ENTREPRENEUR
PROFILE

Connor Murphy and Ray Smith

Business Purpose

Founded in 2009, Datahug is the biggest enterprise relationship platform on the cloud. Datahug’s technology mines all the communications data within a company, from email to phone calls, calendar meetings, contacts and more, to give the company a greater sense of the relationships it has with existing customers and can have with future customers. With 89 billion business emails generated every day, Datahug’s mission is to automatically unlock the biggest business networks in the world.

 

Personal Bios

Connor Murphy is the Founder of Datahug, the sales and relationship intelligence company that he founded in late 2009. He has grown the company to 30 people and has raised over $5.5M from DFJ Esprit,Oyster, Ron Conway and salesforce.com. Datahug’s clients range from Big 6 Global Accounting and Fortune 500 companies, to the world’s leading VC’s and Finance firms, to hundreds of the fastest growing sales organisations around the world. Datahug is headquartered in Dublin with offices in London, San Francisco and New York. Datahug won Best European Enterprise and Business Startup at the 2013 Europa Tech Awards and Gartner recognised Datahug as a 2013 Cool Vendor in CRM Sales.  Prior to Datahug, Connor worked as a Management Consultant with PA Consulting Group in New York, Jamaica, Denmark, Dubai, Washington DC and London. Connor is originally from Cork and has a first class honours degree in Computer Science. Outside of work, he loves travel, advising startups, Barrys Tea and pretending he can still do triathlons.

Ray Smith is COO, VP of Eng & Co-Founder of Datahug.com.  He grew up in Tallaght, Dublin, and now lives in Maynooth with his wife Claire and his son Max.  For 7 years, Ray was an experienced Manager in Accenture’s Systems Integration and Technology Practice with a specialty in Technical Architecture. He has deep global experience in planning, estimating and managing large development teams for business-critical systems on various platforms & technology stacks. Ray has worked on multiple large scale projects for blue-chip clients. Ray has worked in the Public Service, Financial Service & Energy industries across Europe & Australia.  Ray placed top in his Electronic & Electrical Engineering degree class in UCD and went on to complete a research based Masters of Engineering Science in Advanced Digital Signal Processing. He worked on research with MIT Media Labs in the field of Neuroscience Engineering. Ray worked on and sold a jet engine diagnostic solution to a leading global airline whilst still at university and was awarded a number of scholarships at school and college.  Ray loves soccer, running, cycling and golf.

 

Company Profile

Datahug is the biggest enterprise relationship platform on the cloud. Datahug’s technology mines all the communications data within a company, from email to phone calls, calendar meetings, contacts and more, to give the company a greater sense of the relationships it has with existing customers and can have with future customers. With 89 billion business emails generated every day, Datahug’s mission is to automatically unlock the biggest business networks in the world.

Founded in 2009, the company was one of the first companies selected to participate in Jerry Kennelly’s Endeavour program in Tralee, Co.Kerry. The company now employs 30 people in New York, San Francisco, London and Dublin and has raised over $5.5 million in Series A funding. Its world class line up of investors include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DFJ Esprit, Oyster Capital, Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway, and salesforce.com.

The core Datahug technology has garnered multiple technology and business awards. In 2013, Gartner, the world’s leading technology analyst firm, selected Datahug as a Cool Vendor in CRM Sales. In 2012, Datahug won Best Business, Recruitment or Enterprise Startup at the Europas in Berlin and the Silicon Valley Innovation Award at the ITLG conference in San Jose. Datahug previously won Best Technology Startup of the Year (Irish Software Awards 2010), Seedcorn Emerging Business of the Year (Intertrade Ireland, Munster 2010) and the Spark of Genius Award (Dublin Web Summit 2010)

Datahug has featured in several leading digital and print publications including Forbes, Inc Magazine, Wall Street Journal, BBC, RTE, Guardian, FT, TechCrunch, Wired, Sunday Times, Irish Times, Sunday Business Post and Silicon Republic.

