Wednesday 19 June 2019

Annrai O'Toole

SHANE ROSS

ANNRAI O'Toole has fitted an awful lot into his 43 years. He first came to public attention when, as a TCD lecturer, he joined Chris Horn and other Trinity College entrepreneurs to set up a campus company with the now familiar name of Iona Technologies. Iona, possibly Ireland's most successful dotcom venture, hit the stock market with a bang in 1997, rocketed in value and came down to earth with a thud as the high-tech rage went out of fashion.

The Iona founders' talent was well recognised by the stock market; but in 2000, Annrai headed off to do his own thing, starting up another dotcom business, Cape Clear, a specialist middleware vendor. Operating in similar space to Iona, he raised enough US venture capital for Cape Clear to capture new territory, shrewdly targeting a more conservative landscape which ultimately led to consolidation -- the current trend in the high-tech world.

The success of Annrai and his team at Cape Clear came to fruition just a few weeks ago. A deal was struck with US high-flying company,Workday. Cape Clear became a unit of the larger group. Annrai received a chunk of Workday stock for his stake in Cape Clear and has happily become a member of Workday's executive team.

The US company opens up exciting new possibilities for O'Toole. Its founder, Dave Duffield, left PeopleSoft after it was taken over by global giant, Oracle. But Duffield carries ambitions to build Workday into an equally large software company to rival Oracle itself. O'Toole is now a key member of an enterprising international team in a company already employing 200 people.

O'Toole lives in Ireland, although Workday's headquarters are in east San Francisco. He shuns the limelight, reads voraciously, enjoys gardening and a family life with three young children.

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