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Silicon Valley startups rush to Ireland

Tuesday, July 01 10:49:21

With Apple, Intel, Google and Facebook, already in Ireland in strength, tech startups from California are now flooding across the Atlantic to Ireland - and not just for the lower tax rate.

The San Jose Mercury News today reported that these Silicon Valley startups are setting up their first overseas offices in Dublin for a myriad of reasons, not least the fact that our Capital is undergoing a tech renaissance.

The Mercury News, reporting from the heart of Silicon Valley, explained, "Dublin looks a lot like home: a young and educated workforce, global business culture, population thirsting for new technology and Twitter and Facebook signs dotting the horizon."

"Labour and real estate are cheaper than in other European destination cities and, more than the familiar language or palatable food, the city's tech tenant roster makes Dublin feel comfortable to Silicon Valley transplants."

San Francisco-based Airbnb moved into Dublin last year, as did San Francisco cloud software company Zendesk. And San Francisco file storage and sharing startup Dropbox moving outside the U.S. for the first time opening a Dublin office in early 2013.

San Francisco-based Yelp announced this month it plans to open a 100-person Dublin office, and in April SurveyMonkey from Palo Alto unveiled plans for an office in the Irish capital within a year.

"It feels a little bit like a mini-San Francisco," said Patrick Moran, chief marketing officer of San Francisco big data software startup New Relic. "All of our startup friends are there."

In February, San Francisco's New Relic opened a Dublin office - the company's first location outside the U.S. - and plans to hire about 50 employees.

"Dublin is the launching point for our European strategy and an essential part of our global expansion plans," said Chris Cook, president and chief operating officer at New Relic.

"Now what you're seeing is much smaller companies (that) at a very early stage decided they needed a European presence," said Rory Mullen, senior vice president of IDA Ireland in Mountain View,California, an organisation funded by the Irish government that helps U.S. companies set up operations in Ireland, online magazine, The Drum reported.

These startups are the third wave of Silicon valley tech companies moving to Ireland. Beginning in the 1970s Ireland became the destination for Apple, HP, Intel and Dell to establish a European presence, get a tax break and begin expanding into the multinational corporate giants they are today. They were followed by Google, Facebook, Zynga, PayPal, LinkedIn and Salesforce.

Over the past several years, Silicon valley's tech companies have helped transform Dublin's old industrial canal docks into an area the global tech industry coined "Silicon Docks" says the Mercury News. They have groomed the next generation of tech talent, setting up an easy transition for startups to move overseas, The Drum reported.

"There are many companies that have ended up there and done well, so it gives you confidence," said Mark Harris, chief financial officer of Malwarebytes, an anti-virus software company in San Jose that is preparing to open in Ireland in the next year. "When you're making this type of leap you don't want to feel like you're on your own."

Startups' interest in Dublin has strengthened Silicon Valley's business ties with Ireland: Silicon Valley Bank has invested $50 million into Irish tech- and science-based companies and plans to double that, valley venture firms have opened offices in Ireland, and Silicon Valley VC investments in Irish startups increased 158 percent in the first quarter of this year from the same period in 2013.