Making it Work

Rainmaker targets European and Asian airlines in expansion bid

Dublin-based travel tech company on target to surpass its pre-Covid sales this year

Brendan Fuller, chief executive, Rainmaker: ‘If you can expose information in a meaningful way, it gives tremendous insight for management into how an operation is functioning.’ Picture: Fergal Phillips

Rainmaker, the Dublin-based travel tech company founded in 2005, is aiming to “aggressively” grow its operations around the world post-pandemic, with a particular focus on European and Asian expansion, its founder and chief executive has said.

Brendan Fuller told the Business Post his firm had negotiated the grounding of aviation during the last 18 months and was on track to surpass its pre-Covid sales this year.

The Enterprise Ireland-backed business, which employs some 28 people, helps airlines minimise inefficiencies and cut their costs by automating the processes for paying crew members and extracting data on the overall performance of an aviation company.

Rainmaker was established in 2005 by Fuller alongside Pat Byrne, who had founded CityJet, the budget airline, in the 1980s. In the early days, Fuller explained, it sold web-based developments “basically to anyone who would pay”. That was mostly firms in the financial services sector, and Rainmaker developed a broker portal for 123.ie, the well-known insurance company.

But after developing software for CityJet, Rainmaker’s founders realised their software could significantly benefit airlines, in particular, giving their senior managers “key metrics on what was happening at their companies on a daily basis”.

“What we were doing was linking in to core operating systems within the airline, and extracting the information that management at the airline couldn’t get their hands on,” Fuller said.

In some ways, that core principle hasn’t changed in the years since. Rainmaker is still operating on the principle, Fuller said, that “huge amounts of information is trapped within operating systems used by airlines. And if you can expose that information in a meaningful way, that gives tremendous insight for management into how the operation is functioning”.

Over the years, however, the company’s analytics software became far more sophisticated, particularly after it began working with firms in the US market. For these companies, managing the pay of their crew was a much more difficult task because of the heavily unionised nature of the industry.

Flight scheduling is a complex process, constantly subject to change and delay. So calculating the pay of pilots and flight attendants, who were paid on the basis of how much they flew and the alterations to their scheduled work hours, was extremely difficult for airlines. Many of these companies needed a way of automating the complex process of working out how much they owed their staff.

“There was a lot of manual intervention in the calculation of pay, and there were a lot of issues with the accuracy and the timeliness of pay,” Fuller said. “And that caused a fair bit of friction between the flight crew and the airline.”

That was where Rainmaker came in, with a product that automated that task and gave the airline insights into when and how their planes were operating.

Today, the company counts some of the world’s leading airlines among its clients, working with CityJet, TUI Fly, Compass Airlines and more.

After cutting its costs “enormously” during the pandemic, Rainmaker has emerged strongly, with new cargo clients as well as passenger airlines, Fuller said.

“We definitely want to grow, now, in western Europe, and the Far East is also a massive market that we want to penetrate,” he said. “And the southern hemisphere is an area where we have no presence, and we’d love to grow there.”

This Making it Work article is produced in partnership with Enterprise Ireland