Friday 20 April 2018

Irish jobs boost at US unicorn Qualtrics

Ryan Smith, founder and chief executive of Qualtrics
Ryan Smith, founder and chief executive of Qualtrics

Gretchen Friemann

Fast-growing technology firm Qualtrics has pledged to employ "hundreds more people" at its European headquarters in Dublin following a fresh $180m equity injection from its private-equity backers.

The corporate research software company, founded 15 years ago in Utah by brothers Ryan and Jared Smith, first set up in Ireland in 2013. It now employs over 250 people at its offices near St Stephen's Green.

This latest funding round takes Qualtrics' valuation to $2.5bn and is likely to fuel hopes of a stockmarket debut later this year as investors clamour for a larger pipeline of tech IPOs. CEO Ryan Smith has made no secret of the company's desire for a tilt at the boards, but talking to the Irish Independent he declined to give any clarity around the timing of a float.

"We are really focused on the post IPO years," he said, arguing it was important to ensure "you are set up for that acceleration".

Smith pointed out Qualtrics remained majority-owned by its founders and staff but said this latest investment was led by Insight Venture Capital and Accel Partners with additional capital provided by Sequoia Capital.

The appointment to the board of Murray Demo - chief financial officer to the Australian tech darling Atlassian, which debuted on the New York stock exchange in December 2015 and has since shot up in valuation - is likely to add further grist to the IPO rumour mill. Qualtrics landed another high-profile director last year with the addition of Kim Scott, a former Apple and Google executive.

Smith declined to give precise numbers on the scale of the recruitment drive in Dublin, but said the company had already exceeded its target of employing 250 people in the capital. Qualtrics fund raising news follows the launch of its XM Platform, which groups the four core experiences of businesses - customer, employee, product and brand experience,

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