Describe the company – the elevator pitch …
Founded in Dublin in 2013, Square1 is an online and mobile software development company, which helps companies to build and expand their online products and services. In addition to providing bespoke development and consulting services, we’ve developed a number of our own products. The biggest of these is Publisher Plus, which is our digital platform aimed at online publishers. It’s an all in one offering which helps take away publisher’s hassles with content creation, distribution and monetisation.
How are you different?
Our core management team is made up of internet professionals with a wealth of experience delivering and managing hightraffic websites, including some of the biggest and most innovative online brands in Ireland (TheJournal.ie, Daft.ie, JOE.ie, Boards.ie, BuyAndSell.ie, Rory McIlroy, Ding.com). We bring our experience and know-how to our customers to help them build and expand their online products and services. What makes us different when doing that is that our combined experience is fairly unique in the Irish market. We’ve been on the full journey from a day zero startup to becoming the biggest site in the country, so bring a lot of know-how of what to do (and what not to do!) to any of our customers trying to follow a similar path. The value of this experience isn’t limited to the online publisher section. We’ve worked with clients in a wide variety of sectors from Rory McIlroy to government agencies, and tech startups to financial institutions.
Why will the company / product do well?
Every year the number of people going online gets bigger and bigger. Where the people are, businesses inevitably follow even in 2016, we’re still seeing an ever increasing number of businesses looking to create a web presence (both offline companies moving online, and increasingly entrepreneurs with funding looking to create a new business). These companies want to avoid the costly missteps companies new to the web can make, so find that our experience and knowledge can help guide them through that phase, while saving them money. With people consuming more and more online content each day, online publishing is also experiencing a growth surge at the moment. The barrier to entry for a new online publication has never been lower, allowing many new voices to be heard, and find their own audience. As these audiences grow, publishers find themselves running into issues like rising server costs, difficulties monetising their content, redesigning their site to stand out from standard templates and so on. Publisher Plus is a great fit for publishers in this situation. We worry about the technical side of things, while the publisher can continue to focus on producing the content that attracted their audience in the first place.
— Square1 (@square1_io) December 22, 2015
Where are you based? How long will you stay there?
We’re currently based in The Digital Hub in Dublin, with additional offices in Spain and South America. We moved into the Digital Hub in summer 2015 having outgrown our first offices in west Dublin. Since then we’ve doubled our team size here in Dublin and moved to a new office within the Hub, so it may not be long before we’re on the move again!
— Square1 (@square1_io) December 21, 2015
When was the company launched?
Square1 was founded in June 2013 by Diego Solorzano and Ciarán Maher.
What have been your biggest wins to date?
Launching our first stand-alone product (Publisher Plus) was a big moment for us. From our own experiences in online publishing, we knew that what we could offer would be a technically strong product, but there’s always a doubt that the market may not feel the same way. Fortunately for us, the market response has been positive to date, and a little under a year in, we’ve just added our 20th publication to the platform.
On the services side of the business, some of our biggest wins have come from working with household name brands on ambitious projects. We recently worked with BuyAndSell to rebuild their site, while working on a rebranding exercise as they became AppliancesDelivered.ie. Working with Maximum Media to rearchitect their system, launching 3 new sites along the way as they continue their rapid expansion in Ireland and the UK has been a big win for us also.
We’re incredibly proud of the fact that in 2 years we’ve done little to no outbound marketing for our services business – the vast majority of our clients have come to us through referrals from other happy clients. This cycle of growth has to date helped us grow the team from 2 to 20 in a little under 2 years, and fortunately is showing no sign of slowing down!
What type of people are you trying to attract?
With our Publisher Plus product, we’re looking for publishers who have already connected an audience, but may be struggling with growing pains. We can help with difficulties encountered monetising the publication, increasing infrastructure costs, and dealing with the nonstop treadmill of app updates required by Apple and Android users. These are the publishers who benefit most from our experience, allowing them to focus on creating compelling content while we handle the technical side of the business. Having gained solid traction in the Irish market over the last 12 months, we’re now looking to expand into the UK market.
On the services side of the business, we’ve worked with some of the biggest brands in Ireland on rebranding and rebuilding jobs, whilst also working on more niche applications. Our doors are always open – if you’ve an idea and need a team, we’d love to talk to you!
Tell us about your team?
We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to put together a strong, creative and focused team, which has been the key to our rapid growth so far. Our core management team is composed of Ciarán Maher (CEO), Diego Solorzano (COO), Paul Conroy (CTO), and Roberto Prato (Head of Mobile Development), and previously worked together on the management team at Distilled Media (Daft.ie, Adverts.ie, Boards.ie, TheJournal.ie). Our hires to date bring experience to complement the management team, with backgrounds in fields as diverse as the financial sector, academia and logistics management. The team shares a passion for quality and detail, which has helped fuel our growth and positive referral cycle we talked about earlier. We’re spread over 3 continents, which brings many of it’s own challenges, so these shared values are a big help to us in ensuring we’re delivering a consistent level of quality to our clients.
We’re now a twenty strong team, including eleven fulltime web developers, two UX/UI designers, three mobile developers, a project manager and a sales executive.
What are you long term plans for your product / company?
As we continue to grow in the Irish market, in the medium to long term we’ll be increasing our focus on other markets. We’ve currently got a toehold in the UK and Denmark, so will look to target more of those markets initially. This will be true of both our services business and our Publisher Plus product. We’re confident in the work that we’ve done with clients of all shapes and sizes here in Ireland, and that we can be equally as effective with similar clients in those larger markets.
What are your favourite tech gadgets?
Raspberry Pis are amazing, so much computing power packed into such a small device really opens up a world of possibilities for anyone with a hackerish bone in their body.
What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?
One of those remotes that freezes time would be great, being busy is always a better problem to have than the opposite, though it’d be nice to get a few more hours into the day! On a more realistic note, we’re always looking for a reason to play more with beacons (low-energy devices that can trigger notifications when a device comes close to it), as they’re an underutilised technology that could transform the retail experience if used correctly.
How do people get in touch with you?