A tragic experience sparked the idea for a Cork-based startup designed to help organisers of music festivals and conferences.
Swiftfox Apps co-founder James Gale was following as business studies course in 2016 while working on a startup idea for a mobile app for users to create and send their own personalised postcards.
He jumped at the opportunity to develop the service, StampOwl, when he was offered a place with over 600 entrepreneurs in an incubator programme at the European Innovation Academy in Nice in the summer of 2016. However, at the end of the three-week course, his life changed.
He got caught up in terrorist attacks on July 14, narrowly escaping injury while attending the Bastille Day celebrations after a truck drove into the crowds watching the fireworks on the promenade. Sadly, three of his friends lost their lives in the attack.
The experience changed him: “It made me rethink everything.”
He says that the idea for Swiftfox Apps came about as he saw the chaos that followed the attacks as he and the people around him tried to find their friends.
He linked up with software developer Jonatan Mosner to develop a platform where event organisers can communicate directly with audiences, allowing organisers to push notifications to keep eventgoers informed.
Mr Gale had participated in Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme, was a runner-up in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition, and subsequently tapped a €20,000 grant from his Local Enterprise Office.
Swiftfox Apps has three products, including a management dashboard that allows event organisers a real-time overview, to set up schedules, and announce speakers.
Its “progressive web app” is a web page for small events, eliminating the cost and time in launching an app in the App Store.
For conferences, it offers a social network application, allowing attendees to scan QR codes and share their personal details and set up a chat or schedule meetings.
The biggest barrier for white label apps is the costs of development and the expense for maintenance and additional features, Mr Gale says.
“Organisers are looking to save time and money. The only way we can do this is by consolidating all the different fragmented aspects of their event into one unique system that syncs with everything,” he says.
Swiftfox Apps have since worked with Indiependence music festival, Zeminar, Cork Podcast Festival, Kinsale Shark Awards and Beyond Limits in Croke Park.