Our 4th Startup Story is GBRDirect -
The story of how your company got started?
Robert Leslie and Ben Cronin founded Global Business Register in 2007. The idea was simple. Create a website, www.gbrdirect.eu where customers could get access in real-time to Company Registries from multiple countries around Europe and beyond. The provenance of data has always been critical to the GBRDirect proposition.
GBRDirect first went live in 2009 with 18 European countries. The GBRDirect Network now includes 26 European countries, 48 US States and 12 Canadian provinces/territories. GBRDirect is adding 101 countries to the network before the end of 2013. The GBRDirect service is now used by over 50 of the world’s biggest banks, over 100 legal companies and accountancy firms. The banking crises of recent times has forced banks to rethink Compliance processes and provenance of data is now of critical importance. Dated data without provenance no longer does the job.
How you funded the startup?
GBRDirect has been funded from shareholders’ funds to a great extent. We have enjoyed significant support from Enterprise Ireland over the years. We were part of the EI High potential Start Up programme from inception. The support from EI has been exceptional throughout with soft supports and investments.
Developing the Team, who are the key members?
Co- founders Ben Cronin and Robert Leslie. Ben’s was involved in property/development business prior to founding GBRDirect in 2007.
Ben Cronin was also a professional rugby player, having played for Munster and Ireland during his career. Leslie, meanwhile, spent 20 years in Japan having helped Dell start their Japanese business.
CTO is Kieran O’ Sullivan. Kieran joined GBRDirect from TSSG. TSSG is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for ICT research and innovation. TSSG carry out a wide spectrum of industry-informed research in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), particularly technologies enabling communications and information services.
How the economy has played a role in your business starting?
I realised in 2007 that property was not a sustainable bet. The urge to set up GBRDirect was borne out of that conviction.
How you see Ireland's Tech scene for home grown startups?
There is great environment in Ireland for tech startups, lots of advice, support, expertise. The flip side of this is the competition for tech staff. I believe that more needs to be done to get tech expertise into the country from everywhere. We cannot compete with Dublin market.