Austin Ryan & Jimmy Martin

The AMCS Group was founded in 2003 to supply software solutions and vehicle technology to the environmental and waste sectors.

Jimmy Martin and Austin Ryan founded the AMCS Group in 2003 to supply software solutions and vehicle technology to the environmental and waste sectors. Their software automates operations from end-to-end; from the tracking, emptying and weighing of waste containers through to monitoring loads at the weighbridge and producing accurate invoices. The company's software manages more than €3 billion in invoicing revenue for their customers on a yearly basis.

AMCS solutions also support recycling and waste management companies to improve their collection services offering by providing a range of fair pricing and payment options to choose from. The pay by weight and pay as you go options provide Irish households and businesses the incentive to increase their recycling rates.

A graduate of UL with a masters in software and computing, along with a first-class honours degree in maths and physics from TCD, Martin worked with Analog Devices in Limerick for 10 years, before setting up AMCS. Ryan is also a UL graduate and, before starting AMCS, worked as a software engineer with Ericsson. The firm has 130 employees in Europe and the US, and grew revenue by 52 per cent in 2012 to €12.2m.

What moment or deal would you identify as the "game changer" or turning point for the company?
Winning our first two customers in Ireland as they allowed us to prove the technology and get early market reference. Our first major international deal in 2009 with the multinational SITA/Suez was also a game changer for the company. Since 2009 the deal has generated almost €5 million in revenue and demonstrated AMCS could deliver technology and projects to major players in the industry. In 2012, AMCS also won a major project with Veolia UK worth over €7 million. It was the first multinational to deploy the complete technology platform displacing their in-house solution.
What were the best and worst pieces of advice you received when starting out?
One of the best pieces of advice was to listen to what your customers tell you. Always do the right thing, it will eventually get rewarded. Good business is about creating win-win situations. The worst bit of advice is that the customer is always right.

What was your "back-to-the-wall" moment and how did you overcome it?
In 2009, the company launched a major investment to the US market. AMCS had received promises of major deals with one US company and built an organisation to deliver the project. Unfortunately the company only came up with some minor deals and the US market was not ready for AMCS technology due to lack of market regulation and availability of cheap landfill. We quickly identified the approach we had was wrong and we had the wrong team in place. We made the harsh but correct decision to scale back quickly.

What are the biggest challenges you face now?
Scaling the business internationally and managing growth. This has a number of challenges such as the availability of funding in Irish banks, the shortage of software and development engineers, ensuring the one product and solution is deliverable internationally and understanding the needs of the various markets.

Are there any imminent milestones for the company ahead?
The expected turnover for 2014 is €24 million, so within the next 12 months we plan to break the €20 million mark. Also, in the coming 12 months, there will be major technology release.