 

Services:
By utilising existing business relationships more effectively, clients can drive new business opportunities and enable smarter cross-selling and more effective key account management. Using information the business already owns – phone, email and calendar data coming in and out of the organisation – Datahug builds up a dynamic business relationship network across the entire organisation.  There are five main areas in which we add value:

  1. Executive Visibility: Drive the business by keeping a pulse on critical customer relationships.
  1. Hunters:  Net new revenue growth
  1. Farmers:  Increase relationship value of existing customers
  1. Proactive Marketing: Visibility into the lead gen process and increase collaboration with account management to protect revenue streams
  1. Automation:  Improved ROI on your CRM with up to 10X more customer data

 

Customers:

Datahug has a broad worldwide client base, including three of the Big Six accountancy firms, multiple global banks and a large number of financial services, investment banking and venture capital firms. Clients include Grant Thornton, Plantronics, Silicon Valley Bank, Enterprise Ireland, CPL, Hollywood’s leading talent agency, Balderton Capital, Cowen Group and Calidus Cloud.

 

– ENTREPRENEURIAL INSIGHTS –

 

What vision prompted you to start-up in business?

Connor: I had worked in Management Consulting for over 6 years and knew how pivotal relationships were to winning and growing our business.

Ray: While working in management consulting for 7 years, my daily bread and butter was problem solving and driving innovation to solve common business problems. Although I enjoyed these challenges, I had a burning desire to create my own unique solution and take charge of my own destiny. The stars aligned on the day I met Connor. I couldn’t have asked for a more inspirational and energetic guy to go into business with.

 

How did you secure your first investment?

Connor: It took 6 months of very hard work to secure our seed investment of $1.5M. We had never raised money before so we had a very steep learning curve as we needed to understand what different investors wanted and how the process worked.

Ray: We spent over 4 months talking to potential investors ranging from Enterprise Ireland, angels and VC’s in Ireland, UK & U.S. We quickly honed our pitch and then blitzed the big global VC firms seeking investment. This resulted in a term sheet or two. The stressful process of haggling on terms ensued.  At the eleventh hour with signing terms, serendipity‎ introduced us to Oyster whom we signed with within a day or two of meeting.

 

What was your “back-to-the-wall” moment and how did you overcome it?

Connor: There have been a few moments and it is never smooth sailing. In the end, a combination of optimism, belief, hard work, sacrifice and luck helped us overcome the most difficult of challenges.

Ray: We were fully depleted of cash having boot-strapped for over a year and the initial funding round was taking far longer than expected. On top of that I was due to get married in a few weeks. We had some aggressive VC terms on the table but fortunately we held out for the right investors (Oyster).

 

What moment/deal would you cite as the “game changer” or turning point for the company?

Connor: Luckily we have had a few, but most recently I would have to say it was when Gartner selected Datahug a Cool Vendor in CRM Sales for 2013. Gartner are the biggest and most respected analyst firm in the world and advise nearly all of the Fortune 500 firms. To have been selected over thousands of other vendors is a fantastic honour and recognition of the innovation and disruption we are bringing to the $18B CRM market.

Ray: The initial “Game Changer” was the Maples Spark of Genius award at the Dublin Web Summit. This really kick started our PR and market traction. Paddy Cosgrave was instrumental in creating these opportunities.

The “game-changer” deal was with one of the Big 4 Global accounting firms. They were the flagship customer we had hoped for and are leading influencers in the market.

 

Were there any interesting or unusual circumstances surrounding the inception of the company or its evolution?

Connor: I returned from Washington DC to start the company in Co. Kerry, Ireland. Our earliest investors also included Ron Conway who is the most famous Angel Investor in Silicon Valley and was an early investor in Twitter and Google

Ray: There was a series of unusual circumstances that brought Connor and I together that can be only described as destiny. It is one to ask Connor sometime in the pub about the Pelican he witnessed at 5am one morning on ‘Pana’ (St. Patrick’s Street) in Cork .

 

What are the biggest challenges you face now?

Connor: Building our Sales and Marketing

Ray: Scaling sales & marketing in the U.S. with founders living in Ireland.   Staying true to our product vision whilst refining our product-market fit.  Staying ahead of the competitive landscape.

 

What is your biggest business achievement to date?

