independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Adrian Weckler: Ireland is 'easily the best place' to invest – IT chief

BILLIONAIRE technology entrepreneur Elon Musk has given Enda Kenny advice on how get more Irish back to work – scrap university fees

The man behind PayPal, electric car company Tesla and space explorers SpaceX advised the Taoiseach to make it easier for people to study engineering here.

"For technological companies, you need engineers," the 42-year-old told the Taoiseach at Web Summit in the RDS.

"Maybe engineering could be free of tuition (fees). They've got to stay in Ireland. They can't just bail," he said of graduates.

South African-born Mr Musk offered his wisdom to Mr Kenny during the closing ceremony of the two-day event.

Yesterday, a number of technology companies said they were planning to set up facilities in Ireland after being impressed with our pool of talent.

The chief executive of one of the world's best-known app companies, Evernote, confirmed that he is seeking to set up an international base in Ireland after attending the fourth annual Web Summit.

Evernote CEO Phil Libin told the Irish Independent he was "looking to get the best engineers for our next office" and that Dublin was top of his list.

Evernote has recently expanded its range of services to include a line of physical computing devices and Mr Libin is currently in discussions with the IDA over supporting a new base here.

"Dublin is one of the major technology centres of the world now," he said. "There are people from all over the world coming here for opportunity."

Mr Libin's remarks come after online shopping company Gilt announced a new investment in its Dublin facility that is expected to result in 45 engineering jobs over two years.

On Wednesday, 10 technology firms announced more than 350 new jobs in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.

Mr Libin's sentiments were echoed by the co-founder of global online ad firm Double- Click and database firm MongoDB, Dwight Merriman.

"I can see a lot more companies moving here," he said. "We spent a lot of time looking at where to set up our European headquarters. Ireland was easily the best place."

MongoDB established a European base in Dublin earlier this year and plans to employ 60 people.

Meanwhile, one of the companies that has set up its European base in Dublin has said the city won out over London because of superior talent and organisation.

"Among global tech companies, it really comes down to London or Dublin," said Sam Chandler, founder and chief executive of Nitro, an online document company, which is to create 30 jobs in Dublin.

"And Dublin is far, far better organised than London for companies establishing a base in Europe. For one thing, you have a massive talent base here. For another, the IDA makes it very easy."

Mr Chandler said that taxation considerations did not enter the equation for Nitro.

"You could double the tax rate and we still would have set up here," he said, adding: "For small- to mid-sized companies like Nitro, getting the right talent is by far the most important consideration."

Irish Independent

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