While Dublin is home to some of the best-known names in tech – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, et al – it must not be forgotten that Ireland as a whole is considered a great place to do business, and there is life in the tech sector beyond the capital city.
As of December 2013, according to the Irish Software Association, the tech industry in Ireland employed 105,000 people, and that included those working in Apple’s European operation in Cork, Intel’s Kildare complex and HP’s European software headquarters in Galway.
Setting up KEMP in the mid-west
The mid-west city of Limerick is home to KEMP Technologies. It may not be a name as familiar as those listed above, yet with growth of 425pc over the past three years and similar forecast through to 2017, it soon could be.
It was just over three years ago that KEMP’s EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) headquarters was established within the 600-acre campus of the National Technology Park on the outskirts of Limerick City.
Access to a steady stream of talented graduates from two third-level institutions was a key factor in the decision to locate there, according to Mary Loeffler, executive director of people operations at KEMP Technologies.
KEMP has established partnerships with both the Limerick Institute of Technology and the University of Limerick (UL) and, to date, has hired 90pc of its work-experience students from these institutes.
“We’re looking for highly skilled, highly qualified individuals looking to bring the jobs back to Limerick,” said Loeffler.
Spreading the LoadMaster
Headquartered in New York City, KEMP is a software company established in 2000 that builds application delivery technology. With the growth of online data traffic worldwide, products such as KEMP’s load balancers help to prevent servers from crashing.
The company now operates out of seven offices worldwide, serving more than 15,000 clients ranging from small to medium-sized businesses and Fortune 1,000 enterprises, to remote enterprise branch offices, managed service providers and public-sector clients.
KEMP’s client list includes motoring giants Audi and Hyundai, England’s Football Association and, in Ireland, national broadcaster RTÉ uses KEMP’s LoadMaster software to distribute its digital television services.
In emerging markets, internet use is on track for exponential growth and KEMP’s Limerick team has already helped to expand operations into 55 countries, including Japan, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Having started with just three people in 2010, the Irish operation now employs 30, and will be recruiting for a further 50 high-end technology-based positions over the next three years.
The remit of the Limerick office is also going to expand, taking responsibility for software development, quality assurance, marketing and operations on a more global scale.
In just three years, the impact of the Irish branch is undeniable. Irishman Ray Downes, formerly the general manager of the EMEA office, was appointed CEO of the company in 2012, and Loeffler can list a number of key hires coming from the Limerick base.
Marguerite O’Grady was hired as an accountant three years ago and has since stepped in to fill the role of general manager following Downes’ appointment.
“We hired our very first inside sales representative three years ago and she is now running all of channel marketing and marketing programmes for EMEA. We hired our first customer support rep in EMEA and he is now running all of customer support for KEMP globally,” said Loeffler.
“Our head of global customer support has recently relocated from Limerick to the US so that he could manage and even grow our services further,” she added.
The type of person sought by Loeffler and her team lends himself or herself to this kind of progression.
“The type of character we’re looking for is someone who is very entrepreneurial, so much so that it’s a part of his or her core DNA,” she said. “We are a small but growing company so we are looking for individuals who can look outside of their role and who really want to provide input and value in other areas.”
The goal for KEMP Technologies now is to continue recruiting strong candidates out of Ireland. “We’re looking for anyone who loves to live and breathe networking infrastructure technology – whether you’re developing it, selling it, marketing it or supporting it in operations,” said Loeffler.
A version of this article appeared in The Sunday Times on 6 April