Thursday 18 January 2018

The Punt: Little at large

Mark Little is honoured at the launch of the eircom Elevation Fast Company Awards 2015
Mark Little is honoured at the launch of the eircom Elevation Fast Company Awards 2015

The eircom Elevation Fast Company Awards officially opened for entries last night, at an event timed to coincide with the launch of the Business & Finance Elevation Fast 100 digital magazine at Dublin's swish Marker Hotel.

Storyful founder Mark Little was the guest of honour, and the emphasis was on celebrating the success of Ireland's most innovative companies.

Eavann Murphy, chief commercial officer at eircom Business Solutions, and Ian Hyland of Business and Finance encouraged businesses to enter this year's awards, which cover a number of categories and are open to growing, Irish-registered companies that can demonstrate their achievements across core areas including concept, innovation, revenue growth, market share, scalability and profitability.

Google search for cost cuts?

If anyone looks at a list of the most desirable companies to work for, there is a good chance Google will be at the top of the list.

The company is renowned for the conditions it provides for workers. From top quality food to bean bags to gyms, medical services and massages, just about everything a young professional needs is available in-house and free of charge.

But could that be about to change? Google's new chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, below, has instigated a review of the company's costs and is looking at everything from external costs to accounting practices to head count.

It's no coincidence that at the same time as the review is being carried out, Google hired the fewest number of new staff since 2013.

Porat is a Wall Street veteran, and was renowned as a cost cutter at Morgan Stanley where she worked before moving to Google. There is no suggestion that Google is going to start laying off swathes of staff, but The Punt reckons there could be a cold wind blowing through Grand Canal Dock in Dublin over the next few months, where Google employs more than 2,500 people.

The gourmet food and the shiatsu massages may be about to be rolled back a little bit.

Sugru opens door to future

Having just raised £3.5m (€4.9m) via a crowdfunding campaign, the company behind mouldable glue Sugru has probably boosted the hopes of many small companies.

Co-founded by Kilkenny woman Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh, the firm behind Sugru - UK-based FormFormForm - had set its fundraising target at £1m. Ni Dhulchaointigh told The Punt this week that this figure was reached within four days of the crowdfunding scheme kicking off.

She said the company has raised funds via more traditional means in the past, but she wanted to let the customers who've spread the word about the innovative product to take a stake in its continuing success.

Culturally, she said the crowdfunding process was a good fit. But Ni Dhulchaointigh remains a hard-nosed businesswoman. Sugru has made significant in-roads in the US with major retailers, but she's conscious that to eventually reach a new level of sales penetration and growth, the firm may have to team up with multinationals or other strong partners.

"We're open to how we do it," she told The Punt. She and other co-founders retain close to 50pc of the firm following the latest fundraising round.

Irish Independent

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