Tuesday, 12 January 2021
Virtual Teic is a pioneering virtual modeling software business which brings 2D building plans to life, enabling users to experience how new builds will look using the company’s state of the art technology. Based in Gaoth Dobhair, here we speak with company Founder Eamonn Gallagher and Sales & Design lead Paul McMahon to find out more about their company, doing business in lockdown and plans for future growth and development.
‘’The idea for Virtual Teic initially began while I was working in America’’ explains Eamonn. The Magheroarty native developed the initial CAD design technology for his business International Framers where the software was used to assist with estimating job costs and stock requirements. ‘’While it was very helpful in improving accuracy and speed, we felt at the time it wasn’t quite reaching its full potential.’’ After 12 years abroad, Eamonn decided to return to Donegal with his family where he continued to work with International Framers and in addition employ a number of people within Gaoth Dobhair to work with US clients.
Paul McMahon has followed a familiar journey in the migration cycle. Born and reared in Glasgow with Donegal ancestry, he moved initially to Dublin to work in his field of Graphic Design and in search of a ‘’better way of life for his family’’ relocated to Gaoth Dobhair in the early noughties where he has since earned a degree from LYIT in Applied Computing and began working in price estimation where he crossed paths with Eamonn and the concept of Virtual Teic became a reality.
Virtual Teic was founded in 2019 and initially focused on the domestic housing market within Donegal. ‘People really embraced the technology and we had lots of interest following our initial launch in Gaoth Dobhair and subsequent events in Letterkenny and around Donegal. Being able to put on a headset and navigate your way around your new home, up the stairs and around each room is still a new and exciting concept for homeowners. Many actually made changes to their plans based on the 3D demonstrations we developed.’’
Pre-pandemic Virtual Teic operated out of the G-Teic Innovation Hub where the business found the opportunities to network with other start-ups most rewarding. ‘’It is a great environment for collaboration and positivity’’ explains Paul. ‘’We had other businesses there whom were able to assist us with social media at the outset and we also developed another dimension to our business offering with drone technology through our presence there. Údarás na Gaeltachta have also been very supportive in assisting with our office requirements in the innovation hub’’.
However with the onset of the pandemic in 2020 the domestic housing market has slowed down and Virtual Teic has pivoted its focus to look at a wider audience. Among their expanding client list includes local authorities such as Donegal County Council, property developers and architects. ‘’ We’ve delivered some exciting regeneration projects and our software also assists Councils in seeing exactly how a new development will fit into the existing landscape, very beneficial from a planning perspective’’ explains Paul.
Technology and user experience is very much a unique selling point for Virtual Teic and while the pandemic has reduced their ability to demonstrate capabilities in person, through trade shows, it has also provided an opportunity for the entrepreneurs to concentrate on future planning and look at additional markets in Ireland, the UK and beyond. ‘’The digital connectivity we have from our homes in Gaoth Dobhair has also enabled us to maintain client contact and deliver projects to the same high standard. In addition, it has helped us both to spend more time with our family and enjoy the wonderful landscape we have on our doorstep, one of the main reasons I returned home to Donegal’’ proudly states Eamonn.