The Monday Interview: Daniel Mackey and Peter Coppinger on Teamwork’s ‘huge global potential’’s Daniel Mackey and Peter Coppinger, winners of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award last week, with, centre, Frank O’Keeffe, managing partner of EY Ireland. Picture: Maxwells founders Daniel Mackey and Peter Coppinger are only getting started in representing Cork business on the world stage, writes Pádraig Hoare.

To borrow a phrase coined by the White House incumbent, Cork-based founders Daniel Mackey and Peter Coppinger are winning so much, you’d have to wonder if they may just get tired of it. Not likely, according to both men.

Being crowned EY Entrepreneur of the Year in front of more than 1,500 business leaders from Ireland, as well as Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, was as sweet a victory as any they have had in the past decade.

There have been plenty such victories. Being crowned Cork Chamber’s Large Company of the Year 2018 last February, in front of their peers, was a seminal moment for the firm, headquartered in the heart of Cork’s northside, Blackpool.

As well as winning EY’s overall award last week, Teamwork’s founders also took the top prize for the International Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Teamwork beat 23 finalists at EY’s gala event for the top honour. The 2018 finalists collectively employ more than 2,700 people and last year generated revenues in excess of €150m.

Anne Heraty, chair of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year judging panel, said: “From the days when they were competing against one another to build websites for pubs and restaurants in Cork, Peter and Daniel’s ingenuity and innovation really impressed the judging panel. The company has huge global potential, and I am sure it will go on to be a world leader.”

Software-as-a-service specialist Teamwork has 22,000 paying customers across 183 countries, employs 200 people, and has a remote workforce in 15 countries. Clients include Disney, Spotify, and Netflix.

The two men will now go on to represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Monte Carlo in June 2019, where they will compete with more than 60 leading entrepreneurs from around the world.

Daniel Mackey and Peter Coppinger: 'We have a vision and we’re going to grow this business to $450m (€395m) ARR, and we’re excited for the journey ahead.'

Mr Mackey said: “Delighted probably doesn’t do justice to how we feel. To even be nominated in the international category was fantastic, but to win that, and then win outright was beyond any expectation either of us had. We’ve watched in awe of the people who have been nominated and won this programme over the last number of years and for us to be in that position now feels surreal.”

Teamwork’s ethos doesn’t just extend to the staff, said Mr Mackey — the families of each have been a major factor in its success. “It’s for our wives Olive and Claire, who not only hold down the fort at home, but are there as a constant source of encouragement when times are good but, more importantly, when we face challenges.

“Most of all it’s for our entire team in Cork and in the 18 countries they work in around the world. We would not be here without them and this recognises the work everyone has put into getting us to now. We’re looking forward to celebrating this with them,” he said.

It’s also a win for Cork, said Mr Mackey. “It’s a win for the entire business community in Cork who are always there to support each other and it just goes to show how well Cork is doing as a business hub.

“We weren’t the only Cork contenders, and that really is a testament to the success and calibre of business Cork has to offer and I have no doubt this is only going to get bigger.”

Mr Coppinger was equally proud of the achievements of and its staff. The two men may be the public face of the firm, but its staff deserve the plaudits, he said.

“We’re very proud to have won the award and we haven’t stopped smiling since — it’s an incredible feeling. We’ve attended the awards over the last number of years, and if you told us three years ago that we’d be walking away as winners, I’m not sure either of us would have believed you.

“To be able to bring this back to Cork and share it with the team here is an incredible honour. This is for every single member of staff who do their best work on a daily basis to make our customers happy, who come to work every day and help make our vision for this business a reality. It’s a win for them as much as it is us.”

Tired of all the winning? Not likely, said Mr Coppinger. Teamwork has ambitions to grow annual recurring revenue (ARR), a key metric used by software-as-a-service firms, to hundreds of millions.

“We’re only just getting started. We have a vision and we’re going to grow this business to $450m (€395m) ARR, at least, and we’re excited for the journey ahead. Winning the Entrepreneur of the Year Award will help build our profile so we’re humbled and very grateful to the programme and to the judges.”

Teamwork is already well-known in Cork for its assistance and mentorship of aspiring businesses. “I hope it sets an example to our children and to any aspiring entrepreneur, young or old that with hard work and tenacity, you can build a successful business. We’ll enjoy the celebrations over the next few days and then it’s back to being laser-focused on growing,” said Mr Coppinger.

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