Outsourced IT providers aren’t exactly uncommon in today’s increasingly connected world. But Nostra, a Dublin-headquartered company, is arguably ahead of the field when it comes to helping businesses make the move into a cloud-based environment.
Founded in 2007, the company survived the global financial crash and is now the fastest-growing IT provider in the Irish market, Kevin O’Loughlin, Nostra’s founder and chief executive, said.
In the last five years its revenues have increased sixfold, rising from €4 million in 2015 to a projected €24 million in 2021. It now employs more than 160 people at its premises in Dublin, Laois and Galway. In the next five years, Nostra is aiming to grow revenues to €100 million per year.
In April, the Enterprise Ireland-backed company announced plans to create 120 new jobs over the coming years. O’Loughlin, a Laois native, emphasised the challenge of finding enough talent to meet the company’s growing need.
“We’re adding a lot of new customers on a monthly basis, and finding talent is one of the biggest challenges we face,” he said of Nostra, which counts Amryt Pharmaceuticals, Dawn Farm Foods and the Queally Group among its hundreds of client businesses around the world.
He attributed the company’s growth to the unusual approach it takes to solving IT issues faced by its clients compared to other companies in the market.
“Our model is very simple: we slot in where business owners or chief executives of companies have difficulties working with their IT departments,” O’Loughlin said.
“Most of our competitors work directly with IT departments in companies, but we don’t deal with those departments. We become the IT department for the clients that we work with. Our customers, ultimately, have had a breakdown in relationship with IT, and they typically come to us in crisis. We resolve the issue and we maintain the system then going forward.”
Nostra’s proposition might initially sound more like a short-term solution than a long-term business model, but O’Loughlin pointed to its 99 per cent client retention rate as evidence to the contrary.
As IT systems become increasingly important to businesses around the world, Nostra believes it can stay ahead of the curve and is already planning for a future based entirely in the cloud.
“What we see is a scenario in four or five years where very few companies will have any servers at all, and very few will even have any virtual servers. Most companies will be using SaaS-based applications like Salesforce or Microsoft Net Suite,” O’Loughlin said.
The firm this year moved into its new offices at Parkwest in Dublin and will open another office in Cork in the coming weeks. It has completed a number of acquisitions over recent years and is planning to announce another later this year.
“Our intention is to continue to grow at 25-30 per cent per year,” O’Loughlin said. “Around 40 per cent of that will be through acquisitions and 60 per cent will be through organic growth. We have no desire to sell, and we plan to grow this into a very significant Irish business. We want to see how big we can grow this company.”