A SOFTWARE company founded by a Co Tyrone native is set to open a new engineering hub in Belfast as part of its wider plans to create up to 150 jobs in the next 12 months.
Founded just five years ago, Cambridge-based Gearset has already grown to a team of 150 people.
Headed by Aughnacloy man Kevin Boyle, the firm has effectively doubled its workforce year-on-year since spinning out of fellow Cambridge company Redgate Software in 2017.
It intends continuing with that trend over the next year, with plans to recruit up to 15 software engineers at its new base on Belfast’s High Street.
Mr Boyle, who founded Gearset with his former Redgate colleague Matt Dickens, said the software engineers have come up with a very popular and very lucrative solution for developers using the Salesforce platform.
A San Francisco behemoth, Salesforce’s integrated customer relationship management (CRM) software is the leading solution for managing company back-end processes and customer relationships.
But Kevin Boyle said many developers struggle with building on top of the platform.
He said Gearset’s products have struck a niche chord within the industry that has catapulted the company from a team of seven with zero revenue in 2017 to a workforce of 150 in 2022.
The success is all the more remarkable considering the growth has been essentially self-funded, with no external venture capital (VC).
The company last year opened its first US base in Chicago and had considered Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh for its second engineering hub.
But Queen’s University graduate Kevin Boyle said it has always been his intention to Bring Gearset to Belfast.
“At the very start of the company, we had talked about doing it in Belfast, but we knew Cambridge, knew the area and knew we could find people.
“But I always had that hankering to bring it back,” said Kevin.
The chief executive has recruited his brother Eamonn, himself an experienced Belfast-based software engineer, to head the new hub, set to open in River House on High Street in May.
An initial team of five engineers is expected to grow to 15 by the end of 2022.
“Over the past ten years Belfast has changed massively as a city and I think tech has changed massively,” said Kevin.
“There are lots of home-grown start-ups and more product-based companies.
“We’re not using it as a cost-cutting measure, we want to be the best software company in Belfast within the next couple of years and give all those other great companies a run for their money.
“By next year we’d like to be up to 250 to 300 staff. That’s really challenging from a recruitment point of view, but the recruitment team here are great and they have embraced it.
“That’s the ambition anyway.”