Wednesday 18 September 2019

Sligo still a dream a year on!

Ciara Galvin

Co-founder of Australian tech business LiveTiles, Karl Redenbach believes his company can change the world and make workers happier.

Now, one year on from establishing the company's European office in Sligo, the passionate techie said it was a no brainer to set up operations in the North West.

"We are one of the pioneers who is saying we just don't have to be in a big city," he tells The Sligo Champion from the company's base at Sligo IT's Business Innovation Centre.

LiveTiles, set up by Redenbach and Peter Nguyen-Brown creates platforms allowing employees to engage better with software, communicate better as a whole and promote happier and healthier workplaces.

Looking at setting up a European operation two years ago, a chance conversation with the father of his daughter's friend, who just so happened to be Irish, got Karl thinking about Ireland as a possible contender.

"We were setting up a European operation and looking at Switzerland. We had some pretty compelling reasons why that would be a good European base."

After some convincing the LiveTile founders met with a team from the IDA.

"We were in Dublin first and we were thinking Dublin, that's where everybody thinks."

Soon though, the founders began to consider their options.

"We've had an office in Hobart (Tazmania), Richland (Washington) and those offices had been great for us because we've had our development stay 100% loyal, had full retention, we've had happier people and I feel people have chosen to live in Hobart and Richland because of the lifestyle, not living in a big city."

He adds, "I find people like this aren't just trying to climb a career ladder or jump from place to place."

After discussions with the IDA about their other locations around the world, which include a HQ in New York and regional sites in the U.S and Tazmania, Sligo was pitched.

"We went to Strandhill and it immediately reminded me of Hobart...The very first organisation we met here were Sligo IT and we found they were working with great Microsoft products and they had some great people which will grow our teams out here, that was one reason," explains the Melbourne native.

The company owner cites Ireland's education system as a another big factor in its decision to have a base here.

"The education base of people in Ireland is incredble and I think that's down to your education system. Obviously the other advantage is, when you're a start-up you think how do we not have to pay San Francisco prices, like $400,000 for a developer."

Though still in its infancy as a base in Sligo, LiveTiles has an ever-growing team of 16 and expansion of a workforce in Sligo is something Redenbach believes will happen sooner rather than later.

"There's a housing crisis in Dublin and what about all these other locations, we've got the same talent, it's just not as expensive and they're [employees] are more loyal."

He continues: "I think there's huge opportunity for us to leverage this."

Redenbach praises Sligo IT for its help and curriculum with a view to linking up with future graduates.

"What excited us about Sligo IT was that they have a human user interaction department curriculum which is not just about coding, it's about how people work with technology."

Growing 200% year-on-year, Karl sees a bright future for LiveTiles and is committed that Sligo will play a big role in its rise to the top.

Sligo Champion