Ireland: A base for 14 of the world’s fastest-growing cloud companies

16 Sep 2016

Inside Dropbox’s European HQ in Dublin. Image: Luke Maxwell

We all know cloud is commonplace in Ireland, but a recent PwC report revealed just how much of this global industry is rooted on our shores.

In August, PwC released a first-time ranking dubbed the 25 Fastest Growing Cloud Companies.

Derived from the Global 100 Software Leaders research report, the cloud-specific ranking includes a diverse mix of companies, from start-ups to high-profile household names. For some of these companies, their entire business model relies on the cloud. For others, it’s just one aspect of a major tech portfolio. More still maintain a niche focus on specific services, or SaaS.

What analysts at PwC wanted to uncover was what drives success in the software industry as vendors move to the cloud. Evidently, judging from the top 25, there’s no one type of company that guarantees cloud success. But one thing we at did notice was the number of companies from our own ecosystem in the mix.

Of the 25 apparently fastest-growing cloud companies in the world, 14 have set up a base here in Ireland. In some cases, a European HQ. There could be more still had we managed to entice Egnyte to Ireland instead of London in 2014, and the international profile of others on the list could perhaps be seen as missed opportunities.

Nonetheless, cloud is still a common sight in Ireland. A healthy environment for a burgeoning SaaS start-up scene to grow in, perhaps, as well as a guiding light for veteran software vendors shifting to a cloud model.

“Companies are becoming increasingly dependent on software as a service (SaaS), and this area really exemplifies the cloud’s growth,” said PwC global software leader Mark McCaffrey of the report. “Software vendors who’ve made the transition to SaaS are well on their way to restructuring their operations to the new realities of lower average sales prices and margins.”

Inspirefest 2017


No 1 on the PwC list, Canadian software company OpenText came to Dublin in 2014 with plans to create 105 software roles over the course of two years.

Established in Ontario in 1991, OpenText saw its cloud revenues jump 799pc from $30m in 2013 to $268m in 2014.

OpenText’s Cork operation provides support for its flagship enterprise content management (ECM) and customer experience management (CEM) products for both the EMEA region and global markets. The Cork operation is one of three global customer support centres for the business.

Dassault Systèmes

In at number three on the list is Dassault Systèmes, which employs over 12,000 people and has over 190,000 enterprise customers.

Revenues for Dassault Systèmes topped €2bn in 2013. According to the PwC listing, the company’s cloud revenues rose 215pc from $25m in 2013 to $78m in 2014.

In 2014, Dassault acquired Accelerys, which had previously acquired Irish cloud software company Qumas in 2013 for $50m. Qumas, which is part of Dassault’s Biovia business unit, is now one of the leading suppliers of on-premise and cloud solutions for compliance, quality management, collaboration, and document management for the life sciences industry.


Rounding out the top five of PwC’s list is Informatica, a business software player with core products in the areas of IT architecture, data integration, data quality, information lifecycle management and cloud.

According to PwC, Informatica’s cloud revenues jumped 101.5pc from $29m in 2013 to $59m in 2014. Last year, it emerged that the company was to become private after agreeing to be acquired by a company controlled by the Permira Funds and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in a $5.3bn deal.

In 2006, Informatica acquired Irish tech company Similarity Systems for $55m in cash.


Ranking seventh in the PwC report, Coupa’s cloud spend management solutions aim to redefine the value that software should deliver to businesses. Its latest InvoiceSmash technology helps businesses, large and small, transact faster and easier than ever before with significantly less manual intervention.

Founded 11 years ago, Coupa last year announced 120 new jobs in Dublin following a tripling of EMEA customers.

According to PwC, Coupa saw its revenues from cloud jump 95.3pc from $47m in 2013 to $91m in 2014.


Originally setting up in Ireland in 1985, Microsoft’s Dublin base has grown from an initial 100 people to 1,900 employees today.

The US company ranks eighth on PwC’s report with global cloud revenues rising 87.9pc between 2013 and 2014, reaching $2.3bn.

Microsoft has four facilities in Ireland, all based around Sandyford, with its cloud operations in the country hitting the headlines in 2015. A dispute between the US government over the rights and wrongs of handing emails hosted in Ireland over to US authorities saw Microsoft successfully defend its user-privacy position.

New Relic

A relatively new business, the 2008-formed New Relic set up a base in Dublin back in 2014, with around 50 employees at the company’s Nassau Street facility.

