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Happy St Patrick’s Day! Six women-led Irish startups you should know about

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Over the last year, the amount of these early stage Irish companies being spearheaded by women has grown also.

From cinema tickets to Facebook gaming, frocks to food waste, Ireland’s female entrepreneurs are aiming to shape the future.

So, with St Patrick’s Day upon us, here are the six women-led startups that you should know about before you start on the Guinness.

(1) usheru

One of usheru’s founders is Catherine Downes. After spending seven years with Google building web and app publishers’ businesses, Downes and fellow co-founders Ollie Fegan and Andres Macias created usheru with the aim of building a platform where users can find all their local film listings, tickets, offers and unique events under one roof – with a great user experience and booking in three clicks.

Available on iOS and Android in London and Dublin, usheru allows film lovers to discover great ticket offers with simple, quick booking at nearby cinemas. They deliver personalised film recommendations direct to your smartphone.

It’s not just about tickets though – usheru offers exclusive access to unique cinematic experiences, screenings and events like director Q&As. For cinemas, usheru helps to fill the 75 per cent of seats left empty in cinemas every night.

Since launching in London in October 2015, over 50,000 Londoners have used the app. Since October, cinema chain Curzon has seen a 20 per cent increase in attendance on selected days and across specific titles. usheru is now ramping up its recent Dublin launch which is expected to be a big success in their hometown. To date, the company has raised €250,000 and is currently raising their seed investment round. 

(2) Opsh

Three sisters, Jennie, Sarah and Grace McGinn, founded Opsh. Launched in the UK last October, Opsh provides shoppers with a single destination to shop across their favourite high street brands with a single account and checkout.

The avid online shopping sisters created the platform after becoming frustrated by how time consuming the online shopping experience has become.

It’s been a good year for the McGinn trio. Opsh’s retailer base has grown to over 30 retailers, including major high street brands Reiss, Jaeger, River Island, All Saints and Bohoo.

There are now over 100,000 registered shoppers using the platform and the Opsh team has grown so much that new offices were a must. Opsh has also been named as one of the top 50 innovators in fashion, alongside the likes of Mark’s and Spencer and Amazon.

The team secured a highly covetable place on the Microsoft Ventures UK programme, beating off over 400 applicants for a place. To date, Opsh has raised over €600,000 to date, and is currently raising a Series A.

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(3) frockadvisor

Founders Sonya Lennon and Brendan Courtney have experience from TV broadcasting, styling, journalism and designing under their belts. The mutual love of independent fashion led to them creating frockadvisor.

Available free on iOS and online, frockadvisor is a discovery app for independent fashion, which delivers the hard-to-find fashion gems and boutiques around the world to its users.

Since its launch, frockadvisor has amassed 150 member boutiques and been downloaded by over 10,000 boutique lovers across Ireland and the UK. To date, the company has raised €650,000 and is supported by Enterprise Ireland as a high potential startup.

Just three more startups, one of which was founded by a former Facebook executive, to discover before you can get started on your pint of black stuff – read all about them on the next page.

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