Liam Ryan – Business Enthusiast
As the youngest of 5 children, I had a strong urge to build and fix things in my fathers shed in the back yard. This interest would bring me to Trinity College Dublin to study engineering and maths before embarking on an interest in all things entrepreneurship. Having co-launched a startup just after my 20th birthday, I was hooked on building teams of smart people, solving problems and building products to launch on the global stage.
So back in 2010, together with my friend Chris, we founded SafeText, an online platform for improving medical compliance and reducing non-compliance with prescribed medication. We sent over 250,000 SMS reminders within our first year of business.
Then in 2012, we set out to address the real problem with poor health in the world – behaviour change towards our health habits and the lack thereof. As the CEO & Cofounder of a company called GetHealth, we looked to behavioural science to help people change their health habits in their physical health, nutritional health and mental health. We had an office base in Dublin and New York, along with a number of Irish and US based investors. We were the first international startup accepted into the StartupHealth Academy as a “Healthcare Transformer”, the elite 3-year digital health academy. This partnership was in association with GE healthmagination, one of the worlds largest funds for supporting innovation in healthcare, together with an investment from GE Ventures. The very fact that StartupHealth were impressed with our vision for change, shaped my confidence in pursuing a problem I believed needed a solution. It also offered me the opportunity to influence the other Healthcare Transformers in the academy.
During that journey, I co-lead internationally known Health 2.0’s Dublin chapter; a movement of healthcare innovators to promote, showcase and catalyse new technologies in health care. We grew from 10 people in the corner of a pub, to over 250 Irish healthcare innovators over the period of 18 months.
Over the past number of years, I’ve developed areas of interest that enable people and organisations maximise their potential. That includes business development, sales, growth strategy, partnerships, design, marketing, product improvement, investment, and networking. I am a currently Ambassador for Thousand Network in Dublin, a global community that works across sectors, borders and cultures and aims to help its members strive for their best potential. Our vision is to build a global community of exceptional, passionate pioneers who inspire and empower each other to create a better world.
Looking to the future, I dream of bringing value-creators together in a thriving working environment to work on new experiments agnostic to any sector, for commercially viable products that help people live better lives.
Above: my successful application for Thousand Network (formally know as Sandbox)
Values & Purpose
Entrepreneurialism is too frequently described as a celebrity-like career choice, filled with personal ambition and success for those who work hard. I find it is in fact quite the contrary. Each day we wake up, we must motivate ourselves, and continue on our global mission. We are often stricken with depression and self-doubt, lack of sleep and limited financing. Yet we persist in the face of awful prospects [hat tip to Rob] because we believe we have the ability to at least try.
Every entrepreneur has their own personal journey and reason to be passionate or ambitious about their chosen career – but they are aware and compassionate towards the challenges that are faced by their cohort. They therefore nurture, support, comfort, share and are there for the people that can only be described as their “own kind”. When you put these young individuals together, you have the possibility to maximise their global ambitions, foster innovation, and create ultimate mayhem that the world will have no choice but to stop and take notice!
Family is of fundamental importance. This can mean your actual family, your close group of friends, or your work colleagues. When you spend time with people, you invest your time to get to know them. You look for honesty, trust and confidence to depend on others. Without family, and the understanding of your role within a family, you can be lost amongst the naysayers of society.
Courage is a value that I have made a life long ambition to share and instil in others; courage to step outside one’s comfort zone, and experience where the magic happens. Everyone deserves to experience what it feels like, and you’ll never go back once you turn away from negativity and suppression.
Innovation is another key value. As an engineer, I always look to building things better, or finding ways to help people be better at what they do.
Two notable quotes come to mind; “Don’t consider it as disruption, consider it as finding better ways to help people” (Elon Musk) and “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” (Thomas Edison).
Above:Here's what Niamh and I had to say about Ireland as a technology hub.
What others say
“Liam is a great speaker, funny & engaging, charming & charismatic. More than happy to recommend him as both a speaker and a thought leader in the health and technology space.”
– John Egan, Economist, Award Winning Entrepreneur, Anthemis Group.
“Liam has exceptional knowledge of new technology and is bang on trend when it come to new ideas.”
– Kevin Foley, Commercial Director, Adforce.com
“Liam is a great client to work for. He has a clear vision of what he wants and is excellent at communicating that message. To us as designers this is an invaluable skill. Liam possesses a sharp entrepreneurial attitude that is really going to take him places, not to mention his personable and friendly disposition.”
– Rowan Clancy, Creative Director at Octopus New Media
“Liam joined us at mHealth Summit in Washington, DC in December 2013. He was a great speaker who listened and understood what our audience needed, so came well prepared, and is really friendly and fun, so made sure the audience learned the topic (gaming in mobile health), and had enjoyed the session too!”
– Caroline Lewko, CEO Wireless Industry Partnership (WIP)
“Liam presented his start up story and entrepreneurial experiences at The Dublin Business School Innovation Conference in 2012 in front of an audience of approx. 150+. Liam was undoubtedly one of the most engaging and motivating of the speakers that day which included business luminaries such as Denis O’Brien (CEO of Digicel).”
– Dave Hurley, Senior Marketing Lecturer at Dublin Business School
10 facts about me
- I was born in 1989 and raised in Kilkenny as youngest of 5 siblings. I am the only boy.
- I played hurling, golf, basketball and swam competitively as a kid. One highlight, despite failing to be able to play, was the Colleges A All-Ireland final in Croke Park, Ireland’s premier stage for our national sport.
- My first sales training was door-to-door sales for a TV/cable company.
- My first startup was a brass quintet called Quintet Tarantino while at college. We toured in China, Czech Republic and throughout Ireland.
- I have performed in Carnegie Hall in New York.
- I claim my first innovation to be a kettle that continued to boil water for ~5minutes. Desperate to find something to wake me from a slumber, I wired it up in my room to act as my alarm clock before an early morning exam.
- I’m a member of Thousand Network, the formerly and internationally known Sandbox Network.
- I have given a TEDx talk.
- I’m a trumpet player for the newly formed Stomptown Brass, a 9-piece New Orleans style urban brass band, Attention Bébé, a and The Riptide Movement, a Dublin based rock band who’s third studio album ‘Getting Through’ (Universal Records) was released in April 2014, reaching #1 in the official Irish album charts.
- I have no TV in my house and the first complete book series I read was Philip Pullmans, His Dark Materials.
- Winners, Trinity Entrepreneurial Dragon’s Den Competition (April, 2011)
- Runner Up – College Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 at the Think Outside the Box Awards
- Shortlisted at the Undergraduate Awards 2011 for Engineering – the Undergraduate Awards set off with one aim; to identify excellent students through their undergraduate coursework in order to encourage the best & brightest students to reach their full potential.
- My undergraduate thesis was awarded a ‘Certificate of Maintenance Excellence’ at the MEETA Student Awards 2011 in association with Engineers Ireland.
- Awarded “Most Innovation Website” in Ireland for two years in a row with SafeText.com.
- Voted top digital health influencer in Ireland.
- Selected as one of Ireland’s top technology and startup leaders by my peers.
Get in know me…
My personal email is email@example.com.