Two Irish firms have bagged spots on a bootcamp taught by the 'PayPal Mafia'

FoodCloud and Webio will head to Silicon Valley later this month for the programme.

By Killian Woods Reporter, Fora

IRISH FIRMS FOODCLOUD and Webio will be mentored by some of the startup world’s heaviest hitters after they bagged a place on Google’s business bootcamp.

Blackbox Connect, a global accelerator run by Google’s startup division, is a two-week course for company founders run twice each year in Silicon Valley.

Some of the mentors that pass on lessons to startups as part of the programme include YouTube co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, part of the so-called ’PayPal Mafia’ – a cohort of people who worked at the payments giant when it was a first set up.

Other notable mentors include the renowned Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, who invested in Skype, Tesla and, Google Ventures president Bill Maris and Adam Cheyer, the co-founder of Apple chatbot Siri.

FoodCloud, a social enterprise that redistributes leftover food from supermarkets, and customer service tech firm Webio were nominated for the accelerator by Dublin co-working space Dogpatch Labs.

There were 210 startups from 42 countries in the running for the latest installment of BlackBox Connect, with FoodCloud and Webio picked among the final 16 successful applicants.

They will take part in the latest edition of the US-based accelerator at the end of this month.

3 - Blackbox Connect - #17 Irish participants Previous Irish participants of Blackbox Connect
Source: Dogpatch Labs

Unlike other accelerators that focus on the business, the curriculum for Blackbox Connect is geared towards improving founders’ skillsets. The programme does not invest or take an equity stake in startups that take part in the course.

As part of the accelerator, FoodCloud and Webio will learn from experienced founders about the Silicon Valley approach to entrepreneurship, how to network and the best way to create a story around a startup.

Participants will also be taught about the best approach to fundraising and how to put in place leadership structures that still work as a company grows.


More than a dozen Irish startups have been accepted onto the programme since it was set up six years ago.

Three previous Irish participants include Newswhip, a data analytics company that raised $6.4 million this year, regulation technology firm Swiftcomply and sound therapy startup Restored Hearing.

Another Irish connection to the accelerator is Stripe, the billion-dollar payments firm founded by John and Patrick Collison, which is a sponsor of the bootcamp, alongside IBM and Silicon Valley Bank.

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