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Off the blocks
The following are just some of the start-ups by UCD Business School alumni in the past few years
Greenaer launched in November last year and is the exclusive distributor of the REVAi AEV
(automatic electric vehicle). Its founders Lisa Redden (MSc 05) and Olivier Vander Elst (MSc 05) wan-
ted to provide the freedom to choose alternative forms of transportation that are innovative, affordable,
functional, fun and responsible.
With the transport and mobility sector in mind, their search for an alternative mode of road transport
took them to Bangalore in India where the REVA is manufactured.
“It’s a very timely business because of the price of petrol,” said Vander Elst. “The environment and
savings are really our focus point.”
The REVAi, which they refer to as “a small lifestyle revolution”, does about 80km on one charge and is
designed as a commuter car. They believe that AEVs are now here to stay.
While working in San Francisco, Jeananne O’Brien (BComm 00, MSc 01) came across a deli catering to a
gourmet market and was inspired to set up Artizan Food Co in 2005. The deli chain focuses on the
higher-end sandwich market as well as freshly blended smoothies and juices. Its first shop was on Leeson
Street followed by an outlet on Baggot Street Bridge. Charlotte Way near Harcourt Street is its latest shop.
All of its breads are freshly baked and sliced every day. Artizan Food Co also makes its own fillings and
cooks its own meats and soups in-house. It has also begun delivering to offices around central Dublin;
last year, it opened a catering kitchen to keep up with demand. Currently, Artizan Food has three vans on
the road and the company recently launched a home and event/party catering service. It employs between
20 and 25 people.
Promopeople was set up by Duane Byrne (BComm 94, DipMktgPrce 95) two years ago. Starting off with
11 employees, it now has 1,000 promo staff on its database around the country.
The company looks after a wide spectrum of promotions such as on-street and traffic sampling, shop-
ping centres and on-campus promotions, nationwide roadshows, product launches, new store openings,
in-store merchandising, festivals and various other events.
Clients include Innocent Smoothies, Kleenex Tissues and Denny. Mystery shoppers are also provided
by Promopeople. Trained staff are sent to sample a store’s customer service, layout, and staff presentation
and report back to the client with the findings.
Promopeople also has a full in-house design and production service. This enables clients to make just
one call and have their advertising and promotional needs handled, says Byrne.
Set up in 2001 by Conor O’Neill (MBA 01) and his business partner Michael O’Shea, Delta Index is an
online financial trading company.
The company was started to give investors the ability to trade the world financial markets without
the high transaction costs associated with buying and selling financial assets.
Delta Index trades on currencies, shares and commodities. Friends before they began the business,
O’Neill has an actuarial background, while O’Shea’s expertise is focused on technology.
The company is about to be issued with a licence from the Irish Financial Regulator to sell into other
EU jurisdictions from this year, representing an exciting phase. Based in Ballsbridge, Delta Index
employs 26 people.
UCD BUSINESS CONNECTIONS 31
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