Dublin teenager Karl O'Brien has swapped his bedroom in Swords for a city centre office due to the growing demands of his business Effector.ie. The founder of the web design and social media marketing company recently relocated to Dame Lane.
With a portfolio of clients that has included Audi Ireland, Dublin Aerospace and the University of Michigan, O'Brien (19) is proving age doesn't matter in business. Start-ups such as BetGame and Laundrie have also used Effector.ie to help them reach a wider audience, in turn growing their businesses.
Having always had an interest in entrepreneurship, O’Brien cut his teeth on small projects from designing Bebo pages to logos or business cards. It is when the demand for more came that the business was born.
“It came to a point 18 months ago when I couldn’t keep up with the workload by myself. I made the decision to move beyond working under my own name. I started Effector.ie, allowing me to expand, attract bigger clients and help more people grow their businesses.”
“We’ve now grown to five full-time staff. Up until two months ago, I was basically running things from my bedroom and now, due to expansion, we’re based in the city centre. Over the past 18 months we have grown from zero to a six-figure business.”
Alongside running the business, O’Brien studies marketing, innovation and technology at DCU. Now in his Intra work placement year, he has been allowed to gain experience through his own company rather than having to seek work elsewhere. Student life has has had a positive effect on Effector.ie.
“Being a student gives me great insight. Being in a very social media-savvy generation means I’m not learning from trends or analysis, I’m learning from the trenches. It gives me the opportunity to talk to more people and spread the word to those I might not necessarily have been exposed to.”
Returning to study full time later this year, he has no plans to slow down. “I plan on continuing to grow the team and keep the growth rate that we are at now up until the time I have to go back. By then, we will have 10 team members, which will allow me some scope to finish off the degree.”