28th October 2021

Resident in Focus: Ryan Donnelly & Jack Carlisle Co-Founders of Enzai Technologies

Name and Role:

Ryan: I’m Ryan Donnelly. I spent six years in London working as a lawyer at leading international law firms. I am now the co-founder of Enzai Technologies.

Jack: And I’m Jack Carlisle, a software engineer. I started my career six years ago in London working for various startups/ scale-ups. I’m also the co-founder of Enzai Technologies.

Company elevator pitch:

Our software platform allows users to create complex technical documents to accompany artificial intelligence products. We do that by automating the document creation process as much as possible. We’re super interested in ethical AI and ensuring these incredible technologies are used for good. We think documentation is going to be central to that and we’re building the tools to allow it to happen.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in 2021?

Ryan: I’m getting better at being patient – I’m not always very good at that.

Jack: The obstacle is the way. Any impediment to action advances action.

Do you have any hobbies or interests?

Ryan: loads – it’s really important to have interests outside work, because it keeps you balanced! I’m fairly keen (/ borderline obsessive) on CrossFit (sorry, not sorry) and I’ve also been known to enjoy a good cycle.

Jack: skiing, sailing, hiking, surfing (anything outdoors) and basically any other sport known to man! Oh and CrossFit (promise it’s not a cult…).

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs right now?

Ryan: If you’re looking to start your entrepreneurial journey but don’t know where to start or what to build, I would say be proactive in looking for ideas. Rarely will one just fall onto your lap. From there, I would say that the idea is really just a starting point – execution is everything. That’s the place we are in now, so I don’t feel particularly qualified to give any advice beyond that!

Jack: Don’t build what you think your target audience will want, build what you know they need. Do as much customer discovery as you can to find out what their pain points are and then solve them starting with the most pain felt first. “Build it and they will come” – made for a great film, but it doesn’t quite work like that in practice.

Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you?

Ryan: I guess one of the coolest things I’ve done was working with death row prisoners in Malawi. I spent time out there in 2019 training local lawyers and meeting with the clients in prison. Walking through the courtyard at Malawi’s extremely over-crowded high security prison to get to the death row section wasn’t for the faint hearted!

Jack: I used to pilot planes with the RAF while I was at university. On our first day in the air we were allowed to do a whole range of aerobatics from barrel-rolls to stall- turns. Would still love to get my PPL!

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?

Ryan: to be able to speak any language. How cool would that be.

Jack: to be able to play the drums like Buddy Rich!

What do you enjoy most about Ormeau Baths?

Ryan: The people and the atmosphere they create. I’ve been in co-working spaces all over the place and I can honestly say OB is the best one I’ve been in. There are spaces to put the head down and focus when you need to, but a good chat with someone you’ve never met before who is doing something super interesting is never far away. We are so lucky to have OB here in Belfast.

Jack: In addition to what Ryan has said, it’s amazing to have such a wealth of like- minded people in one space who you can network with, bounce ideas off and have a laugh with! We couldn’t have picked a better place to begin our journey with Enzai and have been welcomed with open arms from the get-go.

Who is your dream business mentor?

Ryan: I’m fortunate enough to already have a couple of great mentors. My old supervisor from my legal days has been a real inspiration for me, as he has already had one successful exit and is working on his second. He gets a lot of phone calls
from me with tricky questions.

Jack: Elon Musk. His approach in the way of first principle thinking has really shaped how I view business and our place in the world.

Where can people find out more about your business?

Get in touch: