Twenty-three new companies joined the enterprise cluster at Dublin’s Digital Hub over the past year, including well-known international brands and growing Irish companies.
One of the best-known Irish businesses to join the cluster was Silicon Republic, Ireland’s leading digital news service. Other Irish tech companies that moved to The Digital Hub during 2013 include social gaming enterprise Bull or Bear and Sonru, an online video interviews and screening company.
In terms of attracting international companies, e-commerce crafts brand Etsy and software enterprise eMaint – both headquartered in the US – established their European bases at The Digital Hub during 2013. Health XL – a global digital health network involving Silicon Valley Bank, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, IBM and others – also moved to The Digital Hub last year.
Commenting today (02.01.14), Edel Flynn, Chief Executive Officer of the Digital Hub Development Agency – the government agency that manages The Digital Hub – said: “2013 was one of the busiest and most successful years at The Digital Hub. Twenty-three new companies joined our cluster, bringing the total number of enterprises at The Digital Hub to 70. Collectively, these companies employ over 900 people.
“A number of companies also expanded out from The Digital Hub during 2013, generating further employment in Ireland’s wider digital economy. In total, since the project was established 10 years ago, over 170 companies have progressed through The Digital Hub, and these generated more than 2,000 jobs during their time at the Hub. Our alumni includes the likes of Daft.ie, Havok, Houghton Mifflin (Riverdeep), Amazon, Kavaleer and Gala Networks Europe.
“Throughout 2013, we continued to have high occupancy rates across all of our office space and, on an ongoing basis, we experienced high levels of demand from companies looking for space at The Digital Hub. This year, we plan to make additional office space available on our campus to cater for the ever-increasing demand from companies looking to locate here.
“Coming out of 2013, we feel very optimistic: there have been positive indications of increasing investment in the marketplace throughout the year. We’re on a strong footing now and well prepared to move to the next phase of The Digital Hub’s development and to ensure the project continues to grow and add value to the wider economy.”
Ms. Flynn said many of the individual companies based at The Digital Hub grew significantly during 2013, expanded into new marketplaces and attracted venture capital.
Case Studies: Digital Hub Company Achievements
Maithú is an Irish IT consultancy, specialising in web and mobile products. Since moving to The Digital Hub in 2008, it has experienced almost tenfold growth: initially, it had just one employee operating from a single hot-desk at The Digital Hub; now, it employs nine people. As the company grew over the years, it moved to bigger offices on the Digital Hub campus. In 2013 alone, Maithú hired three new employees. It also created and launched a number of new apps for high-profile clients such as Dublin and Cork Airports, Coca Cola and Musgraves.
According to Edel Flynn, Maithú is typical of the domestic tech companies that join the enterprise cluster at The Digital Hub. “In their start-up stage, Irish tech companies usually employ only a handful of people,” she said. “As they begin to expand and embed their business, The Digital Hub provides them with the flexibility and supports they need to develop, including flexible lease arrangements, industry networking and facilitating access to potential investors.
“Maithú has been based at The Digital Hub for five years now, and I have been delighted to witness its growth and successes over that time.”
eMaint is a US company that provides innovative CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management Software) solutions. It moved to The Digital Hub in 2013, opening its first office outside North America with the aim of growing its EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) client-base. The company employs three staff-members in Dublin, and is currently recruiting a fourth. The focus of the Dublin office is on support, but eMaint will add a sales function in Dublin in the coming months.
“We worked closely with the IDA in attracting eMaint to locate at The Digital Hub,” said Edel Flynn. “The FDI [Foreign Direct Investment] companies that locate here tend to be testing out the European market so, typically, they open a small office at The Digital Hub at the start, and then expand quite rapidly. Essentially, The Digital Hub is a soft landing spot for them, enabling them to test the Irish marketplace as a gateway into Europe.
“The reasons they’re attracted to The Digital Hub are because we offer flexibility to expand and contract your office space, and we also provide companies with a ready-made cluster of likeminded businesses. An eco-system has developed around The Digital Hub, which means companies that locate here can very easily tap into research, academia, the investment community, skilled graduates and other key stakeholders.”
Digital Hub Highlights
As well as the ongoing success of The Digital Hub’s enterprise cluster, Edel Flynn listed a number of other highlights from 2013. These included:
· The development of Connected Health, a partnership between the Digital Hub Development Agency and St. James’s Hospital, which aims to facilitate collaboration between entrepreneurs and clinicians to develop digital tools to solve common healthcare challenges.
· The visit by Vice-President of the EU Commission Neelie Kroes – who has responsibility for the EU’s digital agenda – to The Digital Hub. She was accompanied by Ireland’s Digital Champion, Lord David Puttnam, during her visit, and they met companies located at The Digital Hub, as well as young people involved in learning programmes delivered by the Digital Hub Development Agency.
· A seminar that brought together digital enterprise projects from all over the EU, which took place at The Digital Hub, as part of Ireland’s European Presidency. It was attended by representatives of digital clusters from eight European regions: Scotland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Portugal, England, Malta and Ireland, marking the first occasion for these clusters to officially come together.
· The ongoing rollout of strategic learning programmes by the Digital Hub Development Agency. These include Future Creators, an after-school digital skills programme for teenagers, which is delivered in partnership with the National College of Art and Design, and theSchools Broadband Exemplar Project, which aims to make Warrenmount Presentation Secondary School in Dublin 8 an ‘exemplar’ for the use of broadband in an education setting.
A video showcasing some of the highlights of 2013 at The Digital Hub is available to view at: http://www.thedigitalhub.com/