The last five years of my life have been absolutely incredible, a rush and adventure that I never thought I’d experience once, not to mind twice! And now I have some news but I guess like everything context is important so sorry if this gets lengthy but it needs to be said.
Like every good story there’s three parts.
Meet two incredible guys, Pat Phelan & Chris Kennedy with a crazy dream of transforming how the world tackles a huge, almost invisible problem. We all buy online, but few of us realise how rampant online fraud is and the huge costs that it causes the online businesses that we deal with.
Starting with a conversation at a damp and cold, outdoor smoking shelter at Heathrow Airport where Pat first outlined the idea behind Trustev to me, to moving into the, now infamous, waxing salon first office of Trustev, as we grew slowly, we knew there was something in the idea. At first it was hard to explain, complicated to demo and like every good prototype was ugly as hell, but it solved a big, big problem for an industry that traditionally resisted innovation at every step. Somehow, through sheer force of will and hustle, Pat managed to convince companies to take a chance on the unproven idea and slowly but surely it got easier… actually thats not true, it actually got harder, but the little successes grew into larger successes, the technology that Chris and his awesome team built started to grow legs and slowly and steadily the train started to chug forward. We raised the largest seed round in European history, picked up some nice accolades including the EU Commision’s technology startup of the year and the SXSW Accelerator Prize and started to get traction with customers.
Somewhere around this time, the urge for a change hit me and it coincided nicely with Pat’s plan to move to New York and base the Sales & Marketing functions of the business there, leaving the technical and operations parts in Cork. After chatting with Pat, which to this day is usually the easiest way to solve any problem or doubt in my head, he just encouraged me to go with my gut and that’s where the Trustev adventure came to a sad close.
You see, at that point for a while, I’d been noticing a certain other Cork business… and that’s where the story gets really interesting.
Meet two incredible guys, Peter Coppinger & Dan Mackey who were already transforming how hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world get work done, all from Cork, all without investment or debt or any kind. Teamwork.com is one of those stories that is hard to believe, until you get under the hood and experience the sheer commitment and hard work that goes into keeping each and every customer happy. Teamwork.com is a success story like no other, built through sheer hard work and determination by Peter and Dan to build beautiful, intuitive software that really helps businesses get stuff done.
Honestly, I’ve never met a bunch of people like the team at teamwork.com. As we grew from 12 people to now nearly 70 in just under two years and no matter how tough it was, we held onto the great culture at Teamwork where everyone worked so hard to ensure that each and every teamwork.com customer got everything they wanted (and then some). Q2 2016 will see the guys and gals at Teamwork.com move into to their new, custom designed Teamwork HQ in Cork – I promise that you’ve never seen anything like it – you’ll be finding excuses to visit!
On a timely note, nothing beats the pride of seeing Peter, Dan and the team recognised by the home crowd of the Cork Chamber recently where Teamwork.com won Cork Company of the Year at the Cork Chamber Awards, long overdue recognition for what they’ve built. Having regularly walked down the streets of New York, Austin, San Francisco and other cities in a Teamwork.com t-shirt and get stopped by customers and fans, it’s about time Cork realised the juggernaut in it’s midst and I thank Cork Chamber for being the guys (and gals) who did so! Next step – getting the boys on the Late Late Show to keep the mammies happy!
Present day. And here we get to the news. With incredible sadness, I have to tell you all that the teamwork.com part of my life is at an end. To be honest it’s like losing a limb. It’s so incredibly hard leaving a company that was the first and last thing you thought of every single day for so long. I’ll miss seeing each and every one of my teamwork family every day, I don’t think I’ll ever be lucky enough to work again with such a consistently amazing bunch of people who care so much about their customers. It’s like the mother of all breakups and yes, there has been nights of whiskey (and possibly singing)! (Teelings of course! Paul Hayes)
But here’s the thing – there’s this idea that’s been eating away at my brain for a while now; a problem that that I want to solve. I’ve spoken to a few people, infinitely smarter than me, who almost seem to think the same and that there’s something to the idea and so I’m making the leap, putting everything on red (cork bhoy!) and spinning the wheel. This means leaving the safety net of Teamwork.com and heading out into the big bad world myself.
Starting today, I’m starting the startup adventure anew, but this time for myself, taking everything that I’ve learned from Pat, Chris, Peter and Dan and building a business that I hope will benefit all kinds of businesses and startups. All I know for sure at this stage is that it will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Cork is forever still my home, if my time at Teamwork.com and Trustev thought me anything it’s that all that matters when you’re starting a business is hard work followed by more hard work, with a little hard work at the weekends thrown in. It’s one of the few times where Location, Location, Location doesn’t take precedence. In the words of another Corkman who’s doing ok for himself, Liam Casey, geography is history and while certain things might be easier in certain locations, you can’t use geography as an excuse anymore. Cork, Dublin, London, San Francisco – wherever you go, hard work still awaits.
Huge thanks to everyone who’s supporting this big transition for me. The problem when a lot of your close friends are the hardest working startup people you know is getting the time to talk crazy ideas with them but over the past few months they’ve been incredibly generous with their time and I’ll always be thankful to them. I hate being a tease but for now, but cards will be kept a little close to the chest until we get a little further down the path, but we’re very pleased with progress to date, there’s the start of a business plan, the beginnings of a team and what I think is a great brand, name and identity for the new company.
And, yes, before you ask, it does begin with ’T’ – I’m not taking any changes and who knows? Third time lucky maybe? It’s worked so far!
Founder or possibly f.lounder (in training)