Ireland is ripe to create €100-million global tech firms

4 Nov 2009

Ireland is now in the right position to create numerous €100-million technology companies because the building blocks are in place like never before, the author of a new book believes.

Paul O’Dea is the CEO of technology firm Select Strategies and has just penned a new book The Business Battlecard.

“We now have experienced second-generation high-tech entrepreneurs and experience of selling into multinational corporations,” O’Dea said.

Growth barrier

However, he said the big barrier to growth is funding at all stages of the lifecycle.

“Too many of Ireland’s technology firms in the past have had to sell out too early. But now we have a new breed of tech entrepreneurs who recognise that it is no longer sufficient to reach revenues of €5 million.”

He said Irish companies need to aim higher and target €100-million revenues.

“The big barrier now is not ambition but funding. It is not just a question of venture capital. The Irish banking sector needs to do more in terms of loans to potential and existing high-growth companies.”


O’Dea set up software company CREDO in 1991, which was sold to Misys for €5 million just before the dot-com bubble burst in 1999. CREDO was the first firm to generate funding from venture capital firm Delta Partners.

O’Dea founded Select Strategies with Donal Daly in 1999 to guide SME CEOs through all stages of the growth lifecycle.

Twice chairman of the Irish Software Association, he was involved with Enterprise Ireland and FAS in establishing Sales Star, a bootcamp sales programme for tech CEOs.

He was an early investor in companies such as Steeltrace, which was sold to Compuware in 2006 for $25 million and Netsure Telecom which was acquired by Oracle in 2006 for a similar amount. His previous book, Select Selling (co-authored with Daly), was a business best-seller, with more than 10,000 copies published.

Inside The Business Battlecard

The new book, The Business Battlecard, contains all the professional advice and his experience has generated more than two decades of building technology companies.

“Growing a company is a bit like waging a war, which is why we have called our one-page strategy plan the Battlecard,” said O’Dea.

“Many growing companies have good technology, financial, production and sales processes but non-existent or weak strategy creation processes which kill growth.”

He said most growth strategies don’t work because they are too complicated, too disjointed or never implemented. The aim of the book was to condense all his industry experience into a simple business battlecard.

“CEOs don’t have the time or inclination to wade through wads of PowerPoint slides. My book sets out to summarise the business battle ground and growth strategies in a one-page diagram,” O’Dea said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Paul O’Dea, author of The Business Battlecard.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years