Thursday 29 June 2017

The Punt: €1bn Nextdoor for Ireland?

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Criona Ni Dhalaigh and Samantha Kelly, Social Media Summit Director
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Criona Ni Dhalaigh and Samantha Kelly, Social Media Summit Director

The Punt

Ireland has fast become a haven for all things tech. Cloud software firm Oracle was the latest in a string of multinationals that announced a major expansion of its Irish operations last week, saying it is going to hire 450 people.

However, sometimes the smaller companies tend to go ignored. Nextdoor is a company that most Irish people have never heard of, but it is making a name for itself in the US.

What sets the budding social media site apart from the pack is that it limits itself to your neighbourhood, meaning that you can only interact with close neighbours.

Last March the firm raised $110m in venture capital, valuing the company, which is only about four years old, at $1.1bn (€1bn).

Nextdoor recently announced that it is looking to move overseas and there are some suggestions that it could have its eyes on Ireland.

The Punt had a look around and noticed that there was a business quietly registered in the Companies Office in October called "Nextdoor EMEA". One of the directors listed is Wilson Chan, who also happens to be a Nextdoor employee.

When the Punt asked Nextdoor for a comment, it sent out a standard response, saying: "We are actively exploring several countries for expansion, and will make official announcements in this regard in 2016."

Watch this space.

Apple to face EU tax probe

The European Union's top antitrust official has vowed to push ahead with tax probes involving some of the world's biggest companies, including Apple's affairs in Ireland.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television Margrethe Vestager, who is investigating the tax arrangements of Apple and Amazon.com in Ireland and Luxembourg respectively, said her investigations should send "a signal that you should invest in Europe for the right reasons".

She was keen to emphasise the EU's other attributes such as access to its market of more than 500 million consumers or its research environment. She added that "very few businesses actually need" special tax treatment.

The EU must still rule on its probes into tax arrangements for Apple and Amazon after it struck down deals involving Starbucks and Fiat last year.

Dublin backs new Summit

It's always tough to get over a break-up, but after the mourning period has come and gone invariably you have to get on with your life.

It looks like the State is trying to do exactly that after its bust-up with the organisers of the Web Summit. After the very public and slightly embarrassing fallout over a range of issues, from WiFi to transport, the Web Summit upped sticks and moved to Lisbon.

Many wondered afterwards if another budding entrepreneur might look to fill the shoes left by Paddy Cosgrave and Daire Hickey. And a new start-up event, the 'Social Media Summit', is trying to do exactly that.

Backed by Dublin City Council, which the Punt understands has some skin in the game, the Summit will convene in Dublin's Helix venue over the first two days in March.

Founded by Tom Williams of Platinum Events and former TEDx speaker Samantha Kelly, pictured below with Lord Mayor of Dublin, Criona Ni Dhalaigh, it is billed as a gathering of "key influencers, leaders, investors and creators within the global social media community".

Although it is expecting to attract several hundred attendees in comparison with the thousands who flocked to the Web Summit, organisers are optimistic and pointed out Cosgrave's event started at a similar size.

Irish Independent

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