Ireland’s Flipdish named one of Europe’s hottest scale-ups

1 Oct 2021

Flipdish co-founders Conor and James McCarthy. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

The Dublin-based food ordering start-up came first in Ireland and fourth in Europe on Tech5’s latest list, which ranks scale-ups based on growth and potential.

Tech5, a European network of tech founders, has announced its 2021 list of ‘hottest scale-ups’ and Ireland’s Flipdish has secured fourth position.

Now in its eighth year, Tech5 lists European scale-ups based on their performance and potential. A panel of judges including investors, influencers and tech experts examine the companies’ growth, milestones, fundraising and potential to disrupt.

The top five start-ups from each country in Europe are listed on tech website The Next Web (TNW), which organises conferences on new technologies and start-ups in Europe.

Dublin-based food ordering tech start-up Flipdish bagged the top spot in the Ireland ranking, coming ahead of ApisProtect, Manna, Buymie and Circuit.

“This year’s Tech5 class shows what is great about business. Despite the challenges of the past few years, European innovators can’t be slowed,” TNW co-founder Patrick de Laive said.

“There have been some truly inspiring organisations emerge and do great things and not just in a business sense – which is what Tech5 is all about. We’re here to celebrate growth, innovation and new ideas, to show the world that Europe is fertile ground for start-ups and scale-ups.”

The overall hottest start-up in Europe this year was UK-based virtual events platform Hopin. Valued at $7.75bn, the start-up raised $450m in Series D funding in August – mere months after a similarly significant Series C round in March.

‘Right tech at the right time’

Fourth on the list was Flipdish, which was founded in 2015 by brothers Conor and James McCarthy to help independent eateries take control of their digital business. A major driver behind Flipdish’s growth is restaurant owners bringing their online ordering capability in-house, rather than relying on delivery players such as Just Eat and Deliveroo.

“We’re delighted to be recognised in the Tech5 awards,” Flipdish co-founder and CEO James McCarthy said.

“It’s been a big year for Flipdish and this is a pivotal moment to totally transform the hospitality sector for the better with technology. It’s all about restaurant, pub and hotel owners implementing the right technology for their business at the right time.

“We’re really excited about the growth of our QR code table ordering product and the success it’s driving for our customers as contactless ordering becomes the norm in the hospitality industry.”

Earlier this year, Flipdish raised €40m in funding from investment firm Tiger Global Management. At the end of last year, it announced 300 jobs in Ireland to meet pandemic-driven demand for food orders.

In an interview with last year, Conor McCarthy said it was hard to get customers to believe in Flipdish at the beginning of its journey. “We were unproven and therefore a risky choice in their eyes, but we were very confident that our product and approach would deliver significant ROI,” he said.

In 2019, the company expanded its product offering to include self-service kiosks and in June 2020 it rolled out a table ordering system for restaurants that were reopening after initial pandemic restrictions.

To be eligible to feature on the Tech5 list, companies must be founded after 2015 and have their headquarters in Europe.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic