Personio CEO Hanno Renner spoke to Siliconrepublic.com about the company’s plans in Ireland and the importance of attracting tech talent.
HR SaaS company Personio began in Germany in 2015 but has been steadily expanding its European presence over the last number of years, including in Ireland.
It announced plans to launch in Ireland and the UK in January 2020 following a $75m round of funding.
Speaking to Siliconrepublic.com, the company’s CEO and co-founder, Hanno Renner, said that with plans to expand its HR platform within Europe, the team quickly realised it needed to open offices beyond Munich and Madrid.
“When we objectively looked at the European landscape, we felt that Dublin was a great location to find and grow a lot of amazing talent given the strong tech scene that’s there already,” he said.
The company opened a base in Ireland last year and its Dublin team is headed up by the company’s chief revenue officer, Geraldine MacCarthy, who was formerly the lead for Dropbox Business in EMEA.
At the beginning of 2021, Personio announced plans to create 140 new jobs this year, growing its Dublin headcount from a figure of 40 at the time. The company now has 120 people in Ireland and has plans to grow even further.
“We’ll be growing to 200 by the end of the year,” said Renner. “This office is big enough for 250 people.”
He added that the company is also looking for an even bigger space as it plans to reach between 500 and 600 people in Dublin in the medium term.
‘I believe there’s no reason why the next big technology champions can’t come from Europe’
– HANNO RENNER
For those looking to work at Personio, Renner said the biggest areas the company is recruiting in are product and engineering.
“Everything from product managers, designers and engineers, but also on the go-to-market side, great marketeers, sales, personnel, strategy, so really a broad mix of roles.”
With the upheaval of the way we work over the last 18 months, Renner also revealed the company’s new working model post-pandemic, which aims to give employees flexibility about where they want to work – whether that’s in the office, at home or even extended vacation.
“That being said, we will continue to invest heavily into offices and to create offices to collaborate, to come together,” he added.
“People do want to come together as well, they do want to spend time together as well, it’s just they do enjoy the flexibility they’ve had.”
Tech talent in Europe
As the co-founder of a start-up grown in Germany, Renner is familiar with the boom in the European tech sector.
While he believes that companies once needed to be in the US in order to truly compete on a global stage, he said that is no longer the case, particularly when it comes to SMEs.
“When we think about the marketisation of software and the ability to bring modern, easy-to-use, fast-to-implement and affordable software into those SMEs, that’s what we’re see is a huge trend right now,” he said.
“I believe there’s no reason why the next big technology champions can’t come from Europe.”
Two examples he mentioned were Sweden-founded Spotify, which has become a household name for music streaming, and UiPath, the Romania-founded company that has become a global leader in robotic process automation.
‘In order to build great companies, you need great talent’
– HANNO RENNER
Renner said the distribution of talent and capital, particularly in the last 18 months with the pandemic, will see the growth of European start-ups accelerate even further.
“We don’t just want to have a European tech scene with a couple of innovative start-ups, we really want to build large, enduring players that can shape technology globally.”
He noted that for this to happen, policy changes that will be important in fuelling this growth, such as visas to attract talent and enable people to move around the continent.
He also talked about the importance of stock offerings for employees. “Personio offers shares to every employee in the business but, given the differing legislation in different countries, it’s not as easy as it could be and should be,” he said.
“We’ve always preached that people are the single most important success factor of any business. Hence, in order to build great companies, you need great talent and you need the ability to attract them globally, but also incentivise them the right way and give them the flexibility to move around.”
He added that there are a couple of other aspects that need to be considered when it comes to making Europe one homogenous market where companies can grow, but “it really starts with the talent”.