Booming Cork software company grew out of childhood curiosity

EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalists Peter Coppinger and Daniel Mackey of Teamwork

Peter Coppinger and Daniel Mackey of Teamwork.com, which employs 200 people and has 22,000 customers.

Peter Coppinger and Daniel Mackey of Teamwork.com, which employs 200 people and has 22,000 customers.

 

At a young age, both Peter Coppinger and Daniel Mackey developed an interest in computer programming. Peter, at just 10 years old, began selling games he had created, while Daniel developed the same interest from the moment he got his first computer in the early 1990s.

An accidental meeting led the pair to establish a web development business but keeping track of all the accounts, payments, progress and what the team was doing proved difficult. That led them to establish Teamwork. com, a software as a service (SaaS) provider, which creates business management applications to make teams around the world more efficient and organised.

From humble beginnings, the company now has 22,000 paying customers including some of the world’s biggest, such as Disney, PayPal, Spotify and Yves Saint Laurent.

Employing 200 people with remote workers in 15 countries, Teamwork is bursting at the seams and plans to move its base to a bigger office in Cork to allow for expansion. The company aims to maintain the 40 per cent growth it has been achieving over the last few years in the future.

As they grow their company, both Peter and Daniel have a strong interest in growing the SaaS ecosystem and helping Irish businesses develop.

What vision/light-bulb moment prompted you to start up in business?

We started a web agency in 1999. Despite working round the clock, we just couldn’t seem to get ahead. We read about project management tools and thought one of them could help us run our business. We tried product after product but found they were too basic. One morning over coffee, we realised that we had both been thinking the same thing – we should build our own!

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Getting to over $20 million in sales while staying bootstrapped, profitable and debt-free.

What moment/deal would you cite as the game-changer or turning point for the company?

It’s a coin toss between two events. The first is when we used every penny we had to acquire the domain name Teamwork.com for €500,000. It was a huge gamble but it paid off quickly.

The second event that stands out as a growth catalyst was the day we received a phone call from Disney. They told us they had been using Teamwork Projects for a while in stealth and they loved it. They wanted an enterprise version with extra security features. We delivered and the Disney account helped us build out our enterprise offering.

Where would you like your business to be in three years?

In three years, we are planning to have eight products in our suite with 400 staff across seven office locations. We are targeting to grow revenue at a minimum of 40 per cent every year, which would mean $50 million revenue by the end of 2021.

What red tape hampers growth most?

We have always found government support schemes well-intentioned but off-putting due to the number of forms, approval steps, reports and so on. Getting support through these schemes takes a considerable lead time and investment.

Who has been the greatest influence on your career or who do you admire most in business?

From a young age, I’ve always admired Bill Gates. He built Microsoft up from nothing but hard work and his programming talent, into what it is today. I also greatly admire his philanthropy – it’s the inspiration behind why 1 per cent of all profits from Teamwork.com goes to good causes as decided upon by staff. It can’t be just about money.