Why Dublin is the Silicon Valley of Europe

The Boardroom

by Duncan MacRae| 11 February 2014

And why one startup chose it over London.

Dublin has been dubbed the Silicon Valley of Europe by a company that opened its EMEA headquarters in the city in January.

Nitro, a provider of document productivity and workflow solutions, founded in Australia and with a headquarters in San Francisco, officially opened its Dublin office in the first week of 2014 and expects to have more than 100 members of staff onboard within the next 18 months.

The company's founder and CEO, Sam Chandler, told CBR that he had made a straight choice between Dublin and London, with the Emerald Isle's city coming out on top - a decision he explained has nothing to do with tax incentives.

"It's certainly the Silicon Valley of Europe," he commented. "No disrespect to London, which has a vibrant little startup ecosystem. But it's staggering how quickly the startup economy has bloomed in Dublin and it's quite a recent thing. It's happened in the past couple of years even though there's a pedigree and history that goes back decades.

"And it's not about the tax thing, for the simple, glaring, obvious fact that for startups none of us are trying to be profitable until we're at scale. In other words, tax breaks mean absolutely nothing for a number of years and most start-ups don't think that way. You're thinking about surviving this month, this quarter or this year. You're not thinking about how much tax you'll pay in 2018.

The real reason that technology firms are setting up in Dublin is because of talent, Chandler said.

"There's a pool of tens of thousands of highly skilled workers in Dublin to pull from - many of whom have already been working for west coast start-ups in their EMEA operations. We evaluated London and Dublin side by side but we ended up being more convinced by Dublin.

"The red carpet was really rolled out for us in Ireland and they made it very easy for us to get established. It was four months for us from our first visit, to opening the office with staff hired."

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