By @SimonCocking

iterate. We’re a web agency in Dublin delivering simple solutions to complex problems by adopting user centered design on open source technologies.

Describe the company – the elevator pitch …

Simply put, we research, design and build websites and web based applications. We don’t just build websites in a traditional sense, but work with our clients to deliver across multiple channels, very rarely is any modern website an island which doesn’t require an interconnected marketing strategy. Our process is based on solid UX principles, meaning we design solutions based on real user needs, not our subjective opinions and thoughts.

How are you different?

We never begin designing or building any solution without affording the time for research. Our process is led by UX Research and exploratory methodologies which allow us to uncover competitive opportunities for our clients, improve their existing processes and workflows and most importantly give them the best chance of success by being designed to meet the real needs of their end users.

Why will the company / product do well?

While UX is a popular job title in our industry at the moment, very few agencies actually base their designs on real evidence gleaned from qualitative and quantitative UX research methods. That’s the difference we bring to all of our work. We also have particular expertise with the Drupal content management system. While it has become more popular in Ireland in the past years there is still a shortfall of high quality Drupal talent in the country who can exploit its full potential and adhere to best practices. It would be crazy for an any web agency who claim to be full service to hedge their bets and only work with a single CMS, Drupal is still the platform we use more than others whenever it’s appropriate. Many of our current clients hired us because of our proven success delivering for others, our genuine UX approach or our Drupal expertise. We’ve grown relatively quickly in a very competitive industry and built up an impressive client base, delivering online for organisations such as 123.ie, Openet, Saint-Gobain, Science Foundation Ireland and Maynooth University.

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Where are you based?

We spent our first two and a half years in the Guinness Enterprise Centre, this was a great place to get started. In our time there we moved from a tiny office for two people to one that could accommodate six without much stress. Being based in a vibrant and entrepreneurial environment with plenty of business support allowed us to develop the company, hone our processes and begin to scale without the overheads that go along with taking out a commercial lease alone. By the end of 2013 we felt it was time for us to move on and we’ve been based in our own offices in Dublin City Centre ever since. The broadband was an issue for us until a couple of months ago, previously the best we could get was 12mb broadband via phone lines. Thankfully cable became available and we’re now flying along on a 240mb connection. We will stay here for as long as we feel it’s our home. If we moved on again we couldn’t see ourselves straying too far from the city centre though, it’s great working in town!

When was the company launched?

On Monday 19th September 2011, iterate moved into a tiny office at the Guinness Enterprise centre as an agency of one with zero clients. The first year was tough, it took time for us to build up a client base and to turn any sort of profit. Looking back I wonder how we got through it sometimes but we did and I probably wouldn’t change anything now. This has been a learning experience like no other. It’s also an incentive to make sure iterate keeps on getting better and growing when needed – I don’t think I’d be up for another first year of developing a startup again anytime soon.

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What have been your biggest wins to date?

In early 2014 we began winning contracts for big and well known organisations, not just building their websites but also working on applications and online strategies which overhauled and transformed existing tools and processes. It was great to be able to hire people into full time roles and see the company grow. It’s a real honour and privilege to be able to employ brilliant people and for them to fully get behind the company. Nothing has given more satisfaction than that. I’m very proud that since we began, no employee has handed in their notice. Having a 100% staff retention rate is rare for any startup and it gives us confidence in the way we go about things. We’ve also retained all of our clients and have yet to see any of our projects be taken to another agency. We have been increasingly recognised by various award bodies which is great. Our work has led to some of our clients winning awards and we’ve been shortlisted as finalists across seven categories at the 2015 Realex Web Awards and eir Spiders, including Agency of the Year at both.

What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?

We have 51 clients across various sectors with 22% in Third Level Education, 25% B2B, 35% B2C and 16% in the public sector. While we love working on ground up redesign projects which involve a complete overhaul of an organisation’s web presence, we also revel in getting stuck into complex application based projects. Regardless of the industry, by adopting a UX approach we are somewhat agnostic to specific sectors, we allow the same process to explore what should be delivered and to inform the design and build, never making assumptions in advance.

Tell us about your team?

We work with four contractors and have employed six full time staff, we’re currently in the process of hiring our seventh, a project manager. We have a broad mix of talents in our team including backgrounds in web development, design, digital psychology, user experience, product design, digital marketing and operations management. The company was founded by Gary Hammond, who had been a senior web developer prior to founding iterate. He always wanted to set up a company and grow it so left his developer hat behind and began to build up a team and focus on managing the business. The company now has two owners, with Karen Reilly joining as our Director of User Experience in late 2013. Karen leads the UX phases of projects and can often be found speaking at leading UX events in Ireland and abroad.

What are you long term plans for your product / company?

Thankfully we have been careful with growth and have kept a keen eye on finances so we already have enough work booked in to make us viable into mid-2016 without another job coming our way. This has afforded us the time to evaluate where we are and what’s next for iterate. We are currently undertaking a review of how we got to this point and putting plans in place to develop further into 2016, including improving existing work processes and marketing.

What are your favourite tech gadgets?

Not so much a tech gadget, but the most used appliance in the office other than our macbooks is the Aeropress coffee maker in the kitchen. We’re also always looking at smart software that supports all of our work processes. By adopting and integrating tools such as Slack, Asana and Freshdesk we’ve really improved how we work as a team in the past two years.

What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?

Something that can screen calls for recruiters and people trying to aggressively push software products we have no interest in would be great! Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked? For anyone embarking on a similar journey, don’t try to do it alone or guess how it might happen. You’re not as smart as you think you are and you’ll make so many mistakes in the early days and you’ll only end up second guessing what went wrong. There are so many places in Dublin to reach out to who are eager to consult, advise and offer support to startups. We met with the Dublin Business Innovation Centre prior to starting up, two years into it we also had business consultancy from Enterprise Ireland which led to some pretty big changes that saw the company really mature a lot in a short space of time.

How do people get in touch with you?

We can be found at www.iterate.ie, e-mail us at [email protected] or phone 01-5241346. We’re pretty active on twitter @iterate and are prone to dabble in instagram 


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or @SimonCocking

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