Two start-ups led by Irish founders, Intercom and Stripe, have featured in Mary Meeker’s influential Internet Trends report for breaking down complexity in the areas of customer relationship management and e-commerce respectively.
Meeker, a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, became known as the ‘Queen of the Net’ based on a Barron’s Magazine piece in 1998 and last year was listed as the 77th most powerful woman in the world.
While working at Morgan Stanley she published The Internet Report, which became the bible for investors before and after the dot-com boom.
Initially vilified in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble bursting, Meeker has been credited with seeing the bigger picture and her insights now carry considerable weight.
Tackling business pain points – the near future of enterprise computing
According to Meeker’s latest Internet Trends 2015 report we are in an era where new business tools are emerging that are removing the complexity from vital business tasks.
These new apps are reducing many tasks down to one task and in fact are re-imagining enterprise computing as we know it and are tackling company pain points
These can be seen in the form of DocuSign for secure signatures; Slack for business communications beyond email; Square for point-of-sale payments; Domo for the sharing of data at meetings; online HR management via Zenefits; Anaplan for business forecasting without complex Excel spreadsheets, Gainsight for customer retention and customer interaction via Directly.
Stripe, the Silicon Valley start-up headed by the Collison brothers from Limerick, came in for special mention by Meeker for transforming e-commerce. Instead of a complex e-commerce system, businesses using Stripe can dramatically reduce payment integration time for developers and allow them to take advantage of modern APIs compared with the time it takes to deploy a traditional merchant account.
Patrick and John Collison were recently listed in the Forbes top 30 under 30 people in tech. They formed a start-up called Shuppa in 2007, which later became known as Auctomatic, attracted funding from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Y Combinator, and was acquired just a year later by Canadian firm Live Current Media for $5m (€3.2m) when the brothers were just 17 and 19, respectively.
Stripe, an online payments engine that simplifies the purchase of content and goods on websites, raised its first round of funding of US$2m in March 2011 from investment veterans Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Sequoia Capital and Andreesen Horowitz. This was followed by a further funding round of US$18m in February 2012 by Sequoia Capital that at the time valued their company at US$100m. In December Stripe raised a further US$70m from new investor Thrive Capital, along with existing investors Sequoia Capital, Founders Fund, General Catalyst and Khosla Ventures, valuing Stripe at US$3.5bn.
Dublin-headquartered Intercom – a self-described “Silicon Valley outsider” — was mentioned by Meeker for transforming the relationship between businesses and customers online. Instead of complex ways to talk to customers, businesses can chat inside an app with Intercom.
She said in-app messages can be more engaging – based on reply rates – than traditional email marketing products.
Last year Intercom raised US$23m in a Series B investment that will bring the company’s headcount to more than 100 people.
The company was founded by Eoghan McCabe, Des Traynor, David Barrett and Ciaran Lee.
CEO Eoghan McCabe has said the company harbours ambitions to be a US$1bn business.