Darren has always had a very strong interest in sustainability and the sea, so he decided that the area of offshore renewables was where he wanted to work. He quickly realised that if he wanted to work on the world’s largest offshore wind farm then he couldn’t do that from Cork, so he moved to the Netherlands where he became a lead engineer on the world’s largest offshore windfarm. In 2014 after working for a leading subsea technology developer he returned to cork to study a Master’s degree here in UCC. Towards the end of the years study, he was faced with three options which were go back to work in general engineering, move abroad again to work elsewhere in offshore renewables or to go at it alone.
It was around this time he started to become more aware of the start-up infrastructure in Ireland and started to see what supports were available for small businesses through the Local Enterprise Office. Knowing there was support available, he got the courage he needed to take the leap. Over the years he became painfully aware of the increasing issues of emissions in the marine sector. He had always thought there had to be a better way of doing things, and he set about developing solutions to reducing diesel generator usage.
He had some very quick wins with this idea! First, he won UCC Entrepreneur of the Year 2015, and later that year he was a National Finalist in the first Irelands Best Young Entrepreneur. At this point he approached Paddy, who he met while studying a master’s degree in UCC, he asked Paddy if he would become a co-founder with him.
Paddy has always had a keen interest in technology and sustainability and had experience in roles that had integrated technology where possible to improve work methods, processes, and environments.
Paddy originally moved to Australia where he worked as a contractor in the domestic and industrial construction sector and saw first-hand the opportunities that existed to integrate some of these passions in the industry. After spending a number of years abroad, Paddy decided to move home to Ireland where he focused on upskilling in the renewable energy industry, he believed that this sector, in particular, provided a platform to innovate and develop solutions that had a real impact.
Gaining more familiarity about the industry it was clear that this innovation was happening in marine renewable energy. Paddy started his Master’s degree in 2014, which allowed him to take a closer look at the issues the industry faced, after being approached by Darren with the idea to start up a business, it was a no brainer, they got to work the next day!
Within a few months they had been successful with the Competitive Start Fund from Enterprise Ireland and at that point they had all they needed to pursue this idea fulltime. It was at that point they officially founded Daretech – and moved into The Entrepreneurship Start up space in MaREI. Since then, they’ve been developing bespoke hybrid power systems for marine applications and following a period of research and development, they started achieving sales in 2019. They’re continuing to develop their product but at this point its refinement and optimisation. They have multiple systems out in the field and have just recently launched their own customer demonstration unit which is called the Batt-mobile which will be available for customer demonstration from 2021.