New Relic chose Barcelona for its European Development Centre a year later and a rise of 82.2pc in its cloud revenues between 2013-14 ($53m-$97m) saw the company reach the top 10 of PwC’s ranking.

With a San Francisco global HQ, the company’s growth is such that it also ranks fourth in Gartner’s measurement of application performance monitoring companies.


DocuSign took a simple idea – finding a better way to get important documents signed, cutting out the intermediary steps of faxing, printing and registered post – and running with it. That simple idea has paid off.

In 2014, DocuSign enjoyed 78.9pc revenue growth, year on year. Its user base has grown 170pc, and its customer base a whopping 225pc, since just last year.

Headquartered in San Francisco, DocuSign has offices around the world, including one in Dublin. The Dublin operation was established only last year, providing local sales and technical support for the company.


Apple’s presence in Ireland stretches back to 1980, when it first started employing people in Cork. Now 5,000 work for the company in the county, with recent plans to increase by another 20pc finally given the go-ahead.

Apple’s footprint in Ireland is even bigger, though, with recent approval for an €850m data centre in Athenry meaning Ireland’s position as one of the company’s primary cloud bases is all but confirmed.

In all, the company’s cloud operations saw revenues rise 78.1pc to $151m in 2014, from $85m in 2013.


Dropbox is arguably the most well-known cloud storage company in the world, with some 500m users. It is therefore no surprise that the company enjoys strong growth year on year. In the period covered by the PwC report, Dropbox’s revenue from cloud grew by 75pc.

The San Francisco-headquartered company has had an Irish operation since 2014. This European HQ is focused on expanding Dropbox Business.

Since the launch of the Irish office, Dropbox’s user base has grown by more than 166pc. Three-quarters of those users are based outside the US, making Ireland ideally placed as a gateway between the States and the rest of the world.

Dropbox Dublin

Dropbox is just one of many cloud companies to have established a European HQ in Ireland. Image: Luke Maxwell


Zendesk has its Irish offices in Dublin, moving there in 2012 with a two-year plan of modest expansion. However, increased business saw the opening of a European data centre a year later for the purpose of keeping its EU customers’ data within the region.

Zendesk then opened a new location in Grand Parade in 2014, allowing it to bring employee capacity up to 150.

A 74.5pc rise in revenues between 2013 and 2014 (from $68m to $119m) placed Zendesk 18th on PwC’s report.


Right behind Zendesk is Workday, with 74.4pc growth.

Now 11 years old, on-demand finance and HR management company Workday saw its cloud revenues climb by 74.4pc between 2013 and 2014.

The company has been growing to such an extent that it had to move into a new headquarters in Dublin’s city centre to accommodate the 200 extra staff hired in October 2015. Workday’s 600 Irish employees are the centre of the company’s product and technology development, customer support, data centre operations and sales.

While investors have become wary of Workday’s continued growth, its regular surpassing of quarterly targets is somewhat easing concern.


Using its ArcGIS mapping software, Silicon Valley-headquartered Esri collaborates with a number of different sectors to offer insight into our world, whether it be to see where the most popular locations to buy a home are, or to pinpoint potential natural resources.

Between 2013 and 2014, Esri generated $12m in revenues, with a growth rate of 66.1pc. The company currently has two locations on the island of Ireland and operates from its office in north-west Dublin.

Last August, Esri Ireland used its software to create a detailed map of people living within the area of South Dublin County Council.


From its base in Santa Clara, California, business management SaaS provider ServiceNow has been operating since 2003. With $551m in cloud revenues in 2014 (a growth rate of 63.9pc on 2013), it’s one of the highest-earning companies on PwC’s list.

With a sales office in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, the company has forged a number of partnerships in Ireland, including one with Bank of Ireland (BOI).

Using ServiceNow’s cloud software, BOI has said it is able to improve control and governance, as well as use empirical data to track delivery of its IT customer provision.


While the lowest-ranked company of the 25, TIBCO and its infrastructure cloud software are responsible for 1 exabyte (one quintillion bytes) of data generated by all things train, plane and automobile, as well as ships.

Between 2013 and 2014, TIBCO’s cloud revenues increased by 62.5pc, totalling $38m as the company moved into 2015.

TIBCO’s entry into Ireland – where it calls Dublin’s Digital Hub home – came following its $185m acquisition of Jaspersoft in 2014. The company has dozens more offices around the world, while its headquarters are in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Want stories like this and more direct to your inbox? Sign up for Tech Trends, Silicon Republic’s weekly digest of need-to-know tech news.