Carving out a space for itself in the marketplace

This company started out in 2009 developing e-procurement software, selling mainly in the Irish market. SourceDogg is now working on getting into as many markets as it can — as quickly as possible. Trish Dromey reports

Carving out a space for itself in the marketplace

Energetic start-up company SourceDogg is busily sniffing out sales opportunities in a range of international markets including South Africa, Israel, Canada and India.

Aiming to establish itself as a global player in the e-procurement software space, the company is working on getting into as many markets as it can — as quickly as possible.

While most start-ups wouldn’t have the resources to take this approach, SourceDogg is a well-funded company which has invested heavily in R&D and has also ramped up its sales staff over the last year and is continuing to recruit.

“We have grown the staff size from 20 to 59 in the last twelve months and are recruiting two to four sales staff a month,” says chief executive Alan Phelan, adding that the number is expected to reach 80 or 90 by the year end.

SourceDogg started out in 2009 developing e-procurement software, selling mainly in the Irish market.

In 2012, the Nucleus VP Group — owned by Alan Phelan and Sean McKeague — bought out the majority share in the company and has since put significant investment in to both R&D and expansion of the sales team.

Mr Phelan and Mr McKeague previously owned the UK-based signalling and telecommunications company, Servigroup which they sold for £20.67m in 2005.

They subsequently set up Nucleus VP Group with a view to investing in innovative technology companies.

“We bought the majority shareholding of SourceDogg in 2011 and in 2012 we completely rebuilt the software, adding functionality and additional services.

“Our solution is a cloud-based e-sourcing platform which is hosted on Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud computing platform, which provides us access to data centres in multiple countries and unlimited processing power for our customer,” explains Mr Phelan.

Following an initial investment of €600,000 in 2011, SourceDogg was identified by Enterprise Ireland as a High Potential Start Up. The company has — until now — been fully funded by Nucleus VP but has now been approved for some grant aid from Enterprise Ireland.

Entering a global market dominated by some major players, Mr Phelan is confident that SourceDogg can carve out a space for itself.

“The selling points are that it’s simple and easy to use, is on a cloud-based platform and doesn’t need local configuration. We sell by the month, charging per user and offer a very flexible low cost model.”

He says it can reduce costs by over 15% and has the advantage of being free to suppliers.

According to Mr Phelan, the solutions offered by the dominant players in the market are more complex and more expensive.

“SourceDogg has started by carving out a niche selling to small and medium- sized companies looking for a less expensive option, and also to large companies who are interested in controlling staff with spend authority away from head office.”

He believes that it will sell particularly well to companies who are using non-specialist people to carry out procurement.

SourceDogg is continuing to invest in R&D in order to add functionality to its product and accelerate growth in both domestic and international markets.

The company has already built up a customer base in Ireland selling to Bord Bia, SIAC and the Rehab Group.

Operating from Galway, where its sales staff are based, SourceDogg has an R&D division in Dublin and a sales office in Mullingar, as well as one in the UK.

Following the launch of its newly revamped software earlier this year, the company initially focused on the UK and Ireland but is now expanding its horizons.

“We are now marketing in South Africa, India, Israel and Canada and are in the process of setting up a sales office in Canada,’ reveals Mr Phelan.

He says that, so far, the interest in the company’s offering has been good. “We are selling to all sectors and are getting interest from the construction industry, hotel chains, facilities management and manufacturing companies.”

While the company is expanding its sales team in Galway it is also looking at the option of selling through channel partners. Mr Phelan says SourceDogg aims to have a multimillion euro turnover within two to three years, and expects to establish itself as a major player in the e-procurement software market within the next five years.

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