Friday 18 October 2019

Ex-Dragon O'Sullivan in $1bn Genesys role

Barry O'Sullivan. Photo: Aengus McMahon
Barry O'Sullivan. Photo: Aengus McMahon

Fearghal O'Connor

Former Dragon's Den star Barry O'Sullivan has taken charge of a $1bn division of US tech giant Genesys.

The company, which last year bought O'Sullivan's Galway-based Altocloud startup, has seen employee numbers at the Irish office rise tenfold to 200 since the acquisition.

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"It's a big challenge but very exciting and I'm really looking forward to it," said O'Sullivan of his new role.

At the time of the acquisition of Altocloud - a cloud-based customer journey analytics provider - O'Sullivan joined the board of the US firm, which is a world leader in customer contact systems with major clients such as Vodafone and Paypal.

O'Sullivan told the Sunday Independent there is "no upper limit" to how big the Galway office, which specialises in artificial intelligence, could get.

"It's really up to the team there in terms of execution. It's one of our key sites around the world. And, you know, we tend to invest in those key sites over time," he said.

O'Sullivan does not rule out a further Irish acquisition by the US firm.

"There is nothing imminent but definitely acquisitions are part of our overall building strategy and we're very in touch with the Irish startup scene," he said.

Since the acquisition, O'Sullivan had been involved in strategy at Genesys but had no role in the day-to-day running of the company. But new chief executive Tony Bates - a former CEO of Skype - has decided to split the company into two units, Genesys Cloud and Genesis Core. O'Sullivan is taking charge of Genesys Core, with responsibility for more than $1bn of revenue.

Key to his new role will be to oversee the development of cloud-based products for Genesys customers to allow them to utilise the type of artificial intelligence products that Altocloud specialised in for their own customer support functions.

O'Sullivan, who will be based in Galway, said he was not intimidated by the prospect of leading a billion-dollar division of a company.

"Well, I've led a division of this size before at Cisco and I have this great team to plug into," he said.

So it's not scary. From my point of view, probably starting a company from scratch, like Altocloud, was a lot more scary."

O'Sullivan has previously talked about how Galway can become a hub for the artificial intelligence sector and said his appointment and the growth of the Galway office was a vote of confidence in this.

"It's good for Galway to have one of the general managers based here but I'll be spending a lot of time in California, which means a lot of travelling," he said.

Sunday Indo Business

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