Leaf Ireland, a subsidiary of the UK headquartered Leaf, launched its Dublin office on January 24th, 2020 in One Microsoft Place, Microsoft Ireland’s building in Sandyford. The management team presented a panel with representation from Microsoft and a customer taking part. The panel was moderated by journalist Jillian Godsil.
Steven Goldblatt, CEO of Leaf and based in Belfast responded to the question of why open an office in Dublin. After all it was only a two-hour journey from Belfast to Dublin. He pointed out that he had ambitious growth plans both in terms of customer acquisition and employee growth. “We wanted to expand our on the ground presence in the Republic to better manage our existing customers. When Larry Doyle became free – after he sold his business of 16 years – we knew we have the right partner to lead the team.”
Larry was asked why he joined Leaf after he had just sold his own business, Larry replied that Leaf is what he wanted Netforce to become. “I knew Steven well in a sort of collaboration/competition way. We both enjoyed working together and when I had a chance to join Leaf I knew it was the right choice.”
Also present on the panel was Paul Mitchell of Mitchell McDermott, a QS company formed five years that now employs 60 people. Originally when he and his partner set up Mitchell McDermott, they brought in an IT provider. As they grew, they needed connectively between the two offices on Leeson Street but found their incumbent provider was unable to provide the level of support we needed. “They couldn’t keep pace with the evolving demands of our business, and we suffered a lot of downtime. At that point we approached Larry – our life saver – who came in and showed just how competent Leaf were. We had been burned slightly but in a matter of weeks Leaf fixed all the issues. They are that good,” said Paul Mitchell.
Microsoft’s representative on the panel Jonathan Eustace pointed out that Microsoft depends on experienced partners to work directly with clients. “What we like about a company such as Leaf is that they understand the client’s problems and source and build technical solutions to solve rather than trying to foist a specific solution on the client. Leaf has always been a close partner and has won awards because of its approach. The next chapter for Leaf opening its Dublin office is good news for us as we can work more closely with them going forward.”
Darryl Heanen, CTO of Leaf, also commended the support they receive from Microsoft as partners. “We can reach out to clients that without Microsoft’s help might not have been possible. We are all growing the pie,” he said. “Also, since we are thirty strong in Belfast, we can offer flexible, specialist support – and we partner with other experts to fill in any gaps.”
Steven returned again to the core message. “We want to know your business. We want to get involved and know what the client business is actually doing. Once we understand more about what they do and how they work we can ‘let loose’ our dev teams to come up with solutions that are a perfect fit. We want to be able to help our clients change, innovate and improve their bottom line. That is the goal of our clients, to become more profitable and it is our role to help them.”
The last words go to newly appointed COO Larry Doyle. When asked about cyber security, disaster recovery, and the impact of GDPR, he said: “The only solution is a combination of solutions. And for that you need a deeply experienced company, with access to dev ops and processes in place to make sure we deliver. Oh, and a good relationship with Microsoft which is evidenced by this event being hosted here and by the presence of Jonathan on our panel.”
Leaf already has a strong presence in Ireland and numbers Mitchell McDermott, Merry Mullan Accountants, KCMG Composites, Cerberus, Richmond Marketing, and DMQ Accountants in their client base.
Initially Leaf Ireland will employ five people but that is expected to scale significantly to 20 employees in the coming three years.
“At Leaf we offer strong technical solutions for business growth and we enjoy great relationships with our customers – most of our management have been with the company for a long time. That allows us to be consistent in our support. Larry fits the bill totally and we look forward to Leaf Ireland growing under Larry’s stewardship,” concluded Steven.
The launch event was attended by some 50 people and concluded with lunch and networking at One Microsoft Place.