Scaling a Software Business in Dublin
Dublin has firmly established its reputation in the high growth Software as a Service (SaaS) industry, a software licencing and delivery model in which software is licenced on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted.
The Capital is recognised as the number one destination for global SaaS giants like Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce, and a perfect location to grow their Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) markets. It is also developing as an extremely attractive place for ambitious SaaS start-ups to call home if scaling their business quickly is the ultimate aim. So, what is it about the Irish Capital that has turned it into a global hub of this high-tech, growth-focused Software as a Service industry?
CEOs of multi-billion dollar corporations and founders of small startups with big aspirations alike will cite the availability of talent, above all, as the key motivating factor. Dublin boasts a well-educated, highlyskilled, English-speaking indigenous workforce. There is a growing focus in second- and third-level education on the Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) subjects, while many graduates have the opportunity to cut their teeth in the large multinationals, giving them invaluable experience of a level of professionalism and scale that is difficult to find elsewhere.
As Michael Kavanagh, CEO of Dublin based data analytics start-up, Social Honey, puts it: “So many Irish graduates have been exposed to much larger software infrastructure support and architecture at a very early stage in their careers… There’s a recognition of what scale looks like and an appetite to play in it.”
It’s not just the native Irish talent that is driving Dublin’s SaaS revolution, however, as the city’s lifestyle and culture has drawn professionals from all over Europe who are more than happy to make a new home Liffey-side.
Walk through the Docklands between 7am and 9am any weekday morning and you will be caught up in a veritable swarm of young techies of all nationalities making their way to the offices of one big tech name or another via Italian coffee shops, 24-hour gyms, yoga studios, and stylish breakfast retailers.
Emmet Ryan of the Sunday Business Post’s Connected Magazine describes how Dublin has come a long way in short space of time: “On a basic level, socially, there’s a lot more variety in terms of things to do, places to drink, places to eat, and it’s really compact.”
Ease of access to one’s target market is also an important part of the growth equation and an area in which Dublin-based companies are particularly strong given the openness of the Irish economy and lack of exchange rate risk when trading within the Eurozone.
It would also be remiss not to mention the very competitive rate of Corporation Profits Tax (CPT), the support available to scaling businesses from organisations like IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, and a well-developed R&D tax credit scheme – all of which provide significant financial benefits when growing a business in Dublin.
Dublin is clearly the place to be to enhance your chances of scaling successfully, and Reza Chowdhury of New York’s premier tech publication, Alley Watch, sums it up nicely: “A number of fundamental factors including a highly skilled workforce, established multinationals like Facebook and Google with presences in the city, and proximate geography to a number of important markets make Dublin poised to continue this growth.”
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