Connor: Too many. Growing from nothing but a single person/idea to a 30 person company and with the worlds leading organisations as our customers is a good start in 3+ years

Ray:  Building a company from the ground up and growing a team of exceptional individuals that you know embody the same drive and passion as the founders.

Closing and implementing some big deals with this team is the most exhilarating and proudest manifestation of this achievement.

 

What were the best & worst pieces of advice you received when starting out?

Connor:  The best: ‘Nail it before you scale it’

Ray:

Best

  • “Get out of the building – never too early to talk to Clients & Investors”
  • “Build it and test it” [Build, Measure & Learn]
  • “Securing funding takes longer and is a big distraction”
  • “Never underestimate the value of the best team”
  • “Vision and inspiration should drive the team”

Worst

  • “Never give away equity…..equity is blood”
  • “Stay in stealth mode” or ”Don’t share your idea/vision”
  • “It will all calm down after you close funding”

 

What top tips would you give entrepreneurs starting out today?

Connor: Demonstrate that there is a market for your product and that you have some evidence you can reach that market in an efficient way

Ray:

  • Everything takes longer.
  • The team is everything.
  • Positivity and networking is essential.
  • Achieve product-market fit before allowing too many distractions.
  • In the end, it all comes down to execution and who wants it the most.

 

Were there any early signs that you would eventually follow an entrepreneurial path?

Connor: My parents ran their own business. I started my first startup in college and I knew then I loved founding and creating companies that solved real problems.

Ray:  When I was 16 I worked for an airline engineering dept. and quickly realised that I loved solving problems and creating innovative solutions. Later when at college (UCD), I worked with them on an engineering project that resulted in me setting up my first business. I then went on to do a research masters with MIT Media Lab in the field of Brain Computer Interfaces.  My parents, however, will always tell the story of me breaking open my new calculator watch on the morning of my first communion to see how it worked or programming on my Commodore 64.

 

Has anyone acted as a mentor to you?

Connor: Hundreds of people. I was very lucky because from Day 1, the Endeavour program gave me access to a great mentor and peer network. Since then I’ve met so many great people and I’m constantly meeting people for coffee, dinner and advice as there are always 10 new problems that mentors can help you tackle.

Ray: Firstly, there have been many people connected to or through Enterprise Ireland that provided plenty of sound advice and direction. Brian Caulfield offered plenty of advice on funding and growing our business long before he invested with DFJ Esprit.

Fellow iGAP and DIT International Selling Programme participants provided a rich source of peer learning. Alan Coleman, CEO of BriteBill, has especially been a fantastic listener and advisor.

 

Has your “Irish-ness” contributed to your success?

Connor: I think Irish people are optimists by nature. You need to be a hard core optimist to succeed.

Ray: Playing the ‘Irish card’ may seem old in the U.S. but I think it really helped us considering that Datahug unlocks the world’s business relationships. The Irish are universally known for being social, making them masters of business networking. Combine this with an Irish diaspora abroad that will go to huge lengths to help create introductions resulted in us having a ‘launchpad’ to allow us to easily break into the U.S.

 

What inspires your business decisions?

Connor: As a tech founder, I believe the number one output of any technology company has to be innovation. Therefore I’m always impatient to drive new ideas and ‘invent the future’. I then try to prioritise this need to innovate against what I believe the market needs or will need soon. The second you stop innovating, your competition can catch you.

 

When making a new hire, what key characteristics do you look for?

Connor: Optimism.

Ray:  Attitude trumps aptitude for me. We have immensely talented and bright employees that are driven and enthusiastic topped off with a creative can-do attitude. Our new hires need to make the rest of the team feel like that they are equally an A-team addition.

 

How do you recharge your batteries?

Connor: People don’t believe me but I’m pretty introverted and enjoy spending most of my weekends and afternoons at home with my wife and 4 month old daughter. I enjoy training for triathlons and love cycling around the Dublin/Wicklow mountains and swimming. My ideal holiday is a week in West Cork or Kerry.

Ray: Running or taking my energetic 10 month old son to the pool. And if I can find the time, a game of golf.

Year: 2013
Category: Emerging
Sector: Technology