 and is now its chief executive. After launching in Cork in between lockdowns in the autumn, the fast-growing start-up is preparing to enter new cities in Ireland, the UK and beyond. Hughes tells Thomas Hubert about the European markets he is considering for expansion and the growing number of personal shoppers working with Buymie to perform deliveries – many coming from the devastated hospitality industry. He also defends the gig economy model and, having raised over €10 million, discusses how few venture capitalists are prepared to back consumer-facing businesses in Ireland.
Karl Deeter is a mortgage broker, housing market expert, singer-songwriter, and one of the leading consumer finance voices in Ireland. For 12 years he's been advocating on behalf of Ireland's borrowers and savers. Now he has a new business, onlineapplication.ie, which uses machine learning to get mortgages processed faster. The goal is to provide mortgage applications from your smartphone, with faster decisions and less paperwork (though a side effect might be less power for the big incumbent banks). Karl talks about the vulnerability of the incumbent banks, whose survival strategy he says is doomed to fail. He also discusses the “slaughterhouse” mortgage market, the "greedy" government’s under-scrutinised role in the housing crisis, and the need to “destroy house prices”.
As a member of the army rangers, Cathal Berry served in the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa. Then, he left the army to train as a medical doctor, before returning as head of the Medical School of the Irish Defence Forces. He resigned his commission to advocate for change in the Defence Forces, highlighting issues about poor pay and conditions, and a growing disillusionment of military personnel with the perceived dysfunctional relationship between the military authorities and the Department of Defence. Having been elected to the Dáil this year in the Kildare South constituency, Berry talks to Sam Smyth about his career in the army, his motivation for entering politics and his deep hope that he can achieve enough in the next three years to avoid standing for election again. He also outlines what business can learn from the military, the possibility of Sinn Féin in government and the difference between neutrality and independence.
The Irish Petroleum Industry Association is dead, long live Fuels for Ireland. The industry body representing oil importers and distributors and Ireland's only refinery has acknowledged that its members won't sustain their businesses into the future by selling fossil fuels. Its CEO Kevin McPartlan joins Thomas Hubert to discuss the Covid-19 oil price crash, new fuels such as gas and hydrogen, and his call for government to stop holding its nose at meetings with petrol station owners if they are to help in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Jack Murray worked as press officer for the Progressive Democrats and as a special adviser to a number of ministers. In 2006, however, he launched his own business MediaHQ with the stated intention of taking the grunt work out of public relations. Today, the company has several thousand clients and its media contacts database has media intelligence on every journalist working in the UK and Ireland with almost 70,000 individual profiles. In this podcast with Ian Kehoe, Murray talks about the company’s 14-year journey and its recent expansion into the British market. He also talks about the future of the media, the importance of storytelling and his mission to transform how people connect with their audience.
Aidan Connolly is the chief executive of the Dublin agtech company Cainthus, president of AgriTech Capital and a member of the Forbes Technology Council. In this podcast, the industry expert explains that while the food system was ill-prepared for this Covid-19 induced crisis, it has also hastened the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence. Speaking to Ian Kehoe, Connolly also highlights six examples of actors in the food industry who have introduced AI, how this has accelerated their growth, or even changed the way in which they operate. Drawing from his international experience, he also discusses the opportunities for Ireland in the world of agtech and AI.
Jim O’Callaghan is one of Ireland’s most respected barristers and a Fianna Fáil TD. He talks about the ongoing fallout of golfgate, his ambitions in politics and career in the law to Sam Smyth. O’Callaghan also discusses how he is open to going into government with Sinn Féin, the identity crisis at the heart of Fianna Fáil, and his regrets about not pursuing his love of rugby more.
As managing director of Chevron Training, Karl Fitzpatrick runs one of Ireland’s largest providers of online childcare and healthcare programmes. However, the Wexford based entrepreneur also owns the Irish master franchise for a range of other businesses including Bricks 4 Kidz Ireland, Little Medical School Ireland and 4EverYoung Anti-Aging Solutions Ireland. In this podcast, he charts his own career and reveals how he manages his collection of business. He also talks about his role as an angel investor, his expansion plans and the impact of Covid-19 on his businesses - and the wider economy.
Most retail brands start off with a physical presence and migrate online. Gym + Coffee, the Irish athleisure brand, has done it in reverse – launching an online store in 2017 before rolling out a chain of retail outlets. However, Niall Horgan, a co-founder and chief executive of Gym + Coffee, says its online-first strategy has allowed it to scale during the current crisis. In a podcast with Ian Kehoe, Horgan also explains why he left a multinational career to help launch the business, and how it overhauled its supply chain in 10 days due to Covid-19. He also talks about the importance of community, brand and mission and reveals its strategy for international expansion.
Over the past year, The Currency has exposed the structures used by vulture funds to acquire tens of billions’ worth of distressed debt in Ireland. Thomas Hubert’s latest investigation into CarVal also revealed how profitable this business has been for the US private equity firm, and where its Irish-registered special purpose vehicles are headed next. From the policies that led to the mass securitisation of distressed debt to the 2016 reform of so-called Section 110 companies and its effect (or lack thereof) on the tax they pay here, and to the use of Irish vehicles to swoop on distressed debt as far away as Australia and China, Thomas joins Ian Kehoe to take stock on the presence of vulture funds in Ireland as pillar banks book a fresh round of loan impairments.
Over the past month, Investment Strategist John Looby has written a three-part series on what investors, policymakers and business leaders can learn from the thinking of the scholar and mathematician Nassim Nicholas Taleb. In this podcast with Ian Kehoe, Looby talks about the practical implementation of many of Taleb’s theories around probability, risk, and anti-fragility, and explains how investors can buffer themselves in an uncertain world. He also talks about what Irish politicians can learn from Taleb’s theories about the future, with Looby arguing that a significant policy goal should be winning the case with our EU partners for splitting the capital budget from the current budget, and funding the former with tailored, long-term debt.