Claire McHugh, the CEO of Axonista, recently won an IMAGE Magazine Businesswoman of the Year award and believes female-led tech firms across Ireland are set to shine.

clare mchugh axonista

In 2010 Claire McHugh co-founded Axonista with Daragh Ward. Their company builds interactive, personalised video experiences for brands and media firms.

Before starting her own business, McHugh was part of the core team that established and managed the Setanta Sports channels in Ireland and the UK.

“I am honoured to receive this recognition from IMAGE magazine. I hope that my win shines a light for future female founders who might be considering starting a business,” says McHugh.

“There are shining examples of female-led technology businesses right across the country.”

As well as being CEO of a digital media company in growth, McHugh is a thought leader and speaker at global industry events and a trusted advisor to numerous startup communities. She is a mentor for Startup Boost Ireland; an ambassador for the Silicon Valley-based accelerator Blackbox Connect, and for the Irish female entrepreneur programme Going for Growth.

“The future looks very bright for Irish female-led tech companies. There are shining examples of female-led technology businesses right across the country at Opening.io, Soapbox Labs, Tandem HR, Restored Hearing, ShowHouz, and Glissed, to name but a few.”

“We couldn’t have done this without startlab.”

startlab new york

McHugh and the team at Axonista were one of the first Irish firms to take up residence in startlab New York, powered by Bank of Ireland. They have just hired their first vice president of sales who will work out of New York. “We couldn’t have done this without startlab,” says McHugh.

“2017 has been a wonderful year for growth at Axonista. We opened our New York office with the support of startlab, we received the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Innovation in SMEs programme funding, added several new members to our team, and we’re poised for a great 2018.”

The startlabs in Dublin and Galway are currently taking applications from tech and Fintech startups. The ideal candidates, according to startlab manager Gene Murphy, are early stage business, with a product and some customers and open to coaching and mentoring. 

Main image by Paul Condron Photography

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