Phoenix: A new Irish tech recruiter takes flight

22 Aug 2022

Ed Rossiter, founder and co-CEO, Phoenix. Image: Kieran Ryan-Benson

Ed Rossiter is taking Phoenix recruitment international via the cloud.

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“Phoenix was created to address the weaknesses in traditional recruitment,” said Ed Rossiter. This traditional model, he said, is “a transaction-focused, non-consultative, inconsistent experience”. Which gave him the inspiration he needed to found a “new, modern recruitment agency”.

Phoenix is a “fully digital recruitment service”, Rossiter said. “From our inception, we have consistently invested in the latest technology that allows us to deliver key hiring projects for our clients across the globe.”

Achieving this global reach as an Irish start-up means Phoenix is often working with clients in locations where it doesn’t yet have a physical presence. The tech is a workaround for that. “Our tech stack is fully cloud-based, fully mobile and can be accessed by our consultants anywhere in the world,” Rossiter explained.

With operations almost entirely digitised, Phoenix generates data it can then put to use. “We use a specialist data analytics platform to provide real-time insights to all our staff to ensure they are using their time in the most efficient and effective way, which results in more time spent building relationships with our clients and candidates,” said Rossiter.

The other advantage to being a cloud-based recruitment firm is that scaling – internationally or otherwise – can happen quickly. Founded in 2018, the team now numbers 40 people with offices in Dublin, Limerick and London.

“We’re launching our first US office at the end of the year,” Rossiter promised. “We are ambitious and will continue to scale rapidly, aiming to be a team of 250 people by 2025,” he added.

And that’s why Rossiter claims Phoenix is “Ireland’s fastest-growing recruitment brand”.

“Despite the impact of Covid 19, we managed to defy market trends,” he said.

Phoenix announced a €1m funding round this summer to further this growth. “We were lucky enough when initially establishing Phoenix to have an investor that allowed us to grow and this same investor is now backing us again having seen our growth,” said Rossiter.

‘The funding landscape has certainly tightened in the past few months’

As well as embedding tech into the service, Phoenix targets its recruitment offering at tech and fintech companies, as well as financial and professional services, and counts four Irish unicorns among its client base.

Rossiter gets regular contact with these start-up leaders through Talent Talks, a podcast he hosts which asks founders and CEOs to share their insights on the Irish employment market. He also had the advantage of founding the business on the back of his own experience in professional services and recruitment at multinationals such as Morgan McKinley and BDO.

“Many of our senior leaders in the business are professionally qualified,” said Rossiter, citing his co-CEO Ruth Lyndon in particular. Lyndon is a qualified solicitor who also has Morgan McKinley on her CV. “We are a recruitment agency with an elevated level of service that isn’t often seen in this sector, thanks to these qualifications,” Rossiter enthused.

He and Lyndon are joined at the head of the company by director David Harrington, who specialises in accounting, finance, legal and tax.

One of the challenges the Phoenix leadership faced in their early days was leading a new team through a global crisis. “Creating a collaborative and energetic culture has been difficult at times due to Covid restrictions,” said Rossiter. “However, we are glad to be back in all our offices on a hybrid basis.”

More recently, Rossiter sees the tightening of purse strings as a new challenge to overcome. But he remains hopeful.

“Up to May of this year, investment, and capital in general, was readily available for many ambitious start-ups,” he said.

“This landscape has certainly tightened in the past few months, but we expect this to relax again over the coming 12 months. There is still a lot of capital in the market which is yet to be deployed by VC funds and lenders, although we would anticipate valuations will be a lot lower compared to what we have seen in the past 12 or 18 months.”

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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.