Sunday 18 March 2018

Datahug paves the way in the technology revolution

From left, Ray Smith and Connor Murphy of Datahug. Photo: Conor Healy
From left, Ray Smith and Connor Murphy of Datahug. Photo: Conor Healy
Brendan Foster
Oliver O'Connor
Kevin Foley

ONE of the most successful firms to emerge from Ireland's technology start-up revolution, Datahug uses everyday communications to translate a company's relationships with their clients, and with potential clients, into a bottom line profit.

Founded in Dublin in 2010, Datahug is the brainchild of Dubliner Ray Smith, an Electronic Engineering graduate of UCD, and Connor Murphy from Cork who left behind a promising career in Washington DC to set up this software company. Datahug now employs 35 people with operations in Dublin and New York, recently adding Kieran Carrick to the team as VP of worldwide sales.

Datahug's technology works by mining a company's existing communication assets; emails, contacts, calendar data, social media, etc, to generate a company-wide view of "who knows who". The platform then attributes a searchable 'HugRank' score to show how well they know them.

Datahug is expanding into the European and US markets. The company has a significant presence in Europe, counting Goetz Partners, Balderton Capital, CPL and Torch Partners among its customers. Stateside, Datahug has also secured high-profile customers.

To date, Datahug has raised around $5m (€3.69m). Investors include European venture capital firm DFJ Esprit and, with original seed funding of $1.5m (€1.11m) from Oyster Capital angel investor Ron Conway in May 2011.

Brendan Foster

Partner and head of business consulting & advisory, Grant Thornton

I have always had a keen interest in early-stage technology companies and we are delighted to say that we have been involved with Datahug from the outset, advising on the development of its business strategy for growth, identifying the key business drivers and formulating a workable business plan to meet the company's goals of identifying investors, raising capital, and growing their customer base.

Targeting organisations that are early adopters of technology, organisations that realise the value Datahug can bring, was a key strategic move by the company in the early days. This led to some of the more technology literate organisations becoming early adopters of Datahug's technology. As Datahug remains on a determined growth strategy, we continue to provide comprehensive advice on business strategy and performance management to achieve that. Grant Thornton, as a global firm, is well-placed to offer such consultancy, given our extensive expertise in working with technology-focused clients all over the world.

Oliver O'Connor

Head of business development, Grant Thornton

For a company like Datahug, with its plans for multinational expansion, the structure of the organisation is integral to its future success. We worked closely with the founders to develop a structure that would allow for ease of expansion internationally and fluidity of movement as the company grew. Grant Thornton saw the value in Datahug at an early stage and we were early adopters of the technology and its use in our own relationship-based business. We continue to be strong advocates and the software is now used in other Grant Thornton offices globally.

We have, and continue to, work with the company to ensure that key staff are appropriately remunerated and that the employee incentive schemes are optimised to assist the business as it moves, at a pace, to the next level. Regular communication and meetings with the key stakeholders in the business has ensured that we are up-to-date with the company's plans and thought processes and are able to adapt our recommendations to best suit the company's needs and wants.

Kevin Foley

Director and head of start-ups, Grant Thornton

While the Datahug team is focused on developing and growing their business, they also realise the importance of strong financial controls and performance measurement in supporting that continued growth.

Our team at Grant Thornton supports businesses, across multiple sectors, in developing the appropriate financial controls required to operate, and expand, in today's demanding and fast-paced business environment.

Appropriate financial control procedures and suitable performance measurement tools allow for efficient management of the business, an efficient audit process and a reduced risk of adjusting items in a due diligence process, whether that be for capital raising or the potential sale of the business.

Our unparalleled experience advising businesses across industry sectors and at various stages of the business life cycle, allows us to provide a more balanced approach in our advisory role.

Sunday Indo Business

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