By Barry O’Dowd, Head Emerging Business Division, IDA Ireland and regular contributor to Irish Tech News, see more here.


 Over recent years, Ireland has become the home of choice for numerous early stage fast growth companies. This trend has continued into 2017 with exciting names building out in Ireland, include Slack, Looker, NGINX, Fitbit, Cylance and Indeed.

According to FDI Markets, Ireland is now the number one location of choice by market share for scaling businesses between 10-200 employees. Interestingly, whereas Dublin is the strongest city magnet, it has been joined by three other Irish cities in the Top 20 locations in Europe – these are Cork, Limerick and Galway.

Limerick wins have included WPEngine, Truesource and Uber. Galway is now the home of SmartBear, Phenox and Siteminder – and Cork has NGINX, Malwarebytes, eSentire, AlienVault and Cylance.

Dublin’s growth over the last five years, as Europe’s No 1 location for scaling companies has seen the arrival of leading names   Zalando, Squarespace, Zendesk, MongoDB, Udemy, Adara, Slack, Wrike, Asana, TripAdvisor  and Hubspot. These companies are finding very attractive office space suited to ‘new generation’ millennial employees.

Early stage companies are locating in Ireland in addition to the already established players – Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. From a sectoral context, Ireland is winning numerous “new age” businesses in the Software as a Service (SaaS), Analytics, Business Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence (AI) spaces. Another key element of Ireland’s success is getting the experienced senior executives to drive the EMEA operations and Ireland ranks #1 in the world for the availability of competent senior managers, according to the 2015 IMD World Competitiveness Rankings. Dublin is building a reputation as Europe’s leading centre for SaaS companies looking to scale, with further recent arrivals by Pressreader, Looker, ThinkSmart and ArtofUs adding to the list, by establishing their EMEA HQ in Dublin.

The key differentiator for Ireland over other locations is that Ireland gives SaaS companies the ability to scale quickly, with the right talent. These are on top of the already established companies in Ireland including New Relic, Hubspot, Slack and Qualtrics

Examples of Companies Scaling in Ireland

Indeed is an interesting case study – it has become one of the fastest growing companies in Ireland. Its headcount in Ireland today is bigger than that of the parent company back when the original decision was made to locate in Ireland. Since then, the Dublin operation has become the company’s EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) HQ. Indeed Dublin currently has 530 employees representing 19 nationalities.

When it comes to languages, Ireland is the right fit for many companies. This is epitomised by both Facebook and Google who operate in approximately 50 languages in their large European headquarters in Dublin.

Irish Head of State – An Taoiseach Enda Kenny announcing an additional 500 jobs for Indeed in Dublin

Businesses in Ireland view of the whole of the EU as the market for their skillsets – when you locate in Ireland, you can recruit from anywhere within the EU – visa-free.  Indeed is today the world’s largest job site.  It plans to grow its Dublin operation to 1,000 people over the next two years. Since 2012, it has scaled rapidly moving on a number of occasions through a variety of buildings in Dublin as its needs dictated, to its newest home at St Stephen’s Green, in the heart of the city. Within its EMEA hub the company has a pool of highly skilled talent carrying out a variety of roles from sales to client services and operations.  It includes functional roles in HR, business development, marketing, finance and strategy. Effectively the HQ includes the full range of activities needed to support its EMEA mandate.

Indeed is a prime example of Ireland’s dynamic internet – based services sector. The company in Dublin today has a central role in the global operations of the business and has transcended from its initial role whilst it has internationalised and serviced its growing customer base.

Slack has also made a home for itself in Ireland in recent years and Dublin is playing a key role in Slack’s geographic growth as well as its scaling strategy on the back of major funding rounds. With 430 employees worldwide, the Irish operation is highly significant in the overall company’s growth. It is the fastest growing business application in history. At full buildout Slack will have 180 employees in Dublin, mostly involved in customer experience and account management.  Other key international offices have been opened in recent months by the San Franciscan company in Melbourne- Australia and New York.

With this pace of scaling Ireland is positioning itself to have many significant players  and  continued growth in the tech sector over the coming years.

Information Technology, eCommerce, Enterprise and LifeSciences are all areas to watch in Ireland, Barry O’Dowd, IDA

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 on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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