John Holt, Waratek
Disruptive technology finds a home in Dublin
Waratek was founded in 2002 by father-and-son team of John Holt and John Matthew Holt. Originally based in Australia where it raised funding and carried out R&D, the company, after working for a couple of years in the US, established its international headquarters in Dublin in 2009. View Waratek video.
Waratek holds multiple international patents around its server virtualisation innovations. It has pioneered array technology, called RAIS, which uses commodity computers connected together to achieve the same results as powerful mainframes, at a fraction of the cost. The company is in the closing stages of moving its technology from proof of concept to product commercialisation. It has pilot customers in banking, financial services and telecoms.
The founders considered locations in Silicon Valley, Israel and the UK but Ireland was “head and shoulders” above other contenders, says John Holt. “There are more supports for the business and more opportunities to grow.” The corporate tax rate will be beneficial in time, but the cultural and language fit was important in the short term, as well as access to the right kind of skill sets Waratek requires. Having started with three people in 2009, Waratek has grown to 24 employees in Dublin, as well as recruiting an Irish technology veteran as its CEO.
“Dublin is already a centre for large multinational IT companies and there is an ecosystem here that supports it. From our point of view it was important to be part of that system,” adds Holt. Ultimately, Ireland will represent a small percentage of Waratek’s market but it is a strategic location. “We’re very close to the European and UK markets, and at the same time, close to the US east coast,” says Holt. “We could never conceive of trying to do this based in Sydney.”
He praises the structures Enterprise Ireland has to support businesses coming to Ireland. “It has been very easy to begin to operate here. We’re certainly dependent on that because we’re not locals,” says Holt. Noting that Waratek is “a fully-fledged Irish company”, he says tapping into the international Irish network through Enterprise Ireland should boost RAIS’ profile. “We have come out of the development phase and are now lining up the first version of the product, we are about to test the proposition of Irish connectedness and how it can advantage business.”
“We’re very close to the European and UK markets, and at the same time, close to the US east coast.”
Dr John Holt, Chief Operating Officer, Waratek
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