Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland tech firms make it onto list of fastest growing Irish companies

By Rachel Martin

Some of Northern Ireland's top tech giants and young innovative firms have made it on to a list of the fastest growing technology companies in Ireland.

The 11 companies - which include Newry-based international success story First Derivatives and first-time entrant Neueda - have made it on to the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards.

The gongs, which are now in their 16th year, ranks Ireland's fastest growing tech companies in a bid to recognise rising giants of the IT sector as well as smaller, rapidly expanding companies.

Firms from the software, hardware, communications, media and life sciences sectors were encouraged to apply, and those with the largest growth in turnover over the last four years make it to the list.

Among the 50 is Londonderry e-training provider Learning Pool. With over 13,000 members, the company, which was founded in 2006, has become the largest e-learning community in the UK.

Also included on the list is Antrim's

The e-commerce store was named Northern Ireland's fastest-growing start-up at the last year's Deloitte Technology Awards.

Other Northern Ireland firms to make the cut include Instil Software, Leaf Consultancy, an IT business which specialises in cloud technology, cloud solutions company Novosco, Neueda Consulting, automated tumour analysis firm Path XL Limited, price comparison engine Seopa, asset management and digital security company Seven Technologies, and digital solutions provider Tascomi.

Last year, the Fast 50 winners together generated approximately £250m in total annual revenues, with an average growth rate of 276%.

This year's awards include new five prizes for innovative technology, export, research and development, impact and the top leading female.

Brendan Monaghan's Belfast company Neueda, which has also made it on to the Fast 50, has been working with energy firms to streamline billing systems from metre to payment collection.

When the company was founded 10 years ago, its turnover was £1m.

But this year it is expected to turnover £12m.

The company has grown by an average of 30% each year but this is the first time it has entered the awards.

Brendan Monaghan said: "Getting on to the list is important for our staff to give them a boost that someone impartial outside of here thinks we are doing a good job

"It's also good for our customers because of the prestige attached to awards run by company like Deloitte."

The rankings of the companies on the list will be revealed at an awards night on November 13.

Cork-based company Inhance Technology took the top spot during last year's awards with a growth rate of 1481%.

The company developed an all-in-one solution that offers a range of features to make mobile devices secure and easier to support.

Previous winners of the awards also include Software Asset Management Ireland, Populis and PulseLearning.

Software consultancy looking outside province for clientele

Seeking customers outside Northern Ireland has been key to growing business for bosses at software development consultancy firm Instil. Today, 70% of the company's turnover is generated by overseas business.

The Belfast firm, which employs 20 people, provides support services such as mentoring and training to its clients which include global Fortune 500 firms Bell, Deloitte, Intel, and Visa.

Tara Simpson, chief executive at Instil explained that exporting had driven the business.

He said: "The majority of our customers are in Northern Ireland but they generate a small percentage of our turnover, while a small number of overseas customers with larger projects account for a much larger percentage of our turnover.

"Here customers expect much more for what they are paying while elsewhere we are considered good value for money."

Investment in education is key for industry, says chief

The boss of First Derivatives has said investing in education is key to keeping Northern Ireland's tech industry ahead.

The Newry-based financial software firm made it on to the Deloitte Fast 50 for the 16th year running. The company sets itself a target to grow by 20% each year, a feat which gets harder the larger the workforce gets.

Last year, First Derivatives created 484 new jobs making it Northern Ireland's largest listed company.

Chief operations officer Adrian Toner explained that working with universities helped to find talented and motivated young people, and as a result the company takes on 200 graduates every year.

The company was founded 20 years ago by Brian Conlon, winner of the 2015 personality of the year award at the Belfast Telegraph Business.

Belfast Telegraph