Interview 12 - Rory Byrne

I got in touch with Rory through Vitor (interview 9), another connection I had previously made on my teklife journey. Rory is 23 from the West Coast of Ireland but has lived in Dublin for the past five years. Rory graduated with a computer science degree. After graduation Rory founded his company called ‘Metro’. Rory currently runs Metro on his own.

Rory planned to create an AI tool to help him understand languages for his end of the year project at school. Rory built Metro to power this creation, but quickly realized Metro itself was the project to focus on. Rory says the traditional way to use AI and gather data has not changed since the mid 90’s, and this old way is bad for both users and businesses. Metro flips the traditional way on its head. Designed as an open platform, Metro allows users to generate data from their websites to be used when they wish. Metro will turn your data into customized AI tools that can be used to help you navigate customer markets and segments, and other useful information. Connecting to social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, Metro allows you to generate whatever data you please, without having to be granted approval from the social media sites. Metro allows you to browse social medias and it will run in the background for you.

“All companies need data. Big companies need big data, so they build big products. Smart companies use Metro.”

How has the growth process been for your company? Has it been harder than you anticipated?

Metro was founded in January 2018 and just celebrated its first birthday. Rory spoke about how good things were in the very beginning – namely getting chosen for a phone interview with Y-Combinator. However, with a rough prototype and very little business knowledge, Rory and his co-founder did not get accepted into the prestigious accelerator. Rory saw this as an opportunity to grow and was willing to put in the effort to better their product, but his co-founder decided to move onto other ventures. Through his resiliency, Rory is starting to see the upside now, learning the ropes for business process and how to generate sales. He is also working on pitching a learning experience to potential customers, and states that very soon he will have the ‘one sentence’ pitch he feels he needs.

Define Success. What does being successful mean to you?

“It is important to have several metrics of success that you must follow.”

Early on in business Rory said success for his company was just gaining investment for his product. He claims that if you see investment as the main goal, you will fall into a trap. By focusing on investment, you could begin to build the wrong product, and potentially team up with the wrong investor.

Now Rory sees investment as the last case scenario. Rory says for a company’s success they must focus on the customer not the money.

“Lastly, for a company to be successful they must really focus on innovation. Let innovation grow from the bottom up.”

When you hear the words ‘tomorrow’s technology’ – what do you believe will be leading the way for technology into the future?

Rory says it’s not worthwhile to think about AI in general as it’s not fully connected to current technology. This connectivity will be very important for the future. Being able to connect with services in a frictionless way will be very important for the future of tech, Rory stated. Being able to open share data will create less friction from industry to industry and that is the connectivity Rory sees shaping the future. Lastly, he says personalization will be key. Being able to transfer data openly, and the ability to plug your data into different systems, changing the fundamental way data is shared, is what tomorrow’s technology will look like.

Rory and I had a very interesting conversation, getting very in depth on some interesting thoughts, I wish there was enough space to include it all! I can’t wait to catch up and see the progress Rory has built for his business when thetekLIFE takes me to Dublin.