Sparks of genius – DataHug and the social selling revolution

12 Sep 2012

DataHug's Connor Murphy at last year's Dublin Web Summit

In a novel way of reminding Irish start-ups that the Dublin Web Summit and ElectricIreland Spark of Genius Competition closes for entry this Friday, we talked to a previous winner DataHug, which is making global waves in the cloud and social-selling space.

DataHug was the 2011 winner of the Spark of Genius competition at the Dublin Web Summit. A year later, at the Web Summit last October, the relationship management company headed by Connor Murphy secured a US$1.5m investment in seed funding to boost its customer acquisition and product development.

The investment was led by Oyster Technology Investments, which includes Ron Conway, an early investor in Twitter, Google and PayPal.

DataHug’s founders Connor Murphy and Ray Smith answer our questions:

What has changed for you in the time since you won the Spark of Genius competition at the Dublin Web Summit?

We have grown significantly in terms of number of employees, clients and global presence. The exposure we got from winning the Spark of Genius helped us launch onto the international scene.

Can you describe the traction your product/technology is receiving in the marketplace and the investment that you’ve taken aboard?

DataHug helps companies win business and sell more. We now manage over 20m relationships on a daily basis for clients ranging from private-equity firms to some of the largest global advisory and sales organisations in the world.

To date we have been funded by Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway and a number of private Irish investors.

Has the Irish start-up landscape changed for the better or worse in the past year and from your perspective what areas need greater support/focus?

The Irish start-up landscape has exploded over the past few years. The support for start-ups is great and the increase in the number of young innovative enterprises has to be good for the country.

Mentorship for young companies is vital and this should continue to be supported by all agencies that support start-ups.

What in your opinion are the key technological trends/shifts that will impact both on your business in the coming years and the overall shape of the connected economy?

Enterprises’ adoption of cloud-based technologies has had a massive positive effect on the speed of DataHug’s expansion. The rapid advancement of social selling is also another key trend that enterprises are capitalising on across the board.

Companies find that DataHug helps this by increasing their network, opening doors and speeding up their sales cycles.

Entries for the Spark of Genius competition will close this Friday, 14 September. The winners will be announced at the end of the Dublin Web Summit on 18 October. Finalists will be chosen in the coming weeks and will get a chance to pitch to compete for a prize fund worth more than €100,000.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years