There has been a raft of companies announcing expansion in Ireland over the summer. They include all manner of industry and company size. In this article we feature two tech firms, one large, one small, but both are great examples of why companies consider Ireland in their expansion plans.
Irish Prime Minister opens Zendesk’s new $10 Million EMEA HQ
The Company: Zendesk
Zendesk was established by Mikkel Svane, Morten Primdahl, and Alexander Aghassipour in a loft apartment in Copenhagen in 2007. The customer service software company quickly gained traction getting €500,000 in funding from an angel investor in 2008, and a further series B funding of €6 million from Charles River Ventures and Benchmark Capital in 2009. Shortly after, the company set up its new headquarters in San Francisco.
Zendesk has developed from a single customer service product to a suite of software products. These include:
- Support - a simple system for tracking, prioritising, and solving customer support tickets.
- Guide – is a smart self-service with AI-powered tools like Answer Bot.
- Chat - provides quick access to a real person in real-time and in context.
- Talk - offers more personalised support for complicated orders.
The Announcement: Irish PM Opens Zendesk’s New EMEA HQ Office
Zendesk first located in Dublin in 2012 with a staff of just two engineers. Since then the workforce has grown to almost 300 employees. The company moved into their new state of the art office in Charlemont Place in Dublin’s city centre. They will occupy 58,000 square feet of Grade A office space after a $10 million investment by Zendesk in the premises. This is now the company’s largest investment in property outside of the U.S.
The opening was attended by An Taoiseach (the Irish name for ‘prime minister’), Leo Varadkar and Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane. Commenting on his company’s tremendous progress, Svane acknowledged the role Ireland has played:
“As more technology companies and entrepreneurs call Dublin home, we’re proud to be a part of a community that fosters innovation, growth and a focus on the most important part of any business – the customer.”
Varadkar added –
“The company’s decision to choose Dublin as its home reaffirms the quality of talent available and our attractiveness as a destination for investment. It is also the latest example of how the Government is fulfilling our ambition to establish Ireland as a global leader for the tech sector.”
To prove that not all the expansion stories in Ireland are big business, this next company features a smaller operation and a sort of homecoming.
A sort OF homecoming for an Irish entrepreneur
The Company: skOUT Secure Intelligence
skOUT was co-founded by Irishman and serial entrepreneur, Aidan Kehoe. Having already sold another start-up, Oxford Global to Willis Towers Watson, Kehoe turned his attention to cyber security.
Kehoe set up skOUT in 2012 with his co-founder, Lee Noriega and was headquartered in New York. In a short space of time skOUT amassed an impressive portfolio of $8 trillion in assets under protection and managed 20 million real-time alerts daily.
The company vision is to “Make Cyber Security Accessible for All”. They see small and medium sized companies as equally deserving of cyber security services as the larger companies. Their products are quality, affordable and scalable solution for the middle market.
The Announcement: skOUT is creating 30 high-value jobs at its new EMEA HQ in Portlaoise, Co Laois.
Earlier in 2018 skOUT Secure Intelligence was acquired by RSE Ventures, a venture capital company that typically invests in sports and entertainment firms. The deal was reportedly worth $30 million (€24 million) and saw skOUT join a portfolio of companies which includes the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise.
But the acquisition has a twist. Kehoe who was born in Laois and educated in Waterford has used this opportunity to bring some jobs back to Ireland.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Kehoe said of the deal –
“Being an Irish person in the US has been great for business and I am immensely proud of what our team has built so far. We are now moving onto the next chapter and with a partner of RSE Ventures’ calibre in place, I am excited about what we can build together. With our investment plans, we will scale the business at pace in the US and across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”
First stop in the global expansion plan is Portlaoise, Co. Laois.
Expansion happening all over the country.
One of the biggest successes of the multinational story in Ireland is the diversity of locations, which overseas companies are choosing.
SkOUT are a good example of a US based company choosing a regional location for expansion. Granted, skOUT had a little insider knowledge when choosing Laois but this is not always the case.
Janssen Sciences selected Cork as their location to expand their pharmaceutical operations. As Ireland’s second biggest city, that might have been an obvious choice, but other companies have gone further afield.
BorgWarner first touched down in Tralee, County Kerry in the 1980s.
Mobile Technologies Inc. have chosen Drogheda, County Louth for its latest expansion.
Beckman Coulter currently have a 9,700 sq. metre facility employing 330 people based in Lismeehan, County Clare. They have also announced they will be expanding their campus by an additional 6,700 sq. metres.
Our advice to anyone doing a little research on Ireland is don’t just consider Dublin for expanding. The whole of Ireland is very much an option for companies with expansion plans.
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