Pictured: Ashutosh Saxena, Director of Irish Operations, Deem.
Travel technology company Deem opened a new European Innovation Centre in Dublin this year. Business & Finance speaks to Ashutosh Saxena, Director of Irish Operations for Deem, about why the company chose to invest here.
Q. What is Deem?
Deem’s suite of tools range from a dynamic traveler booking platform, travel manager cost controls, travel agency service technology, and supplier revenue opportunities, including the world’s largest car service affiliate network and operator solutions. Deem’s WorkFource, Ground Work and Emerging platforms service more than 50,000 corporate customers in 61 countries, speaking 14 languages – including the world’s largest travel management companies. We have helped thousands of forward-thinking companies modernize their systems, improve travel management and save money.
Deem is a wholly owned and independently operated subsidiary of Enterprise Holdings – the world’s largest car rental provider and fifth largest travel company, which provides services in more than 90 countries and has annual revenues of $25.9 billion.
Headquartered in San Francisco, with a development center in Bangalore, Deem’s newest Innovation Center in Dublin is focused on transforming the future of travel for companies and their business travelers around the world. Deem’s team of elite engineers is dedicated to improving the traveler experience with product and feature innovations, focused on building the next generation platform for Deem, building a majority of its core components using a microservices architecture.
Q. How big is the company?
Deem has 250 employees worldwide, out of which about 25 are in Ireland. That is a large ratio compared to the 20 years of the San Francisco office, 10 years of the Bangalore office, and 4 months of the Dublin office.
Q. When did the company come to Ireland?
We announced the launch of our Irish operations on 30th May, 2019, and our first batch of employees started on the 22nd of July, 2019.
Q. Why did the company choose Ireland?
Dublin is the ideal location for our new European Innovation Center. It’s a world-renowned hub for technology, innovation and excellence with an exceptional number of skilled workers, great international connections and a high standard of living.
Ireland, especially Dublin, is a centre for tech innovation, and is rapidly growing in terms of tech talent. It is almost like the Silicon Valley of Europe, and provides ample opportunities to grow with the great quality of people who call it home. The tech talent here is hungry for challenges and growth, there is a great diversity in workforce, and some of the biggest names in technology have a presence here.
Q. Did Brexit affect your decision to base the company in Ireland and/or will it affect your business moving forward?
Not really. We were in San Francisco and Bangalore, and were looking for an option to expand globally into a third location. Ireland was a good choice irrespective of Brexit, and we haven’t seen any deviation from our expectations in our growth so far.
Q. Tell us your experience establishing the company in Ireland? Was it an easy or difficult process?
There are always challenges in setting up shop in a new country, but we are very happy with our decision to do so. There was of course some groundwork and paperwork required, but the IDA has been super helpful at every step in our journey starting, not only during establishment but also during ramping up our operations, and getting us connected to different kinds of companies and talented people who were always willing to help and made it very easy for us to do business with and establish ourselves quickly in a new land.
Q. Do you find it difficult or easy to attract and retain staff in or to Ireland?
The team at Deem Ireland is building a next generation platform to provide a state-of-the-art corporate travel solution. This once-in-a-career opportunity—to be part of a team that designs and works on an innovative architecture and enhances the efforts of hundreds of amazing, top-notch Silicon Valley software engineers over the past two decades—has been helpful in attracting the best talent from Dublin, other parts of Ireland, and the rest of Europe. Top it up with a fast-paced, highly agile, start-up like environment, with the support of Enterprise Holdings, an immensely successful and profitable company, a very central location in Dublin, and we were able to hire a bunch of senior talent from the large concentration of tech companies.
In our first four months in Ireland, we have been able to hire 25 employees, ahead of our initial plan of growing to a headcount of 50 in our first year in Ireland.
Dublin is a very competitive market, especially for the experienced rockstars that we hired (and are looking to hire). We only hired 1 in 63 profiles received; indicating it was easy to find good resumes, but not so easy to hire the right people.
Having said that, it has still been easier to hire in Dublin than in both San Francisco and Bangalore, and we might end up hiring a larger number of people here than earlier anticipated. We are already outgrowing our second office space in Dublin, and are on the lookout for a larger office space.
We are recruiting to fill in several other open positions, and are looking for like-minded individuals who are open to innovate and transform business travel by building simple yet scalable and robust software.
Q. In the context of the current housing crisis are there any challenges attracting staff to your company and/or region?
Fortunately enough, we haven’t faced any challenges in attracting talent. We couldn’t be more central than Stephens Green in Dublin, which opens up options for our employees to live anywhere in the city.
Q. What are your future plans for the business in Ireland?
We look forward to maintaining the growth momentum in Ireland and being able to attract the top engineers and other talent and being able to modernize our entire platform with a bid to be able to innovate quickly and transform business travel. At the same time, we would like to be a part of the vibrant tech community in Dublin and participate in helping grow that community. The ultimate goal for the business in Ireland is no different than the company goal of making business travel as seamless and easy as possible.
Deem is a client of IDA Ireland, celebrating 70 years of IDA Ireland and FDI in Ireland at this year’s Business & Finance Awards.
About Ashutosh Saxena
Ashutosh Saxena, Director, Ireland Operations and Engineering Manager, moved in July 2019 from San Francisco to set up and lead the Ireland Operations. He has been working at Deem since 2007 where he started as a Senior Software Engineer and has worked on several different products and technologies at Deem, including building and managing the Expense platform and the Open Alliance teams at San Francisco before moving to Dublin.
Aside from heading up Deem Ireland, he leads the backend engineering team working on rearchitecting the Deem platform using a microservices architecture.