Teamwork is planning to build a Cork-style version of Apple Park

15 Feb 2019

From left: Daniel Mackey and Peter Coppinger, founders of Teamwork. Image: Teamwork

One of Cork’s outstanding tech success stories, Teamwork, wants to leave its mark and inspire future Irish tech successes.

As part of its ambition to become a $100m-a-year software player, Cork’s Teamwork is planning to build Teamwork Campus Two in its home city.

Speaking at the Enterprise Ireland 2019 Start-up Showcase, CEO Peter Coppinger said the software-as-a-service (SaaS) company has big ambitions and is inspired by tech giant Apple’s ‘spaceship’ campus, Apple Park, in San Francisco.

‘We want to leave a legacy to show Ireland can take on the best in the world’

“We’re building a Cork-sized version of Apple Park and we’re looking at a factory beside our office for the site, which will host 400 people.

“We want to leave a legacy to show Ireland can take on the best in the world, so we have big plans coming up.”

Making Ireland more SaaS-y

Two men in blue shirts and jeans sit inside a circular seating unit with red leather seats.

From left: Teamwork founders Peter Coppinger and Daniel Mackey. Image: Clare Keogh

Coppinger also revealed that the company is preparing to unveil a new version of the Teamwork brand, including a new website and sales platform, to drive deeper into the enterprise software market.

“This brand will get us to the $100m [revenue] range,” he told hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors at Croke Park.

Teamwork was founded in 2007 by college classmates Peter Coppinger and Daniel Mackey. They originally began in the late 1990s as a web design consultancy but pivoted in 2007 to become a product company that today has thousands of paying customers worldwide, employs 150 people in Cork and 90 overseas, and has revenues of $25m a year that are growing at a current rate of more than 25pc per annum.

Coppinger recalled how the company in its first six years was a consultancy that was out the door with work but was not making any money. After moving from a whiteboard system to a custom-built task management system, the founders realised they had a fairly decent product on their hands after putting in weekends and evenings to build the platform.

After riding the long, slow SaaS “ramp of death”, Coppinger revealed that a trickle of sales eventually became a flood and, after winning deals with companies such as Disney, Teamwork evolved to become an enterprise platform.

The company famously spent €500,000 ($675,000) to acquire the domain name, spending most of the €530,000 it had in the bank at the time. “We decided we can always make more money, but we didn’t want to be 80-year-olds looking back with regret.”

The Disney breakthrough prompted Teamwork to get serious about creating a proper sales team. “The first sales guy added hundreds of thousands [in revenue] just by responding to inbound.”

In 2016, Teamwork moved into its new Teamwork Campus in Cork. The company has since opened up offices in Belfast as well as establishing a field sales team in Boston with Enterprise Ireland support.

“We decided to be more than just a single product company. We started to dream and now we are working on building a platform that can run an entire company.”

He said the plan is to go beyond its current core set of four products to become an operating system for entrepreneurs and businesses.

“Our vision is to build a suite of 10 products to run the core of every business. We are targeting 30pc to 50pc revenue growth every year,” Coppinger said.

He also wants to see Ireland succeed on the rising tide of cloud and SaaS. “We want to make Ireland more SaaS-y.”

Putting its money where its mouth is, the company created Teamwork Catalyst in its old offices in Cork, where SaaS entrepreneurs who are bootstrapping their businesses and who don’t want to go the whole venture capital route “can get coffee and space and just do their thing”.

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