Business Irish

Sunday 17 February 2019

'We dodged the bullet by choosing Dublin, not London' - Wrike EMEA chief sees Brexit as an opportunity to attract more talent

Patricia DuChene of Wrike in the Dublin office Picture: Gerry Mooney
Patricia DuChene of Wrike in the Dublin office Picture: Gerry Mooney
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

US online software firm Wrike is counting its blessings that it chose Dublin as its EMEA headquarters almost four years ago, and prepares to reap the rewards it expects Brexit will bring.

Founded in 2006, the Silicon Valley-based firm first set up a hub in Ireland in June 2015, but the chosen location might well have been London or Amsterdam.

"When we were first deciding on where to set up in Europe, the draw was about who was already there and where could we pull from; there was just a better match in Dublin," Vice President of Sales and General Manager of EMEA Patricia DuChene told Independent.ie.

"The reality is that somehow we had the foresight to plan on Dublin and not on London which is where a lot of tech companies go. We're very happy we made that decision.

Wrike Dublin office Picture: Gerry Mooney
Wrike Dublin office Picture: Gerry Mooney

"With Brexit, there will obviously be some companies that will be migrating - to Dublin or to other parts of Ireland - but with them will come talent. Essentially, we dodged a bullet and look on it now as an opportunity for us.

"If anything I'm closely tracking the firms that are choosing to move here now to compare candidate pools, quite frankly to see what talent is coming in."

The rapid expansion of other tech giants in Dublin in recent months, including Google, Facebook, Amazon and WeWork, doesn't appear to intimate either.

Wrike officially opened its new Dublin office at Dartmouth House on Grand Parade (Zendesk's old digs) in December, the company's third EMEA HQ here, and is busy attracting the staff to fill the three-floor space.

Patricia DuChene of Wrike in the Dublin office Picture: Gerry Mooney
Patricia DuChene of Wrike in the Dublin office Picture: Gerry Mooney

"A good quote that sums up our position is "a rising tide lifts all ships" because I think that we've benefited greatly from all of our new and expanding neighbours," said DuChene.

"I'm looking at what companies and candidates to tell my recruiters to go and poach; we're constantly active in this area".

Over the last three years, Wrike has grown its total annual recurring revenue by 539pc from 2014 to 2017, earning a spot on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 in North America for the fourth consecutive year in 2018.

The collaborative work management platform is the partner of choice for 18,000 organisations, including Google, Tiffany's, Etsy and Jaguar and over two million users across 140 countries.

With currently 84 employees in Dublin, Wrike has increased its headcount here by 44pc in 2018, with plans to expand by at least another 50 people over the next three years.

But the question of housing is still a very real problem, particularly with the raft of new high-tech jobs announcements, but DuChene believes the solution is out there.

Wrike Dublin office Picture: Gerry Mooney
Wrike Dublin office Picture: Gerry Mooney

"2019 and 2020 have got to be the years where Dublin and the greater parts of Ireland will truly embrace diverse working schedules.

"Commuting is just going to be something that people simply can't manage any more. Remote working is going to have to be something that people just get comfortable with, and companies support.

"The whole 9-5 thing is going to end pretty soon. And by being more flexible it's actually giving you access to a much wider pool of talent, we cannot turn over another rock at this point."

Many firms pay lip service to establishing a balanced gender ratio in the workplace, but not all adhere to the recruitment policies put in place by Wrike, which ensures a male and female candidate make it to final round for every role.

In addition, the company's 'Women of Wrike' initiative (WoW) includes mentorship and training sessions to help support women in the industry.

"As the workforce gets bigger it gets more and more challenging to maintain a ratio but we can't lose our focus and then lose our ratio that we take so much pride in. Through our entire recruitment process, we've maintained a ratio anywhere from 40pc female to 60pc female.

"Once you have gender parity, the next step is checking where you have parity; is it at entry level or also at management level, where is it lacking and how do we level it out."

The official opening of the new Dublin office which can "spaciously fit 120 people, creatively fit 150" coincided with Wrike's first APAC headquarters in Melbourne, Australia and a new San Diego office.

Closing out 2018 with a partnership with Vista Equity Partners is expected to help Wrike realise one of their key objectives for 2019, which is to grow out the EMEA region.

"When Vista approached us, we were not thinking about moving in that direction (as oppose to a C funding round) but they came up with a really interesting proposal and their values around operational excellence matched really well with what we do. That partnership opens us a huge realm of what we can potentially do.

"The partnership gives us a tremendous amount of intelligence which we can obviously leverage and invest in new territories which are to be announced in the coming months."

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