December 2, 2023


Sapiens Digital

The US West Coast is a good home for Irish tech innovations and innovators


As Ireland’s second-largest export market, the importance of the United States to the economy here cannot be underestimated.

reland’s deep cultural and historical links to the US mean our two nations share a warm friendship, so this dynamic market is a natural choice of location for many ambitious Irish companies looking to grow and scale.

As a result, last year Ireland was the ninth-largest source of foreign direct investment to the US economy, valued at $240.1bn.

The markets within the United States are vast and widespread. And in terms of geographical locations, there are several vital regions where pioneering Irish innovators are looking to base themselves to realise their ambitions.

California is a significant landing ground for Irish businesses entering and scaling within the US on the West Coast, particularly within the tech sector.

For example, Enterprise Ireland client companies currently maintain 131 office locations across California, directly employing 8,522 workers.

And Irish companies have also found success in neighbouring states along the West Coast, as far up as Washington State, where its largest city Seattle is home to major global organisations such as Microsoft and Amazon.

Reflecting the importance of the West Coast to Irish companies, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, is embarking on a West Coast trade mission, starting in Seattle on April 25.

This trade mission will also take in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, with 29 Irish companies taking part.

As San Francisco is known as the digital capital of the world and Seattle as the cloud capital of the world, naturally, the focus of the trade mission is on digital technologies and Ireland’s relative strength in critical digital technology sectors.

This visit reflects the impact in the market of Ireland’s pioneering and disruptive innovators.

They have contributed to our excellent trading relationship with the US, which has continued to grow despite the difficulties of the last two years. Enterprise Ireland client companies set up approximately 80-90 new presences in the US market every year, with a growing proportion of those offices landing on the West Coast – and that pace of investment and deployment trajectory has continued over the last two years despite difficult global circumstances.

Today, the strong influence of Irish innovation across US marketplaces is a testament to Irish companies’ resolve to compete, adapt, and innovate at all costs.

As a result, these agile innovators and entrepreneurs have maintained their competitive edge and continue to optimise US marketplaces successfully.

Irish firms with a presence in the US before the pandemic continued to grow, despite the challenges of the last two years. For example, Dublin-headquartered Taoglas first opened its US operations in 2011 in San Diego.

Since then, the company has maintained an impressive growth journey to become a dominant player in the IoT antenna and RF antenna markets that it is today.

Last year, Taoglas grew its employment in both Ireland and the US by over 40pc.

The US plays a significant role in its global growth trajectory – driven from our California-based US HQ and supported by its offices in Minneapolis and Florida.

As the world opens up again, those opportunities are even more plentiful for ambitious Irish companies.

Emerging areas of growth on the West Coast include telecommunications and ICT, which are gaining importance as 5G rolls out.

In addition, post-pandemic solutions for the modern digital workplace are increasingly in demand, such as workplace AI and sales and marketing technology, to help companies reach their customers better.

The Irish reputation for excellence in innovation and leading in a changing world is enormously increasing throughout the US.

On the West Coast, in particular, the strength of the Irish diaspora and our reputation for producing solutions to global issues have made scaling and growing your business in this vast market more accessible and attractive than ever before.

Jack Callaghan is Senior Vice President (Digital Technology), Enterprise Ireland


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