Croom businessman Dr Paul Byrne talks about his pull to home after living away for six years, how his co-founded business Mavarick has gone from the ground up in just 12 months, plus his plans for the future in Limerick and within the bustling AI sphere.
This past Friday, November 17, saw the success of CEO, Dr Paul Byrne, co-founder of the company Mavarick, with a massive win at the Limerick Chamber’s Regional Business Award for Best Emerging Business.
This win adds to an already exciting month for the company, as they were – just last week – nationally recognised at the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition. Here, they scooped up the top prize of the night for Overall Winner, plus an extra Sustainability/Low Carbon Award.
The 31-year-old Croom native is no stranger to the inner workings of business, coming from a lineage of Limerick businesspeople.
His father, Paddy Byrnes, founded well-known Croom business Croom Medical in 1984, and his brother Patrick is now at the helm as their company CEO.
Paul hasn’t always stayed in his beloved hometown, once he finished his secondary school education at Coláiste Chiaráin he had his sights set first on Cork – where he did his bachelor’s in UCC – then moved further afield to Liverpool.
In Liverpool, he completed his PhD and spent six years total, unsure if he was ever going to return to Limerick. Eventually, he made the decision to move home explaining the “pull of Limerick was too strong in terms of family, so I’m glad to be home.”
Mavarick co-founder, Koen Jasper, is also familiar with a nomadic lifestyle. Originally from Sunderland in the United Kingdom, the 33-year-old now goes back and forth from Limerick to Edinburgh one week per month.
Amazingly, their award-winning business, based in the Engine Innovate Centre on Cecil Street in Limerick City, has only been around for a little over 12 months.
Byrne shared his own feelings on how quickly the business has taken off saying: “We still want to crawl, but we’re being forced to run!”
Mavarick’s selling point is their ability to tell manufacturers what things they can change to make the running of their factories/workplaces more efficient and sustainable. How do they do this? Data.
By collecting large amounts of data through operational settings in machines, their team is able to tell manufacturers how they can hit their targets, but also control their energy usage and carbon emissions.
Byrne used this example of airplane manufacturers – let’s say they have a quota of 1000 airplane seats a week-
“We’re able to give them a number and say okay, that costs four grams of CO2 equivalent emissions… it’s an entire new data source that manufacturers didn’t have before.”
Moving forward into the next 12 months of their business, Paul and Koen have three main hopes for 2024 and the years that follow.
Firstly, they’re going to step further into artificial intelligence, in which Paul says there’s a “clear opening in the market.”
Secondly, they want to expand their headcount in Limerick, creating more jobs for people in our community.
And lastly, they want to continue to expand their footing in the international market. This a market they’ve already stepped firmly into, having only recently signed a deal with a top German car manufacturer.
Paul said it hasn’t been the easiest of routes, putting in the long hours as a start-up but with the mindset of a business. He praised the start-up landscape in Ireland, having participated in the TUS Limerick ‘New Frontiers’ programme and winning their ‘Startup of the Year’ award in 2023.
Mavarick is “bearing the fruits now” of their labour, but Paul admits “there’s definitely a bit of luck involved too.”
For now, however, Paul and Koen are taking their success as it comes and are bracing excitedly for “a rollercoaster” over the next 12 months.