NewBay sets Tech 50 pace

 

In an ongoing series looking at Irish technology companies most likely to succeed, the Dublin software firm impresses, writes JOHN COLLINS

NEWBAY, THE Dublin software firm which enables mobile operators to provide social media capabilities, has emerged as Ireland’s most valuable private technology company in a new ranking published by The Irish Times.

Working in association with YouNoodle, a Silicon Valley firm that tracks the progress of start-up companies globally, we have produced The Irish Times Tech 50, a ranking of technology and web-focused businesses according to their valuation and how likely they are to succeed.

NewBay, which includes T-Mobile, Telefonica O2, Vodafone, Orange and France Telecom on its customer list, emerged as the strongest Irish company in the sector with a score of 81 out of a possible 100. It has a range of software that it sells to these operators which allows them to provide various services such as publishing blogs and photo albums, accessing social networks and backing up contents – all of which help drive up revenues to users.

In October, NewBay announced that there are now more than 10 million subscribers using its LifeCache Social Networking solution, which allows interaction from a handset with a range of social networks including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and Bebo.

Founded in 2002 and headed up by former Baltimore Technologies executive Paddy Holohan, the company has been backed by British venture capital firms Fidelity Ventures and Balderton.

Having enjoyed strong growth in recent years – growing more than 1,500 per cent in the last five years according to consultants Deloitte – the company now employs more than 200 staff at offices in Dublin, the US, Britain and Germany.

Web Reservations International achieved a score of 76, which places it in second position. The company behind hostels.com, hostelworld.com and boo.com will not feature in future versions of the Tech 50 as it was acquired last month by San Francisco private equity firm Hellman and Friedman in a deal valued at more than $200 million (€133 million). As well as excluding businesses that have been acquired or floated on the stock market, companies more than 10 years in business are excluded.

One of the main beneficiaries of the WRI sale was co-founder Ray Nolan, who now ranks among Ireland’s most successful serial technology entrepreneurs. Nolan’s latest venture, Worky.com, a recruitment-focused social website, also features in our listing with a ranking of 22. Considering it only launched in May, it suggests a bright future for the firm.

With a score of 74, Globoforce, which operates employee reward schemes for large companies, secured third place.

According to the YouNoodle rankings, NewBay, WRI and Globoforce are the most valuable in the technology and web space and the ones most ready for a successful exit, either through a trade sale or flotation on a recognised stock exchange.

California-based YouNoodle (www.younoodle.com) tracks the progress of technology start-ups globally. Each day it pulls more than 200,000 news stories into its database which are automatically analysed to extract information such as growth in staff numbers, new customers or funding. YouNoodle also tracks traffic to websites and gives additional points for news coverage based on the influence of the publication.

YouNoodle then applies its own algorithms to the data to come up with a score out of 100 which is proportional to the company’s valuation.

The index is not definitive, as it is based on publicly available information. Some companies, particularly early-stage ones that are in “stealth mode”, prefer to keep details of their employee numbers, funding and other relevant facts private. But unlike other rankings of the sector, the Tech 50 looks at a range of factors relating to a business and not just one objective criteria.

An interactive version of the Tech 50 will be available online today at irishtimes.com/business/tech50/. That page will be updated on a weekly basis while we will revisit the ranking in these pages on a regular basis to see how the listed companies are progressing.