Continuing our series of Cork Company of the Year 2015 finalist profiles, Peter O’Dwyer this week looks at those vying for top honours in the SME category.
Most companies proclaim to be driven by their customers’ needs but few seem as genuine in that regard as teamwork.com - a company which by happy coincidence has seemingly landed upon a name that encapsulates not just their service but the ethos of the company too.
The emphasis of building the Blackpool-based Saas company (software as a service) into a customer-focused enterprise has paid dividends with some of the world’s biggest companies now using the online collaboration and project management tool to organise their day.
Among the some 1.5 million users across more than 150,000 companies using teamwork are employees of tech giants Ebay, PayPal, Netflix, Spotify and Microsoft while more traditional powerhouses such as Adidas, Pepsi and Disney have also come on-board.
Employees of more than 2,500 charities and NGO’s across the world granted free access to the teamwork platform are benefiting too.
The company, which acquired the teamwork.com domain name last year, developed out of a web development business at the start of the recession at a time when companies were increasingly looking to cut costs while increasing productivity.
Motivated by the belief that existing software was either too basic or too complex, the team went about developing an online Saas platform that would change the way companies managed their day-to-day tasks.
Currently its only product, the company which is growing at an average rate of 65% per annum, is on the cusp of another big launch and has designs on expanding its workforce too.
“We’re very honoured to be selected as a finalist with so many amazing companies coming out of Cork these days, we’re very proud of this recognition for the team at teamwork.com and the amazing customers we have across the globe,” says co-founder Peter Coppinger.
Having gotten this far as a team, there’s little chance of the plucky upstart looking back now.
Inhance technology: Cork company’s simple ingenuity Inhances mobile
You wouldn’t expect a company taking a growing number of new markets by storm, with rocketing revenues and ingeniously innovative technology to be able to fly under the radar but for Inhance Technology theirs has been a silent ascent.
Founded in Cork and based on the Monahan Road, the wireless retail software solutions company is a Cork success story through and through but one which has in many ways allowed itself to become a silent success story as it grew into the impressive company it is today.
If since its inception in 2005 the public have been somewhat unaware of the reputation Inhance has forged, clients across the globe have been taking note for some time.
Among the brands the firm co-founded by Paul Prendergast and William Fitzgerald counts as partners are US retail behemoth, Best Buy; AIG; Carphone Warehouse and Virgin.
Attention on that level is borne out of years of graft, a good dollop of talent combined with the foresight to spot a market opportunity and the ability to exploit it.
Having begun life as a B2C-focussed maker of anti-theft solutions, Inhnace - in its previous incarnation as ‘Yougetitback’ - found the going tough in an increasingly competitive environment in which profits were hard to come by.
In 2010, the company refocused itself as a B2B-facing operator and quickly found a niche, which aided and abetted by the huge growth in mobile, has seen Inhance go from strength to strength with average annual turnover growth since 2008 climbing to 111%.
Now, the company enhances the warranty and insurance programs of some of the world’s leading retail insurance and telecommunication brands.
At a conservative estimate, Inhance expects to double annual turnover by 2016 and continue to expand its workforce which has climbed incrementally at its Cork headquarters from 36 in 2013 to 43 last year.
Doubling its client base in less than 12 months was just another indicator of the rapid progress the Inhance team has made.
Specialising in developing bespoke white-label mobile apps which can be downloaded from the app store, Inhance’s products offer a series of security and content management features including enabling a device to take a picture of its surroundings if lost or stolen.
Like many of the best ideas, its genius is in its simplicity.
Having kept quiet for long enough, Inhance is now ready to announce itself to the public at what chief executive, Paul Prendergast says is an important time for the company.
And what better way to do so than being named Cork SME of the Year 2015?
Xanadu: Eyes jackpot after 2014 disappointment
Having come agonisingly close to being named last year’s emerging company of the year, Xanadu Consultancy is bidding to go one better in the larger SME category this time around.
Founded in 2011 with just eight employees, the online gaming technology and services provider has grown to 100 employees with more roles set to come on stream in the coming months.
As well scaling up existing teams within the organisation, new layers of project management and business analysis have been added to keep pace with its continued expansion, with a further 120 jobs across a range of functions at its Blackpool base announced late last year.
“We’re delighted to have made the final three for the SME category in the Cork Company of the Year Awards,” says chief executive, Mark Brosnan. “Having come so close in the Emerging Company category last year, Xanadu has continued to go from strength to strength in 2014, doubling our revenues and staff numbers this year alone. Our commitment to world-class customer service, continuous investment in R&D and our teams, as well as our sustained growth strategy has enabled Xanadu to become a key player in the provision of services to the online gaming industry.”
Much of Xanadu’s growth has come courtesy of its marquee client Matchbook.com, the world’s second biggest betting exchange.
With an initial remit to provide operational support to Matchbook providing the proverbial foot in the door, the Cork start-up has significantly expanded its role since, driving product delivery for the North American betting site.
Offices in London and Toronto in addition to its Cork command centre offer another glimpse of its continued expansion driven by demand for its services across java development, big data, cloud computing and casino development among others.
With no such thing as a sure fire bet in this year’s SME category, Xanadu can’t be assured of victory but as their customers will attest they’ve long since landed the jackpot with their innovative technology.
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