Dublin is a tech conference city. That didnt change when one staple conference left the city in the Autumn of 2016. On the contrary, it gave rise to event entrepreneurs jumping on the opportunity to offer an alternative or even an improvement.
They have all banked on what stands true in Dublin – we play a great home to conferences and their attendees, with our size, proliferation of tech spirit brought about from multinationals and indigenous startups alike, and a city vibe no one can really resist.
Some of those event makers come hustling from across the pond.
One of them is Alex Theuma, an Englishman with a Finish spirit and Maltese skin complexion. His event, SaaStock, made its debut last year at the RDS with 700 attendees. This year, its coming for its second act between September 18 and 20. SaaStock brings 1500 attendees, 120 speakers, and 200 investors together. All in all from 40+ countries.
SaaS for the uninitiated stands for Software-as-a-Service. Its more a business model than anything else.
Based on a monthly subscription model, and living in the cloud, the solutions that carry the SaaS label serve other companies and their workers. You may not realize it, but SaaS is part of your work life already.
Microsoft Office, as of the past few years, is SaaS, no longer requiring CD installations or licenses. In fact, Microsoft is now the biggest SaaS player in the world, holding about 15% of the market. But there is so much more SaaS in your daily work life. Its applications such as your email, the customer support system, the HR payroll.
And if any of these have lately felt more user-friendly and pleasurable to use, resembling more streaming a Netflix movie than spending hours at the end of the week to make backups of your files, its because the SaaS players work hard to make you feel like a happy consumer, rather than a frustrated worker.
And by doing that they have created enormously successful tech companies.
Like a $2.5 billion platform built on the simple question of how happy you feel.
The man who made that one happen is Ryan Smith, one of the keynote speakers of SaaStock. His company, Qualtrics, is something of a legend in the SaaS world. It has taken Ryan Smith 15 years of blood and sweat and three different product offerings to get there. He has built a company with 1500 employees and ten offices (the EMEA HQ is in Dublin, employing 250 people).
There are plenty of fine examples of Irish SaaS companies, succeeding globally just like Ryan. Take Teamwork, Intercom, Boxever, Qstream, Phorest and Axonista as just a few notable mentions. They are all part of the flock of scaling companies that have earned their true place under the SaaS sun and are on the SaaStock stage.
Peter Coppinger will talk about the journey of getting to 18 million annual recurring revenue; Darragh Curran will cover the fuzzy subject of building great engineering teams, something Intercom has done extraordinarily well.
That is the fascinating thing about the people in SaaS. If you leave the tech lingo and abbreviations behind, you realise it is a business model that empowers anyone from anywhere to fulfill their entrepreneurial drive and human potential if they wish to do so. The entrepreneurial journey on the Internet has never been as attainable.
And Irish SaaS founders are well poised to use the model to their advantage. As Peter Coppinger told us in an interview back in March, Ireland [should] be known as the Silicon Valley of the world for SaaS. A conference such as SaaStock helps us get there.
As a city firmly committed to its EU roots, diversity and devotion to tech companies, it plays the best host.