Claire McHugh picture

Claire McHugh

Claire McHugh is the CEO and co-Founder of Axonista.

Axonista is an interactive video technology company. We’re building an easy-to-use suite of tools that enables creative storytellers at enterprise media companies and brands tell stories in entirely new ways that build deeper and more valuable connections with their audiences.

Axonista’s technology is the engine behind some of the world’s most popular video streaming apps, used by hundreds of thousands of people every day around the world. Axonista has offices in Dublin and New York, has customers including QVC, Virgin Media, and the Irish Film Institute, and employs a team of 30 people.

Prior to co-founding Axonista, Claire was part of the team that established and managed the Setanta Sports channels in Ireland and UK, and previously worked in a number of digital agencies, where she developed her love for technology, media and innovation.

As Axonista’s leader, Claire has shared the Axonista story, and her thoughts on the evolution of the industry at media industry and tech conferences globally in places as diverse as New York, London, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Berlin, Dublin and Perugia, Italy. She has also been invited to speak at internal events at Facebook, Hubspot, Stripe, and Verizon.

An ardent supporter of gender equality in the workplace, and female entrepreneurship, she is a frequent speaker at Enterprise Ireland female leadership events and spoke at the Women Mean Business Conference & Awards 2019.

Claire is an active participant in the global startup community. She is a member of the European Innovation Council jury, which reviews and awards EU grants to innovative SMEs. She has been an Ambassador for the Irish female entrepreneurship programme Going for Growth since 2017, and in 2020 is a lead Entrepreneur for its Starting Strong programme. Claire has been a mentor for multiple Techstars Startup Boost pre-accelerator programme in Dublin, and a mentor and Judge at various Startup Weekends at Google. She is an Advisor to Tech Ireland for Sports and Media since 2017, and is an active member of the Scale Ireland organisation, an independent non-profit that works to secure a more supportive policy environment for Irish innovation-driven enterprises. She is a frequent guest speaker at Trinity College’s Launchbox incubator programme, and at NDRC’s accelerator programme in Dublin and Galway.

A believer in self-learning and improvement, Claire was one of 4 female CEOs to successfully complete Enterprise Ireland’s flagship Leadership for Growth programme 2019 with IESE Business School in Spain.

Claire has had the privilege of being recognised at the Irish President’s Celebration of Female Entrepreneurship, and a guest at State Dinner in Honor of H.E. Jean-Claude Juncker. She has been interviewed and featured by RTÉ, Light Reading, Irish Times, Irish Independent,, Sunday Business Post, Irish Central, and Newstalk.

Claire has been included in Silicon Republic’s ‘21 Irish software superstars’, featured in In Business Magazine’s ‘4 Female Founders to Watch from Julie Sinnamon’, and most recently as one of ’20 Irish Entrepreneurs to watch in 2020’ by Think Business.

She was the Winner of Image Magazine's Businesswoman of the Year for Digital, Science and Technology in 2017, and of the People’s Choice Award at the 2018 TV Connect Awards in London.

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