Featured Article 22 Aug 2013

With a division dedicated to emerging business, IDA Ireland believes this is a sector that will continue to thrive and create jobs in the future. Sorcha Corcoran reports.

The trend towards emerging, high growth companies from outside Ireland setting up operations here is accelerating. Since IDA Ireland set up its division dedicated to this area in 2010, 60 projects have been through the system, 25 of which have come on stream this year alone.

They are mostly involved in the areas of mobile, media, internet cloud computing and social media; and they originate from high growth tech clusters, such as in New York, Silicon Valley and Berlin.

Head of the emerging business division Barry O’Dowd says IDA expects that the companies it has attracted so far will have created 2,000 jobs between them here within the next five years.

“We’re focused on early-stage, fast growth companies, typically less than seven years old. In that context, one of the things we really find sells well is the capacity to come into Ireland, do things fast and execute business models very efficiently,” he says.

Speed to market

O’Dowd cites Californian digital gaming company Riot Games as an example of one fast growth entrant for which speed and efficiency in setting up has been proven in Ireland.

The developer of the popular ‘League of Legends’ game was established in 2006 and set up its European headquarters in Dublin just over two years ago with a staff of seven people.

“Riot Games has ramped up very fast in Ireland, already now employing 100 people and moved into their third building. The property solutions aspect has been important to them,” says O’Dowd.

Attractive talent pool

The most recent announcement in the emerging business investment area came from 10gen, the developer behind the database management system MongoDB, which officially opened its EMEA headquarters in Dublin in May.

Vice-president, EMEA at 10gen Joe Morrissey says the foremost reason for setting up this operation in Dublin was “the excellent base from which to recruit talented engineering folk”, but also inside sales people and back office staff in the legal and finance areas.

“Our business in Europe is growing at 300pc year-on-year, so we need access to a skilled workforce that can help us keep up with the pace,” said Max Schireson, CEO of 10gen at the opening of the Dublin office.

“We’ve started out with 14 people in Dublin and just moved into our new office, which should see us through a fair amount of growth, up to about 50 employees,” explains Morrissey. “We should reach 20 people this year, 50 within the next three years and a workforce of 150 within five years. Back in January we said we would recruit a total of 60 in Ireland, but we have revised that up to 150.”

10gen was founded in 2007 by founder and chairman of e-commerce company Gilt Group Kevin Ryan, Dwight Merriman – one of the original authors of MongoDB and co-founder of DoubleClick – and Elliot Horowitz Eliot, one of the core MongoDB kernel committers and co-founder of ShopWiki. O’Dowd notes that having strong backers and investors is typical of the early-stage, high growth companies that have set up in Ireland.

Inbound marketing growth

Another trend he observes is Ireland positioning itself strongly in the inbound marketing space.

“Companies in this field that have set up here include Engineyard, Marketo, Indeed.com, Hubspot, Etsy and Gilt, building on the success of some of the larger names such as Facebook and Google.,” O’Dowd explains.

Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade and vintage items, which has established a new EMEA headquarters in Dublin’s Digital Hub.

With over 25 million members and 900,000 active shops globally, Etsy is experiencing a lot of growth in the EMEA region.

“International growth outside our original market of the US is a big priority for the business this year. Almost 30pc of transactions involve a buyer or seller outside the US and in order to drive growth across Europe we decided that a European headquarters was a key priority,” says Etsy’s Dublin site lead Bernadette Sweeney.

“After a great deal of consideration, Dublin was chosen as the right location for or EMEA HQ due to the strength of the city’s technology industry and the young, highly skilled creative workforce that thrives in the city.”

The Etsy Dublin office has eight staff currently and four open roles, which it is actively trying to fill. It plans to continue hiring throughout the year.

Read the full article in Innovation Ireland Review

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