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Dave Tighe

Head of Innovation at Bank of Ireland

Dave has spent 17 years in Retail Banking in Ireland after graduating from Trinity College. David also holds an MBA from Manchester Business School. He has extensive experience across digital banking, the payments industry and innovation in financial products. He has been responsible for Credit Card, Deposits and Current Account product strategies and has delivered multiple new retail products to the Irish market.
His recent role in Bank of Ireland looks at long term planning, consumer behaviour changes, market planning and incubation and the integration of fintech and innovative start-ups. He is responsible for Bank of Ireland workbench and Startlab initiatives and is a member of the Fintech Payments Association of Ireland.

Gavin Duffy


Gavin Duffy has been a Dragon for all 6 Series of the RTÉ show. Gavin is a serial entrepreneur and a veteran of over 40 start-ups. His venture capital portfolio has been concentrated mainly on recruitment, professional development and radio stations. The sale of LMFM (which he founded) to UTV in 2005 still holds the Irish and UK record for the highest multiple achieved for a broadcast or publishing asset. Among his many successful Dragons’ Den investments are; TanOrganic, the world’s first and only ECO CERTified, 100% natural, organic sunless tan;  Henparty.ie, an online business which has grown from a bedroom start-up to a multi-million revenue online business, Aruna Sauces, a range of authentic, Indian, chilled, pour-over sauces in a pouch now available nationwide in Tesco, Animatazz a craft toy taken from concept to international licensing in under 8 months – a record in the toy industry. The Lennon Anchor, the magic product that makes the movable.. immovable.

Donal O'Nuallain

IEDR , Head of Promotions, PR & Marketing

Donal joined the IEDR in 2010 having previously worked as a Product & Marketing Executive for educational software provider, ThirdForce. Donal enjoys all things marketing and runs the IEDR’s OPTIMISE Fund amongst other activities. Donal is a graduate of University College Dublin (BComm 2005) and the UCD Smurfit School of Business (MBS 2007).

Hilary Coates

Head of Health Sector, Bank of Ireland

Hilary Coates joined Bank of Ireland in 2014 as Head of the Health Sector. In this role, Hilary is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the Bank’s strategy in this key business area.
Hilary has extensive senior clinical and executive national and international experience in the health and regulatory sectors. She originally qualified as a nurse from St Vincent’s University Hospital and worked in a variety of clinical and executive roles including Director of Nursing. Hilary has an MBA from Smurfit Business School and post graduate qualifications in Healthcare Management, Corporate Governance and Risk Management. Recent roles include Head of Healthcare Regulation in HIQA, Patient Safety Advisor to the World Health Organization and Academic Programme Director in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Email: hilary.coates@boi.com
Mobile: 087 2253314

Alison McGinley

Managing Director, Tax Assist

A passionate advocate for start-ups, Alison heads up TaxAssist, an accountancy network working with over 6,000 start-ups and SMEs across Ireland.
Prior to launching TaxAssist Accountants with her fellow directors in 2009, Alison held positions at Google and at an ad agency in Dublin. During this time Alison worked with a wide range of clients both in the UK and Ireland developing and implementing their marketing strategies. Having worked on Tax Assist’s brand launch, marketing strategy and operations for over 7 years, in 2016 Alison was appointed Managing Director of TaxAssist Accountants Ireland. Alison oversees the running of the network on a day to day basis and ensures the company continues to expand rapidly and service the ever changing needs of small business clients.

Gene Murphy


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Stephen Dillon

Startups.ie Founder

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Tom Early

Start Department Manager, Enterprise Ireland

Working within Enterprise Irelands High Potential Start-up (HPSU) Division, Tom leads the Start team which is responsible for ensuring that the next generation of HPSU companies are identified, funded and supported to achieve their international growth.  The team work closely with Start-ups to help refine their proposition and prepare them for external investment.   

Prior to working in HPSU, Tom worked as a strategic and financial adviser within the Growth Capital and Banking relationships team.  He has a strong track record in assisting clients from a wide variety of sectors at various stages in their lifecycle, in the development and implementation of their growth strategy, helping them to identify and secure the most appropriate form of finance necessary to achieve scale. 

Prior to joining Enterprise Ireland, Tom worked for over 9 years across multiple industries including telecoms, banking and consulting.  

Tom is a qualified CIMA Accountant, holds Masters of Business from the IMI and a degree in Business Studies (specialising in Economics & Finance) from Waterford Institute of Technology.  In addition Tom has completed executive training courses in IMD (Switzerland) and EVCA.