IT services firm Version 1, which on Wednesday announced plans to create over 350 jobs in Ireland, has not ruled out adding further jobs in the near future as it eyes a possible flotation in Dublin or London.
Chief executive Tom O'Connor, who took over from company co-founder Justin Keating in the role this week, told The Irish Times, the fast-growth firm was targeting revenues of more than €100 million for 2017 as it looks to double in size again over the next five years.
He was speaking as Version 1 announced the creation of 365 jobs to take headcount to over 1,000, and confirmed a €90 million investment from London-based Volpi Capital.
“There will be 100 jobs coming on stream immediately, with another 265 over the next 18 months to two years. As part of this we’ll be taking on about 60 graduates and there will also be a range of positions ranging across seniority levels in project management, systems integration, cloud computing, data analytics and enterprise resource planning,” said Mr O’Connor.
The investment sees all of the original shareholders staying on with the exception of its first-round investor Development Capital, who have successfully exited as part of the deal two years earlier than expected with a 250 per cent return on its original investment.
“This new investment will take us to the next phase of growth into mainland Europe. Obviously at some future point investors will start looking for a return and an IPO is an obvious option at that time, and it is certainly something we’ll be considering because we should be at a scale then that we would be a reasonable size candidate for a flotation in Ireland or the UK,” said Mr O’Connor.
“The lesson from our experience is that it is good to take in external capital. Irish companies are maybe a little too conservative in opening things up and bringing in investment, but we certainly wouldn’t be where we are if we hadn’t make the decision to do so a few years ago.”
Version 1 was founded in Dublin in 1996, and now has an 865-strong workforce across the UK and Ireland, as well as offices in Dublin,
, Manchester and London. Partners include Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle.
The company took on its first external equity investment in 2014, and used it to grow internationally through acquisitions into the UK where it has grown revenues from near zero to €30 million.
Much of this growth has been achieved through acquisitions that have included deals for the Rocela Group, Patech and BMS Software.
“We’ve doubled in size over the last three years, and are experiencing growth of about 33 per cent a year at present. We’re hopeful of sustaining this and see ourselves doubling again in size over the next five years,” said Mr O’Connor.