Last year’s Fast 50 winner shows just how rapid growth can be, and how the awards recognise this: entering for the first time, data and AI specialists Everseen walked away with the top award.
And winning meant growth only grew.
“It had a multiplier effect,” Alan O'Herlihy, founder and chief executive of Everseen, said.
“When we were chasing business we had that logo and it gave us great validation. Every investment banker in Silicon Valley started calling us.”
Everseen also won the Innovative New Technology Award, given in association with Google.
Winning aside, the awards process itself was useful in terms of understanding how the business was performing.
“It was a huge benchmark for us; and will continue to be. The biggest thing is that we are competing with ourselves. We try and try again,” he said.
O'Herlihy said Irish businesses considering the awards should apply, as the benefits were huge, including psychologically.
“I’d say go for it. People are perhaps afraid of failing or not winning; but just go for it and do your best. You need to put yourself out there. We all build all these walls around us, safety walls, but what you need to do is learn and learn fast. You need to test yourself,” he said.
Flipdish, which provides digital ordering and table service solutions to restaurants, proves that growing companies are often the most innovative. The company has 300 staff located in seven countries, with customers in 20, and saw revenues triple in 2018, double in 2019, and triple again in 2020.
Conor McCarthy, co-founder of Flipdish, said the business was delighted to demonstrate growth as it had benefits in the wider world.
“We're very proud; it's a great reflection of the work our staff are putting in. Our growth directly correlates with the value we are beginning to the restaurants,” he said.
The sector Flipdish serves, dealt a blow by the Covid pandemic, also faces economic headwinds related to scale, so the company is pleased to be able to help.
“It’s impossible for small restaurants to build out a world-class ordering system on their own, not to mention a kiosk and table ordering solution,” he said.
Flipdish’s other co-founder James McCarthy said businesses may be nervous about entering, but that it really was a win-win situation.
“People will ask themselves things like ‘Will I enter? Will I be certain to win?’ You get to meet other companies, get exposure and it’s nice to be able to rank yourself and your team against others.
“I found it interesting to learn about the businesses in all of the other spheres,” he said.
Based in Dublin and with offices in the US, Britain and Europe, multichannel engagement specialists Xtremepush found entering the Fast 50 was a way to prove the worth of the business.
Chief executive Tommy Kearns said that this was because the Fast 50 was all about validation, something that benefited from the objective nature of the measurement.
“It’s a big boost to the internal team and it's great to see the recognition. From a client perspective, they like to see they’re working with innovative, cutting-edge technology companies. It's an actual audit,” he said.
Kearns said that the programme was a lot more than simply an awards ceremony. Instead, it was better seen as a yardstick.
“For us as a business it's a factual opportunity to chart the business year to year, and to measure it.”
To peers, Kearns said that a huge benefit of the programme was that it would allow them to understand where they and other Irish businesses stand in the global business landscape.
‘There are a lot of high-growth businesses in Ireland. We know how we’re doing, but this tells us how they are doing in the market,” he said.