Sean O’Tuama, the founder of Firemole, discusses his ‘eureka’ moment, his invention, how he developed his product and the support he received at Cork’s Republic of Work.

My invention

Firemole is all about fire prevention over fire detection. We aim to catch rising temperatures and alert users to issues before a fire breaks out. There has been a 35% increase in residential fires over the last year and a 13% increase in workplace fires. We plan to reduce these figures with our innovative patent-pending fire safety device called Firemole, which sounds an inbuilt alarm when it detects high temperatures from the surface to which it is attached, and by doing so, potentially saving lives and properties.

firemole

My ‘eureka’ moment

I worked as an electrician and attended the aftermath of numerous fires in residential and commercial buildings. I found that in many of these cases the fire was caused by a specific electrical or electronic device. It was after an incident in my own home when the fuse board nearly caught fire (I didn’t install it), that got me thinking about developing a device like Firemole.

Why I applied for a Bank of Ireland scholarship desk at Republic of Work?

Being in a startup is tough, especially when you are the only one involved in it. While working on your own, in your bedroom or wherever you may be, you tend to ask yourself regularly “Am I crazy for doing this?” or “Should I just go and get a regular job?” and you can beat yourself up about things. I knew the Bank of Ireland scholarship desk in Republic of Work would give me the opportunity to be working alongside like-minded people. You may be in entirely different industries to the people you’re working alongside, but the problems are the same.

How was my experience as a scholar?

My experience in Republic of Work was gratifying, and it gave me the space I needed try and achieve my goals for that period. The peer-to-peer learning in the space was a huge help, and Ita and Laura (BOI community managers) were always happy to help with anything they could. I found that I was getting more done as having a space to go to every morning kicks you into gear for the day.

Did it help my business?

The connections made throughout the scholarship have helped my company grow and look at other revenue channels which I had not seen before. It helped me to put more of a structure on my day and ensure I am goal setting all of the time.

What’s it like working in a co-working space?

The beauty of co-working in a space like Republic of Work is that you meet a lot of people who are just like you, but you also meet people who have been through it and have built successful businesses. Having this mix is hugely beneficial and keeps startup founders motivated. You’d be amazed at the connections that can be made just by asking somebody for a bit of advice.

firemole

What are my immediate plans?

We aim to have Firemole in retail stores in the coming months, so that is what we will be working on primarily. The work that goes into getting retail ready is immense and never-ending, especially when you’re limited to a startup budget. We will also be working on optimising the Firemole.com website and building out the team.

How to apply for Bank of Ireland scholarship desks at Republic of Work

Bank of Ireland is offering scholarship desks in the much sought-after coworking space the Republic of Work, Cork.

The Bank of Ireland scholarship desks were established to house startups, researchers, and NGOs as well as people from multinationals looking to set up operations in the region.

The aim of the scholarships is simple – to give those in need a desk in a vibrant coworking space while they tackle a specific business goal.

There are some terms and conditions but nothing extraordinary. To apply for the scholarship, you should have a “time-bound goal”, and you must follow the rules of the coworking space. Read more and apply here.  

And best of luck.

Interview by Laura Mellett.