Meet the Cork-based firm who are experts in digital transformation

Fiona McKenna: One of five co-founders.

A Cork-based software consultancy firm are experts in digital transformation, writes Trish Dromey.

On a crusade to persuade all companies of the merits of serverless computing, Cork-based software consultancy start-up FourTheorem prides itself on doing things differently.

“Our aim is to provide software solutions for the next age, to provide all businesses irrespective of size with access to serverless computing and artificial intelligence services.

These cutting edge technologies are the way of the future for all companies, said company chief financial officer Fiona McKenna.

Employing 10 people, the company which was set up in July 2017, expects to achieve a turnover of €1m by this summer.

Ms McKenna says it is targeting significant growth in the next few years and aims to establish FourTheorem as a global company.

Its clients include an Irish hotel group, a technology company in Waterford, a number of universities in the UK, as well as an entertainment and a financial services company in the US.

“We operate by architecting and developing software for our clients — be that new systems, revision to existing systems, or helping businesses with the strategic use of technology to impact their bottom line.

“We are expert in digital transformation which is the process of converting existing business processes into software solutions to drive efficiency,” says Ms McKenna, who explains that the key focus is on developing systems which are both fast and flexible.

She says that the adoption of these types of technologies enable companies to future proof their systems.

“Those who do not, run the risk of being left behind when older technologies become obsolete,” she says.

The company is the brainchild of Peter Elger, a serial entrepreneur who previously co-founded a Waterford software company.

“He saw an opportunity set up a new breed of software consultancy company,” says Ms McKenna, who is one of the company’s five co-founders, some of whom are based in the US.

Doing things differently, the company has hired employees remotely with only four of the 10 staffers based at the office in the Rubicon at the Cork Institute of Technology.

In a radical departure from normal practice, FourTheorem has also dedicated half of its shareholding for the benefits of the employees.

“These measures are designed to allow us to hire the brightest and the best,” said Ms McKenna.

The company has also differed from many start-ups by not raising any early-stage funding.

We didn’t use founder funding — we bootstrapped and used the revenue from customers. Not having to answer to shareholders means we keep control over our decisions.

This was made possible by the fact that FourTheorem is a services company, which didn’t need to spend money on developing a product.

In the early stages, co-founders worked for free and also bought in revenue through consultancy work.

The company has now secured approval from Enterprise Ireland for €150,000 in High Potential Start Up funding, although this has yet to be drawn down.

This will be used to expand sales in the US which now accounts for 40% of turnover, as well as in Ireland and the UK.

It will also allow the company to hire more staff.

“We aim to grow the team to 20 by the end of this year,” said Ms McKenna.

At the end of last year, FourTheorem was, along with Dublin software company Fineos, allocated €1.6m in funding from the Government’s Disruptive Technology Investment fund, which is run by Enterprise Ireland.

“We will use this to carry out a three-year research project into the application of machine learning to the software design and development process in partnership with DCU,” she says.

It sees research as key.

“We see ourselves as both a research entity and a company,” says Ms McKenna.

It also plans to publish a book on artificial intelligence and serverless technology later this year.

FourTheorem has so far grown its business through word of mouth but is now preparing for the launch of a new website and a marketing campaign, focusing on developing sales in the US, the UK, and Ireland.

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