Wednesday 22 November 2017

Hubspot boss says Brexit vote proves Dublin office was the right move

Hubspot co-founder Brian Halligan.
Hubspot co-founder Brian Halligan.
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

The head of one of the world's fastest growing technology firms says the Brexit debate shows he was right to set up operation in Dublin rather than London.

HubSpot co-founder Brian Halligan told the Irish Independent he is relieved he picked Dublin over London as a place to hire more than 300 people and locate the booming firm's European headquarters.

The Boston-based tech multinational had been mulling over both locations for major investment. But with the Brexit referendum getting too close to call, Ireland looks a whole lot more attractive to US companies now.

"One of the best decisions we've ever made has been to come to Ireland," he says from the firm's just-opened European headquarters on Dublin's north quays which is to house 300 new staff.

"It's awesome. We are the beneficiaries of some inspired policy and some real surprises in terms of people and product-building."

"If we had picked London, I would now be worried, yes," says Halligan, who is also a lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Today, if you want to put a headquarters in Europe and you're looking at London or Ireland, it [Brexit referendum] makes Ireland more attractive."

For Halligan, Brexit is just one of a long line of posititve factors associated with the Irish base.

With the EU referendum getting closer, Halligan says that picking London may have given the company cause for concern.

Recruitment, he says, is the lifeblood of the company's success. Ireland, like all booming markets, is now getting competitive when it comes to finding people.

"But EU membership opens things up so enough people from Europe can come in to fill in the gaps," he says. "For us, the first hundred people were Irish and the second hundred were still mostly Irish.

"But now that it's getting really competitive, we're seeing talented people from other countries coming in here. This is really good for Ireland. If Ireland can keep going the way it is, it really can be like Silicon Valley."

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